• TogetherTurtle
    341
    I think it important to remember that this "power" does not disappear if we do not give it to government. I prefer to choose to give that "power" to a selected group (that could very well include, dumb or shady people), rather than continue to the play the game of winner take all (until Adam Smith winner take all was accomplished by military power, more recently economic power is the best way to take over) and hope the winner is benevolent.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the underlying idea of democracy is that power should be distributed. I never implied that the power would disappear, simply that it would be spread among the populous as equally as possible. Maybe that was the part you took out of context.

    Does a bank foreclosing on a family, which leads to homelessness, count as violence? Could there be such a thing as economic violence? Not all definitions of violence include physical force. How about if I call Susie a doo-doo head? Safe to say that people should not be harmed by words, but equally safe to say that people regularly are harmed by words. Is harm violence?

    As far as physical harm goes I am a pacifist, but as far as mental harm goes I'm a bit more lenient. Let me explain this a bit.

    To physically harm or kill someone is the ultimate silencer. For animals, this can be advantageous because the weak dying off improves the likelihood that offspring will be strong and live on. Humans have ascended past that. Our medical problems and disadvantages can be fixed through our own knowledge, and therefore the traditional form of evolution can be bypassed or even accelerated by our own knowledge. All of this adds up to my conclusion on the subject: killing or maiming physically is a waste of time because it won't make us better. In fact, I would argue the contrary.

    In a sense, I believe that we have shifted the burden of natural selection from the structure of our bodies to the content of our minds, and if we wish to be strong and survive when we are threatened, we have to make our ideas strong. Similarly to how we test our bodies, our ideas need to be tested in a "mental combat" of sorts, the strong learning from their experience and the weak either escaping to live another day to become stronger or having their ideas die. This mental combat is more commonly known as a debate or argument. There, of course, is a difference between those two, debates being seen as more civil and arguments as more confrontational. This leads to your example of Susie's feelings.

    Let's say that Susie is in fact hurt by being called a doo-doo head. You could say that she is not strong enough to just take it and think of it as just ignorance. While she is certainly weak in that situation, you could also say she is only that weak because of the aggressor in this situation, who is socially dominant to her. If even for a short while that inequality was abolished and both sides were on an equal playing field, I think that Susie would be considerably more likely to hold her own. So, if she were on that even ground and her feelings were still hurt, I would say not that she necessarily deserves the pain, but that she is weak. Of course, name calling doesn't really prove anything, so no actual harm is done to the "ecosystem of thought" I have theorized, but Suzie's feelings are hurt, and while I do feel for her because I have been in that situation before, I made it out and I believe she will too.

    I think it's generally safe to say that while some people are significantly more physically strong than others and hold more potential for that, most people have the same capacity for thought. It may not be as developed due to neglect as others, but that potential is still there. Of course, there are people with learning disabilities, but no one is born with an inferior "brain type" (in parallel with a body type) that judges whether they will be able to do math or English or art better. You could make parallels between learning disabilities and physical weakness, but learning disabilities are generally seen as an illness and a lanky body type is generally seen as just a result of the genetic lottery.

    So, while sometimes harsh words can do more damage than a punch, I am generally more lenient to words because as long as you are a healthy human, you should generally be able to take it to a reasonable extent. It's fairer, of course not entirely fair, but it is fairer.

    However, physical violence or killing is detrimental because you are removing ideas from the pool. To use the example of evolution from earlier, it's as if a group of deer had been evolving for thousands of years to become strong in their environment and then a space rock the size of a dime came down and pierced straight through one of their brains. All of that progress is lost, and even if the next winter was going to be cold and that deer had thin fur, it could have just as easily been the deer next to it with thick fur.

    Does a bank foreclosing on a family, which leads to homelessness, count as violence? Could there be such a thing as economic violence?

    As for this, I don't know. I tend to stay out of economic discussions because much like politics they just tend to brew trouble. I will say that generally, I lean towards, as a friend of mine once put it, "equal starting conditions and earned ending conditions." though I don't know how economically viable that is. As for how I think of it in terms of violence, it could be, but I might need more time to think about it. Right now I'm thinking that as long as you don't become a second class citizen due to your low economic status, then suffering from your poor financial decisions is usually ok. However, if it is meant to aggressively target people with certain ideas, then I would consider it in the same vein of physical violence, in terms of how you are essentially removing ideas from the pool.

    I disagree here. I am NOT going to use words like intelligence in this case, because that is a whole 'nother mess. However, if we were to measure all humans by there ability to "defend {them}self on an even playing field", 49% would be below average and therefor they likely DO NOT have the ability to "defend {them}self on an even playing field" (those who are above average would be better at defending themselves). What about children? Or varying levels of upbringing and education? Is a level playing field even remotely possible? - I just noticed you did address the level playing field thing, so just ignore those last couple questions

    First off, children are not fully grown and their brains are not fully developed, automatically disqualifying them from any sort of debate simply because they are so grossly underqualified.

    As I said before, people with learning disabilities shouldn't be targeted until we can make their brains work more like the norm, so they're out as well.

    I agree with your decision not to use words like intelligence. As it is now, we don't work on an even playing field and there are a lot of people with more power than you or I that may or may not agree with us. It isn't a battle we are fighting anyway.

    You said that 49% can't defend themselves, and I think that sounds accurate. 26 percent of the global population is below 18, and most studies say that the brain isn't developed fully until 25, so I would round up to 30 to make it fair. Now we have 19%. A quick google search got me 10% of the population with learning disabilities from most sources. I think that there is more than 9% of the population that may not be able to defend themselves like that, however. I suppose that's where education comes in. Since you gave a percentage, I'll give one too. I'd say that the percentage of the population that has an above average IQ is 16%.

