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In the Mind of the Other

Posted 2009.08.21 14.58 in Family/Friends, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

In a recent comment on her blog, my friend Lezley said:

I’ve always wanted to know what goes on inside animals’ heads. What do they think? Feel? How do they see the world and us? […] Human beings always judge animal behaviour through our own lens – resulting in no real understanding at all. Stupid humans.

This is one of those things that interests me.. the Mind of the Other, versus the Mind of the Self. Several decades ago, author H.P. Lovecraft wrote that there can never truly be a story told from the point of view of the vampire, wolf-man, or alien, simply because such things existed entirely outside our frame of reference. In the case of an alien, something truly that far outside our own experience would be so Other that we’d probably have a difficult enough time recognizing it for what it was, let alone understaning or relating to its emotions and thoughts. I believe Lovecraft’s story The Colour out of Space is an ideal representation of how our limited experience leaves us unable to fully perceive or understand things that are far from our own frames of reference.

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Humanity, Risk, Self-Destruction

Posted 2009.08.02 7.23 in Pointless Blather, Uncategorized by Stephanie

Have you ever looked at self-destructive behaviors in people and wondered why they do it? I’m not talking about people with clinical depression acting suicidal – I’m talking about day-to-day activities that virtually everyone takes part in. So-called normal, functioning members of society, doing things that could well kill them.

I have long held the belief that there is something fundamental in the human mindset which is programmed to ignore danger if the danger is either subtle, long-term, or non-specific. By which I mean, if the danger does not target one individual specifically, if the danger is cumulative or takes a period of time to manifest, or if the danger is understood but not blatantly obvious, people seem to be quite willing to ignore it. It’s the “It won’t happen to me” syndrome. Here are some examples:

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