Posts Tagged ‘Intelligence’

Animalism Is Not A Humanism

February 24, 2021

More Is Different. Similarly, Humanism Is More Than Animalism. Identifying Humanism To Animalism Is Incorrect, And No Way To Progress.
All advanced animals, including squirrels, have consciousness (by definition of “advanced”). But animals have more or less consciousness, and much more, or much less, can be very different. Studies on worms have shown that as little as three neurons can endow a worm with apparent free will: three neurons, free will. But of course worms do not have consciousness and free will as we do.

An analogy will help the wise: an isolated ensemble of very few particles is endowed with, and controlled by, quantum properties; however an ensemble of many particles, with few exceptions (Bose-Einstein condensates) is a classical object: more is completely different. The quantum description vanishes, the classical description replaces it. Similarly and for the same reason, from quantum to classical, or a variant thereof, the animal description disappears and the human description appears.

In the end, we are completely different from squirrels.

Now, of course, should one be a Nazi one may want to consider people to be no more than animals, so the Nazis elevated animals to the level of humans, to better exterminate the latter. After all, one exterminated insects with Zyklon B, and, having identified people to insects, the Nazis could then exterminate the former like the latter… with the same insecticide!

Our ancestors 60 millions years ago, resembled squirrels, but they ate insects. Our descendants became ever more brainy, in great part because of their carnivorous diet and habits: running after potentially dangerous prey while clinging to branches requires much intelligence… while squirrels, content to much on nuts, a less demanding task neurologically, stagnated neurologically. A quick look at evolution tells us that squirrels are probably 100 millions years away from civilization (should all of their deadly competition, namely primates, magically disappear; with primates to eat them, squirrels would never get there, to civilization, because predators tend to stay smarter, and primates are dozens of millions of years of intellectual superiority over squirrels).

To claim ever more intelligence makes no difference in grounding morality should be a well-known pitfall.

Civilization’s progress ever since there are animals and they think, is called humanism.

Animalism is not a humanism. Sentient mussels are not conscious chimps. Much more mind is completely different.

Patrice Ayme

Magnolia (named after French botanist Magnol), Monterey cypress, Luna… Berkeley CA, 2/23/2021 Do other animals appreciate beauty? Some apparently do. But surely not as much as humans do.

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P/S: this is the second essay on the “Animalism Is Not A Humanism” theme in a few days. What is going on? There is obviously a deep propaganda campaign launched suddenly by the plutocracy promoting the opposite, namely that animalism is humanism. Plutocrats are animals, but we should think of them, all of a sudden, as human (that seems to be the secret message supposed to imprint our subconscious: you are just an animals, thus we are all equal, rich or poor, commander of the world, or not). This time the spark to my reaction above, a comment which I sent to the New York Times, was an article in the New York Times 2/23/2021, today… in the NYT’s philosophical series called “THE STONE“. My comment was blocked, as it put the plutocratic newspaper to shame. Here are extracts of the NYT’s article, with comments I add now (those were not sent to the plutocratic propaganda paper, naturlich!):

Humans Are Animals. Let’s Get Over It.
It’s astonishing how relentlessly Western philosophy has strained to prove we are not squirrels. By Crispin Sartwell; Mr. Sartwell is a professor of philosophy.

If one were to read through the prefaces and first paragraphs of the canonical works of Western philosophy, one might assume the discipline’s primary question to be this: What makes us humans so much better than all the other animals? Really, it’s astonishing how relentless this theme is in the whole history of philosophy. The separation of people from, and the superiority of people to, members of other species is a good candidate for the originating idea of Western thought. And a good candidate for the worst.

[Patrice Ayme: As I explained, more is different; that’s a well known idea. One snowflake doesn’t make an avalanche, and cannot behave as one; many snowflakes make an avalanche, a completely different agent; one neuron does not make a civilization, dozens of billions of trillions of them, entangled, over the fullness of time, do. The transition from quantum to classical mechanics is the best example; that analogy is a hard data point great philosophers did not have before: Quantum Physics, in full, dates from 1924…

The so-called “philosophy professor” Sartwell pursues: The Great Philosopher will, before addressing himself to the deep ethical and metaphysical questions, pause for the conventional, ground-clearing declaration: “I am definitely not a squirrel.” This is evidently something that needs continual emphasizing.

Rationality and self-control, as philosophers underline again and again, give humans a value that squirrels lack (let’s just stick with this species for the time being), a moral status unique to us. We are conscious, and squirrels, allegedly, are not; we are rational, and squirrels are not; we are free, and squirrels are not.

We can congratulate ourselves on the threat averted. But if we truly believed we were so much better than squirrels, why have we spent thousands of years driving home the point?

[It is of course not just “Great Philosophers who make that point. People eat squirrels casually; when they eat Mr. Sartwell and his ilk, they thank the gods, at least so I have been told…]

Sartwell: One difficult thing to face about our animality is that it entails our deaths; being an animal is associated throughout philosophy with dying purposelessly, and so with living meaninglessly. It is rationality that gives us dignity, that makes a claim to moral respect that no mere animal can deserve. “The moral law reveals to me a life independent of animality,” writes Immanuel Kant in “Critique of Practical Reason.” In this assertion, at least, the Western intellectual tradition has been remarkably consistent.