    So, 40% are unqualified but could be with more research and/or time, 16% are overqualified, 9% are underqualified, and about roughly 35% can defend themselves against the lower and cower from the higher. This is the uneven field we have now. I think we can both agree that making the 16% stupider is not the answer, so to create an even playing field, we need the entire (eligible) human population to have roughly even critical thinking and speaking skills. Luckily, these things can be learned.

    One negative to using these parameters to decided eligibility is discrimination. It isn't uncommon for countries to declare their dissidents mentally unstable and for them to be sent to the gulag. That is one reason I don't like only certain people (even if their qualifications are outstanding) holding power. Tyranny by the masses exists but is nearly impossible to create on an even playing field like what we discuss. After all, how do you push a boulder toward someone to crush them when they're pushing back just the same?

    However, we are on a philosophy forum. That is who we are. How many of this type of conversation have you had with "normal" people? (sorry on the use of "normal", I can't think of the right word for the 99% of people who can't be bothered to put 5 minutes of thought into this sort of thing) You can see they are actually in pain as their ideas are challenged.
    Personally, I only have 1 friend that enjoys critically analyzing their own worldview. Everyone else is just waiting for Fox News, or MSNBC, to validate their opinion. Sorry, bit of a rant. But hopefully the point is made that the vast majority of the population is very unlikely to "challenge everything they hold true."
    ZhouBoTong

    In sociology, it is noted that not only do majorities often look down on minorities but that the opposite is also often true. In this case, they likely think "why do I have to do the thinking?" or "I'm going to die one day and none of this will matter anyway." and we agree that they are short-sighted. But what makes us different from them? It can't be biological because both of my parents and my sibling are like that. It could be a mutation but I don't think evolution works that fast. I think it has to do with our situations. I have no idea what would cause such a thing, but throughout history, people have risen against the tide to question everything and have made great strides in their fields. I wonder what makes us this way? I think it merits study.

    After all of this, however, I think it's worth noting that evolution does not work toward a specific goal, only toward strength in an organism's current environment. Perhaps when it comes to the climate that is the human social structure, we are weak and will be killed by the strong. I just hope that their ambition for quick strength doesn't collapse on them and the rest of us. That could be fatal. On the other hand, we could be the strong ones, and it's up to us to build the future responsibly.

    I think that the others can be won over, but only if we can justify it to them. One mistake I see often is appearing as a savior or hero. You seem too intelligent for that, however. I would recommend trying to level with others, showing them they don't have to be a super genius to understand at least a little of the world around them. We are more or less the same after all, we all are, the only place we really differ wildly is in our minds. Let us build up those as our ancestors built up their finger strength and agility, however, instead of going one generation at a time, we can go much, much faster.
  • ZhouBoTong
    378
    @TogetherTurtle

    Dang TogetherTurtle, you don’t mess about. I thought I wrote a lot. Know that I read everything, but since I agree with a lot of it, I am just going to pick a few points of contention (still rather long):

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the underlying idea of democracy is that power should be distributed. I never implied that the power would disappear, simply that it would be spread among the populous as equally as possible. Maybe that was the part you took out of context.
    - @TogetherTurtle


    I definitely took that part out of context. But it is still pertinent. In this case, what if everyone votes to limit harmful speech? I get that calling it a “right” places it outside the whims of democracy; but we already limited this “right” by declaring you cannot yell “fire” in a theatre along with a few other similar examples. If it is not an absolute “right”, then we can debate its applicable extent. (and I apologize, I may have been traumatized by too many weak libertarian/min-archist arguments where all government power is a bad thing – so I may have taken that bit in a seemingly strange direction).

    I entirely agree with your thoughts on physical violence. However, once there is no physical violence, does that mean that there is no coercion, oppression, subjugation, etc? Well I guess if we actually eliminate all physical violence, I will be so busy celebrating that I would not be worried about those other problems But after a few years I will get bored and start looking for a way to improve society again. Hmmmm, my boredom probably should not lead to me forcing my viewpoint on others…but certainly enough for me to consider the possibility.

    On physical combat vs mental combat:

    I don’t disagree with too much but feel the need to point out (as you seem to view people as far more equal in capabilities than I do) that just as some have genetic (nature) and upbringing (nurture) advantages for physical activities, others will have genetic and upbringing advantages when it comes to mental strengths. In your next paragraph I see that you agree for physical aspects…why does this change when we start talking mental capabilities? – I think that you are saying that once a certain mental level is reached, then they will be capable of defending their thoughts; but how would they defend them from someone who has reached a much higher level? I still do not consider myself immune to sophistry (I like to think I am, but probably not) and I have put a huge amount of time and effort into honing my thoughts, relative to the average person. This may be a bit of a tangent. Am I talking about defending ideas while you were really discussing self-esteem(“I made it out and Suzie will too” – TT)?

    “I think it's generally safe to say that while some people are significantly more physically strong than others and hold more potential for that, most people have the same capacity for thought. It may not be as developed due to neglect as others, but that potential is still there. Of course, there are people with learning disabilities, but no one is born with an inferior "brain type" (in parallel with a body type) that judges whether they will be able to do math or English or art better. You could make parallels between learning disabilities and physical weakness, but learning disabilities are generally seen as an illness and a lanky body type is generally seen as just a result of the genetic lottery.”
    - @TogetherTurtle


    Well based on what I said before, I obviously disagree with this to an extent. All brains have the same capacity? Am I correct to use the word potential in place of capacity? I get they don’t mean the exact same thing, but it helps me to understand. I STRONGLY disagree that all brains are born with the same potential / capacity. Ignoring learning disabilities and upbringing factors, there still seem to be as many varieties of mental capability as there are physical. As someone in education, it blows my mind to think that the difference between two 10-year old students is all due to Nurture. It goes against experience. I would argue that brains are also part of the genetic lottery. Anecdotal example: When I was in elementary school, my dad used to ask my brother and I math questions on percentages. He taught me shortcuts that made math easier, and I still use some of them to this day. However, my brother will struggle today with the same percentage questions that were easy for me by age 9 (my brother has no learning disabilities or anything, he always scored right around the 50th percentile – I am not extremely bright, but way ahead of my brother – in any way that is measurable anyway). Weren’t our upbringings as similar as possible? I get that as close as possible, still leaves a lot of wiggle room, but I think there are as many mental “gifts” as physical “gifts”.

