P R I N C I P I A T R I O O N I C A
The Tale of the Leisure Class
All earthly life that came before us humans had one thing in common. They lived in the natural world. Their lives were shaped by the determined order of physical reality. If we're lucky, we'll never get to know what that is like. We have our own order and we're counting on its continuance. Right now, all earthly life has had to adjust its course in the natural order to accommodate a second world of our making. That's where we are. We went from making artifacts out of our environment to making our environment entirely out of artifacts. We live in the artifactual world. We're still a part of the natural world but that is not where we need photo-ID's. All other earthly life makes the best of integrating our world into a workable less-natural order. Should anything happen to our artifactual world, they won't have far to fall back into the natural order. Not so for us. We're a long way from home.
Our journey into the artifactual world is a long story and not a sudden departure. We're still learning about our past. We figure humanity started a quarter million years ago or maybe millions more. Or maybe less. Maybe we aren't the first specie to take the journey. If that is so, we can know there is no guarantee of success.
We assume our ancestors had the same consistent physiology (including our brains) that we do now. Ancient human experience should be no different than modern human experience. Except for one thing. That would be the artifactual world. If we can explain its emergence then we can explain ours. Modern humans imagine a life in the ancient wild would drive them out of their minds. Mental experience must have been different. The trioon scheme can tell the story of how our mental experience can change without any physical change in our brains. That means this story of civilization must also play out from start to finish in each living individual of every generation. Can your favorite origin story do that?
One conspicuous item, call it the Prime Artifact, was involved all along the way. It's story is our story. And yours. You are probably perched on the Prime Artifact right now. We know it as The Comfy Chair. When we look back into history at the oldest examples, we call them thrones. Before thrones were thrones that symbolized an official position, a throne was just a comfy chair. It was depicted not to identify the king. A pointy hat could do that. It was a boast that this king was a visionary.
This king can see and hear things that others cannot. These must be special visions because everyone can see and hear things now and then but not on a grand scale like the king can. Visions of all degrees of grandness (we would call it daydreaming) occur at our leisure. That means we need to be unthreatened, un-craving and comfortable. For ancient pre-civilized folk, leisure time was irregular, fleeting and risky. A king with grand visions that folks value and depend on must live in a constant state of leisure. Unthreatened, un-craving and comfy. Even if it meant a lot of extra work for everyone else, keeping the king comfortable was a top priority. This will ensure that the king can receive wisdom from a higher plane of reality. Folks would boast that their king was relaxed. "Beware, everyone! Our visionary king is comfortable and thus will guide us in beating you!" The king was depicted by the pointy hat and by being at leisure in a comfy chair.
The meaning is still the same today. There are things we don't expect anyone to do while standing up. Things like passing judgment or making a big decision. Everybody just knows you don’t do that while standing. Standing is too excitable. We consider it a talent if one can think on their feet. Sitting on a comfy chair is enshrined in our vernacular. Before any conflicting parties can negotiate, they are invited to sit down. When we cannot decide, we say we'll sit on it.
Sitting together is a mutual commitment to have an exchange between minds and hear explanations all the way through. We expect calmness, better thinking and clearer language from folks when they sit. Everyone knows this already. It seems silly to bother pointing it out. Except for making the point that ancient relics are telling a strange and unexpected story of how the comfy chair became the seat of power. It was our first piece of furniture for the artifactual world we would build around it.
When we first started out, we had developed our social orders from primate hand-me-downs but many things had already set us apart. We were agile vocalizers, snappy dressers and we loved a good party. This is not a broad anthropological exposition. I need to skip ahead to where the tale starts. That is whenever fortune allowed the long term survival of a large community with a vocabulary developed over generations and stable resources. There is no date to point to. If humans have been around for a million years or more, then the tale has played out over and over in countless untold journeys into the artifactual world. Folks just like us lived in conjured worlds that need imagination to see and were taken just as seriously as we take ours.
All of that happened because humans were an evolutionary breakthrough in brain activity. Our brain could do something other brains could not. We became tri-perceptual or trioon. Cinema perception was already a second look at vision and hearing. Now we could have a third perspective as an overseer of our flowing thoughts in cinema perception. That is, our brains could have an extra perspective of our thoughts and have some impact on how they proceed. Its role in our conscious experience evolved along with our lifestyle.
Normally, we can decide what we are going to follow with our cinema perception's attention like a cadence or a series of events or a string of words. Our brains could now override that decision and interrupt the flow and place other thoughts or memories in front of your attention that then start a whole other flow to be followed. Our third oon was an invisible mental meddler. It offered top-down supervision of our minds in addition to any subconscious bias blocking thoughts from below. We were the conscious bit in the middle.