[Here Sartwell mixes up things. Mortality is one thing, morality, another. We may all die tomorrow, it does not mean our morality dies with us. That rationality gives us some of our dignity is one thing; love, or even hatred, gives us dignity too. That advanced animals are rational cannot be denied: reason is what the brain produces. That reason endows an eagle with dignity cannot be denied either. If an eagle behaved like a rabbit, it would have less dignity… Now Sartwell speaks of Kant, professor to slave traders, a philosopher extolling the slave trade, and who is to reason what the slave trader is to commerce… Kant was deeply immoral, and his law most noticeable, is slave trading. kant is to the western intellectual tradition was lung cancer is to breathing…]

Sartwell: “The connection of such ideas to the way we treat animals — for example, in our food chain — is too obvious to need repeating. And the devaluation of animals and disconnection of us from them reflect a deeper devaluation of the material universe in general. In this scheme of things, we owe nature nothing; it is to yield us everything. This is the ideology of species annihilation and environmental destruction, and also of technological development.

PA: Humans became humans because they ate meat. Otherwise we would have big bellies like chimps, gorialls and all too many Americans have. Meat gave superb nutrition, allowing to shorten the gut. Gorillas and chimps know this, and try to kill preys as much as they can. But they are not superb killers as the evolving members of the genus Homo became. Pure veganism is NOT healthy. This being said I look forward lab meat… But then why should there be cows around? Is not a world without cows poorer? Supposed I was on a lonely planet, and god would lend me Sartwell for 20 years as company, until She made Sartwell disappear in a cloud of smoke. Should there be Sartwell, or no Sartwell? Is it moral to have Sartwell? Did he suffer?

A paradox is that the animalists tell us to stop eating animals to be like animals. But animals eat animals. Even cows do. So if we would be animals like animals, we would eat animals like the animals do.

Sartwell: Further trouble is caused when the distinctions between humans and animals are then used to draw distinctions among human beings. Some humans, according to this line of thinking, are self-conscious, rational and free, and some are driven by beastly desires. Some of us transcend our environment: Reason alone moves us to action. But some of us are pushed around by physical circumstances, by our bodies. Some of us, in short, are animals — and some of us are better than that. This, it turns out, is a useful justification for colonialism, slavery and racism.

PA: The USA is the world’s top exterminationist country. How was that done? By having Hollier-Than-Thou Puritans, such as professor Sartwell, treating native Americans as if they were animals. Sartwell is still at it, indeed, a century later, in the guise of the opposite, just as the Puritans were. What he is doing is attacking reason… And this is exactly why he did not publish my comment (which was the part above before my name).

Then Sartwell accuses Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Hobbes, Descartes, and Freud of opposing “nature” and “reason”. But of course reason comes from nature, as we do, in us and the rest of animals. I have myself attacked Aristotle as a plutocratic philosopher, and he was a plutocrat himself (the person who Aristotle put in charge of his estate was no less than his friend Antipater, the plutocrat who defeated Athens and turned her in an official plutocracy where only the wealthiest could vote…).

Sartwell: “Socrates divides the human soul into two parts. The soul of the thirsty person, he says, “wishes for nothing else than to drink.” But we can restrain ourselves. “That which inhibits such actions,” he concludes, “arises from the calculations of reason.” When we restrain or control ourselves, Plato argues, a rational being restrains an animal.

In this view, each of us is both a beast and a person — and the point of human life is to constrain our desires with rationality and purify ourselves of animality. These sorts of systematic self-divisions come to be refigured in Cartesian dualism, which separates the mind from the body, or in Sigmund Freud’s distinction between id and ego, or in the neurological contrast between the functions of the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.

PA: So Sartwell even accuses neurology to distinguish higher thought production and panic centers such as the amygdala… The ratio prefrontal/amygdala being presumably unfair to squirrel, and thus favorable to my culinary instincts orbiting roasted squirrels…

Sartwell finishes in a trainwreck:”I’d like to publicly identify this dualistic view as a disaster, but I don’t know how to refute it, exactly, except to say that I don’t feel myself to be a logic program running on an animal body; I’d like to consider myself a lot more integrated than that. And I’d like to repudiate every political and environmental conclusion ever drawn by our supposed transcendence of the order of nature. I don’t see how we could cease to be mammals and remain ourselves.”

This of course mixes everything up, although some of the points are correct… Of course we are not classical logic programs, we are quantum, so we have consciousness and free will. “Mind-Body Dualism” probably originates in the duality between Quantum and Classical. The “Quantum” is wholly about the integrated whole, accomplished through entanglement… We are out of nature, nature herself becoming transcendental, and of course we don’t necessarily have to have boobs to be, or stay human… Humanity has long transcended much of humanity and will transcends some more very soon… Including aging, which has a pervese effect on all of human culture…

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P/S 2: I value squirrels: I had a pet squirrel in Africa, for many years. I also had a parrot, Mimi. I got more attached to the parrot, though. She was very argumentative… when she didn’t want to go back to her cage, for the night, she would fight. As her wings were not clipped, she would fly around like a dragon from Game of Thrones, threatening all sorts of mayhem, just for show… Unfortunately, after years of fun and games, she died from avian flu of some sort, creating great sorrow.

Feb. 23, 2021

Debating: Beating Thoroughly. Why Convictions Can Be Worse Than Lies.