    You said that 49% can't defend themselves, and I think that sounds accurate.- @TogetherTurtle

    I was actually saying that 49% of adults that DO NOT have learning disabilities, will struggle to defend themselves. Perhaps this will make my point, 90% will also struggle to defend themselves from the top 1%. The mental equivalent of all pro soccer players vs. Messi and Ronaldo. Sure, they have developed their skills to a very high level. Generally speaking, they can defend themselves very well, but when they come up against the champ (not me) – that person who has been reading Kant since age 12 (and for some reason enjoyed it), and it just made sense – they will not be able to keep up (by the way, I count myself as part of that 90% mentally. I can see that I get things quicker than most, but every now and then I meet a really smart person and think there is a bigger gap between they and I, than between me and the average 10 year old).

    But what makes us different from them? It can't be biological because both of my parents and my sibling are like that (hilarious, I used the same logic to say the difference can’t be due to upbringing – hmmm, I think we are both right). It could be a mutation but I don't think evolution works that fast. I think it has to do with our situations. I have no idea what would cause such a thing, but throughout history, people have risen against the tide to question everything and have made great strides in their fields. I wonder what makes us this way? I think it merits study.
    - @TogetherTurtle


    Agreed. So far, my experience suggests that INTEREST is the single greatest factor in achieving a high mental level in any field. Natural ability matters. Access to resources and upbringing matters. But interest is what separates the all-time greats from the rest of us. I am very interested in our discussion – but notice I am not interested enough to put in 5-6 hours of research so that I can cite studies that support my view of mental capabilities varying just like physical abilities (obviously I would ignore any studies that supported your side, hehe). Interest creates opportunity. Time and effort are the key to excelling at anything (although without natural talent you will be limited), and interest makes the time and effort easy and fun.

    On the other hand, we could be the strong ones, and it's up to us to build the future responsibly…One mistake I see often is appearing as a savior or hero.
    @TogetherTurtle


    Well you don’t have to worry about that from me. I am here because I am interested. The unreachable goal is that I have tested my thoughts and no longer have any “incorrect” ideas (or that all my ideas are the “best” of the known options). If someone wants to read our thoughts and take the next step to implement them, that is their business (I will be happy to get involved if they can show that it is reasonably likely to succeed).

    You seem too intelligent for that, however. – @TogetherTurtle

    Well I am still new here, give me time and you may change your mind :grimace:

    I would recommend trying to level with others, showing them they don't have to be a super genius to understand at least a little of the world around them. – @TogetherTurtle

    I agree, they just need to be interested. Are they?

    We are more or less the same after all, we all are, the only place we really differ wildly is in our minds. Let us build up those as our ancestors built up their finger strength and agility, however, instead of going one generation at a time, we can go much, much faster.
    - @TogetherTurtle


    I hope you are right, but I fear individualism will prevent people from coming together to accomplish great things. Can we act as a group without a massively powerful entity (like government) leading the way?

    Please let me know if you feel there were any important points that I did not address.
    Thanks
    ZBT
  • TogetherTurtle
    341
    why does this change when we start talking mental capabilities?ZhouBoTong

    I believe that this changes when we talk about mental capabilities because we are also talking about a hypothetical even playing field. I like to think of it as a gladiatorial arena for ideas. There are no social stigmas blocking the way or regulations on speech impeding truth. If we also make both people roughly equal in intelligence then all that's left to see is what side makes more sense at the end.

    I also like to think that anyone can attempt to learn anything at any time, contrary to certain aspects of physical strength being time-gated (For instance, it's very rare to see a 12-year-old with strong abs, or a 50-year-old for that matter). While a child can't understand quantum physics, once they are old enough to learn, they can keep that knowledge their entire lives barring any kind of neurological degeneration. There are some parallels between physical and mental strength, however, that is a good point.

    Weren’t our upbringings as similar as possible? I get that as close as possible, still leaves a lot of wiggle room, but I think there are as many mental “gifts” as physical “gifts”.ZhouBoTong

    I agree that it does seem that way sometimes, but there is little scientific evidence for it as far as I know. If I am wrong, I'd like to know, but unfortunately, we as a species don't know much about something as close as our own brain. If I were to make a guess, I would say that the reason you learned better than your brother could be left up to the few differences you had in your upbringing. If there is anything I've learned from just observing anything really, it's that small changes in starting conditions can bring massive changes in the ending conditions. It may seem unreasonably small, but one connection made in your brain while you were out playing alone one day could have made it easier for you to understand your father's methods, and from there it would just increase. At least in my experience, small things don't matter often, but when they do, they matter significantly.

    Agreed. So far, my experience suggests that INTEREST is the single greatest factor in achieving a high mental level in any field. Natural ability matters. Access to resources and upbringing matters. But interest is what separates the all-time greats from the rest of us.ZhouBoTong

    Of course! How could I have forgotten something so simple yet so important? Interest is so important. So, the question is now, what causes interest? (I think this is why non-philosophers find so little interest in discussions like this, it's just one question to another.)

    I think I would fall back to my theory on mental "gifts" for this one. Interest might be sparked by small connections made be things that might even seem irrelevant. It's similar to how an art critic might see things in a piece that no one else would think of. It's almost the genesis of that whole concept. By chance, a toddler makes a connection in their mind between two things and 15 years later they're majoring in anthropology. What is it, 10,000 thoughts a day for the average person? That leaves a lot of room for the dominos to all fall in just the right way for them to have an interest. It also leaves a lot of room for someone to have no interest at all.