Why would Nature decide, so to speak, that this was just what we needed? Where was the evolutionary pressure relieved by favoring this mutation? The pressure had been building in our heads as our normal learning ability became overwhelmed by the growing complexity of our thoughts. The more vocalizations we could make, the more words we could have leading to far more thoughts to think about. Thoughts that interact and connect in our memory and lead to new learning that must be consciously harvested to be of any use. It is newly learned knowledge that we do not know that we know until we see it first hand. It remains pending and waits for the right state of mind to come along that will allow it to surface in our stream of thoughts. What surfaces might look like randomness with an unnoticed thread of connections. Or it might look like there is an imbedded and contrived message to be discerned. Or it might be delivering something clever that prompts a ticklish moment of eureka.
We had always relied on daydreaming and staring into empty space or at something special to create an inviting state of mind. It was an opportunity to unleash chains of thoughts that our brains had sewn together. Sometimes we will spot the relevance as they pass and sometimes we won't. Our brain is (unconsciously to us) spotting connections that start little serials of thoughts and memories. No overall conclusion is made about them until they reach the surface of cinema perception where we can see or think them. It is our brain's way of asking if this stream of connected stuff is worth drawing a conclusion about. If it is, we will relearn it and store it in a form that is consciously accessible. We, in the form of cinema perception, are the bit that decides.
Whenever there was an emerging of a continuity of thoughts, our cinema perception had to follow it from a beginning, then through a middle and then all the way to the end in order to have a complete perception from which to draw a conclusion and harvest unconscious learning. The problem was that language was turning even our bulbous lobes into an overwhelmed baggage-handling machine. The system needed a supervisor armed with a gearshift and a brake pedal to act as a shepherd of continuity for thinking that is not rhythmic or has more steps than cinema perception would want to follow. Narrative perception would keep the big daydreams moving from beginning to end in cinema perception where they can be followed subjectively. The process is like a newsreel that must be completely played to be informative. Narrative perception could see us through the two and three reelers. Then we could make new and wakefully accessible connections to what we've witnessed.
Adding the gear shift did more than keep the trains of thought running. It freed us from the natural order of things. Cinema perception consumes a non-stop forward flow of thoughts to follow or ignore. It's designed to be easily distracted by peril or impending doom. It is designed to take in discreet measures of four beats and form a conclusion from them that becomes the next beat one of the next measure. Cinema perception offers a forward-looking thinking that cannot stop or reconsider. That kind of thinking would need a brake pedal and a gear shift. With them, we can change the order of things and send our thoughts in directions a strictly forward-looking perspective would never see. A New Order of Things appeared at the horizon.
But first, how was this oon thing to manifest itself? Here's a simple stripped down example with a fresh and young mind. Imagine a child getting a corrective scolding from an angry parent 10,000 years ago. The loud aggressive vocalizing and the looming posture had always served as negative reinforcement if delivered promptly at the scene of the offence. But now that we are complex talking humans, the correction may require delivering an explanation for the child to know what the offence was. Stressed and fearful, the child's cinema perception cannot digest the informative tirade. Stress triggers humanity's new supervisor and the child's choice of attention is gear-shifted out of reach. Narrative perception will sustain the continuity of the scolding as if the parent had actually reached in and grabbed the child's attention.
This kind of correcting has to be more than negative conditioning. Recognizing a repeat of the offence will require more than seeing what's in front of the child. There is an explanation of how what’s in front of the child will lead to the offence. If the child spots or recognizes any element of impending offensive behavior, that recognition will trigger the supervisor to whom, I mean to which, attention is mandatory. A warning is delivered in the character of the scolding parent. It might even seem like a short visit from an intangible power emanating from the parent. It might even suggest an intangible cognition that has invisible eyes.
There are many other examples to imagine involving various forms of domination, rank or coersion and humans of any age. The scolding parent was stressed from trying to compose an important correction for the child to follow. Their supervisor will step in and shepherd what they want to say into a narrative structure. The result might evoke a known character from the parent's lifetime of experience. It might even seem like that character was intangibly involved and could see the parent's intent.
Of course no one is actually in anyone else's head but we could influence each other enough to cause a character-driven supervisor that mimics the style of someone's delivery. After years of social experience, an individual can build a collection of character-driven supervisors. We call upon them, that is, our brains call upon them to be auto-narrators. They can help when one wants to say more than they can compose or figure something out that they know they are smart enough to tackle if only they could tame or pilot their distractible smartness. The rest of the time, our third oon was like a toaster that wasn't making toast. It stayed dormant until triggered by a sudden stressful need for toast.