January 4, 2021

Con-viction is what comes with victory… Thus after the victory. A conviction is not conducive to debate, because it assumes victory has been achieved, whereas debate assumes the battle is on, and will be thorough. Convictions are by definition not to be debated… By the way, debate is how ideas, and thus intelligence arise…

Intelligence comes out of debate, and debate means to beat out thoroughly (de-battuere) [1]. The best science is best because it beats alternative facts and theories into total and complete submission, explaining not just the truth, but why the enemy is false, fake and erroneous (for example Euclid forgot about Non-Euclidean geometry established before him; Aristotle omitted the existence of friction; Galilean Mechanics did not know about electromagnetism and its speed of light, a local constant; Newton confused the impetus/momentum of Buridan with energy, as Emilie du Chatelet showed).

Fanatics Don’t Know Any Better. Liars Do.

All and any greater and bigger truth started as a violent war, and always will. This is why top thinkers are generally most hated (although half-top types can be loved by the authorities and thus the commons, as long as they are silly enough, and innocuous looking, for example Einstein…).

We can see this with COVID: all health authorities should switch to one shot vaccination, as it is pretty obvious that the mask masquerade is making the situation worse. All this can be easily scientifically justified, but those who confuse the scientific methods with yapping and howling as coyotes do, all together now, become immediately violent when this is claimed (and will not listen to the scientific arguments). Hey, it is a question of the (expert) establishment keeping the multitude under the most stupid form…

Want Better Thoughts? Prepare For A Bigger War!

Patrice Ayme

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[1] debate (v.)
late 14c., “to quarrel, dispute,” also “to combat, fight, make war” (senses now archaic), also “discuss, deliberate upon the pros and cons of,” from Old French debatre (13c., Modern French débattre), originally “to fight,” from de- “down, completely” (see de-) + batre “to beat,” from Latin battuere “beat” (see batter (v.)).

WHAT DREAMS ARE AND WHAT THEY DO

December 20, 2020

Dreams are fundamentally simulations of situations which can be imagined. This is their main function and evolutionary utility. That’s why and how they appeared. Dreams prepare our neurobiology to react to potential real worlds… which we have not experienced yet, like a bear appearing suddenly after making itself as flat as rug…

Dreams also are also… built to help guess new interpretations of situations that we may have encountered already. Yes, dreams are built! Dream machinery is the fundamental scientist, setting up thought experiments in universes we can’t imagine yet… before the dream happens.

Indeed, before the experiment, there is always the thought experiment. Before the idea, there is always the dream. Dreams are more about construction of appropriate neural networks… than interpretation… although dreams can also make neural interpretations of situation which have been encountered.

To understand how that could be, how these simulations… and stimulations… which we call dreams, could occur and leave a trace, one has to understand the consequences of a completely revolutionary idea: ideas and dreams correspond to neural networks within the brain… One has also to understand a further step in complication: that emotions derive, in part from generalizations of neural networks (and the topological influences, not to say computation, the neurohormones they secrete… operate).Neural networks are real objects, not dreamy stupidities a la Plato not belonging to the “real’ world. Existence in the real world means energy and inertia. Thus dreams appear from energy and inertia, and acquire existence from them. It matters, literally, matters in the physical sense, what we dream. Dark Dreams Matter.  

It’s not us who do stuff in dreams, but rather dreams which make us into what we are.

In other words, ideas, dreams and emotions all have physical reality, they are sets of physical objects (embodied categories to use mathematics). But they are also different notions from each other: ideas can be consciously visited (that’s probably enacted by sets of connection to a higher level “meta” layer of neurons… probably in the frontal cortex)… 

Dreams are only preparations of ideas… ideas, the stronger networks, can get consciously inspected, because they are stronger and connected to the meta-conscious layer. The weaker networks correspond to the subconscious (or the nearly conscious) and when those are activated, in sorts of chain reactions, we experience what we call dreams… Shall we have them again and again, Hebbian reinforcement occurr, making them stronger and thus into emerging consciousness…

The mechanism fostering dream states is the shutting down of parts of the brain which actively, or passively, suppress other parts of the brain. This happens naturally during sleep (it can also happen from variegated training, for example meditation, deepsea apnea diving, etc.). Hence the connection of dreams with sleep… But day-dreaming is definitely possible, whether in awake or “woke” states: it’s just a matter of shutting down inhibitions. (The woke/cancel culture is then a giant dream-like state of freedom from a previous perception of reality, and inhibitions…)

Having the capacity of dreaming, and that of imagination, which is related, means that human beings are ready to handle, as if they had experienced them, situations which never occurred before in experienced life… Or which were not even imaginable consciously! But those circumstances did occur in dream life… and left behind half-cooked neural networks…. But half ready networks means that they can turn into functional networks quickly. Hence the capacity of human beings to adapt to situations unforeseen in real life, but already experienced in dreams…  

Dreaming, and imagining, make human beings more intelligent, as the brain trained with the science of the imaginable in anticipation of whatever may come along.

We are the thinking animal, and that means thought experiments upon not just the realities we experienced, but also thought experiments upon the realities which live only in our minds.

According to Plato, Socrates enjoyed the advice of “daemons”, and many thinkers have argued that some inner voice advised them to do some things, or prevented them to do some things. When philosophers look inside themselves. they are searching for this inchoating neural networks… where the future, or alternate, often better, more real versions of reality lay [1].

Patrice Ayme

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[1] “You have often heard me speak of an oracle or sign which comes to me, and is the divinity which Meletus ridicules in the indictment. This sign I have had ever since I was a child. The sign is a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do, but never commands me to do anything, and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician.” — Socrates, Plato’s Apology

The point being that politicians do not do introspection, searching for this inner, tentative networks. All politicians do is read. manipulate and exploit public logical and emotional networks: politicians’ minds are intrinsically about the past and the mob, that’s why they should be cancelled, as the end-all, be-all . Whereas intelligence is all about creativity and the future. And creation starts always with new neural networks… Deep inside.