    This leads into your point on interest later on. I'll get back to that.

    I was actually saying that 49% of adults that DO NOT have learning disabilities, will struggle to defend themselves. Perhaps this will make my point, 90% will also struggle to defend themselves from the top 1%. The mental equivalent of all pro soccer players vs. Messi and Ronaldo. Sure, they have developed their skills to a very high level. Generally speaking, they can defend themselves very well, but when they come up against the champ (not me) – that person who has been reading Kant since age 12 (and for some reason enjoyed it), and it just made sense – they will not be able to keep up (by the way, I count myself as part of that 90% mentally. I can see that I get things quicker than most, but every now and then I meet a really smart person and think there is a bigger gap between they and I, than between me and the average 10 year old).ZhouBoTong

    So, I have a bit of an opportunity to talk about my crazy sci-fi ideas it seems

    First, I believe that gene tailoring and cybernetics could easily close that gap between the 99% and the 1%. We need more research into those fields, a whole lot more, but if we wish to compare our ideas, the 12-year-old with a photographic memory does have an advantage over the 66-year-old Alzheimer's patient. But, could that advantage be nullified by not only curing the disease but giving the older gentleman an extension to his own brain? As I mentioned before, I believe that we can take our evolution into our own hands now, and we can use that to evolve our ideas. Essentially, every human mind can be equal because we can make it that way. Whether or not this is economically viable or even acceptable by any society in its current state is unknown to me. I generally advocate for getting most of our materials and energy from space, so I know that the materials exist for such an uplifting, but I don't know if we can even get along long enough to do something like that. Regardless, this is what I mean by an "even playing field". Even without this, however, I do still believe that upbringing does mostly effect intelligence and that everyone could possibly be intelligent, but a lot are doomed from the start due to social factors. Even rich children can be raised to be dumb because they were spoiled, and poor children can get straight A's and become doctors. It has to be something that we're missing, that everyone can experience. I think that stalking children their entire lives goes against some ethical rules for scientists, however. That's too bad. As for it being a genetic factor, we know what almost all of the human genome does, and there's no "better at math gene" as far as I'm aware.

    But what makes us different from them? It can't be biological because both of my parents and my sibling are like that (hilarious, I used the same logic to say the difference can’t be due to upbringing – hmmm, I think we are both right).ZhouBoTong

    I do think this is funny, but perhaps we were both wrong. If it was genetic, it could simply be recessive. If it was upbringing, it could have been slight differences. There are reasons to believe and refute both, but I can't help but feel that there's something that we just haven't stumbled across yet. Something that could revolutionize the human race.

    I agree, they just need to be interested. Are they?ZhouBoTong

    And so we reach my current idea on what that is. Interest. Humorously, interest is an interesting topic. What drives man to explore, to do something new? Not only that, but how does interest come about? What is it, whether it be a miracle of brain chemistry or something else, that makes us so infatuated, not with everything, but only with certain things? How was that advantageous to our ancestors, well, not only ours but those of most life? Animals are curious all the time, not to the extent of humans but still to an impressive extent.

    If we can understand what causes interest, we have unlocked a whole new universe of transhumanism. If we could spark interest in everything for everyone, what couldn't we learn?

    As for others holding interest, I think so. They may not hold academic interests, but they do like something, even if that is so simple that it would put you to sleep. If we can find out how to trigger the process of creating interest in their minds, maybe they will start to learn. Maybe we can relate to them more if we change ourselves to enjoy their interests as well.

    I hope you are right, but I fear individualism will prevent people from coming together to accomplish great things. Can we act as a group without a massively powerful entity (like government) leading the way?ZhouBoTong

    Individualism and communalism, a dichotomy for sure. But I've noticed something about dichotomies, that even though the two sides are portrayed as complete opposites, as two faces of a coin, the distance between those two faces, in reality, is tiny. only millimeters really separate heads from tails. A person can be an individual, but what happens when they join a group? They think as one, act like one. Could you say that a group is an individual? What about a scenario where the whole world is grouped together? Could you say that we are all one individual, pushing and pulling our own ways, but ultimately moving one? After all, we only have one future that will exist, whether we get to choose which one or if it is ultimately decided already depends on your views on free will.

    Well I am still new here, give me time and you may change your mindZhouBoTong

    I'm new as well. seniority matters but not as much as the seniority want you to think it does. I think it's like that everywhere.
  • TogetherTurtle
    341
    I definitely took that part out of context. But it is still pertinent. In this case, what if everyone votes to limit harmful speech? I get that calling it a “right” places it outside the whims of democracy; but we already limited this “right” by declaring you cannot yell “fire” in a theatre along with a few other similar examples. If it is not an absolute “right”, then we can debate its applicable extent. (and I apologize, I may have been traumatized by too many weak libertarian/min-archist arguments where all government power is a bad thing – so I may have taken that bit in a seemingly strange direction).ZhouBoTong

    I actually disagree about the whole "fire in a theatre" thing. I think this contributes to a phenomenon known as "bystander apathy".

    Essentially, bystander apathy is what happens when you drive by a wreck on the road, and you decide not to call it in because "someone else will do it". So, how do I think that these two things connect? Well, if someone thinks that they see a fire in a theatre, (of course you would have to be pretty stupid to just think and not know that there was a fire, but you have already said you don't think most people are very smart, so I don't think this is too much of a stretch.) but they aren't sure, they have two reasons now not to yell "fire!". The first is that they think someone else will do it, and the other is that in the event they are wrong, they face legal repercussions. You will, of course, have a lunatic that tries to get everyone out of the theatre for any kind of nefarious reason, but laws don't stop crazy people, and they can't get tried until after the event. Essentially, they don't care about laws and they have plenty of time to do what they want with those people before the police arrive, so outlawing speech like that is not only useless but harmful.