A large community will have a diversity of talents. Some will run faster and some will have overactive imaginations. Some will need toast more than others. Those in society that are more involved with words than the average joe will rely on their narrative perception more often. It became commonplace for some people to briefly divert their eyes and stare off into nowhere or pinch them shut while they talked. They empty or yield their attention and hope their next words will be shepherded. Some will manage a steady narrative state and deliver a complex message smoothly. Others will stumble in and out of shorter bursts of narration punctuated with awkward moments of "um…" and "ah…". And then there were a few for whom narrative ability came with greater impact. They were, to their community, inspiring visionaries or hopelessly bonkers. This was humanity's first opportunity to explore brain-sciences like neurology but instead our experiences led to an obsession with agency.
When we want to follow our thoughts and think about something in particular, our brains will cooperate and provide us with the thoughts we want to think about. We own those thoughts as long as we are following them. It is our most convincing demonstration of agency. We can let go of our thoughts and they will keep flowing forward unfollowed. We maintain a sense of agency even while we are not demonstrating any. Triggering an auto-narrator means a partial loss of agency. We're agreeable to it because we don’t want to have to attend to making language out of what we want to say. Our following-attention is superceded by a different demonstration of agency that is not included in subjective experience. Our thoughts are doing what the auto-narrator wants. We're having thoughts we wouldn't otherwise know how to have. The shepherd of those thoughts meets all our criteria for agency.
There was no cause for an identity crisis as long as auto-narrators came in short bursts when needed or triggered. They retreat when the job is done. They respect your boundaries. A well-constructed self-identity will not be challenged. A well-trained pantheon of auto-narrators is a blessing. Charismatic and influential people were leaving their mark on others. Demonstrating the agency of a respected elder in words or deeds made folks more trustworthy to each other. There was a commonality that allowed us to rely less on intimidation or coercion and practice more mutual empathy. This kicked off a new pursuit or pastime that involved luring an auto-narrator into making an extended visit. Some folks were having visitations without pursuing them.
Visitations came in two forms that are both occurrences of sustained narrative perception lasting more than just a moment or two. There is the strictly internal experience of an agency-directed waking dream and an external and observable demonstration of sustained eloquence, usually in speech. The visitee experiences a composed flow of visions and voices or hears themselves talk. The loss of agency during visitations led to a presumption that our agency was superceded by another source of agency. Why not? We believe in ourselves. The evidence is the same. In pursuing a visitation experience, we are pursuing a visitor. We are not directly asking our brain to please do that tricky narrator thing. We went looking for agency. But first, we had to invent somewhere to find it.
Some auto-narrators are indistinct composites of characters with unique but incomplete personalities. They are mystery visitors who must come from somewhere. Their agency must have some way to demonstrate itself the rest of time. There had to be a home turf for the agency of visitors. This was something we never needed to think about before. Our own agency is held within the natural world, so any superceding agency must be held in a super-natural world. Super-beings exist on a higher plane of existence except for when they come for a visit. We surmised the existence of a world that was not the one in front of us.
The implications for auto-narrators that were experienced as tangible caricatures of specific people must be considered too. Do they have a power to be supernatural? What if they're dead? Do they still have agency in the supernatural world? How do they see into our world and our heads? We determined that they held a superior position in the hierarchy of reality and their world offered a lofty vantage point from which to look down upon our world. This revelation had the added effect of downgrading the natural world to a lower plane of existence. Our world was base, primal and chaotic compared to the higher plane which was ordered and without earthly concerns or urges. We imagined a lofty reality and made it our number one travel destination.
Anyone with leisure time spent it trying to have a visitation and connect with the supernatural after shutting out the world in front of them. Pinching your lids shut is one way. Staring at something works too if you stare long enough. It took time to see into the unnatural. That is a fanciful way of saying we want to whack out our eyes with fatigue and retinal saturation until they are no longer able to deliver normal information. Something supernatural may appear in front of you. Or it could just inspire daydreaming with no trace of an extra agency. Not everyone is going to have long chains of unconscious learning to harvest.