Giving A Meaning To It All

April 19, 2017

Intelligence, A Religion For Our Times, Just The Same As In The Oldest Times:

Religion gives life meaning. But yesterday’s superstitious religions have become too implausible, even for modestly educated people in the developed world (to compensate, there is an increasing number of self-advancing cynics who make a profession of embracing completely idiotic religions under the umbrella of moronic “multiculturalistm”) 

Could we turn to public good as a religion? It was done, long ago, in the best republics, or even kingdoms. This is the way the Athenians, Romans, and the old Swiss had it. No such luck: the non-superstitious religion, the devotion to the Res-Publica, the sort of religion the Romans practiced 23 centuries ago, at the height of their Republic, is sinking in a sea of corruption.

Beauty. Something to understand, as it differs so much from the mundane. Do the esthetics of the rare and mysterious appeal to us so much because we are compelled to figure it out? Thus is it the desire to understand the root of the craving for the beautiful?

The corruption is not just by politicians and their friend getting extremely wealthy (exhibit number one here is the US “Democratic” Party, where a respected demoncrat such as Senior Senator Diane Feinstein made a billion dollars no questions asked, except yesterday, April 18, when some real democratic activist interrogated her directly something related; Feinstein took it really badly and told them that, if they didn’t like her, they could leave the meeting…).

The corruption to the “representative democracy” system is intrinsic from having too few people with way too much power.

So what’s left to venerate? Well, the very essence of humanity. The core, the essence of humanity, is intelligence. It should be an object of veneration, a cult (as I already argued). Praying to that god will mean thinking hard enough to stop believing in what one was believing before, to some extent, in many ways.

Some will scoff that my new religion does not answer the traditional metaphysical questions, such as:

Why is there something rather than nothing? What’s the meaning of life? Is there a god? Is there a notion of good?

But actually my religion answers the last three: there is no god of the type people believed in previously, not anymore that there is a god of a type the local chimpanzee troop believes in. God is a question of intelligence, yesterday’s god is not any smarter than yesterday’s society.

There is a notion of good, scientifically defined, because there is a notion of pleasure, and a notion of pain, and the gradient between them defines the well ordering of goodness (I just used mathematical notions from set theory and advanced calculus, to provide me with a semantic, harnessing the casual power of mathematics).

Scientifically defined” means that a theory can be made, and experiences conducted, confirming the theory. “Good” is not that relative. It’s absolute, given the circumstances.

The new religion, same as the oldest religion ever? Intelligence. 

Turn intelligence towards all metaphysical questions.

Example: It’s there an afterlife? Intelligence will turn the question around: Why don’t people ask whether there was a prelife? (OK, some Hinduists claim to remember when they were meritorious cockroaches… Intelligence will scoff with disbelief.)

The meaning of life? Figuring all out which is in the way. The fact there is something rather than nothing is not in the way, it’s no urgent problem which we need to figure out. Whereas we have countless dramatic problems to figure out, lest we want to become bad, rather than good! (Besides, contemporary Big Bang physics, takes for granted that one gets universes out of nothing continually, or, at least, once. I think that’s crazy, but that’s just me, and my opinion is little more supported than that of the herd, some will argue…) 

The preceding shows that striking a metaphysical pose can be highly practical. Oh, and then what is the common practical metaphysics of common people throughout NATO and the rest of the West? Doing the ostrich, head deep in the sand: warm and dark down there, a womb for the incurious.

Some will object that “my religion” the cult of intelligence, is not really new: didn’t Voltaire have Candide declaring:”Il faut cultiver son jardin”? (One must cultivate one’s garden, the fundamental cult of civilization, since, without culture there would neither cult nor food). However, the cult of intelligence is much deeper than agricultural imagery. Human intelligence is several million years old, agriculture, only 10,000 years old, at most (the first cities appeared in Anatolia… before agriculture…)

Intelligence yearns to make the universe into its garden. Instead of the inwardly mood of Voltaire, akin to putting one head’s below some of the green leafy vegetables in one’s garden, akin to putting one’s head in the sand, intelligence desires to fill space and the universe. Fundamentally, the cult of intelligence is the opposite mood, of just cultivating one’s garden. Even if that search for what makes the universe tick and what it’s made of, and how comfy it can be rendered, passes through the inner sanctum of why and how is it that one thinks, or feels, this way, or that.

Thus, the cult of intelligence has to cultivate one’s garden to, but to go “plus oultre“, as Charles Quint put it (Charles V stopped the Conquista of America, for committing a holocaust there; hence we see that Charles V’s intelligence extended not just in physical space, conquering the Americas, but also in ethical space, stopping said conquest! A nice example of the cult of intelligence in action; later emperor Charles V retired to a monastery)

The cult of intelligence was implicitly practiced by the greatest leaders, such as Akhenaten, Solon, Pericles, Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, Otto I, even Genghis Khan, etc…

Time to go back to our roots; all-devouring intelligence, cult of the strong, the weak, the caring and the human. Civilization has to construct and deconstruct, with maximal intelligent design, anyway. One can argue that life evolved as the architecture of intelligence, even intelligent design, and so it was, long before nerve cells appeared. The teleonomy (managing at a distance) of Quantum Physics enables to see far out, and implement the smartest (lowest energy) outcomes. Life as intelligence: one cannot get more essential than that.

