What is “socially adept” ?

“Socially adept” is a term that ought be, both, presented and taken with this[see note] in mind.

First: Things that influence my current interpretation of input are:

• mood

• belief system

• upbringing

• financial situation

• acute hunger level

• chronic hunger level

• personality type

• level of awareness at time of input

• personal vendetta, real or imagined

• many

• many, many

• more factors…

…and, they influence “my” current interpretation of input in ways that I do not — can not — have reliable access to, by varying degrees in each discreet case.

Furthermore, in each case I do not — can not — have reliable access to how aware “I” can be, let alone am.

This applies to, both, any given moment and to my felt experience of being a “self” over time, in both directions.

Perhaps with the following unique exception: I do believe that I can be confident that “I” ought never trust my interpretation fully.

To be clear, and sure, I do trust my interpretation of input fully nearly all of the time

This is a thing mammals do with our awareness, because it informs our fitness in an evolutionary sense.

We trust our eyeballs when we see a tiger through the bush.

But, I have come to be confident that any interpretation of input is always unreliable to some degree.

The visual threat-detection system that is built into the wetware our DNA code runs on is truly astounding in its efficiency and effectiveness.

And we’d be fools to not trust it, nearly all the time.

But it can fool us, and nearly always does.

We get a simplified, heuristically informed, symbols-pointing-at-symbols version of reality, because, duh, it’s far too complex to be taken in as it is and understand any of it.

This applies at at least two levels, the quantum and the personal.

First, the quantum, shows up quite obviously when we casually gaze at a conference room and we see a table.

All of us see the table, and we agree that the table is there, and that has a thing called a “colour” and that the colour is… and here the agreement might start to break down, which we’ll get to later, but for now…

What none of us claim to see are the elementary particles that make the atoms that form the table.

The table that is quite obviously there, and we do, all of us, seem to have reliable access to that information.


You know what else is in that room that, amazingly, if you think about it, none of us claim to be able to see?

Anything else in the room that isn’t in the visible spectrum.

There’s a lot of shit going on in that conference room that we can not see.

Let’s make an axiom:

The input does not contain all of whatever “reality” Actually Is™.

The input does not contain neutrinos, because neutrinos do not, to any degree that has an impact (in a statistically meaningful way), interact with the matter that we, and everything we come into contact with in our normal lives, are made out of.

Wikipedia says:

A neutrino is a fermion that interacts only via the weak subatomic force and gravity. The mass of the neutrino is much smaller than that of the other known elementary particles.

The neutrino is so named because it is electrically neutral and because its rest mass is so small that it was long thought to be zero. The mass of the neutrino is much smaller than that of the other known elementary particles. The weak force has a very short range, the gravitational interaction is extremely weak, and neutrinos, as leptons, do not participate in the strong interaction.

All of that leads to this astonishing fact:

Thus, neutrinos typically pass through normal matter unimpeded and undetected.

Neutrinos are passing through the conference room all the gawddamn time, including table, the yous, the mes, and, all the inputs each of us is currently experiencing, and, on top of that, everything else too.

So the input does not even contain some information that falls within the inputs spatial-temporal coordinates.

We use a subset of the available information in our area, in both time and space.

The input does contain usable information, though.

The input contains usable information, and, some of that information we use but we do not have conscious access to.

(This is the second of the two points I was getting at above, the personal.)

We get sunburns, for instance.

That’s input that our body interprets and reacts to.

Ultra violet photons and shit.

We get sunburns cause those little fuckers hit our surface, and we interact with them in a way we have absolutely zero conscious access to…

…unless, perhaps, that damage being done is what feels like burning.

Which brings me to my point about having reliable conscious access to input.

Even a thing as “obvious” as I am getting a sunburn is easily ignored in our conscious awareness.

If this were not true, and obviously so, far less sunburns would actually happen.

If people noticed that they were getting a sunburn the 10^-20th of a second it started happening in any way that was salient, they’d seek shade.

People do not notice things that fast, however.

Even very noticeable input takes something like 1/60th of a second to reach conscious awareness — and our body is already reacting to it way, way, way before that.

A sunburn starts instantly, but it doesn’t happen instantly, and that is what burns us.

Each of us have experienced the “awakening” a consciousness can have about the current state of input it has access to.

A thing one might think to one’s self upon such an awakening is labeled HOLY SHIT I’M BURNING.

The input to the “self” was the same, it was only the awareness of the body’s interpretation of the input that was suddenly sparked.

This kind of spark moments happen often, about many more things than sunburns, but they illuminate what I believe is a truth of my existence: I ought never have confidence in the interpretation of input that my “self” is currently operating under.

I just can’t know what in the actual fuck is going on around me.

Even when I’m paying close attention.

And, by the time input reaches my attention, it has been interpreted, according to the list above.

(mood, beliefs, hunger, that stuff.)

So, with all of that in mind, when trying to sort out whether another human being’s behaviour is “socially adept”, I have to consider:

Does my current interpretation of input align with what society expects? Is that in line with what I expect? Is society wrong, in my opinion? Does input seem admirable to me? Could I see myself doing input if given the chance? Given what I know of input, am I able to apply a filter, or lens, and see input in a different light? Is there another way to interpret input that I’m not seeing? Either way, do I consider input “socially adept” or not? How do I know?

(Also, yes, I’m aware that not literally everyone can see the table, let’s not pollute all of our spaces with that kinda needles caveat every time we speak even mildly hyperbolically.)

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