goula.sh

Thread on the Top-Down & Bottom-Up Duality

Author: @meekaale on Twitter

Full Title: There's a Duality That I...

Category: #tweets

URL: https://twitter.com/meekaale/status/1347109964008071169

Meekaale Brockman: there's a duality that I'd like to have a clearer handle on, it seems really interesting but it's a bit blurry in my mind

basically planning vs execution, top-down vs bottom-up, symbol vs reality, goal vs life, structure vs sensation?

especially how these work mutualistically - Twitter thread by Meekaale Brockman, link

my thoughts about ADHD medicine lately revolve around this axis, how their effect seem to clearly enhance from the bottom-up in a way that doesn't automatically stabilize the top-down

https://twitter.com/meekaale/status/1346358374829584384

I think of Dreyfus's explanation of Heidegger but I have to avoid identifying the top-down with the "present-at-hand" ā€” it's not only that, it's also the kind of non-thematic complex intentional structure that Dreyfus labels "for-the-sake-of-which"

https://twitter.com/meekaale/status/1337320358446297089

in other words the "top-down" is not the same as "conscious symbolic thinking" or "explicit goal-crafting" or "following rules and schemas"

it's also something like "attunement to the embodied role of being a father" regardless of whether that involves thinking & planning

in my concrete daily life I have multiple overlapping for-the-sake-of-whiches, not explicit symbolized goals but they can be identified as "being a father", "maintaining a workshop", "discoursing on Twitter" and so on

and I have to balance them, choose between them, etc

these are like upper overarching nodes in my salience structure, my "primary values" or something

but their existence is not fixed, clear, "structural", determined

they are kind of emergent from the bottom-up, with a mutual feedback process that can be kind of shaky?

if I lived in an idealized "traditional society" then I would be quite firmly established in these structures just as a matter of upbringing, necessity, strong norms, sacrosanct divine hierarchies, etc

but I sure don't live there!

I know @vervaeke_john talks about the bottom-up and the top-down their relations of emergence and feedback, I think I'm quite deeply indebted to his explanations of how all this relates to "the meaning crisis"

and @Meaningness is a big node in my thoughts about this since yeaaars ago, his writings were super meaningful for me

but I feel like I still don't really grok his stance...

Chapman linked to a book by @willbuckingham called "Finding Our Sea-Legs: Ethics, Experience, and the Ocean of Stories" which I remember as beautiful and wise

now it strikes me that "finding our sea-legs" nicely describes learning to cope with ADHD

https://vividness.live/finding-our-sea-legs-will-buckingham-review

a central theme running through Heidegger, Dreyfus, Buckingham, Chapman, mingling a lot with Buddhism, is that there is no "foundation" that roots the top-down in some fixed, permanent, structural, complete, unquestionable, immutable clarity

however there is a strong tendency to yearn for such grounding, because of the anxiety and confusion associated with being ungrounded

there must be a "source of truth" at the top level of the salience hierarchy, otherwise we succumb to chaos, emptiness, depravity, disorientation

instead of being held in place comfortably by such a superstructure, the authentic way to deal with life is to "find our sea-legs in an ocean of stories"

centering ourselves in the bottom-up life, learning to participate in emergence rather than searching for transcendence

the discource about self-coercion also fits into this framework

self-coercion is like when a thematic conscious top-down construction that isn't connected synergetically with bottom-up emergence and fails to really activate

a system like @CompliceGoals which is aware of the problems of self-coercion seems to stand out by being more attuned to the more immediate levels closer to bottom-up emergence, so "what will you do today?" rather than "what is your overarching plan?"

also there daily intentions are structured according to a higher-level conception of "goals" which different people formulate at different "scales" of intentionality, so the system helps to clarify and reinforce a basic relevance structure

also @RoamResearch can be looked at from this perspective, since it seems that one of its most generative and insightful features is the emphasis on the "daily notes" as a bottom-up chaotic source of emergence that synergizes with top-down symbolic "pages"

I believe both systems are more or less explicitly intended as ways to help people cope and flourish with these perennial issues; @RoamResearch is definitely conceived and promoted as an enhancer for people with ADHD

this thread is helping me make sense of why the primary themes and frameworks in my life for the past year or two are: John Vervaeke, meaning crisis, goals, embodiment, ADHD, @RoamResearch, @CompliceGoals, structures and symbols in life, salience landscapes, narratives, myth, etc

the approach @visakanv puts forth here is like "think of planning itself as a bottom-up embodied process, and don't be attached to the solidity and permanence of the emergent symbolic results of that process"

https://twitter.com/visakanv/status/1333535532882685953

so here bottom-up planning is more of an arena that you enter in order to visualize and explore the potential realities in your life-world, and the results may be sketched as plans but really the thing is to attune with your body to these vectors of potential movement