Patrice Ayme’

TRANSCENDENTAL INTELLIGENCE: SAPIENS’ ETHOLOGICAL LAW

April 16, 2017

IDIOCY VIOLATES HUMANITY ITSELF

A question pertaining to the survival of civilization: is transcendental animal not to be boxed in, finally?

A biology professor asked: how far do you intend to carry that project of founding morality on genetics? Well, far enough to show how human ethology transcends genetics and epigenetics:

If one uses enough intelligence, the means become the end. The paradox of the human species!  

Maybe Homo Sapiens should be called the transcendental animal. Indeed what is wisdom, but for the ability to transcend problems… mostly by using physics?

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Being right in matter transcendental, always starts as a first, not by following the herd:

Normal people indulging in mundane tasks feel that being right means to follow the ways of the herd, all over. The result is plain to see. The world is changing ever faster, yet the herd cannot follow itself out of the problems this generates. Going around news, media and Internet, I am amazed by the gullibility, stupidity, and the relish for the masses to indulge that way. Including masses of professionals paid to teach, or to act as medium (the so-called “media”). But what else to expect from the rabble? Supreme thinking was always from an elite, to an elite.

So much stupidity, and full of hatred too: all over. One can understand why so many gave full powers to Turkey’s Sultan Erdogan: out of rage, and the will to do something even more stupid, and more nefarious, yet, bearing the signature of their freedom.

Meanwhile Geneva and the Australia’s Great Barrier go topless. Desultory progress in the Alps, while uncomprehended tragedy is unfolding in the oceans. True human ethology should contest the legality of all what afflicts it: so-called “representative” democracy, which is truly plutocracy unbound, and its obnoxious little whip and distraction, Salafist Islam.

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Wasteful GDP Corruption Flaunted:

Economists of the “Liberal” type crow that California’s GDP is larger than that of all but the Gross Domestic Products which the rest of the USA, China, Japan, and Germany are endowed with. Yes, of course: the more a country wastes, the higher the GDP. The USA averages 16 tons of CO2 emissions, per year, per capita. The European Union, only seven. Now that massive consumption of quasi-free fossil fuels in the USA has put it, and Canada and Australia, way ahead economically, as I showed.

GDP is not just an indicator of economic growth, but of massive corruption.

Also GDP is augmented when the world’s largest corporations sit in California and pay no taxes. Thanks to Obama, and, soon enough, Trump.

GDP should look as a defect, instead, it’s viewed as glorious. An ethical and intellectual failure. GDP is an indication not just of pollution, but of mental deliquescence, in those who laud it.

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I was wondering why so many people hate to think. Is it because the Internet has made them increasingly disconnected with reality? Or is in part, because the Internet has made them suspect as they try to think, and fail, that they may feel they are coming short ethically. Hence all the hatred out there. And they are right (to hate themselves):

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The Concept of Ethological Law: IDIOCY VIOLATES ALL OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS

Ethology can be scientifically defined through experiments. Some will scoff that the human species is too clever to be defined by gene-given, epigenetic-given law, that the ultimate law of Sapiens is intelligence. And whatever flows therefrom. Fair enough.

This point of view has the consequence that any law which is antagonistic to intelligence is inhuman. Examples of this inhumanity abound. One can only conclude that the general tension obvious around the world, and especially in so-called democracies, originate from all too much of society been organized in systematic violation of the Human Intelligence Principle (HIP).

This was the situation a year ago, in 2016. This year the situation has got much worse. The quest for the Golden Calf of Australian GDP Supreme is the proximal cause of this devastation. More generally GreenHouse Gas warming, induced by a GHG density now probably around 550 ppm, the highest since the Jurassic, 100 million years ago. Time to think and sacrifice, guys, and yes, it means you!

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Puppets owe everything to those who pull the strings:

I was struck by the picture of the National Security Council, with a mysterious lonely pretty woman sandwiched there.

Dina Powell, a celebrity for our times, the sort of people who owes everything to those who created her (as Obama was). Thus, very pliable. All the more with arguably with all too little formal education, here she is at the top of the defense establishment, including extremely educated generals.

The more a civilization falls victim to plutocracy, the more celebritism is pushed onto people. Plutocracy is a form of generalized fascism, and celebritism, intellectual fascism: they reinforce each other. Celebritism is not just a moral flaw, it is a crime civilization is led to engage in.

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All progressives should be resolute anti-sexists:

Women In Geneva were already allowed  to sunbathe topless. However, a law from 1929 forbade them to bathe in lakes and rivers, in the same attire. This law has now been changed; in the Canton de Genève (total population metropolitan area, one million). As it should have; enabling only men to go topless, was, and is, obviously sexist, wherever practiced.

In Black African “Islam”, women used to go topless, for obvious reasons: heat, hygiene. Something to emulate, as, worldwide, the planetary warming is accelerating:

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The Great Barrier Reef, greatest structure on Earth built by animals, is dying:

345,000 square kilometers (as big as Germany). It is 2300 kilometers long. Now 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) are white, distressed, much of it dying.

The Great Barrier Reef is overheating, going white. During overheating, algae within the corral get expelled. In 1998, a colossal El Nino made the Great Barrier white. There was another whitening in 2008, and in 2016. The 2016 El Nino was as bad as the one of 1998. Coral gets overheated, and weakened by toxins (from coal, phosphates from chemical agriculture). Algae dies off in the coral with which they live in symbiosis, the coral goes white (“bleaches”). If bleaching happens again and again, the coral dies.

