____________________________________(Posted by Again on 5/22/06)
After having tried to answer on different places, I decided to go on top of Green September with this item. I guess it's worth discussion.
Some days ago, I claimed, that true intelligence can't be cruel. I claimed that to imagine suffering, you would try to avoid it because sooner or later it might be you who had to suffer. I really said:"If you try to imagine how pain feels, I can't believe that common people can do it unto others...
First, B couldn't believe that. Then JMF told me that his observations of daily life wouldn't bolster that: "I also find little to inversely correlate intelligence with cruelty." On the other side, Robert supported me with his words: "It's as if the floodgates of my emotions have been opened and flowing from me is not a tide of anger or bitter opposition, but hope. Compassion. Understanding. Great sadness at what I see." Robert talks about emotions, but emotions are part of our information processing system (a very important part). Robert tells you what the ancient people thought about "ratio", the ability to understand: the core of this ability is warmth. That's why the ancient philosophies are often so hard to understand for us, because they respected power as defender of justice, strength as defender of independence, and ratio as a basically "warm, heartful" ability to understand the "motherly" reality and the humans around us. But that's just an aside.
To B I replied, that the "great imagination" of the cruelest people she had known wasn't surely "great" enough to make them imagine that they themselves could be the victims of pain. They simply think they are too strong forever to need help against cruelty.
Yesterday I found a link, supporting my argument: the ads of Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) which are aimed at the American masses to convince them that Global Warming is not a danger, but something "useful".We call it Life
(Interestingly, the link "Find out more about CEI's work on global warming." doesn't work)
Actually it is so brutally stupid, that for educated people those ads looks like "sailing close to the wind of brainwashing of people"
I guess there are many "intelligent" people working at CEI, with high IQ's and salaries, knowing exactly how to manipulate the stupid masses. But do you really think that those "high intelligent" people are intelligent enough to understand that Global Warming will not only kill the poor, the others far away, that Global Warming will reach each and every point and person on this (formerly beautiful, blue) Earth - even themselves?
Can you call suicide based on greed "intelligence"?
So the main question seems to be: What is intelligence? Do I employ an atypically specialized understanding of intelligence - or am I just more precise? And consequently, as the majority, am I only following Mark Twain's advice: "Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect"?
So first "enable the interface" of communication by precise definitions of terms: Intelligence
is the whole system of information processing. The whole system of detecting, evaluating, storing and retrieving information - considering that, every cruelty bases on intelligence, that's perfectly right. But considering that, each plant is intelligent, each fly and fish, because they also do information processing using the knowledge stored in the engine of their cells and their DNA
And - just as an aside - on that level, brute force, war and violence are usual strategies of those "intelligences" - mothers eat their husbands and children eat their mothers (spider), tribes make slaves (ants). Because brute force is a very "easy and direct" way to get what you want. But force is just a "differential" way, a simple step-by-step forwarding of action without knowing the direction where it will lead to. You can change your situation for the special moment according to your wishes, but you can't foresee where all the energy of your used force will spread and how and when it will come back to you - you change the moment, but you don't know what will come back to you the day after: sowing the wind without considering the storm."Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived."
- Abraham Lincoln
The passive information processing system of those low-level intelligence uses a simply strategy to survive the lack of ability to foresee the consequences: masses. It creates masses of individuals, so that the lethal mistakes which inevitably results from low intelligence doesn't kill the whole species.
And it works fine. Because intelligence is, as everything in physics of conservation of energy and momentum, a question of "earn and burn": The gain/cost function of intelligence tells you, that you have to invest something to develop more intelligence and that this investment has to be awarded by better decisions, which can be easily experienced by the success of your decisions.
The next important term. Actually the real important term.
Because the first goal of any intelligence (information processing system) is success, not high intelligence. That's the reason why flies exist until today, despite the fact, that human intelligence is high enough to fly to the moon, while they only can fly to the next pile of shit.
Since success is not only a question of intelligence, but also of the environment, there really exist environments where passive information processing, faster and more specialized, works better than intelligence - where stupidity wins.
In stable environments, passive information processing systems are often more successful than active systems, because the former are faster, more specialized, while on the other hand in quickly changing environments, active information processing, more flexible, able to handle new situations, is more successful.
Actually, as B and JMF had observed, there are often situations when the slow but flexible active information processing, able to develop "high intelligence" on an individual level, is beaten by the fast passive information processing type "don't think, just act":Don't Call Me Clever"a limited intellect is usually beneficial; and creativity is often the last resort for losers."
So how can it be, that you, B and JMF, talk about very successful people, being cruel while behaving according to sophisticated plans?
Even that's not what I call "true intelligence". True intelligence is the highest developed ability to process enough information to foresee not just the next step, not just the next day or week or year:Apes can plan ahead
I talk about the last progress of development: only to be found in humans - the ability to foresee the next decades.
And the next link to support the difference between those degrees of high intelligence:Altruistic Helping in Human Infants and Young Chimpanzees"Human beings routinely help others to achieve their goals, even when the helper receives no immediate benefit and the person helped is a stranger. Such altruistic behaviors (toward non-kin) are extremely rare evolutionarily."
But to be honest - not even the modern theories of Evolutionary Anthropology could convince me, many years ago, that the "self-evidence" of the almighty power of the law of the strongest (we all believe so uncritically in) is just...
a cultural lie.
Because the first cultures of humankind were egalitarian. Not primitive, but egalitarian and able to develop Stonehenge and most of the inventions, we so often think to be invented in the last centuries. And because egalitarian cultures support free communication, they support science.
Science supports change, creates environments needing more and more intelligence, soon needing more intelligence than the average IQ 100 offers. Therefore the reaction of humankind was to regress. Everytime civilization starts to conquer the stars, dark ages follow.
Because progress means change, most people try to avoid it - preferring the stability of dark ages to the unsecure flexibility of freedom of thoughts.
Problem is, that won't work one more time - humankind has reached a point where it changed the whole Earth, not just the environment of a city as in former times. Humankind changed everything on our wonderful blue planet in a speed never imagined before.
As in the birthtime of humankind, climate will change so rapidly, that only "the weapon of the losers" is able to protect a species.
As it has done 5 million years ago, when the smallest, weakest hominid species had survived - the one using tools and developing a social consciousness to protect the group: Together we succeed where one alone must fail.
Just a last word to my claim, that common people can't stand the suffering of other humans - which seems to be, as B rightly stated, pure nonsense when you consider the cruelty of the Nazi-Regime...
But there is this little condition I talked about: Those people were allowed to look away. They could escape the suffering.
As the American people did with the suffering of the Vietnamese.
Until they had to look at the picture of a crying little girl.
Then they stopped the war.