These two layers are the superficial and the profound. Or in Freudian terms, the conscious and the unconscious. The part of us that changes quickly and the part that endures.
When did this split happen? This is one of those questions we steadfastly ignore. We ignore the fact of the split – but wondering why, when, and how it happened we ignore even more. With scant evidence to back me up – I assume its appearance was part of the formation of the Modern world. An event we have also not looked at very carefully either.
The origin of the Modern world is something we should be intensely interested in – but are not. This aversion should tip us off that something important is buried here. That we have worked very had at not knowing something very important about ourselves.
There are a number of ways of looking at this. To begin with, I will consider the difference between the development of individuals and development of groups or societies. The two are obviously related – but they are also different matters entirely.
What we have here is a complex situation (where everything effects everything else all the time) – as contrasted with a complicated situation (where cause-and-effect event-chains happen independently of each other). The discovery of complexity was one of the great discoveries of recent science – that was made possible by the computer – who can handle it without much difficulty.
As contrasted with Newtonian physics, which uses a mathematics that can only handle two variables at a time (such as cause and effect). The Newtonian world-view was built into Calvinistic Protestantism which became the bed-rock of the North (Northern Europe and North America). And was completely denied by the South (Southern Europe and Latin America).
Once again, we are looking at a huge event that has been ignored. And which people want to ignore. Climate Science, for example, develops large models (computer models) that correlate many variables - and then tests them to see how well they work. This makes people furious – they claim this is not real science - and therefore is not just erroneous, but evil – because it contradicts their belief in eternal economic growth. Which the slightest thought can easily debunk.
I am strongly tempted to followup on this train of thought (about complexity) but I will stubbornly return to the subject – the two layers of life – or at least the two layers of life as we live it.
When a child is born, he immediately begins forming his own life (he actually begins even earlier, but we will overlook that). This process of individual development will include parts of him that will change only little, such as his genetic endowment – and parts of him that he will try on frequently – like new suits of clothing.
If he (or she) is a serious person, she will try to understand her deeper parts also. And will probably use other people (perhaps trained professionals) in this attempt to understand her basic self. I cannot resist at this point to refer you to a TED talk by Meg Jay about this very problem.
But, as Meg says, for the most part people do not do this, but remain steadfastly superficial. Which is not very bright – but they can easily overlook that.
I will end this posting here – without going into the very big subject of the two layers of society itself. Maybe I will write about that later.