The Coral Great Barrier reef is dying from human action. Or more exactly mostly Australian action, as Australia does in its pursuit of GDP with corral, the same as it did with aborigines: kill all what’s needed, to get richer. It’s smart of the criminals involved, but there are millions. It’s not smart for humanity at large. This sort of things is solved by another great die-off, this time of human beings.

Human species had evolved in such a way that their actions could not put an end to the biosphere. A virus which cannot kill its host, lest it disappear. Sapiens was a virus, and Earth the host. But now, in a few decades, Sapiens has mutated in an industrial form lethal to Earth.

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Fracking is good for the ecology, say Plutos:

This is the latest from the fossil fuel Plutos: Ban Fracking? Bad economics, Bad Ecology? Following the more genera cynical argument the USA, Russia and Canada have long been making, secretly, that warming is actually a good thing. Except now it’s not secret anymore: Vladimir Putin has said warming up the north will be a good thing (for Russia). And indeed, it will be for Russia. Canada will be less amused when the USA will insist that Canadian coastal water are actually international waterways… with more than the present day smiles. 

Actually we are approaching 550 ppm of GreenHouse Gas (GHG) equivalent. As I already said, but it’s never repeated enough; it’s a number much more astonishing than anything, even the percentage of the human population deliberately assassinated in World War Two. An astounding number, increasing fast. Levels not seen for 100 million years. Spaceship Earth has been highjacked with raving maniacs.

When all hell will break loose, pretty soon, the Plutos will be at home.

They create their own, most sustainable environment.

This is why when real democracy failed in Athens, more than 23 centuries ago, not only it stayed failed to this day, but Greece knew 22 centuries of foreign occupation.

Nowadays, the stakes are much higher: the biosphere itself is facing its sixth massive extinction. The survival of wisdom is in play. It’s a game that was probably lost by wisdom itself in many a galaxy. Now our turn to show if transcendental intelligence can overcome amor fati…

Patrice Ayme’  

No Intelligence, No Power: No Morality, However Good

June 1, 2016

In Season Four of “Game of Thrones“, the immensely powerful knight, who has high moral principles, steals from his host, bangs him pretty bad on the head, leaving him dazed and bleeding on the ground. The valorous young princess Arya Stark, whom the knight protects, still a child, storms after him, and screams: “They gave you shelter, they fed you, they are good people, and you steal from them? The immensely powerful knight replies:”He is weak, that’s what wrong with him, they won’t pass the winter, so I may as well take his silver, or otherwise some worthless scoundrel will.” Arya shouts back: “You are the worst shit in the Seven Kingdoms!” The mighty knight smirks back:” To be good is not enough. How many Starks need to be beheaded for you to understand that?”

That was an allusion to the fact that Arya’s father, mother and brother had untimely, horrible, and unjust ends… And the engine of their destruction, and actually of the destruction of the Seven Kingdoms has been that goodness which fatally hobbles their would-be superior morality. If goodness leads mass atrocities, surely, it is not good.

This is the essence of the exchange, which I paraphrased because I am reproducing it from memory. This is also the essence of much my ethical system: to be moral, it is not enough to be good, one has to be smart and powerful. Smarts, in the matter of law has much progressed in the last four thousand years:

Good Laws Come Only From High Smarts. Hammurabi’s Laws Are 38 Centuries Old. Having Mastered Writing Was Necessary, As The 282 Laws Were Shown All Over The Vast Empire

Good Laws Come Only From High Smarts. Hammurabi’s Laws Are 38 Centuries Old. Having Mastered Writing Was Necessary, As The 282 Laws Were Shown All Over The Vast Empire

In Hammurabi laws, hitting one’s parents was punishable by death. Same for stealing (except if one was a plutocrat, of course; slavery was legal, although in many ways much less harsh than in the US in the nineteenth century.)

One needs the trinity of intelligence, power and goodness to impose morality. Absent any of the three elements of that trinity, mass immorality can, and will, blossom.

Examples abound in history. France is rich with them. For example, Louis XIV and Napoleon were neither smart nor good, so they were doubly immoral.

Louis destroyed the Protestants, which was particularly nasty, as his grandfather had made peace and a commonwealth with them; France lost millions, and found herself attacked from everywhere, including from the Netherlands and Britain, which used to be French, but were now full of angry protestants (many very intimately entangled with France).

Napoleon replaced the republics (for example in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, etc.) which the revolution had created, into monarchies owned by his family: how much more nasty can one be? One could make a nasty, very deadly war to re-establish slavery in Haiti, which the First French Republic had eradicated. All this was an abyss of stupidity: Napoleon sold half of the USA to the USA for pennies, and then got millions of young Frenchmen dying for his family on the battlefield… while claiming he was fighting for the Revolution.

Want stupid? Napoleon, that enslaving self-obsessed monster is still much admired, from San Francisco to Vladivostok. It’s not clear why.

Another one, much admired is Joan of Arc. Why not? She re-launched the 100 year civil war between Paris and London for another 400 years. That was fabulously nasty, demonically stupid… The day (the cult of) Joan of Arc is viewed as immoral, much progress will have been made.

In the 1930s. The French Republic was smart and right to oppose the Nazism, all the way to giving Hitler an ultimatum. However, the whole enterprise became much less moral, when the French generalissimo ordered to do what his subordinate had argued may be a trap. Hitler had attacked the Netherlands just to draw the French army there. The result was catastrophic, as the French army was cut from behind, and the Nazis were able to conquer Europe, all the way to Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and the Volga, while engaging in various holocausts, and inciting the Japanese allies to do the same. Out of that came the American hegemon we presently enjoy, complete with its technology monopolies doubling as spy networks.

