Archive | September 2015

Is Advancement Uncomfortable?

The birth of civilization has brought about a sustained rise in our standard of living. It has also brought about anxieties as we loose our innocence, not only to more understanding of the environment but also of ourselves. Advancement is an attractive force that has us wondering if we will rise above our primal impulses to become a kinder, gentler, more understanding being or even destroy ourselves. It also yields concerns of an extended period in some sort of miserable dystopian social construct.

In trying to tease out the most probable outcome, one might take our past into account. Our advancement has persisted to enhance the quality of life even with the dogmas that really don’t seem to persist. The difference in the two appears to be the change in perception that accompanies the changes to the environmental factors that result. I’m content to take this as a favorable result though I must concede that even that is subjective.

The plot thickens when one consults the behavioral sciences. Taking into account the most reasonable definition of autonomy, some of the meaning that we find in getting up every day and doing what we do is in question. It could easily be said that this purposed, positive result is of no consequence to anything resembling the good intentions of those putting fourth the positive effort that brought it about. This seems to be likely whether or not the self congratulating aspects of human psychology is a factor. One might however wonder if this psychological awareness is a hindrance to human motivational systems. Is this just more discomfort that we will eventually get over? Is it more of a systemic issue that will function as a limiting factor? At some point, will it be necessary to use the increased understanding of ourselves to develop our own characteristics as well? This is of course an open question; but to my mind, it seems inevitable.

One distinction between theory and practice is shared with the distinction between our level of advancement and our level of comfort with it. Theory just seems to have more longevity than specific practical applications. There is however the existence of emergence to consider but theory tends to be useful as an axiom for an extended period of time. This is in spite of the fact that practical applications are more tractable and therefor prediction is more probable. The longevity of theory is also rooted in emergence as practical application has a shorter shelf life. The whole reason that there is more predictability in practice is because the current conditions are used in prediction. Advancement itself limits the longevity of practical application.

The plot thickens even farther. The manner in which humans think appears to be changing fundamentally due to our experience with the scientific method. It’s not just the understanding of natural systems changing our world views and allowing more rich interaction. It’s also changing the way that we process information. We are learning the importance of having reliable axioms to make considerations with and to have a more generalized understanding of natural systems. The General Intelligence that humans are said to have and AI researchers are trying to develop in computational systems is likely to influence the way we think fundamentally. I suspect that this will even revolutionize educational resources. The current method of education revolves around a testable process of sharing facts that students then prove that they have remembered by taking a test. This doesn’t however show how well the student understands natural systems. This is just an easy way of showing some kind of favorable result. This is essentially completely unlearned as students mature into adults and become active members of the job market. This is increasingly so with respect to those studying and becoming active in the sciences. Theories become the axioms by which people understand their condition and their environment. This is much different than the understanding that our tribal ancestors had. Their understanding was geared more toward acceptance of the environment and themselves as is, with little to no evidence of real intention of development. The intention was probably to coordinate with that particular niche’. When we began to advance with the birth of civilization, our mindset changed to some degree. Advancement required that we think differently. We may be coming to a similar crossroads. The knowledge of our cognitive resources and the fact that they are limited allows us to leverage them in an economic sense. How is it that we can get the most out of ourselves intellectually? No matter the amount of resources that we will have even with enhancement, this will probably be a useful tool.

The more universal axioms that theory produces allows us to be more effective and efficient thinkers. It also has afforded improvements in and probably will continue to improve communication between disciplines. It has also broadened our understanding as individuals. General Systems Theory has the potential to remove the term externality from our vocabulary. This is because it’s a silly notion to begin with. We have had countless accounts of purposed developments and advances that have not been successful because of the idea that they would function in practice as well as they were expected to in theory. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of theory in general however some theories are truncated in specific systemic functions. It has even become difficult to support Evolution as the sole origin of even biological life. This is of course due to the increase of understanding brought about by scientific advancement. Keep in mind, the awareness of Evolution is hundreds of years old. The practicalities just became more complex. Life is actually being developed by the sciences now. As a thought experiment, consider the relevance of time to origin. Suppose we decide to rethink living systems with unification in mind, after we achieve it. What would happen to the very practical and factual Evolution then? It may be that all practical application is subject to some degree of limitation based upon the limitations of the observer. This would be one instance where theory would not have outlasted the practical as Natural Selection isn’t as long lived. One might say that it would still be true, only truncated in Classical Mechanics; however we are learning more and more that truth is subject to the observer.

Type twos are likely to look at their history and see something as silly in us as flat earthers are to us no matter how hard we try. This is not something that we take comfort in. The existing hunter gatherers however don’t seem to be concerned. Some might argue against the notion of civilization being uncomfortable by suggesting that Evolution did not end with the birth of civilization. This however is just a misrepresentation of what Evolution is. With advancement we are taking initiative in the process and thus speeding up the process exponentially. Design has entered the equation.

To the question of whether or not advancement is uncomfortable, I would answer a resounding yes. We are an Emergence in biological life. Discomfort is a consequence that will likely result in novelty… that in foresight we may find uncomfortable.

Rape Culture?

This isn’t really something that is being addressed in the behavioral sciences. This would also include Social Psychology. The problem with this notion is it suggests social constructs are somewhat responsible for the destructive behaviors of a tiny minority. This “issue” is however being addressed (debunked) by various advocates that aren’t behavioral scientists. I should add that I am not a behavioral scientists either. I would also like to add that I enjoyed all three videos and I don’t intend to judge the wonderful people who shared them. This is just fact of the matter.

Diana Davison is a mens’ rights advocate who has been a strong opponent of the new feminist “philosophy”. She has spent so much time debunking this concept that she has been distracted from positive influence in the one she advocates. Negative utility is the bulk of her videography. This isn’t intrinsically an issue however positive responses are the root of real improvement.

T.J. is a Militant Atheist who chose a more “after school special” type approach to discuss the inequities that society in general has with dealing with rape. This was also enlightening as he displayed subtle behaviors that he criticized in the beginning of the video.

dangerousanalysis is a YouTuber that tackles social issues. He put together a presentation with references that was surprisingly objective until he all but abandoned it in the end. He probably should have added that violent crime isn’t more common in the mentally ill than in society as a whole.

The topic of rape pisses us off from the get go. To be objective in discussing it, one must set aside the impulses that are part of the reason that we deal with it so badly in the first place. Rather than purely, cognitively assessing the issue we respond heuristically as well. This is also an impulse reaction. This can be manifested socially as well.

I’d like to offer the opinion of a professional concerning violent crime.

The concept of rape culture seems to suggest that culture has some responsibility in the prevalence of rape. Though loose correlations can be made it’s a far cry from any form of evidence of causation. It’s also difficult to buy rape as a procreation strategy when primates are highly socialized and subject to the axioms that that entails. It wouldn’t at all be unreasonable to ask that social consequence be ruled out.

Professional opinion on social influence on violent behavior?

I don’t buy rape culture for the reason that I stated in the first paragraph. I also don’t buy the Evolutionary Psychological explanation. I would’t however try to say that evolution had nothing to do with rape for the same reason that I wouldn’t say that it had nothing to do with the manner in which we approach the issue. They both appear to be prevalent not so much as the result of some specific competitive advantage but simply because we evolved. They are both products of lack of impulse control; the latter being to a much lesser degree of course. This is probably a flaw in a complex, self organizing, biological system. It’s something that Natural Selection didn’t weed out and it hasn’t impeded our advancement by much.

If there is a solution to this issue to be had by humans, it will probably be found in Behavioral Science. Letting our impulses guide us is not going to be the answer… unless some freak accident kills all the toxic members of our society. 😉

Militnacy vs Naturalism

We as humans are unique in our breadth of understanding here on the blue planet. We are also unique in our level of advancement and our “will” to advance. That wish to advance however is far from ubiquitous. As a matter of fact, there are still hunter gatherers that are living on protected lands. This may be because of their remote locale or because they have just chosen not to settle and farm. Either way their way of life could be considered more natural than our own. It is obviously the most common in the ecosystem. Though we are the dominant life form on the planet we are also the odd ball. Though we have made some wonderful strides, we continue to behave in an entitled manner toward all of the other life on the biosphere. We matter most to ourselves and it is painfully clear when the smoke of words is lifted to reveal the actions. Even with all of our advancements and a sincere “will” to be better we have still become better looters. With all of our efficiency, we still consume more and more resources. This is the environment that we have created for ourselves with civilization. This is the environmental factor that influences us on a daily basis. This is to us, as ones and zeros are to a computational system. This is our heuristic.

Science is a wonderful advancement that I personally love to drink in to the vulcanization of my lower appendages. Looking at the history of biological life on Earth, it appears to be emergent though. The prevailing paradigm in the evolution of species is to find a niche’ and slowly change with the rhythms of the environment. The manner in which we advance is utterly unique. I can’t see it as an imperative in any sense of the word. There isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that it is the way that humans should live their lives. There is no empirical information in the notion what so ever. It’s just a careless political opinion. One might suggest that it’s about our very survival however survival doesn’t seem to be a natural imperative either. As a matter of fact, it’s not even the tendency. It’s up to the individual to decide what gives their life meaning. Without that, Anti-Natalism might actually make sense.

Scientific advancement has clear consequences that should not be obscured by sentiment. The natural propagation of our species is changing do to our understanding of the physical processes that enabled it to self organize. This is likely to mean that extinction via transcendence would occur at a radical new pace. All of the wonders that we have experienced due to the advent of the scientific method are accompanied with dangers and rates of change that evolution just hasn’t prepared us for. It’s easy to judge and blame; but when time is taken to seriously consider the issue, it appears that accelerated advancement is catching most of us off guard. The suggestion that it is willful when there is no evidence for will is just pot to kettle.

I have yet to see argumentation make societal change. I also have yet to see evidence of a complex self-organizing system that didn’t result in diverse, novel offshoots. There is a clear correlation there. Personally, I’m more concerned about the advocacy that type zeros might need with the rise of type ones for reasons that I expressed in the first paragraph. Militancy through a naturalistic or even a reductionist lens is unwitting ignorance. If it’s all the same, I’ll just wave as that bandwagon passes by.