The idea of spontaneous order is key to the philosophy and economics of thinkers such David Hume and F. A. Hayek. While the standard most likely biologically programmed human tendency is to assume that every type of order within society must have been intentionally designed by a person who was trying to accomplish a specific thing, a much more accurate and nuanced view of the structure of society reveals that many complex and orderly aspects of civilization arise out of patterns of collective behavior where the individuals never made any specific plans to the end in question. The price system, for example, acts as a highly complex and effective system for the organization of certain forms of knowledge within society, while the individual participants know nothing of such things and are simply attempting to achieve personal aims which to them have nothing to do with grand ideas about how the process of economic productivity works.
(Note: This article functions as an alternative explanation to a previous post of mine The Artificial Language: A Plan for a System of Orthographical Layers, and links to that post at the end.)
See here for what I wrote in a thread I created on Reddit to explain the idea of constructing a system of orthographical layers into an artificial word language:
The term “natural language” refers to various forms of communication such as spoken language (e.g., the spoken form of English words), written systems (e.g., the orthography of English, Chinese characters as used in Chinese and Japanese), and sign language (for example, American Sign Language, Japanese Sign Language). It excludes programming languages, constructed languages, formal logical systems, mathematical logic, and other tools that perform communication-related functions but were consciously invented rather than spontaneously evolved (though once invented they can begin to evolve in a natural way).
I’ve long perceived deep deficiency in the capability of modern communication technology to efficiently and effectively transfer thoughts from one person to another, and as a result I’ve given a great deal of thought to the problem of how to improve this situation by contributing to the creation of new systems of communication.
The human mind is built with a system that outputs various degrees of pain or pleasure depending on what’s happening at any given time. For example, most people are such that seeing a graphic image showing the aftermath of a tragic accident would produce psychological pain, while seeing a cute picture of a young animal would do the opposite. The patterns by which certain things produce enjoyment (which causes us to seek them out), or pain (which makes us want to avoid them), relates to the ancestral environment, namely what would have promoted survival, reproduction, and so on within ancient hunter-gatherer tribes, and what would have done the opposite. We feel compelled to do things which in the ancestral environment would have led to successful reproduction, while we feel repelled by things which would have damaged our chances for achieving such a thing.
As I explained first neutrally and then pessimistically in The Invisible Shackles of Natural Language and The Hellfire of Deep Contemplation, there exists a mechanism that operates upon the great majority of people at almost all moments which obscures from view the observation that current communication technology, especially word-based languages such as English, is highly limited in its use as a tool for taking a thought in one person’s head and transferring it to another’s. The mechanism, essentially, originates from the value of most people to feel understood, to connect with others, and to fit in; when the average individual launches down a path of thought which will exit the small circle of things which are efficient to communicate with natural language and other modern communication devices which are accessible to them, they will turn back, since they will likely experience more pain from disconnection than benefit from understanding. It’s not enjoyable to be misunderstood, so although current language technology is primitive, the average person takes no notice, for they systematically push out of their view any evidence to the contrary.
When thinking about the nature of human psychology, it’s often useful to ask, “As biological evolution designed the human mind with an eye toward the conditions of the ancestral environment, what does that predict about the character of our inner motivations, default ways of thinking, and so forth? Although we now live in a much different world, what about our tendencies could be better explained as us merely executing adaptations that developed to address challenges specific to the hunter-gatherer life of our Paleolithic ancestors?”
This technique is referred to by many different names, such as vipassana meditation or mindfulness training. However, I’m breaking with tradition and calling it “sit-still think-nothing meditation” simply because that’s a full description of what the method actually is.
I think one of the most important distinctions lying at the foundation of human psychology is what I call “manual vs. automatic mode”. A few years ago I started writing an essay on the topic. See here for an edited version of part of the draft: