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Self and local models
If self is indeed just a story we tell ourselves to preserve the agent's continuity in the physical world and culture is a similar type of story on the civilisation level, then our engagement with these narratives could be a self-contained loop that is not necessarily connected to the global order of the universe. Art would be an artefact of our commitment to the story, preoccupied with enabling the virtual narrative. Sciences could be looped onto themselves and have no potential impact on the progress toward understanding and subjugating the universe. However, such connections may be latent and vary in effect. History could teach us to avoid lapses in progress, music could be a way of retaining mental space needed for global actions, literature could uncover hidden features of the human condition, cognitive sciences could provide insights into the human brain and its limitations. By default, all activities engage our human nature. Similarly to epistemic links, there could be time loops bound to a particular timeframe.
Regardless of the selected priorities, this framework could be useful for deconstructing our engagements and their global influence. Aligning our behaviour with the chosen level of abstraction and avoiding inadvertent loops could inform a better connection to global reality. Attending to self and working with local models while exploring the global order is necessary to maintain steady progress. However, as we gradually remove ourselves from the virtual self-narrative, we might dissolve human nature in the objective universe.