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The undeniable problem of our anxious, distracted, and empty minds

There should be no doubts that we live at a time when our prehistorical brain can hardly handle the multiple and unexpected challenges we now face and that we were not designed to face. We were designed to light a fire inside a cave, not to save a techno-globalized, overpopulated planet from self-destruction.

Our minds still use 19th century ideas, taught and promoted by 20th century people, trying to understand 21sr century problems. Every day, we are farther away from reality (whatever that may be) and we struggle to control our anxious, distracted, and empty minds.

I know such a statement is almost offensive. My apologies. Please, understand I mean no disrespect to anybody. Yet, that seems to be the only conclusion based on the books and topics included in the most recent catalogue of publications about minds and brains recently mailed by MIT.

One of the books listed in that catalogue says that, in the context of the current situation, we should spend our lives in a permanent state of “kindergarten”, that is, we should dedicate our lives to our passions, plays, and friends. (I think that many people are already living with “kindergarten minds” all their lives, regarding of their chronological age). 

Another book rightly says that our ignorance has reached such a level that we ignore our own ignorance (nothing new to Socrates, of course). At best, we confuse ignorance with lack of knowledge, but more frequently we confuse ignorance with knowledge. (A recent study published by a Harvard professor talks about living at a time of “aggressive ignorance”.)

Yet another book in the MIT catalogue explains that our minds lack meaning to the point that we don’t even understand our own ideas and concepts. And another book suggests that our minds lack content. Empty minds, we could say.

This is something that ancient philosophers and thinkers already knew, when they complained about immature adults acting like children, living unexamined lives, repeating thoughts but never thinking them, and accepting mere babbling as wisdom, while rejecting wisdom as babbling.

Today, technology is a good tool to empty our minds, not unlike the neural neutralizer presented by Star Trek in Dagger of the Mind (November 1966).

And there is still more. The MIT catalogue include other books telling us our minds are no longer thinking, but just calculating. That’s why, according to those books, we are always anxious and distracted.

In addition, we no longer care about truth (whatever that may be.) In our post-truth era, feelings and personal opinions, even lacking any solid foundation or evidence, replaced truth. And the past is no longer remembered but imagined. The omnipresent social networks, while taking away our privacy, seem to promote both post-truth and an imaginary past.

In conclusion, we live with childish, ignorant, meaningless, calculating, anxious, and distracted minds, indifferent to reality. And we call it “civilization” and “society” and “progress.” Even worst, that’s what we want to perpetuate, export and impose on the world and on future generations.

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