The population of actors in our formula can be defined -at the simplest level – by “a group of persons who can engage in interactions”.
The Need And The Clinging
Traditionally, the reason for interaction was defined, in the context of money, as the “need”: people interact if they need something from one another.
A very commonly referred situation for the creation of money (in the form that we’re using now) is the so called “double coincidence of wants”.
Money, (with its medium of exchange function), solved this quite annoying problem, which can be described by this example: an artist playing in a bar needs to pay the rent, hence he wants something with which he can do that for his performance, while the bar owner wants to pay him with just some drinks or something to eat. They both need something from one another, but they can’t balance their needs. Hence, money was invented as a form for both to balance their needs. The artist can use the money to pay the rent, and the bar owner can spend some money to pay the artist. We will have a more detailed talk about the double coincidence of wants later on in this series.
In my opinion, the real reason for interaction is not the “need” as described in the double coincidence of needs above, but our universal “clinging” towards pre-conceived images about the world.
Clinging is an attachment to a combination of shapes, sounds, beings or other physically definable objects. When we “cling to” we actually create a certain meaning for that combination and then we stick to it. We literally generate a mental construct based on that combination and then we will use that mental construct to refer to that combination. It’s a very subtle process, and, as we get better at it, it becomes quasi invisible. To such an extent that we’re simply ignoring the fact that there was a clinging to begin with and we rely on the previously stored meaning instead of the current combination of shapes, sounds or movements.
This is how we learn our way around this world. This is how we learn differences between safe and danger, between useful and useless, this is how we create a “map” inside our minds, a map that describes the “territory”. It’s a necessary process, because, without it, we will not be able to survive.
But, more often than not, we mistake the “map” for the “territory”. We forget to (or we simply can’t) make the due diligences for the current phase of our life, we can’t be present enough to “take in” the entirety of the present moment, with all its enormous complexity, and then we use previously “good enough” substitutes.
Our entire life is an approximation.
But the approximation, the clinging, is never the “reality”.
Who Is Interacting?
The most common clinging is “I”. There is this combination of shapes, sounds, colors and processes which we define as “ourselves”. There’s nothing intrinsic to it that says it is an “I” that can be recognized in any context, by anybody. It’s just that we choose to create that meaning, and then stick to it. Mind you, this combination changes all the time: that combination grows up, its health degrades (or enhances), it gets older, it changes shape and sound and height and weight, but we’re still using the “I” clinging to refer to it.
We cling all the time, to everything. We’re surrounded by a meaningless universe of shapes and sounds and sensations, and the only way to make sense of it, is, for us, this clinging.
The totality of all these clinging processes is forming our personal dream. I call it a dream to make it clear that it is not real, but even me calling it a dream is a “clinging”. I’m clinging to a word which both of us recognize, but the activity described is “consciousness manifestation during sleep”. Which in turn is another clinging to the words “consciousness”, “manifestations” and so on…
A part of this personal dream is made of other people. Or, if we’re using the terms from our formula, actors. We are clinging to their images that we keep in our minds constantly and we form attitudes towards those actors and we grew expectations towards them.
They’re not “real” in the sense they are not “fixed” and their actions may or may not correspond to our expectations. Because we cling to the previously formed images, we cannot even approximate their behavior.
Hence, the interactions with them are carrying a large amount of entropy.
They’re as unpredictable as the entire world surrounding us is, and they’re equally frightening. We have no way to know if an interaction will be positive (a reward will ensue) or negative (a punishment will ensue).
So, we defined trust as a way to predict the outcome of all these interactions.
We will talk more about trust in another article, but before that let’s focus a bit on the perceived value.