2 of 3
2
A thesis
Posted: 24 May 2005 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2957
Joined  2004-12-02

psiconoclast,

I may be way off here, but I think your post actually bolsters my thesis.  If, as you say, we are “hard-wired” to behave in this fashion then it means there is no possibility that this species is capable of processing the information load.  In other words, really processing the information would (or should) lead to correct, long-term beneficial behavior.  But as you point out that isn’t what is happening.  I originally posited people suffering a more “learned” form of information overload as a major cause of the demise of our species.  You seem to be saying that we’re actually hard wired to not be able to process the information load of the modern world. 

Thanks for your response and ideas.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2005 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  901
Joined  2005-02-23

Voice:

What I am actually saying is that humans are hardwired to play “chicken”.  Nobody wants to be the first to sacrafice their advantage (house, SUV, etc.), and so, even though they know that there is a problem, they will continue to behave as if there is not one, hoping that others will buckle first.  In the meantime, they continue to secure the “benefits” of the current strategy for themselves and their children.

However, I believe that, by in large, human beings do have the ability to behave differently than instinct would dictate, so I do not believe that it is impossible for people to change, only that it is terribly difficult.

Where we differ, I suspect, is regarding what to believe about people.  When a person says that they believe that the environment is a serious issue, and it needs to be dealt with, I believe them.  You seem to believe that we should ignore what they say, and parse their actions to determine what they actually believe (IE what information has not been “processed”).  Thus when you see someone who continues to lead a wasteful life, you conclude that they have failed to process the information, whereas I conclude that they are engaged in pragmatic hypocrisy.

So, perhaps the information “overload” or the failure in processing is not with regards to the scientific data, but actually is with the understanding of human nature.  Rather than propagandizing people with regards to the imminent demise of the earth, we should be propagandizing them to the fundamental flaws of their gut instincts and common sense.

-Matt

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2005 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2957
Joined  2004-12-02

Forgive me but, in reading many of these discussions on the forum I feel compelled to give, in all bluntness, BOTTOM LINE conclusions. For this discussion I would conclude that humans, homo sapiens, people, society etc.  are too caught up in every day living to give a damn about what they should be doing and concentrate entirely on what they must do presently in order to fulfill their immediate wants and needs, being the mortal pleasure seekers that we are. AND THAT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY TO EVER CHANGE until it is too late. So I don’t see how theories, and thesises lend much at all to the unobtainable solution. Call me a defeatist, but you must agree at the same time that we will eventually defeat ourselves. Tomorrow I may have a glimmer of hope and continue to fight with a new outlook :cry:

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2005 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2817
Joined  2005-04-29

I’m not sure I fully understand Avoice’s warning. Is it that humanity, being overloaded with information that grows monumentally each year our organism continues to survive, will eventually be unable even to perceive that we are losing the race, and will go extinct as a result of our inability to properly organize our environment?

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 May 2005 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1229
Joined  2004-12-22

we should be propagandizing them to the fundamental flaws of their gut instincts

you realize in a way you just argued back to one of the things Religion historically did?

Anyway I am kinda confused too, I can see where information overload would cause reactionary pressures, especially among the elderly who can no longer process fast enough to keep up and the undereducated, who never learned, which may lead to a temporary glich in forward progress, like a dark age, but I surely dont see extinction of the entire race as an outcome.
I really dont see a world wide dark age either, just a few countries freaking out while the rest of the world moves on.

As for overall enviromental damage, once more a possible glitch (when I say glitch I mean anywhere from 100 to 500 years btw)
but probably not extinction of humans anyway.

In fact man’s evolution seems to be triggered nicely by adversity, so you could have a situation that created evolutionary pressures once again.


I don’t think we will regress all the way back to the stone age, no matter what we screw up, nor do I see extinction as a threat.  Changes yes.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  901
Joined  2005-02-23

[quote author=“Iisbliss”]you realize in a way you just argued back to one of the things Religion historically did?

Well, yes and no.  Religion certainly can cause people to go against their instincts.  I believe, though, that religion is irrational.  What I really want is to see more people favoring rational behavior over instinctive behavior.

In other words, I believe that human beings have, historically, acted largely on instinct, or authority, or faith.  I am advocating that human beings abandon those modes, and act on purpose.

-Matt

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2817
Joined  2005-04-29

. . . human beings have, historically, acted largely on instinct, or authority, or faith. I am advocating that human beings abandon those modes, and act on purpose.

Matt, I would refer to an approach of objectively observing instinct (as much as it’s possible), then choosing which instincts to act on. Our instincts inform us in highly reliable ways. No need to attempt to outdo them. Why do you think?

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  901
Joined  2005-02-23

[quote author=“homunculus”]

. . . human beings have, historically, acted largely on instinct, or authority, or faith. I am advocating that human beings abandon those modes, and act on purpose.

Matt, I would refer to an approach of objectively observing instinct (as much as it’s possible), then choosing which instincts to act on. Our instincts inform us in highly reliable ways. No need to attempt to outdo them. Why do you think?

Our instincts have not caught up to our reality.  In a very real sense, humanity has the potential to cause (indeed, is causing) global devestation.  Our instincts are quite useless to address these issues.

Voice and I agree that that these issues are failing to manifest themselves (at least to the degree that we would wish) in the general populace, although we seem to have some differences of opinion with regard to the causal mechanism for this disconnect.

I truly believe that, for the average person, these threats are instinctivly ignored, because of the way that people are wired (as I argue for in my earlier posts).  Unfortunately, these instincts arose in a time when these kinds of issues were highly local in nature.  The human race is playing “for all the marbles” now, which, I would argue, is not something that we can trust to instincts which are, by in large, optimized for quasi-social simian hunter-gatherers.

-Matt

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1229
Joined  2004-12-22

Yes and No?

From the monks in the cloisters, either druid or christian ones, or the Budda,  denial of earthly desires is a tenent of many religions which basically, is to learn to deny instinctive responses.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 04:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  901
Joined  2005-02-23

[quote author=“Iisbliss”]Yes and No?

From the monks in the cloisters, either druid or christian ones, or the Budda,  denial of earthly desires is a tenent of many religions which basically, is to learn to deny instinctive responses.

It’s not simply a matter of turning our backs on instincts.  It is also a question of what to replace them with.  And I actually don’t want to replace them, but merely render them subserviant to rational oversight.

-Matt

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2817
Joined  2005-04-29

Iisbliss:

. . . denial of earthly desires is a tenent of many religions which basically, is to learn to deny instinctive responses.

But what if a person has an instinctive response that gets satisfied through a denial of “earthly” desires? Of course, the definition of “earthly” is open to interpretation.

Keep in mind that people have many types of instincts. Not all are selfish or destructive. Some are nurturing and result in consensus building, healing of others, and what is usually referred to as “altruistic.”

For example, if I have a propensity toward taking care of sick or disabled people—really get enjoyment and life fulfillment out of such work—and instead go into retail sales to get a higher income, I’m ignoring my nurturing instincts and heeding my self-aggrandizing instincts. The eventual result could be a life of dissatisfaction, though with a fat bank account. I’ll take the more satisfying life over the big bucks.

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1229
Joined  2004-12-22

I think you guys should now go off on a tangent identifying what is “instinct”.

Satsifying psychological needs to me is not always the same as operating on instinct.

However to give the devil his due, it has been religion in many instances that told man there was a “higher” or more reasoned way to react than with gut instinct.

Or maybe it was this realization of reason that created religion = )

The problem I see with human beings acting “on purpose” is that once again, you are back to religion giving them the “purpose”.

That is the constant whine of the religious, that without it there is no purpose in their actions,  for most people being reasonable and learing to act with full awareness of when they are under the influence of instinct or of reason doesn’t seem to be a very important life goal.

Anyway, I do agree with you, I just wonder if a replacement for traditional religion isn’t a necessity for social progress because of the things that religion has provided to the masses.  My own view would be to say its not, but this thread has me thinking I might be wrong.

If the information overload does cause a reactionary response, maybe there does need to be a general philosophy to fall back on.

Anyway my thoughts on this arent clear yet, just noticed where this thread headed and sparked a neuron to make a connection.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  901
Joined  2005-02-23

Having a general philosophy to fall back on is a good thing.  Sometimes, things happen too fast, and people need a good “default” option.  Religion (and traditions of other sorts) meet this need to a degree.  My problem with Religion (and many traditions) is that they resist change.  Which means that large numbers of people who adhere to them wind up operating with a very suboptimal set of default options.

-Matt

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 06:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2817
Joined  2005-04-29

Iisbliss:

Satsifying psychological needs to me is not always the same as operating on instinct.

True, but consider how important and overwhelming the nurturing instinct is to a mother or a father.

I only suggest that instincts—however one defines them—not be pushed away completely. They can be viewed by anyone who wants to view them. Good sense can then do what is necessary to dispel less than useful ones or to encourage and react positively to those that are life enhancing.

 Signature 

Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 May 2005 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  901
Joined  2005-02-23

Instincts are important.  What bothers me is that too many people erroneously think that “common sense” is all that anyone needs.  Common sense is just another way of describing the intuitively obvious.  Unfortunately, intuition is increasingly insufficient to properly understand and react to modern problems.

So, I guess what I am fighting for is for more people to become critically aware that, sometimes, they are going to have to rely on reason, even though it might feel incorrect.

-Matt

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 3
2
 
‹‹ Hopelessness of Evolution      What if? ››
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed