The Tunneler Hypothesis

in Informationwar4 months ago


I am going to train of thought write about an idea currently raging through my head that I have given mentally the title "The Tunneler Hypothesis". It is an inward look at my own mind but it is also largely inspired by observing the activities of others over a long period of time. I do not write papers in the scientific community so this will not have any formal FORMAT that you generally would expect from a scientific paper. I am calling it the Tunneler Hypothesis because at the moment that is all it is. There have been no controlled studies to test the hypothesis. Thus by scientific method standards it is not even a theory at this point. Simply a hypothesis.

The Tunneler Hypothesis:

I propose that as we explore mental avenues of thought whether the exploration of ideologies, skills, or any form of focused knowledge that our mental vision along that path becomes more and more focused. We construct a mental tunnel of sorts as we are digging along this path towards a goal. This is sometimes called tunnel vision and that is why I used the term tunneler as it seemed well suited. The further we travel along this process the less able to observe things outside of this tunnel. The deeper into the tunnel we go the further our point of entry becomes and yet we may still be nowhere near our goal. We find ourselves living inside our own mental creation somewhere between where we entered and with very little idea about when we will reach the end point.

Why is this important?

This can be a problem. We can become so thoroughly entrenched inside the mental tunnel that seeing things outside of the tunnel can become increasingly difficult. Furthermore, the longer we spend in the tunnel the more righteous we feel about our path. We equate how long we have been tunneling as though it has some equivalence value with PROOF. When someone says something that would challenge this we will often simply seek excuses why what they are saying cannot work. We may not even truly consider and think about what they are saying. This is especially true if what they are saying will turn all that time tunneling into what we internally would then have to view as a waste of time. The concept of Cognitive Dissonance springs out of this as well. I am essentially referring to Cognitive Dissonance as one method we use to protect our tunnels.

If I have spent the last 5 years deeply studying ideology X and I have determined it is the way to "fix" the world or to solve some problem that I deem important then I have 5 years of "experience" and "expertise" in studying and thinking about X. The problem is that if X was incorrect and I didn't see it then the further I go along developing that "expertise" the less likely I am to want to hear anything that points out the flaws. I may even be resistant to ideas and challenges that may not exactly be attacks but simply suggestions that we repoint the tunnel. "No, I have been going in this direction for a long time. It is the correct way!"

This is important to recognize. We can trap ourselves inside our own mental constructs. We can then begin to increasingly view them as unassailable fortresses that we must defend. I see this quite often and I have been a victim of it myself on many occasion. In fact, I still will be. I don't think you can eliminate this problem but you can become aware of it and try to resist the tendency within yourself. If you truly think about it this is likely a problem that increases as your intelligence increases.

If people have been telling you how intelligent you are for a long time and you have been "crushing" it in debate after debate how likely are you to truly listen to this person you perceive as an "upstart" who offers your ideas challenges and has put in nowhere the time (aka "expertise") that you have?

Some possible signs of defending the tunnel for the sake of the tunnel:

"You just used a lot of words to convey very little meaning" is a phrase that was used on me by a fellow voluntarist. It was in a post and discussion back in 2019 that I wrote and in the comment section. Being able to step away for a couple of years and come back and read what I wrote. That exchange is largely what inspired me to write this post. I actually said quite a lot that had meaning. Yet I could clearly see the kneejerk mental spam filters that were engaged for the person making that statement to defend their tunnel.

If you find yourself thinking about how much more you obviously know about a subject than the person talking to you then you should check your premises. You might be tunneling.


Was it like a word salad that got drowned in a bunch of dressing? I know I type to much at times and am unclear in my thoughts, but when a person has clarity of thought and still uses a gazillion words to get a point across the point gets lost in all the words and ends up drowned by the dressing.

It could be. Yet I came back and read it after it sitting there for a couple of years and it doesn't seem that way to me. The message seemed pretty salient to me.

Thanks for the inspiration for a post though. :) You made me think of something.

To describe somebody as a tunneler might be helpful. A similar expression would be to be in his own bubble. You are highlighting the Alice in Wonderland aspect more that I think most adult males have found themselves in. Where you think you found the ultimate key/wisdom and everything can just be measured by that including yourself.

A 'bubble' usually implies that you are just repeating what you hear from your surroundings. In your case you point out that some can have opinions that are not mirrored by their surroundings but proven through debate. I can't help but to think of myself. In school I was crushing everyone in debates, the best could merely keep up with me, but looking back from where I stand now politically, I think I was full of shit, despite the success, took me some time and some pride to swallow though.

I see a direct correlation between intelligence and stubbornness. I think the more intelligent we are the more likely to be stubborn we are. We can only do something about or problems when we become aware of them and permit ourselves to acknowledge them.

I am not here to discuss my problems. If you are interested we can talk about them somewhere else in private. I don't have a need to talk about them right now though but you are person I would trust. Maybe some time in the future.

One thing I like about the tunnel I think more than the bubble is that it implies length. I think that is important because it seems to me that the more time a person spends inside the tunnel the less willing they are to look outside of it. As I stated it is like time spent as treated as a measure of PROOF yet it has nothing to do with PROOF.

lucky me I never really studied left theory. Sure I spent a lot of time debating on the behalf of the left, but that also sharpened my talking skills and general understanding of politics and philosophy.

There was one shocking moment when I was talking to an old friend of mine that I hadnt seen in about 12 years and he was telling me leftist stuff similar to what I was believing back then. It was an incoherent mess. I really felt guilty for planting seeds of bullshit into his brain and thought 'great, you really helped people by talking about politics all the time'.

I know what you mean by proof, it is the same kind of proof climate change researchers have for man-made climate change. I just fail to see that proof for myself right now. I feel like I am in a little bit of nihilist/post-left mood these days, where I don't really see the solution, don't really want a solution, but still like to talk about the topic and am excited for what comes next. I mean social Minarchist? Is that even a real political position? Anarchism with minimalist socialist architecture?

Minarchist is probably where I'd fit on the political/ideological compass. Libertarian but I'd like the government to be as absolutely minimal as possible. I personally think we could solve most problems with crowd funding and letting people simply back the services they want rather than demanding people support things they do not believe in.

As to where we are. Yes, we may have crossed the point of no return. To me it seems a bit like entering a new dark age. Perhaps the tech will remain, but people will be less educated, less informed, and largely a new serf class for those pulling the strings. Manipulated by emotions because that is what they have been conditioned to see as the most important thing.

Yet to survive we must push on. We must keep our minds sharp and hopefully plant some seeds for the future. As you have witnessed yourself you can also plant the wrong seeds.

That is a problem and a responsibility intelligent people often fail to see. Many people will give way to you simply because you are perceived as intelligent by them. In fact if they think you are more intelligent they will simply let you tell them what to believe. This is a bad thing. They still need to think for themselves. It is okay if they think it is more probable that you are correct, they must still leave that possibility you are wrong and that no matter how lowly they view themselves in respect to you they may still think of something you did not. In fact, they likely will. Whether they allow themselves to express that thought before it is gone is another matter entirely.

I am not quite sure why, but I have a more positive outlook on the future. I cant really say why, there is one thing tho Andreas Beck, he is a German economist and says things like hyperinflation in the Euro-Zone is complete non-sense and many other interesting things that go against the narrative of doomsday prophets. Very refreshing to listen to.

Well the other thing is the Hyper-immigration. Not sure what Germany will look like in twenty years. Even tho I am fairly anti-immigration I feel like it is other Germans around me feeling even more concerned about the topic. But it is a very closed doors discussion and a touchy subject. It feels like for 50% there is nothing more important than Germany being ruined by immigrants and with the other 50% you cant even dare to think about the topic without being called a Nazi.

I dont know how this will all end, after all I fear about my German privilege. I like having the reputation of being among the smartest and hardest working people in the world, even though I barely capitalize on that.

This guy reignited my love for politics a few months ago

Hope you like it. I feel like it is rare to find good political comedy out there nowadays


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