    I think a more effective approach to making theatres safe is to study and help the lunatics who would use their rights to hurt people, rather than making everyone suffer.

    Sorry for making this in another post. I came back today to check what was going on and realized that I didn't respond to this.
  • ZhouBoTong
    378
    While a child can't understand quantum physics, once they are old enough to learn, they can keep that knowledge their entire lives barring any kind of neurological degeneration.
    @TogetherTurtle

    I was going to comment on the "level playing field" but you actually address my problems in your Sci-Fi solutions so I will mention it then. For this quote I just want to add, "they can keep that knowledge their entire lives barring any kind of neurological degeneration and given that they use the information they learned on a regular basis." If I learn something, then don't continue engage with that information in some fashion, my brain will forget it (and most people are similar). Also, how long I remember something depends on how well I learned it in the first place. I am one of those that fairly regularly laments about the amount of information that I once new (I definitely know more now that at previous points in my life, but I probably know less than 10% of everything that I once knew).

    It may seem unreasonably small, but one connection made in your brain while you were out playing alone one day could have made it easier for you to understand your father's methods, and from there it would just increase. At least in my experience, small things don't matter often, but when they do, they matter significantly
    @TogetherTurtle

    If the nearly imperceptible differences between my upbringing and my brother's result in such noticeable differences in mental ability, then I worry that we are a LONG way from any ability to interpret these differences into an educational experience.

    So, I have a bit of an opportunity to talk about my crazy sci-fi ideas it seems
    @TogetherTurtle

    Well they may be a little crazy in that it may take humans a while to figure out all that (maybe the A.I. can help us along), but otherwise, I like it. It actually describes a "level playing field." Some of what you describe goes beyond just guiding evolution, but I am still on board. Now, it does assume that all humans have access to the technology. Also, what about the 40% of people (pulled that number out of my @**), that will view genetic engineering, etc as wrong/evil/or just no. Don't they fall behind? I get that I am getting very deep into an imaginary hypothetical, but the problem is still there.

    I do think this is funny, but perhaps we were both wrong.
    @TogetherTurtle

    For sure. When I was saying we are both right, I was trying (and failing on a re-read) to imply that we must be missing something if the same logic led to opposite conclusions - which is exactly what you go on to suggest in this paragraph.

    Maybe we can relate to them more if we change ourselves to enjoy their interests as well.
    @TogetherTurtle

    Interesting thought, but here is my problem with most other people's interests, they are entirely focused on one topic. You mentioned your family does not have the same interests as you, well what are their interests? If they are like most people I know, their interests can be summarized in one word: people. What is the first thing a family member or friend says after a long absence, "so how is life going? how is your job? are you dating anyone? etc." Every question has to do with our lives, because that is what they are interested in. Now as someone who hates talking about my or your life (unless it relates to a larger concept or idea), I get this is all social convention. But it is also more than that. These social conventions ARE what people like to talk/think about. Even seeming interests, like sports, end up being more about people...anyone who is huge baseball fan, but ONLY watches the Atlanta Braves is NOT a huge baseball fan. They are a Braves fan. They enjoy talking about last night's game with people at work. They like cheering and saying my team beat your team, but they do not have a great interest in actual baseball (to be fair I assume some percent of baseball fans truly like baseball, but I would guess less than 50% - and football, soccer, etc is the same). So I like the idea of shared interests, but you can see I am a bit pessimistic about the possibilities.


    Dang, I am out of time for today. I think you had a couple of other important points, and I will try to get those tomorrow. (and I did not even proof-read this so sorry for any problematic errors).
  • TogetherTurtle
    341

    Dang, I am out of time for today. I think you had a couple of other important points, and I will try to get those tomorrow. (and I did not even proof-read this so sorry for any problematic errors).ZhouBoTong

    Don't even worry about it. It is said that you can't rush perfection, and even so, we are far from that.

    Interesting thought, but here is my problem with most other people's interests, they are entirely focused on one topic. You mentioned your family does not have the same interests as you, well what are their interests? If they are like most people I know, their interests can be summarized in one word: people.ZhouBoTong

    I think there is a Benjamin Franklin quote about this, but I couldn't find anything since the man seemed to be a walking quote machine that spent all his free time rearranging words to make them both meaningful but also memorable.

    As for discussing people, I think that it is limiting, but much in the same way as only discussing events or theory crafting. There is only so much to discuss. Theories are more applicable to the real world, but I can't imagine a future where leisure is a thing of the past. We can modify ourselves to not need amenities, but I don't think that we will ever remove the desire for amenities simply because we wish to enjoy the fruits of our labor per se. So as we make strides in knowledge of the natural world and how to apply that to make our lives better, they are studying things that aren't necessarily important to the improvement of the human race as a whole but are important to us culturally. Essentially it is my belief that culture is as equally important as science because the two need each other to push forward. If there were no stories of far off worlds colonized for the glory of humanity, would we even have the idea to do that? If there were no televisions or radios or the internet, would we hear of those stories even if they existed?

    and given that they use the information they learned on a regular basis."ZhouBoTong

    Very true. Practice is a necessity.

    I was going to comment on the "level playing field" but you actually address my problems in your Sci-Fi solutions so I will mention it then.ZhouBoTong

    I wonder if practice could be thrown aside by infallible memory banks holding information for centuries. Even with modern information storage formats, you can lose some quality over time, but remembering a lecture 20 years from now like it happened yesterday (or in fact, better than that) is a huge step up.

    If the nearly imperceptible differences between my upbringing and my brother's result in such noticeable differences in mental ability, then I worry that we are a LONG way from any ability to interpret these differences into an educational experience.ZhouBoTong

    This reminds me of an interesting mystery that never hit me until I saw it written out. Will we reach the end of science? Does the universe have a set number of secrets or will we run out one day in the far off future? Right now, the trend seems to be the number of questions increasing, but could that change?