And, of course, We The World enjoy Facebook morality. Facebook just censored French (state) TV for reproducing on its Facebook page a woman demonstration in… Chile. Hey, some of the ladies wore no bras, and Facebook always wear a bra.

Times they are changing though: the Obama administration is proposing to remove US generalissimo-president Andrew Jackson from the Twenty Dollar note. Jackson was no dummy, he was immensely powerful, and his nastiness was excellent for the expansion of the USA. And Jackson, in complete contrast with the corrupt Clintons, kept the banks in their place. Asked what he was the most proud of, Jackson said (in essence): to have kept the banks at bay. Quite a statement, as Jackson had doubled the area of the USA. (Nothing that Clintons’ admirers can understand at this point, though…)

The same remarks apply to Jefferson, or even Washington. Let alone Marcus Aurelius.

Nowadays, then the youth, even in the USA, understand that the criterions for morality have to be jacked up, so Jackson can go jack somewhere else.

All very good, of course. But Big Morality without Big Smarts will always backfired. It’s not very smart for the youth of the world to only go through the spy network, with its fine print which says that only American law applies (although a French Court just determined that was probably unlawful in France, since, actually, well, it obviously is).

No smarts, no morality. At least, at the civilizational level.

Patrice Ayme’

HERBIVORES KILL, Therefore They Thrive

March 23, 2016

Islamists kill dozens in Brussels, injuring more than 270, some horribly. As usual when bad people do bad things, people gather and sing John Lennon’s Imagine. A beautiful song I love, but the “Imagine” mentality will not snuff out the mentality of the Islamist State. Only the mentality of the Marseillaise will. As I will show here, in the light of recent science which I had fully predicted, evil is another way to look at intelligence. Or all too close to it.

Recent humanism has kept away from the Dark Side. It may as well have kept away from humanity, and bask in impotence. Ignoring evil, calling it psychopathological is an exception, a vain insult, to the deepest Occidental tradition (let alone to cannibalistic societies, which used to be ruled according to what we view now as evil principles). It’s true that, in normal circumstances, it is progress, to not eat one’s neighbor. However, it’s not progress when one starts from the principle that one’s neighbor could not possibly be a killer, on a matter of principle, and when one organizes society according to this sheep principle (that Nazis, or the Soviets, could not possibly be mass killers was a mass delusion of the 1930s which enabled the 1930s to unfold as they did). The sheep principle is exactly why there is mass murder and mass exodus in Syria: because the West’s leading powers did not exert the necessary evil in the appropriate fashion, in their neighborhood.

Our (cultural) ancestors the Romans, were deeply cynical about humanity: “Homo Homini Lupus” (Man is a wolf for man.) Or maybe that should have been: Lupus Lupis Homo (Wolf is a man for wolf). Roman games’ cruel period lasted at least seven centuries (after Christians took power, the circuses showed animal fighting, the human sacrificial element was removed).

Christianism, invented first by a Roman citizen, Saint Paul, has a very dark side. The cruelty, baseness, disobedience, desire for strife of the genus Homo starts from the beginning of the Bible: brother kills brother, exactly as in the (earlier) fratricide of Remus by Romulus (did the Roman story made all its way to Babylon, where the Bible was written? That’s highly plausible!)

Prairie Dogs’ Dark Side Makes Them Thrive

Prairie Dogs’ Dark Side Makes Them Thrive

[Signature strike: A white-tailed prairie dog kills one of the small ground squirrels that graze in prairie dog towns. John Hoogland.]

After the Christian decline and fall of civilization was over, and the Franco-Romans finally took control, ferocity got reinstituted: the Franks’ standard penalty for false coinage was death by slow boiling. The famous story of the Soisson vase was symbolic of the fact consul-king Clovis had the powers of Caesar, but did not feel it was wise to deploy as much magnanimity and “clementia”.

As Friedrich Nietzsche insisted, the Middle Ages was a tale of two moralities: that of the aristocracy on top, the ferocious mentality of the “blonde beast” (see the armories full of lions),  those of serfs, below, Christian, begging for forgiveness.

Machiavelli a bit, Hobbes, and even much more Sade, pointed out that nature was not behaving like the Virgin Mary (accusing the other guy, up in heavens). Nature is front, center, brutal, indifferent to cruelty, master of all. The lesson was not lost on revolutionaries, from those of 1792, to the countless revolutions which shook Europe in the next 150 years. Therefrom the ferocious “dictatorship of the proletariat” of Lenin.

My thesis on the Dark Side is, of course: horrendous. The Dark Side is as natural to intelligence as the management of the biosphere it is in charge of implementing.

Meaning? Intelligence is god. Intelligence does not just watch the world, it molds it. And it does not have to be human intelligence. All animals do it, even herbivores.

Did you ever wonder why social herbivores fight so viciously? The loser generally ends up weak, and isolated, soon to die. Not that the winner is much better off: it’s pretty weak. The broad picture is herbivores killing herbivores.

White-tailed prairie dogs — those stand-up, nose-wiggling cute chewers of grass — have just been revealed to be serial killers of baby ground squirrels.

It gets worse: serial killing is associated to better motherhood. The “strongest sign of successful white-tailed motherhood” is apparently repeat ground squirrel kills, researchers say.