Those who do might trigger an auto-narrator to shepherd a stored narrative charge. It's narrative because its content is comparatively expansive. Its message or meaning relies on having a beginning, middle and end to be expressed as a continuous whole. With no rhythmic structure or measures to follow, cinema perception will quickly give up on trying to follow it. Normally, information arrives in just three or four beats of content before we can make something of the info and use what we made of it as beat one of the next measure. We take a few more beats of content and make something of that to be the next beat one and so on. It is the structure of a verse. Information can be expressed in a series of measures as long as no single measure exceeds the limit of our attention. It must allow for incremental conclusions to be made every three or four steps along the way. Our cinema perception is prepared to digest information in this format. That includes daydreaming and intuitive unconscious learning. It's how a bi oon mind works. With our visions and visitations, we were discovering how a tri oon mind works. When information is narrative, it does not respect the four chunk limit of cinema perception. It isn't going to offer a little wrap-up conclusion every four beats along the way. There are still some conclusive beat ones but they are irregularly spaced with some long slogs between them like overly descriptive sentences in an essay. Cinema perception won't be able to make anything of it unless our brain can provide a means of shepherding it past our attention and past our chunk limit. An auto-narrator serves as a continuous beacon for our attention to follow as if every step along the way is part of the same ongoing beat-less measure. Like an eye that doesn't need to keep blinking as it stays open. As if a second agency was holding our lids up.
When it's over, it's back to blinking. The stored narrative has discharged. Whatever its form or content, it was built by our brain. The assembly process does not have any subjectivity. No one decided to work something out. Our brain is always sifting for connections and consolidating what’s in our heads. We can be conscious of taking steps of reasoning about whatever our attention is on, but we accept whatever pops up from the depths as our correct answer. Even our wandering thoughts have a thin thread of logical connections. We can subjectively witness our reasoning. Likewise, we could only subjectively witness our ability to make narratives. Primates have long enjoyed a modest reasoning ability but no species had ever dealt with narrative information before us. When we reasoned about our narrative experiences, we thought we had made an incredible discovery of an immaterial world. The single shred of evidence for this ghostly realm was a perception of agency that was not our own.
It wasn't really a higher plane of existence though that is an admirable analogy for a higher plane of perception. The new realm was actually whatever workspace our brain had set up for narrative processing. Cinemative processing gave us our perception of agency. Any continuous thought was a demonstration of it. Any continuity of will by others demonstrates agency. It was no great leap for us to conclude that our narrative experiences were an act of will from an outside source. The source was really only outside of the workspace our brains had set up for cinema perception. Our best explanation partitioned the universe instead of ourselves.
The immaterial world, as we imagined it, is a realm of willful spirits that can access our world at any point in time or space. There are people who live there that also live here and some who no longer live here. There are some spirits who are native to the spirit realm or who have been there for a very long time after a short life on earth. Earth-bound agents can aspire to having their own place in the spirit realm. It is a beautiful concept that is, at its core, an explanation for auto-narrators.
Spirits shared their wisdom when we earned it or scolded us when we deserved it. They gave us the notion that we could be better than we are. What we do here on earth will determine our place in the spirit world. Our lives can take an earthly path that Nature has prepared us for or we can take a spiritual path that we will need guidance to find. Those who chose the latter must have made it look rewarding. We could define and pursue a morality, which is something no animal had done before. Not because we had an inner spirit that aspired to be better (it's a wonderful idea) but because we had become trioon. The only real change was an additional capacity to perceive the world as a narrative.
Aspiring to change for the better should be a change for the better for humanity. It must have been. We're still here. Modern readers might be asking, so what happened to this higher plane of existence that was all in our heads? Where does all this fit into the human timeline? What about the comfy chair? All this is as far back as we can imagine. Even the world that Homer describes is way in the future. This isn't the whole story of how narrative perception manifested in humans but it is what happened first. The rest of the story is way back in the past too but only after humans had established communities that encouraged spiritual pursuits. People with a morality were primed but ill-prepared for what happened next. All their demands on narrative ability caused some brains to re-integrate narrative perception in their overall operational scheme and fundamentally change its relationship with cinema perception. Now and then, their third oon would present subjectivity. Narrative perception would become subjective experience and take possession of their agency. They were possessed by a spirit and became divine. That's one explanation.
We still don't know how conscious experience manifests in our heads but we all know it does. I'm not offering an explanation of how. The trioon scheme proposes that, however the brain does it, there are two distinct ways it does it. One is dominated by cinema perception and the other by narrative perception. When the latter first emerged, it caused quite a stir. A stir we are still dealing with today.