    As for me, I would like it if there were always mysteries. It may be a bit selfish, but if I can, I would like to extend my life for the sole purpose of assisting humanity in discovering these. Whether this means mind uploading, biological life extensions or cybernetic implants don't really matter to me. As long as some part of me is off doing its part then I can rest peacefully even if my consciousness doesn't transfer on with it. That's a whole other discussion though.

    Now, it does assume that all humans have access to the technology. Also, what about the 40% of people (pulled that number out of my **), that will view genetic engineering, etc as wrong/evil/or just no. Don't they fall behind? I get that I am getting very deep into an imaginary hypothetical, but the problem is still there.ZhouBoTong

    Getting deep into things we can't prove is what we do. I can give it a pass for sure.

    As I said earlier, I'm not an economist and could probably use some more reading on the subject, but I do know that the resources to actually do these things are out there. Whether or not distributing them equally enough to do this is feasible in current or even hypothetical social and economic structures is unknown to me. As for the people who don't wish to advance themselves, I think they are necessary for two reasons. One, I typically believe that a society has to have dissidents. If everyone agreed, then there would be no direction for society to go in because it would already be there. That leads to stagnation and in my observation death of a group as a result. Two, I think that having a group of unaugmented humans would be good as a safety net in case we do something to ourselves that does damage or we wish to be reversed. They could also be good for studying the human mind as it originally was, as well as research into social structures and many other things. They may not have a place in the debates we discussed, but they are certainly welcome. The only thing stopping them from coming is them.
  • ZhouBoTong
    378
    @TogetherTurtle

    After my last post, I realized that I wasn't really addressing the thread topic. And your response has followed my lead. As I am new and don't want to already be labelled as a thread-thief, I will get all of my responses together (may take a while) and send them to you in private message (assuming I can figure out how to do that, hehe). I would try creating a new thread, but our ideas seem to encompass too many aspects of society - not sure what the thread would actually focus on?

    If I find a point or two that is still connected to "free speech vs harmful speech", then I will post it here.

    Thanks for the additional thoughts.
  • TogetherTurtle
    341
    Sure thing. I don't think anyone cares too much about getting off topic, as it happens a lot here, but if you would feel more comfortable sending stuff directly I don't have a problem. If I remember correctly sending new messages is fairly simple here so I'm sure you will get it.
  • ZhouBoTong
    378
    @TogetherTurtle
    Well no one seemed to be worried, so I will just post it here...and in re-reading, you at least have one comment per post that is on topic, so we are not way off topic.

    Individualism and communalism, a dichotomy for sure. But I've noticed something about dichotomies, that even though the two sides are portrayed as complete opposites, as two faces of a coin, the distance between those two faces, in reality,is tiny.
    - @TogetherTurtle

    I agreed with pretty much everything in this paragraph. In my experience, however, most communalists do acknowledge the existent of individuals…whereas many individualists seem to act like “community” is some sort of Marxist conspiracy that doesn’t actually exist, which makes for unproductive discussion. I like to think of myself as neither, but a brief reading of anything I have ever posted, suggests I am more of a communalist; at least I can recognize some of my bias :grimace: .

    Essentially, bystander apathy is what happens when you drive by a wreck on the road, and you decide not to call it in because "someone else will do it". So, how do I think that these two things connect? Well, if someone thinks that they see a fire in a theatre, (of course you would have to be pretty stupid to just think and not know that there was a fire, but you have already said you don't think most people are very smart, so I don't think this is too much of a stretch.) but they aren't sure, they have two reasons now not to yell "fire!". The first is that they think someone else will do it, and the other is that in the event they are wrong, they face legal repercussions. You will, of course, have a lunatic that tries to get everyone out of the theatre for any kind of nefarious reason, but laws don't stop crazy people, and they can't get tried until after the event. Essentially, they don't care about laws and they have plenty of time to do what they want with those people before the police arrive, so outlawing speech like that is not only useless but harmful.
    - @TogetherTurtle

    Thanks for bringing us back closer to the thread topic :grin: . First off, I have not heard of “bystander apathy”, but I am fairly certain that I suffer from it on some level. I have struggled with motivation for most of my life, and I have certainly expressed the idea that, “there is not much that NEEDS doing, because if I don’t do it, someone else will.”
    Your discussion of “fire” in a theatre and bystander apathy is helpful for me in understanding my own position. I think that any rule can have problems and exceptions. And I would argue that the idea of absolute free speech is another rule that surely has exceptions. I think societies’ rules or rights are designed to benefit most people, most of the time. I was about to say, we should just drop the whole idea of free speech and evaluate each incident on a case by case basis (Was harm caused? What are acceptable/unacceptable levels of harm?). But I think concepts like rights (invented concepts as far as I am concerned), may be beneficial for most people, most of the time. Hmmmm, so I am stuck again.

    I think a more effective approach to making theatres safe is to study and help the lunatics who would use their rights to hurt people, rather than making everyone suffer.
    - @TogetherTurtle

    Crazy people is a whole ‘nother can of worms. If we know we can “fix” their “crazy” by giving them medication from age 5, should we? Sure, they can now live a “productive” life, but they certainly did not have much choice. I am still leaning toward, “yes we should”, but there are issues. Hopefully, the future will provide brain solutions along the lines of things you have discussed earlier in this thread, and then I agree…if we can help or educate people so that restrictions on speech are just unnecessary, let’s do that.

