Perspectives in Vector Space
...Because crossing Ideas and Vector Algebra sounds like a fun idea.
I was having a dialogue with one of my sisters a few days ago, our conversation eventually took a turn towards our individual perspectives on the political landscape and how we each view the various tenants ascribed to conservatism, liberalism and whatnot.
She found it interesting that I still ascribe to some of the tenants of our common conservative roots.
Through our discussion on the perplexities of the situation, I stumbled upon a symbolic representation that I used within the conversation that I think at minimum is worth dissecting more in detail here on my blog. And that was to map our perspectives on a Vector Space.
Here's what I mean, and I'll use myself for example.
I have here mapped four of the most influential public figures to whom I credit a lot of my current accepted perspectives to. This has come from reading their books, listening to their podcasts, and more-or-less wrestling with the material that they publish and make public on a daily basis. These people are Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, and Ben Shapiro. With respect to their political affiliations (gross over-representation but I think the conclusion holds true as you break these categories into their respected subcategories) and their understanding of truth (best way to describe this, is scientific truth nestled inside moral truth or vice versa? What's most important?), I've given each person with influence an assigned vector into their respected quadrants.
Here's my thinking: in order to best understand, relate, and engage one another, we need influences in our lives that in total bring our vector sum to zero.
Take the antithesis for example: studies show that if you group a set of people with a slight correlating affiliation in one direction of the political spectra, and let them discuss among themselves for an allotted amount of time, they'll leave the session more entrenched in their political stance, more assured of their validity, and less willing to compromise.
Sounds like a Vector Sum.
As Vectors grow in magnitude along the direction in which they propagate, any meeting with respect to a vector of opposing propagation will result in a more violent of an interaction. Think of this in terms of momentum, of which momentum systems are very often described by vectors. If I have two people traveling in opposite directions in a hallway, and they bump into each other, the vectors associated with their momentum is small, so they laugh and shrug off the encounter. If however you have a collision between two cars, each going 65 miles per hour in opposite directions, the resulting collision is catastrophic. Yet, it's simple vector algebra.
And it's the same in the political landscape.
Rural vs. Urban? Liberal vs. Conservative?
As we further segregate our perspectives along ideological lines, the magnitude of our vectors grow accordingly, and any collision with the opposition becomes a metaphorical deadly encounter.
There's one more final caveat I want to address with respect to these vector systems that I find quite clever.
If you notice my original vector plot of those who are most influential to my perspective, and pay attention to their material, you'll notice the skill to which they articulate their perspectives. They are very, very well expressed when they speak, and their clarity makes it very, very enticing to engage with their thoughts. And this is paramount. We as individuals only have a finite capacity of which to clearly and eloquently express our ideas. Any energy used not in the manifestation of articulate speech has the potential to be mapped onto the imaginary plane.
And subsequently, anyone unable to form much more than gibberish I map onto an imaginary plane as well. This isn't to say that those who's perspectives are mapped here don't offer any worthwhile tangible substance to the very real conversations happening in the world. It's just that most of their energy is going off in directions that don't manifest on the same plane compared to that which is articulated. Eloquence in speech is something to be desired.
This idea I have regarding Perspectives in Vector Space is still infant, and as such it's an idea I'm still toying with so to iron out the rough edges. Nevertheless, consider the implication of vectors in a society that continually isolates itself from those who's perspectives propagate in opposing directions. If we continue down our current isolationist paths, our inevitable interactions with those of opposing views may consequentially manifest as disaster.