Last week I talked about the possibility of ideas being about to exist separately from the people who think about them. You can find it here, if you missed it: https://www.voat.co/v/theredpill/3144788. Again, I am aiming for a post once a week, typically on Sundays, but the actual date and time will be dependent on my schedule.
Today, I want build on last week's topic and address what happens if several people think the same thing at the same time. The answer is simple enough: if people have the same thoughts, then they will take the same actions. Or at least, very nearly the same actions. There are some interesting side-effects that I want to look at that may not be immediately apparent, and I want to play with the idea of thoughts having an independent identity that was developed in the last post.
First, take a closer look at the above assumption: people with similar thoughts make similar decisions. On the surface, there's not much of problem. If you like money, you will try to get more of it. If you value family, you will spend more time with them. But thoughts are rarely so direct. Ideas come pre-packaged with an identity. You won't find many homosexuals advocating for strict border control, for example. Those two ideas have little in common, save for the sense of identity that they share. What this means for you and your free will I leave up to you. I suggest you look at each of your beliefs individually and see if you have any hitch-hikers, so to speak.
For the sake of simplicity, let's say you have a group of political radicals with a very well-defined and wide-spread ideology. By the way, this example is taken from the second season of the 'Ghost in the Shell' anime. The first post was based on the first season. I recommend the show, if you like that sort of thing. I meant to bring it up in the last post, but couldn't find a good spot for it. If you want a real-world example of the last posts' message being applied, look no further than the comment section on this show's opening song. "I will post here every day to prove that this song will never die". That phrase had an originator, but they had little to do with what it was become. The phrase has since mutated and grown over time like a living thing.
Tangent aside, we have a hypothetical radical political group. For fun, let's say that this group self-radicalized on the internet; meaning they don't have the support network that most groups take for granted. So what do they do? Well, they have the same thoughts, so presumably they take the same actions. Maybe their beliefs prioritize physical fitness so they go to the gym. Maybe they all hate big corporations and only buy local goods and services. Maybe they need to spend more time at a library so that they can understand the ideology they now identify with. The point is, the odds of these people meeting up are better than average. A group of people could, in theory, all converge at the same place, at the same time, with the same goal, with minimal communication. If I were tasked with observing and preventing such groups, that thought would bother me.
Let's look at the above from the ideology's perspective. It can move entire people the same way we can move our fingers. Perhaps you've heard of something called a 'hivemind' and how colonies of insects appear to be guided by a single intelligence. What would it be like to be a colony of people? We say things like 'Germany did X' or 'As an American I believe Y'. But Germany is not an individual; American does not hand down beliefs to its citizens. And yet, we have no problem acting as if these 'people colonies' are living, thinking creatures. What would it be like to be a colony of people? I imagine it would be like being a tiny god: you will for things to happen and your followers make it so. After all, it is so cumbersome to list the various feedback loops responsible for influencing large numbers of people. So much easier to say that the spirit of Christmas has come to our town, or that Aries looms on the horizon.
Last week I ended on a suggestion of meditation. This week I'll suggest a more playful activity: imagine scenarios where you are a nexus of control, rather than any one person. What if life were like a Sims game, or Command and Conquer? What if you were some mind-controlling alien or ghost that could survive the death of your host. If that's not your thing, try to figure out the difference between a forest and a collection of trees. Next week I'll talk about doubts and whether or not self-improvement and self-destruction are the same thing.