Conscious experience comes with a perception of agency. Free will is a whole other debate that can get its own essay. The subject here is our perception of agency that some folks call the illusion of self. Consider awareness of agency as a survival skill developed for a bioon mind. Our bodies and sub-conscious minds (our first oon) do not need a sense of agency. Perhaps there is a root motivation to respond to stimuli instead of ignoring it but there is no need to know about it. Cinema perception is set up as a second observation of processed vision and hearing that is cut off from physical stimuli. It's just a job that our brain does so there is no reason to call it an observer. Unless it needed some kind of root motivation to look out for number one. Our bodies already know our ass is on the line. Maintaining the integrity of the organism is already a priority. How might that same root motivation manifest in cinema perception? How about as conscious experience with a sense of agency? That would keep it on the ball. Make the observation an observer and tell it that's your ass on the line. You're the one choosing what to follow and what to think about. That is the trioon scheme's position on agency. Self may be an illusion but it is not a mistake.
The point in mentioning all that is because of what happens when agency is applied to narrative perception. Now there is a higher observer watching our brain carry on with cinema perception without us, so to speak. Passing and random thoughts are observed by a single beatless measure of attention. Now, the root motivation of agency says those are your thoughts. This observer's mandate is to maintain the integrity and survival of your thoughts and ideas. Now twice removed from physical stimuli, there is little concern for who's ass is on the line. It's a new illusion of self with new priorities. Soon, we would need a new morality because the old morality won't do anymore.
Like visitation experiences, moments of possession could be sought after or spontaneous. As with visitations, an auto-narrator is triggered which is little more then a learned algorithm in your brain and not an extra personality that lives in your head. We were obsessed with agency so we guessed the latter. Possession experiences were special events in the lives of otherwise normal people. To other normal people, the possessed were under a spell or taken over by one of those spirit beings. They might hear familiar characters that are not just speaking through someone but speaking from someone. Their talk isn't shepherded. It comes from the shepherd itself. More than a recital, a possession is a portrayal. The result was a lot of complex speech that other folks could barely follow in more than short bits. Unless the performance was just familiar enough to remind others of their own auto-narrators. Those folks were more able to sync-up and follow the big talk because they recognized the style. Having a sustained possession is the original meaning of becoming divine. Syncing-up and following the shepherding offered by the divine is the original meaning of worship. We might all want to sit down for that.
The content exposed and shared the possessed's intuitive learning. It might burst forth as a stored narrative charge and become a one-time event that folks will remember as well as they can. It might be silly, crazy or offer dream-like advice or include a recognizable germ of a darn good idea. If someone manages to pop out a few ideas that lead to actual improvements in everyone's lives, or avoid a disaster, they would soon become a valued community asset. Unfortunately, the possessed were a limited resource. The narrative perception that drove them would eventually run out of steam. For our brain, engaging the narrative machinery is extra work and burns more fuel. Eventually, the possessee is exhausted. Showing real fatigue from something that only happens in your head is a sure sign of divinty. Getting another possession started was hit and miss. Imaginative techniques were invented often with re-enactments of the original possession event. We wanted divinity-on-demand. Was a permanent possession possible? Who could have the stamina for it?
Eventually, we discovered three things that could reliably increase both frequency and duration of narrative experiences. Comfort, isolation from threats or distractions and a lack of unsatisfied urges were the best recipe for sustained possessions. The Chosen One was thus confined, for the good of everyone, to a strict life of leisure served by those who could best sync-up with their style of narration and considered themselves to be followers. They would worship, or follow, the narrative utterances and inform the public.
The divine one (usually male) could have off-days or an ongoing struggle with his narrative ability. The closest followers offered constant encouragement and reassurance that they can see the divinity even on days when their Great Leader cannot. Common folk could help by pointing their faces toward the ground so as not to distract the divine one's concentration with their gaze. There was no intimidation or sucking-up involved yet. In the early days of a fledgling divinity, everyone happily shared in the nurturing.
Isolation for the Chosen One evolved from humble makeshift beginings to an all-out effort to create a space that was completely planned and shut off from the natural world. It became a divine space or Holy Enclave. The Chosen One only saw those who believed in his divinity, which reinforced his belief in himself. Contact with the public could be thoroughly controlled and orchestrated. The followers had learned that, on off-days, divinity need only be evoked.
Other possessed lads in the community might build a following and become a rival Chosen Alternative One. It was vital that the incumbent leadership actively suppress the public's narrative abilities or, potential for divinity. It was easily handled by regulating the three ingredients of divinity- comfort, freedom from threats and satisfied urges. Take away some measured amount of these and the common folk will have less narrative experience. Start by blunting their aspirations, allude to a half-defined threat and add a dash of public edginess. Their motivation for morality will erode. No one wanted to impose serious suffering but morality breeds divinity which must be avoided outside of the Holy Enclave. Or, as they more likely put it, the public must be kept safe from evil spirits.
Where did this unwanted agency come from? Our best explanation involved dividing the supernatural world in two. A second spirit realm was the home turf of all undesired incidents of foreign agency. No one wants to earn a place there. Evil was another clever idea that found a place in the New Order of Things.
