At some point in our long evolutionary history our self awareness became sharply focused (we are aware that we are aware that we are aware…). At that point our abstract thought which had been gradually evolving alongside our self awareness suddenly took exponential flight, overtaking most of our natural instincts.
Our abstract thought is now truly unrecognizable from nature; its original source. It causes us to perceive the world in flattened abstract shapes, categories, and hierarchies that don’t exist in nature. It makes us creative and powerful, yet awkward and even dangerous in a number of ways. Abstract thought has brought us wheels, transistors, and particle accelerators, but also leaves us with crumbling buildings, computer repair bills, bureaucracies, and bombs.
Many feel pride in the way that we have come to organize ourselves and each other into variously labeled groups and hierarchical structures in society and government. But we ought to take care when we use abstract thought for such control purposes in society because that inevitably leads to various forms of centralized power and oppression of the masses.
Instead we can reserve our abstract organizing skills for our personal needs or to use within groups of people which are so small that spontaneous order would not otherwise take affect, like our families or partnerships, and for higher creative concepts such as art, science, technology, and ultimately space migration.
What we have managed to build and maintain our material world is quite amazing. For the most part, it clearly stands out as separate from nature. But I assume we will eventually choose the contrary—to have our material goods and machines mimic nature, by self-replicating, self-repairing, and self-upgrading. Eventually there will be less of a need to manufacture so many abstract geometric shapes like walls, doors, chairs, and tables, in zero gravity space environments that we will someday inhabit. We may want more surface area and variety, especially in small, confined living quarters, and I imagine some beautiful fractal habitats.