We are an immitating species. Our brains have developed to be able to execute plans tretching out over years, but it all began with immitation of others. The social impulse is born out of the desire to observe others, empathize with them to learn what behaviour we can have that is safe, what is a good response to imbalances in our life, how to find solutions to problems we all share.
Imitation is possible because our mind works by envisioning, imaging what we would feel and look like if we perform certain acts. This is no effort, we in fact select the acts based on what emotions are triggered by the imagining. So our mind wanders and we imagine ourselves doing various things. The thing that triggers enough of an emotional response selfapmplifies and becomes fixed in our mind, and if our reality is not too different from the idea we will try to make reality conform to it. Otherwise we may plan to remove an obstacle to reduce the difference, our orientation in life has shifted towards that idea, and our brain conforms, using our talents as necessary.
A consequence of this imitation learning, and the higer level learning through imagining from text, is that we program ourselves, sometimes automatically. We observe what another individual does, and we can empathize with its succes and reward, and thus we decide to imitate that persons behaviour. What do we do? We reimagine it, and surrender ourselves to the acts. We embody what we observe, and thus we become an avatar for that behaviour, in uncertainty about any reward.
In a way our mind absorbs and reenacts behaviour we observe. It also generates new behaviour, ones that it never really observed but ones that happen because of how our body is made up, how our brain is wired. You can have a brain defect and think your wife is a hat so it is clear that the integrity of our brain can be clearly deduced from our behaviour. This has always been imporant in our survival, because another person can be a friend or an enemy. This underlies our keen sense what is normal behaviour and what not.
So lets take this information and think about it for a second. We are individuals, our minds are perturbed and seduced by what we observe, our behaviour follows that which we observe. So we are at least some of the time, avatars for observed behaviours. This means we may act as we have observed, with or without feeling the reward we observed or imagined is associated with the behaviour. The normal dynamic is that we know what reward we will recieve or what good we serve if we have certain behaviour. But we can go too far in serving and hoping for a reward, and this can mean we behave without any.
This ability to imitate others or our imagination has a purpose, it should serve our health and happyness. We know if this is the case if we feel happy and healthy at least some of the time. If we know our brain wants to imitate, and will observe and internalize rewarding behaviour, we should start paying attention to what we observe, whether wat we expose ourselves to is actually truthfull and good. Truth becomes a meaningfull word in this context. Something is true if when we adopt the idea we find we do not need to change our idea as we seek confirmation.
A behaviour can be true when it yields the imagined rewards. So you plant a seed, tend it and it grows into a tree. When you learn about this it can be a fantasy, but as you try it you see it confirmed. You where right in believing this fantasy, your internal library of behaviours is enriched. Now if you talk about this idea of planting a seed, tending it and seeing it grow into a tree, you will not burden others with wrong ideas. They will not go out, expend their lives and energy to find no tree grows rom a seed. Obviously true behaviours are at least as valuable as true knowledge.
Joy, being able to rejoyce, is also important. We dance and make music and make ourselves beautifull and there is something special about this. Because if you seek beauty you do not need examples. You know it right away if something is easy or painfull to behold, of music is pleasing to the ear or harsh, if someone moves beautifully or shows signs of pain and suffering. This knowledge is intrinsic, like feelings themselves. We know instantly and we don’t need to be shown and tought what to feel.