home                   concepts                     glossary                         blog     

flying machine hypothesis
or model of human existence

The flying machine hypothesis is a macro view about how humans see themselves fitting within the world, and emphasises how purpose (metaphor = a flying machine) seems to be the overriding feature that drives us.


flying machine

The flying machine is one’s concept of how they think the universe works and the human species’ place within it

the existence drive


Purpose is geared toward the human race’s existence or survival (including thriving, which is a more secure or embedded form of survival).  When we do things that further the chances of human existance (social bonds, procreation, etc) we are generally rewarded with happiness.  I call this the existence drive (above) why?

different flying machines


Each individual has a different idea about what the flying machine looks like, thier own schema.  This is because one only perceives the world around them, and like the fog of war, one’s perceptions are not perfect.  Perceptions we have are like goggles we wear to view the world.  People with more similar beliefs have more ideas about what the flying machine is like. So a monk from the 1600’s will a markedly different machine than two agnostic scientists from Perth.



The flying machine is helped to move by many different parts loosely defined as widgets.  People will identify themselves as being several widgets. One’s identities (that help the flying machine move) might be as a father, a scientist, a political reformer, and a neighbour.  These may change over time such as going from going from father of small children to father of adult children, or to stop being a professional scientist upon retirement.


self esteem

How well we think we function as a widget(s) determines our self esteem.  The smaller the gap between what we think we should do in an identity, and how we think we are doing, the better our self esteem.  

acting on a stage

As social creatures, we tend to act out our roles or identities to show other’s how we are a widget.  Goffman spoke of this dramaturgy which involves front stage, back stage, costumes, and impression management.  Think of how we expect a doctor to act out his role in dress, when we could get the same medical help if he were in trackies and thongs.  NB: just because we are playing a part doesn’t mean we are insincere in that role.

 home                   concepts                     glossary                         blog