Like electrons bubbling around neutrons we moved in a room under the influence of alcohol. As we intermingle i am predictably escaping the interactions to look at how they are being shaped. Like everyone else i am at once in an interaction directly while also aware of other interactions around me. I may do this more than many people but i can not confirm this. I think we are all to some extent attending to the interactions going on around our own here and now conversations. I believe i am attending to those external interactions more than most people perhaps or at least that i am processing that attention, dissecting it and adding it to a data bank in my head. Other people could be attending to it more subconsciously. It is a kind of hyper vigilance that sometimes keeps me from being totally immersed in what is going on in front of me because i am partly focused on what is going on in the periphery.
I guess we are social animals and so we pay attention to what is going on in the tribe. It's inevitable, especially if you are young or single. It can be dangerous to be unaware of what is going on socially, around you. There is useful information out there to be gleaned. Information that could change the situation dramatically either in your favour such as in sexual, financial or altruistic opportunities or against you such as in the form of judgment in the eyes of others or threats of aggression and disapproval. If we are not attending to those things in some capacity our social development could suffer so the chances are that most of us are attending to it. The brain is registering all kinds of information just below the level of consciousness and I am pretty sure there is a way to train ourselves to attend to it. If we can attend to it we can increase our awareness of what it is that we are attending to regularly. In knowing that, we know our patterns of thought, our areas of interest and ultimately our motivations. It becomes possible for us to see some distance into the future, to predict how we are going to react given a certain situation.
You may be thinking that this is a rather analytical stance on one's own experience. This could resemble what Freud called intellectualization. That a person who sees their experience in the way i have just described is someone who is not living in the present moment. To a degree that is true but one might also say that one who lives their experience in that way is very present, attuned and in tune.
Whatever one's opinion, I would advance the point that we are monkeys in suits doing a whole lot of pretending and playing along. Our words help us shape our realities into pretty bits of fiction. We are drowning in fiction actually. A form of mass hallucination which requires no drug to be had. What if the drug were society and the effect was what we see around us. How would we know we are intoxicated?
Anyway, there we are babbling about at a party. Each person seems concerned with being able to say the craziest most innapropriate thing. This game goes on for a while and i start to suspect that the goal is to say something off the wall in order to try to break social order. We are driven to follow convention and not be embarrassed but we are also driven to show each other that we are willing to go against the grain to break social order, that we are not so conformist as to be completely mindless. Still, this is a game much of the time where we are attempting to show the group: "I can talk loudly, or I can act like an ape and get away with it, or i can swear and say chocking things without repercussion. " We push the limits but only within reason because nobody and i mean nobody wants to run the risk of being ostracized. Ostracization is after all one of the worst punishments a group can inflict on an individual. In fact ostracisation is synonymous with isolation. Isolation from the group. Isolation has been shown to cause mental illness such as in the case of solitary confinement and shunning. Being shunned, exiled has often been synonymous with death itself. As difficult as it is to live in society, we are severely unhappy when cut off from it. Even a socio-path suffers if cut off from people. Some form of social interaction is essential to life. Facebook is more than a distraction, it exists of necessity.
Apes in the clothing of humans I tell you. a phd makes no difference to that. A super duper post doctorate makes no difference to the reality that we have lived thousands of years as savages and only just now are beginning to realize our humanity.