Everyone was in over their heads but the new system offered something desirable for every part of society. Normal folks could benefit from deep thoughts they didn't have to have the stamina for. The ambitious can pursue new service jobs in the holy sector. The successful Chosen One makes it all work by envisioning a complex and coordinated plan for whatever activities society depends on at whatever scale of technical development. That could include farming, water management, warfare, mating, town planning and social justice. All those things had been around already but happened in small semi-random steps without any Big Picture. No animal had ever needed a Big Picture before. Once our divine visionary's Big Plan delivers prosperity, society grows into something only a Big Plan can sustain. There is no turning back. It meant we're all gonna have to learn a lot more to know how to lead our lives.
Great Leader and his family, lieutenants and close followers became the leisure class and ran a narratocracy from within a holy city. Common folk truly believed that they received tangible benefits from their leaders and enthusiastically maintained a lofty lifestyle for the leisure class. Everyone involved believes that the system is driven by a greater agency than their own. They have all been granted an Order of Things that asks only that they stick with the program. Great Leader and his friends are responsible for maintaining contact with and the good will of the greater agency. The Divine One must successfully install a convincing copy of his specific auto-narrator or, divine nature, into an offspring or close follower. The Great Agency is passed on when its mortal incarnation dies. A King, in the form of a replicated algorithm, can live for hundreds of years. Elaborate tombs would store and preserve the original King's incarnation to power his later incarnations. Or a different legacy algorithm may reappear as Ramrod the Seventh and take the comfy chair.
This was a society built for humans for whom it took some extra oomph to think or perceive narratively. Any sacred object or ritual procedure that provided the oomph was a necessity for society's survival. Maximal investments were made in producing oomph for the leisure class and awesomeness for the working class. Organized pageantry showcased divinity for the public. We'd call it a pep rally or a magic act. Great Leader would use theatrics and trickery to appear awesome and exude divinity. We'd call it a con game but it wasn't. Not yet. Great Leader needed to be whipped up just as much as the crowd. It was a social structure based on our concept of agency. Things might have stayed this way forever but change was coming as is the rest of the tale of the leisure class which resumes inside the holy city.
The Divine One's Holy City was organized in every possible way. Activities had a schedule and a strict routine. There was always a Right Order to how things were done and a Right Place that everything belonged in. There was a Rightness that could only be done in the holy city. The natural chaos outside would never allow it. Things were learned and performed in steps. These were raw steps in a long path without meter or rhyme. Everything bolstered narrative perceptions and discouraged any resumption of the cinema-based agency practiced by the riff-raff. Rightness was everywhere even in the corners. Right-angles, straight lines and true rectangular shapes created awesomely unnatural spaces. The effect of large awesomely geometrical rooms was magical. They exposed a feature of our vision that doesn't often show itself in the natural world. We saw vanishing points and they required an explanation. Rooms could represent lines that went on forever if you can see them in your mind. The lines vanish to a point if you see them with your eyes. It was our second shred of evidence of an immaterial world and a peek into the divine. Or, where the divine would be if we could see it with mortal eyes. We had to see the answer to a puzzle in our mind or, with a divine sight. This trick of the light changed everything. When the gate to the holy city was opened, the first thing the public saw was long straight lines converging on an awesome vanishing point. The long and straight Processional Way led to a grand setting where the divine one would dispense wisdom and justice. The long entry path symbolized the long beatless measure of narrative experience and the great distance between narrative agency and common willfulness.
The leisure class saw divinity in their ritualized procedures. Perfect order could be practiced in an imperfect world. There was divinity without agency or at least not in a form we had experienced. The old emphasis on inviting agency gave way to a quest to see perfection in large-scale order. As in, see it for yourself no matter what state of agency you possess. This was a different approach to narrative perception for the whole leisure class. The demands they made on their brains were changing so their brains made one more adjustment in how their third oon was triggered and how it is experienced. Or, maybe they simply needed to change their idea of agency to change the workings of our brain, which had been just waiting for us to ask.
In our view, there was a fixed barrier between the divine and the mortal both for us and for the world. The real barrier was between different displays of agency. Divine possession showed on one's face as a countenance or disposition that the un-possessed could not mimic. The barrier was plain to see, hard to fake and needed no enforcement. Society was divided into the composed who share in Great Leader's divinity and the improvised who follow the order of things. The barrier between leisure and toil was a given. When changes came to the minds of the leisure class, the barrier would become a thin veneer but not thin enough to give up the privileges of the old order.
As the Better people, they were the authors of the Order. They held Authority the same way our minds held agency. Agency belongs to the highest authority or, to put it interchangeably, authority belongs to the highest agency. All lower agencies must submit or, put another way, no less-than-better person can be the author of their own order. No one decided that this would be our socio-political system. It simply mirrored the operation and the original configuration of our trioon mind. A second configuration was available for the asking. The leisure class were, eventually, the first to ask.
The question was, can truth be independent of agency? We had found that divinity could be discovered instead of delivered. In structures and deeds, we could build a world that reflected and exposed divinity as a higher authority than agency. Or as a higher reality that existed without agency and needed no authorizing. It sounds like a tortured philosophy now. We were sure that we were talking about the outside world but divinity was really an explanation we gave to what was going on in our heads. Adjustments were being made in how narrative perception is accessed and integrated.
Deflating the importance of agency softened the barrier that had served as a property line between cinemative and narrative perceptions. The brake pedal was softer and the gear shift had a smoother clutch. Nothing changed ownership anymore. There was still a sense of agency but without concern about what the mind is doing with which perception. Auto-narrators still helped out when needed and there was still the issue of stamina but on the whole, narrative experience became less dramatic or even mundane. A continuous sense of agency with a solid perception of self made us self-narrators. It is the last step to the modern mind. Modern folks take all the steps in their own lifetime. Modern education can compress the whole process into childhood.
It is not the mind we started with way back in the ancient wilderness. It would take a few updates along the way which is why we have the past that we have. That should come as a relief. I have always suspected that if modern civilized minds were there since the start, we would have had a very different history. The evidence of this tale is plain. We still have a leisure class. We have thrones and processions in awesome spaces. Why hasn't the modern mind shed the old order?
Meanwhile… management of the old order had developed into a solid institution. Its success or survival depended on three ingredients; awesome pageantry, distillation of info and an effective chain of command.
There was lots pageantry that celebrated Great Leader and made his Divine Order a do-thing. Amusements for the public were combined with structured rituals and scheduled repetition. Folks could see what they and their children would be doing next year. It kept the Order in plain sight. Monuments got taller so the Order could be in plain sight from further away. They were more than landmarks. They projected power. Folks were reminded, "if you can see this, you're within the jurisdiction of the Order". That was the easy part.
Communication with the common folk required a whole new civic occupation. Plans and instructions from the divine planners had to be re-formatted from a narrative to a simpler cadence of beats and measures. The Order was winnowed down, distilled and then delivered to the non-narrating public in the form of verses, rhymes, slogans, homilies and truthisms. Public speeches or sermons held to a comfy cadence of around 95 beats per minute and could include a beating drum. Three struck beats indicated that official speech was about to begin. Info came in short discreet measures. Folks never had to wait too long for a conclusion they could land on. A chorus of back-up speakers would repeat each conclusive utterance as they came along. Convincing folks was a matter of making the info and the conclusion a fondly remembered experience. A winning display of logic made sure its conclusions felt good. Great Leader was seeking loyalties with his public reasoning and not a peer review. When the common folk all agree that all truth is plain and simple, they will never scrutinize the fully nuanced truth of the Order or Great Leader or his Plan.
Divine management also relied on a solid chain of command that reached everyone outside of the holy city. In any line of authority, there is a midway-point where divine management ends and local officials take over. Above the mid-point, there is idealism and a commitment to a greater purpose. Below the mid-point, things get more transactional. At first, that break over point was within the holy city where a small minority of the ordained control the city's non-ordained workforce which then implements the Plan by telling the community what to do. As a society gets more advanced and ambitious in its undertakings, it becomes necessary to push the mid-point further down the chain of command. There are complex things to be done that must not be muddled or derailed by anyone's petty personal interests. The holy city had to expand the franchise of divinity to include a non-ordained class of middle-managers, operatives and bureaucrats. They'll all have to be trained to be functionally divine but not actually divine like the leisure class.
Training other people's narrative abilities for jobs inside the holy city had always been done with ritualized ordeals and contemplation of divine surroundings and a lot of staring at shiny stuff. The objective was to install powerful auto-narrators to possess their agency and tell them what to do. The result is an inflexible parrot of Great Leader's divinity with enough narrative stamina to help implement the Great Plan and the Divine Routine. Training for an expanded workforce beyond the holy city walls would have to omit divine possession entirely. It would focus on solving puzzles and learning to see the big picture. Can you picture the Divine Hall in your mind as it truly is? Can you build the holy city in your mind with no vanishing points? How about this giant drawing carved into the ground… can you walk around it and deduce what the drawing looks like from the heavens above? It was the same straight-to-the-point academic stuff that was turning the leisure class into self-narrators. There were plenty of possessed automatons about. What they needed now were people who knew how to do stuff and who could handle the complexities of managing the community at the grass-roots level. The modern mind had escaped the holy city.