    As for discussing people, I think that it is limiting, but much in the same way as only discussing events or theory crafting. There is only so much to discuss. Theories are more applicable to the real world, but I can't imagine a future where leisure is a thing of the past. We can modify ourselves to not need amenities, but I don't think that we will ever remove the desire for amenities simply because we wish to enjoy the fruits of our labor per se. So as we make strides in knowledge of the natural world and how to apply that to make our lives better, they are studying things that aren't necessarily important to the improvement of the human race as a whole but are important to us culturally. Essentially it is my belief that culture is as equally important as science because the two need each other to push forward. If there were no stories of far off worlds colonized for the glory of humanity, would we even have the idea to do that? If there were no televisions or radios or the internet, would we hear of those stories even if they existed?
    - @TogetherTurtle

    I agree with most everything in this paragraph, but it has somewhat dodged the point I was trying to make (or at least I think it does). Yes we need people who are interested in all aspects of life. Improvements in culture are certainly important too. My point was, all those who people whose interests I summarized as just “people”, are not going to make contributions to culture. That would require an interest in culture. Maybe instead of “people”, I should have said “persons”? Still not right. What I mean is that they are interested in the lives of individuals. Whether that is friends, family, or some random celebrity, they care about the individual lives of these people. They are much less interested (not at all?) in how all of these lives interact to create things called culture or society. I am not sure I am making my point clearly…maybe this helps: If we wanted these people to “study”, they would go to People Magazine, not some serious academic Sociological journal. By the way, I am not trying to say these people are in any way “less” than you or I. I am just saying that their interests (or lack there-of) mean they are not interested in discussing, researching, debating, etc any of this stuff. They would be happy to talk about, say, the relationship between Pete Davidson and Kate Beckingsale (just took one of the headlines from bing homepage), and good for them, but I will be bored. Notice that I am "bored" by their topic, and they are "bored" by some of mine. I am not better than them because my interest are slightly more respected in academic circles, nor are they better than me because talking football gains more friends than talking free will vs determinism. I was just pointing that said people should not be expected to contribute to philosophy, any more than I should be expected to hold up my end of the conversation on celebrity couples.

    I wonder if practice could be thrown aside by infallible memory banks holding information for centuries. Even with modern information storage formats, you can lose some quality over time, but remembering a lecture 20 years from now like it happened yesterday (or in fact, better than that) is a huge step up.
    - @TogetherTurtle

    Sign me up :up: And I think you are right, doesn’t practice just create shortcuts in neuron paths? (huge apologies to any neuroscientists that actually understand this stuff) So if we can replicate those shortcuts, then we could not only increase knowledge capacity but skills also (mental or physical – physical may require strength/agility but the “muscle memory” could be cheated).

    This reminds me of an interesting mystery that never hit me until I saw it written out. Will we reach the end of science? Does the universe have a set number of secrets or will we run out one day in the far off future? Right now, the trend seems to be the number of questions increasing, but could that change?
    - @TogetherTurtle

    I hope that part of what makes us human (some of us? Hehe) is that desire to keep looking beyond the horizon. Even if we transform ourselves into eternal techno-energy super beings who can just will things in and out of existence, I like to think that some people would still be striving for the next stage (whatever that might be). I think Star Trek covered this with the Q. They had the powers of a god, but no desire to grow any further. This made them interested in humans, who always sought to improve themselves (yes a bit of a contradiction in there, if they were interested in humans' need to grow, then couldn't it be said that they had an interest in growing?).

    As for me, I would like it if there were always mysteries. It may be a bit selfish, but if I can, I would like to extend my life for the sole purpose of assisting humanity in discovering these. Whether this means mind uploading, biological life extensions or cybernetic implants don't really matter to me. As long as some part of me is off doing its part then I can rest peacefully even if my consciousness doesn't transfer on with it. That's a whole other discussion though.
    - @TogetherTurtle

    You are more noble than I. I also would like to continue to be around for millennia, but more for my own curiosity, than to help humanity (despite my fairly pessimistic attitude about people in general, I actually believe humanity will progress as long as there are not complete societal collapses – unfortunately history suggests these collapses are inevitable, but the modern world has changed enough to be almost unrecognizable to earlier societies, maybe the massive amount of digital storage will allow knowledge to be retained, limiting collapses to partial vs complete). Besides watching human progress, I also just want to witness some of the cool galactic events: like watching the sun grow until it encompasses the earth, or when the milky way collides with the Andromeda galaxy, but that is all just for fun.

    As I said earlier, I'm not an economist and could probably use some more reading on the subject, but I do know that the resources to actually do these things are out there. Whether or not distributing them equally enough to do this is feasible in current or even hypothetical social and economic structures is unknown to me. As for the people who don't wish to advance themselves, I think they are necessary for two reasons. One, I typically believe that a society has to have dissidents. If everyone agreed, then there would be no direction for society to go in because it would already be there. That leads to stagnation and in my observation death of a group as a result. Two, I think that having a group of unaugmented humans would be good as a safety net in case we do something to ourselves that does damage or we wish to be reversed. They could also be good for studying the human mind as it originally was, as well as research into social structures and many other things. They may not have a place in the debates we discussed, but they are certainly welcome. The only thing stopping them from coming is them.
    - @TogetherTurtle

    I agree that the resources do exist. I was more concerned with who gets the benefit, but you addressed that here (admittedly we do not have a solution, but for me just acknowledging that the resources will NOT be equally distributed, allows for the mitigation of many of the harms that would result). I like your thoughts on the un-augmented. Clever idea to have them around, just in case. I just hope that we can avoid creating an under-class. As long as everyone agrees that the un-augmented are equal in value to the augmented (ie, just because someone is smarter, or stronger, or funnier, of kinder, does not necessarily make them a “better” person. Now if I am trying to accomplish a goal, then I may prefer a smarter or stronger person. But life does not have goals, aside from the ones given to it by humans).
  • TogetherTurtle
    341
    They are much less interested (not at all?) in how all of these lives interact to create things called culture or society.ZhouBoTong

    They are not interested in the how, but they are certainly the what. That was my point. If they didn't exist we wouldn't have a culture to study.