what you produce in planning is not a self-coercive script: you are not "your own boss", you can't tell yourself what to do, your real future actions have to be grounded in an embodied intentionality that you can't control, only inspire

in this view, ADHD seems like a divergent mode of the process that anchors bottom-up emergence in higher-level intentional structures

whether that's dysfunctional depends on context, but it's not just a matter of "opinion", there are real consequences that require attention

here my fascination with MacIntyre's "After Virtue" comes into play ā€” I think the main theme of that book is precisely this anchoring, and "virtue" as an adaptive social process that links bottom-up and top-down in the real life of practical activity

it seems quite reasonable to hypothesize that ADHD generally makes it hard to be "virtuous" in this sense of sustainable social flourishing, but it gets interesting when you realize that ADHD can be generative within certain practices and ways of life

so I think MacIntyrean virtue ethics would just say that ADHD as a variation can be generative, but for the sake of participation in higher-level structures the ADHD mind needs some kind of assistance, and providing such assistance is necessary for a flourishing society

and this is not just about political structures: just properly attending to any obligation or participation seems to require the type of processing that ADHD makes difficult, thus various problems of work-life balance, addictions, obsessions, etc

gotta stop thinking about this now, I think I don't yet have so much to say about actually stabilizing and attuning with higher-level intentionality, other than I now see that it's something I need to work on, and it's made easier by better bottom-up engagement

ahh, also there's a thing about not seeing the top-down as a hierarchy, but as something more alive and strange

life doesn't have a superstructure, it's a rainforest landscape of paths, horizons, rabbit holes, the occasional sacred quest, various social practices, etc

the landscape is also cultivated and built upon and it's essentially human that we build structures to hold us, are held by structures already built, and work to improve the structures

I actually find this aspect of the @Meaningness vibe to be a bit... um, dualistically extreme? It doesn't actually seem like a "complete stance." https://t.co/tuaceNc5d7

insanityfeed: I find that creating very detailed plans/models gives me a deeper understanding of the myriad dynamics involved, and gives form to where the unknowns are. Then the unpredictability is easier to surf

visa is damp and cold šŸŒ§: I think Iā€™d frame it as like

take some time to get all of your competing desires and interests etc aligned. get their shared full attention for a period of time, and articulate a vision, with a suggested course of action. Then trust that they will know better what to do

visa is damp and cold šŸŒ§: more intuitive when framed as a group project: as a leader, go and talk to all of your people, listen intently, ask questions, seek to learn. then present your learnings to everyone

Will Buckingham: This is fascinating and has given me a lot to think about.

Iā€™m delighted to hear that! šŸ˜ŗ

visa is damp and cold šŸŒ§: My approach: https://twitter.com/visakanv/status/1333535532882685953

robin: Are you familiar with predictive processing? Seems related to what you're pointing at (though it may be just another instance in the set, instead of explaining it - I can't quite tell with the words you've got here.) https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/09/05/book-review-surfing-uncertainty/

Highlights from January 11th, 2021.

there's a duality that I'd like to have a clearer handle on, it seems really interesting but it's a bit blurry in my mind basically planning vs execution, top-down vs bottom-up, symbol vs reality, goal vs life, structure vs sensation? especially how these work mutualistically

my thoughts about ADHD medicine lately revolve around this axis, how their effect seem to clearly enhance from the bottom-up in a way that doesn't automatically stabilize the top-down https://t.co/2uFnRYKPF8

I think of Dreyfus's explanation of Heidegger but I have to avoid identifying the top-down with the "present-at-hand" ā€” it's not only that, it's also the kind of non-thematic complex intentional structure that Dreyfus labels "for-the-sake-of-which" https://t.co/LcgKYboIsp

in other words the "top-down" is not the same as "conscious symbolic thinking" or "explicit goal-crafting" or "following rules and schemas" it's also something like "attunement to the embodied role of being a father" regardless of whether that involves thinking & planning

in my concrete daily life I have multiple overlapping for-the-sake-of-whiches, not explicit symbolized goals but they can be identified as "being a father", "maintaining a workshop", "discoursing on Twitter" and so on and I have to balance them, choose between them, etc

these are like upper overarching nodes in my salience structure, my "primary values" or something but their existence is not fixed, clear, "structural", determined they are kind of emergent from the bottom-up, with a mutual feedback process that can be kind of shaky?

if I lived in an idealized "traditional society" then I would be quite firmly established in these structures just as a matter of upbringing, necessity, strong norms, sacrosanct divine hierarchies, etc but I sure don't live there!