So had straight lines, right angles, routines and schedules. Those in the holy city clung to the illusion of divinity while they unwittingly gave up their monopoly of narrative ability which was the real source of their power. The common folk became increasingly empowered. Soon, almost anyone could have a countenance or be depicted with a halo or a tongue of flame or a third eye or however narrative possession was portrayed. The leisure class had to rely on their symbols, badges and wardrobe to be distinguished from the average citizen. What was once seen as a supernatural force was now an act of putting on airs. New and imaginative rationales were needed for why the leisure class was better than the common folk. What if they're not?
Fortunately for the leisure class, they had amassed wealth, rank and loyalties and were entrenched in an institution based on their ancient status. Nobody remembers the old days when everyone nurtured their chosen one's divinity like blowing on embers. Nobody remembers why anyone would need to do that. Society's fixation on agency was eroding. When someone said "we do this or that in the name of so and so", it was because that is what one is suppose to say though nobody remembers why. Comfy chairs were everywhere. A significant portion of the community is built with technology that rivals the holy city. No divinity was needed. Ambitious citizens are conjuring and implementing plans that rival Great Leader's in scope and detail. No requests were made to divinity though the results were just as much of a departure from the natural world as the glorious holy city. We were building a glorious and lively artifactual world. The holy city can keep its stagnant divinity.
Their Great Leader realized that the only way to stay on top was to declare mortality. Being possessed by a spiritual agency was going out of fashion. A simple divine endorsement of the king's own agency will do. The king had left the holy city to rule the artifactual world.
The leisure class went with him and brought along their thin veneer of superiority. Some folks were starting to ask questions like, "why can't we govern ourselves by consensus" and "What does the leisure class do to earn their leisure?" Everyone knew the answer to both was political repression. Opinions varied as to whether that was a good thing or not. To be conservative or progressive meant repressing those who weren't. That could include nearly half the population. Society had developed a division folks were unprepared for and could not fully define.
If a society raised a preponderance of self-narrators, it will face a revolution that transforms it into the People's Democratic Commonwealth Republic. They'll want debate and discussion and an amendable rule of law. They'll want a representative government with checks and balances and no place for a leisure class. An equality of agency means that everyone should get their fair share of toil and leisure.
They believe that truth and moral rightness exist independently of agency. Reality is propelled by immutable laws and a structural inevitability. Reality carries on forever while our agency always ends at a vanishing point. Self-narrators can imagine institutions like a Department of Justice that runs on established principles and answers to no one. No agent is above the law. Agency is secondary. That makes equality possible.
If the next generation is not composed of a solid majority of self-narrators, they will tear the republic down and resume an authoritarian system. Like most generations before them, they will believe reality is propelled by agency. Institutions can only be tools of agency. The world is driven by willfulness. Immutable laws are an absurdity. Agency is primary and the only source of authority. Equality is an absurdity. Toil is for losers. There will always be losers. The leisure class are the winners.
Society thought it was dealing with a contest of philosophies based on differing perceptions of the world. As if folks were seeing different spectrums of light. One side would say the problem is people who are without a spiritual connection to a higher authority. They say you must get right with God. The other side would say the problem is with people who appear to have no direct connection to their own higher reasoning abilities. They say you must think for yourself. Both positions describe, in a roundabout way, the two forms of access humans can have with their narrative perception. That is, either brokered by a separate sense of agency or directly with a common sense of agency. There is no middle ground on which to meet halfway.
It isn't a matter of being religious or not. Self-narrators can make an intellectual conclusion about an active God or choose to be guided by faith in certain principles. Even in a society filled with religious self-narrators, the contest of narrative formats will continue in the context of a religious or holy war.
From here onward, society's first hurdle is determining the role of agency and authority in its founding principles. The second hurdle for society is consistently nurturing the format of narrative perception that will produce citizens who want to be a part of it. From here, our known history begins.
A society can be less than divine and more than natural if its citizens believe in it. We can straddle the middle in an artifactual world full of stuff that we can only know and understand by learning how to think narratively. Or we can skip that part and live in an artifarcical world of fragile rationales and wishful thinking. The role of leisure in human thinking remains the same. Thinking is no longer the chore of one class of people. Let's all find a comfy chair and think about it.
The universe may or may not have other realms or a supreme being. None were used in telling this tale.