    I was just pointing that said people should not be expected to contribute to philosophy, any more than I should be expected to hold up my end of the conversation on celebrity couples.ZhouBoTong

    Perhaps not expected to contribute to something specific, but expected to contribute. It connects to a field of study I have been interested in recently. How do people develop an interest? If we know that, can we make people interested in everything?

    (yes a bit of a contradiction in there, if they were interested in humans' need to grow, then couldn't it be said that they had an interest in growing?).ZhouBoTong

    Maybe they are growing interest in growing by studying the human's interest in growing. Complex, but I wouldn't expect less from a god.

    Besides watching human progress, I also just want to witness some of the cool galactic events: like watching the sun grow until it encompasses the earth, or when the milky way collides with the Andromeda galaxy, but that is all just for fun.ZhouBoTong

    I like to think of the fun as payment, and the help as work. I would live for both, or at least that's what I think now. Any future version of me is subject to their own development.

    I just hope that we can avoid creating an under-class.ZhouBoTong

    I think they would have a strange equivalence to pets. We give them everything they need, and in exchange, we get to watch and study. I don't think they would even need class structure unless they choose to have one. It would be as if New York was lifted off the face of the earth, hooked up with all of the facilities it would need, and then was studied. Whether or not they know what is happening has to do with the experiments we are running and the consent of the subjects. If they wish to ascend, they can do that as well.

    (ie, just because someone is smarter, or stronger, or funnier, of kinder, does not necessarily make them a “better” person. Now if I am trying to accomplish a goal, then I may prefer a smarter or stronger person. But life does not have goals, aside from the ones given to it by humans).ZhouBoTong

    I think that in a world where those things aren't able to be implanted via advanced science, it does make them better. However, in a world that does have those things, I imagine everyone who chooses to will have them.
  • ZhouBoTong
    378
    @TogetherTurtle

    They are not interested in the how, but they are certainly the what. That was my point. If they didn't exist we wouldn't have a culture to study.
    @TogetherTurtle

    Haha, yep I somehow missed that entirely. No arguing with that.

    How do people develop an interest? If we know that, can we make people interested in everything?
    - @TogetherTurtle

    Well if we can answer the first question, then we will at least know whether it is possible to create omni-interested humans. Dang, it sure would be cool to be interested in everything (but if it doesn't come with more time, it might just be frustrating, haha).

    I like to think of the fun as payment, and the help as work. I would live for both, or at least that's what I think now. Any future version of me is subject to their own development.
    - @TogetherTurtle

    I like the sound of this. It seems there is a well thought out balance to your life. But just one thing to point out here, if I am truly interested in something then the "work" is fun. But I think your point is, that you are happy to sacrifice a little fun, in order to improve the world (which I suppose could lead to heightened "fun" in the future?).

    I think they would have a strange equivalence to pets. We give them everything they need, and in exchange, we get to watch and study. I don't think they would even need class structure unless they choose to have one. It would be as if New York was lifted off the face of the earth, hooked up with all of the facilities it would need, and then was studied. Whether or not they know what is happening has to do with the experiments we are running and the consent of the subjects. If they wish to ascend, they can do that as well.
    - @TogetherTurtle

    First, I entirely think that you genuinely would do the above with zero consideration that you were "better" than the subjects being studied. However, I do not view that as possible for most people. I think the situation described would precisely create an underclass. In fact, it may describe a situation where some of us have evolved (whether naturally or using technology) into a new species; but it is still interesting to study the lowly homo sapien. Similar to humans studying chimpanzees today (again I don't think Jane Goodall thought she was "better" than the chimps, but it is hard for a third party to not view this as a "superior" group studying an "inferior"). Hmmmmm, I am thinking this is MY problem not yours or Jane Goodall's. Shouldn't I assume you/she/they have the best of intentions rather the worst? Hard to get past appearances of impropriety, but they are just appearances.

    I think that in a world where those things aren't able to be implanted via advanced science, it does make them better. However, in a world that does have those things, I imagine everyone who chooses to will have them.
    - @TogetherTurtle

    Well if I get comfortable enough, I may have to start a thread on this whole "better" thing.
  • TogetherTurtle
    341
    Well, it’s all up to speculation anyway and I think we’ve come to a conclusion on that. I’m interested in the “what makes people better” discussion as well. I’ll look out for it. In the mean time I would say it certainly has to do with context. So I’ll see you then.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.6k
    Re laws in general, I'm basically a minarchist. I'm a minarchist because I don't believe that anarchy is possible. Under anarchy, someone/some group is going to take control via organized force, and then it's no longer anarchy.Terrapin Station

    When I was younger - and, it seems to me, more naive and less wise - I yearned for anarchy, seeking to avoid controls as though they were prison bars. Now, I think that no (hu)man is an island, and that humans live their lives co-operatively, not in isolation. So now I think that anarchy is not desirable, because it seems to deny the ineluctable social nature of human existence. Words such as "rules" and "laws" seem to describe undesirable shackles on our freedom, but really all we have is our mutual dependence, which I see as not being a Bad Thing. :chin:
  • Terrapin Station
    11.4k


    Whether you desire anarchy or not, you can't have it anyway, so you may as well settle on something you could have.
  • IntolerantSocialist
    3
    The issue with the current hegemony lies in with liberal institutions , whether right leaning or left leaning (it doesn't matter) of social media who dictate what can and/or cannot be said. Since I oppose liberalism in all its forms, restoring free speech would require most of these institutions to sell their assets to a public domain, such a state appartus, to avoid any sort of bias in either side with a mixed delegation of people from many walks of life and across the board in terms of ideology to ensure no "tyranny of a majority" exists. However how this arrangement comes about depends how much faith one has in the general macrocosm of humanity.
145678Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.