I know @vervaeke_john talks about the bottom-up and the top-down their relations of emergence and feedback, I think I'm quite deeply indebted to his explanations of how all this relates to "the meaning crisis"

and @Meaningness is a big node in my thoughts about this since yeaaars ago, his writings were super meaningful for me but I feel like I still don't really grok his stance...

Chapman linked to a book by @willbuckingham called "Finding Our Sea-Legs: Ethics, Experience, and the Ocean of Stories" which I remember as beautiful and wise now it strikes me that "finding our sea-legs" nicely describes learning to cope with ADHD https://t.co/qojyN1pmym

a central theme running through Heidegger, Dreyfus, Buckingham, Chapman, mingling a lot with Buddhism, is that there is no "foundation" that roots the top-down in some fixed, permanent, structural, complete, unquestionable, immutable clarity

however there is a strong tendency to yearn for such grounding, because of the anxiety and confusion associated with being ungrounded there must be a "source of truth" at the top level of the salience hierarchy, otherwise we succumb to chaos, emptiness, depravity, disorientation

instead of being held in place comfortably by such a superstructure, the authentic way to deal with life is to "find our sea-legs in an ocean of stories" centering ourselves in the bottom-up life, learning to participate in emergence rather than searching for transcendence

the discource about self-coercion also fits into this framework self-coercion is like when a thematic conscious top-down construction that isn't connected synergetically with bottom-up emergence and fails to really activate

a system like @CompliceGoals which is aware of the problems of self-coercion seems to stand out by being more attuned to the more immediate levels closer to bottom-up emergence, so "what will you do today?" rather than "what is your overarching plan?"

also there daily intentions are structured according to a higher-level conception of "goals" which different people formulate at different "scales" of intentionality, so the system helps to clarify and reinforce a basic relevance structure

also @RoamResearch can be looked at from this perspective, since it seems that one of its most generative and insightful features is the emphasis on the "daily notes" as a bottom-up chaotic source of emergence that synergizes with top-down symbolic "pages"

I believe both systems are more or less explicitly intended as ways to help people cope and flourish with these perennial issues; @RoamResearch is definitely conceived and promoted as an enhancer for people with ADHD

this thread is helping me make sense of why the primary themes and frameworks in my life for the past year or two are: John Vervaeke, meaning crisis, goals, embodiment, ADHD, @RoamResearch, @CompliceGoals, structures and symbols in life, salience landscapes, narratives, myth, etc

the approach @visakanv puts forth here is like "think of planning itself as a bottom-up embodied process, and don't be attached to the solidity and permanence of the emergent symbolic results of that process" https://t.co/YBW4WLB9IP

so here bottom-up planning is more of an arena that you enter in order to visualize and explore the potential realities in your life-world, and the results may be sketched as plans but really the thing is to attune with your body to these vectors of potential movement

what you produce in planning is not a self-coercive script: you are not "your own boss", you can't tell yourself what to do, your real future actions have to be grounded in an embodied intentionality that you can't control, only inspire

in this view, ADHD seems like a divergent mode of the process that anchors bottom-up emergence in higher-level intentional structures whether that's dysfunctional depends on context, but it's not just a matter of "opinion", there are real consequences that require attention

here my fascination with MacIntyre's "After Virtue" comes into play ā€” I think the main theme of that book is precisely this anchoring, and "virtue" as an adaptive social process that links bottom-up and top-down in the real life of practical activity

it seems quite reasonable to hypothesize that ADHD generally makes it hard to be "virtuous" in this sense of sustainable social flourishing, but it gets interesting when you realize that ADHD can be generative within certain practices and ways of life

so I think MacIntyrean Virtue Ethics would just say that ADHD as a variation can be generative, but for the sake of participation in higher-level structures the ADHD mind needs some kind of assistance, and providing such assistance is necessary for a flourishing society

and this is not just about political structures: just properly attending to any obligation or participation seems to require the type of processing that ADHD makes difficult, thus various problems of work-life balance, addictions, obsessions, etc

gotta stop thinking about this now, I think I don't yet have so much to say about actually stabilizing and attuning with higher-level intentionality, other than I now see that it's something I need to work on, and it's made easier by better bottom-up engagement

ahh, also there's a thing about not seeing the top-down as a hierarchy, but as something more alive and strange life doesn't have a superstructure, it's a rainforest landscape of paths, horizons, rabbit holes, the occasional sacred quest, various social practices, etc

the landscape is also cultivated and built upon and it's essentially human that we build structures to hold us, are held by structures already built, and work to improve the structures

I actually find this aspect of the @Meaningness vibe to be a bit... um, dualistically extreme? It doesn't actually seem like a "complete stance." https://t.co/tuaceNc5d7