Females who kill at least two ground squirrels raise three times more offspring during their lives than non-killer females do, says John Hoogland of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Frostburg. The “serial killers”, rarely nibble at the carcasses and aren’t getting much, if any, meat bonus. Prairie dogs and ground squirrels eat plants. So why all the killing? Lebensraum, the grabbing of natural resources: Prairie Dogs are little furry Nazis, and they are right in Prairiedoghood.

The  assassin supermoms may improve grazing in their territories by reducing competition from grass-snitching ground squirrels, Hoogland and Charles Brown of the University of Tulsa propose March 23 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. [J.L. Hoogland and C.R. Brown. Prairie dogs increase fitness by killing interspecific competitors. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Published online March 23, 2016. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0144.]

“This really caught me by surprise,” Hoogland says. “It’s also striking because it’s so subtle”. He had been watching prairie dogs in general for decades and the white-tailed prairie dogs in the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge for a year before he noticed an attack. A female “jumped on something, shook it, shook it hard, kept attacking — and then walked away,” he says. The encounter lasted just minutes. Hoogland rushed from his observation tower to the scene of the fight and, to his surprise, retrieved a dead baby ground squirrel.

Animals compete for resources. It’s actually why they have brains. This, naturally has ethological, thus moral, consequences.

A propensity for killing ground squirrels turned out to be the only factor (once factoring body mass, age and number of neighbors) which predicted a tendency toward lifetime success in raising lots of young. That capability, which biologists call “fitness”, is the most important parameter in analyzing how populations change and species evolve (it’s the core of raw “Darwinian evolution”).

I love John Lennon’s music and some of his ideas. I miss all what he would have said about the evil deployed during the last few decades. However, having a few nice ideas and even greater songs, do not a wisdom make. John Lennon’s lamentable death showed his philosophy was full of holes (and was in part due to this, his assassin claimed at the time: he had condemned Lennon to death for… hypocrisy).

Intelligence has a Dark Side; it’s intrinsic. Denying its existence is a pernicious addiction, which, paradoxically, leads to non-optimal outcomes, the greatest horrors. The failure of the left, in the West, during the last few decades, is directly attributable to forgetting this. We The People were manipulated into our own subjugation, because we became oblivious to the relationship between evil and intelligence.

Patrice Ayme’

VIOLENCE IS THE PRICE OF LOVE

January 22, 2016

We will try to show why, in species, VIOLENCE IS THE PRICE OF LOVE. Both are entangled, evolutionary speaking. As a species grow in its capacity to express love, so grows its capacity to defend that love, strongly, that is, violently. The relationship is mathematical.

Human beings arise from love: a baby without tender loving care, simply dies.

Some will inevitably argue, disingenuously, that the care does not always have to be “tender” and “loving”; let’s insist, however, that tender loving care for a baby is roughly the strongest instinct of human beings, precisely because, without it, the species would not exist. A vaguely normal human being, in a vaguely normal state, cannot resist the need to take care of a baby who needs care.

(That does not mean an enraged, or hateful human will not kill a baby; it means such an amount of lethal rage is unusual… otherwise the species would not exist. A more normal rage is to kill the parents, and keep the baby. It is of note that the Nazis deliberately killed, in the most atrocious circumstances I have been appraised of, in the entire history of humanity, very small children in World War Two. This fact, by itself, because it happened in most literate and intellectually exacting Germany is enough to cause considerable pause. But this is not the main axis of today’s essay.)

However the Dark Side of the mental force exists. All over intelligent species.

Love Is Strong With Parrots. Grab One, The Other One Will Fight.

Love Is Strong With Parrots. Grab One, The Other One Will Fight.

The Dark Side of the human mind causes pause: was it unavoidable that a species with a Dark Side became the most intelligent species on Earth? We will see that, indeed, it was bound to be the case. Where does this Dark Side comes from? How does it relate to Love? Does the Dark Side enable Love?

The obvious answer, which is not good enough, is that Homo is a carnivorous genus. Even some chimpanzee groups have been observed to adopt a systematically carnivorous diet (eating meat every day). In the case of humans, there is a further complication: chimp like humanoids need (some) trees. Without much trees around, our humanoid ancestors were easy to catch (differently from, say, bats, which are so hard to catch, they can live 40 years). To be safe away from trees, our ancestors had to instil terror in potential predators.

Once in Senegal, I saw a chimpanzee hanging from a tree barely bigger than he was. It was in an area with low bushes and a few miniature trees. The relative sizes of the humongous black and hairy chimp, and the tiny tree were strikingly disproportionate. So was the incredible rage of our fellow humanoid. Our mere presence seemed to have unhinged the universe. Mr. Chimp shook the tree so badly he nearly broke it, and then disappeared, bounding, shrieking, and howling, as if he were on a mission to go destroy the universe, somewhere, somewhat, out there. It was very impressive. The entire zone was full of lions. But no lion in his right mind would come anywhere near such an insane maniac.

That was the whole idea.

Baboons are omnivorous, like chimps, and that mean that, like chimps, they love meat. And the hunt. Moreover, chimps and leopards love to eat (smaller) baboons, and that only boost the baboons’ aggressive disposition. But the further twist with baboons is that, like humans, they (some of them) conquered the savannah.

All these primates have to be hyper aggressive to survive, so they are hyper aggressive.

Would they be less aggressive if they were NOT carnivorous? That’s unlikely: look at elephants: they are immensely intelligent, they know who they are: make a dot above their eyes, bring a mirror, and they inquire (few animals can do this). They have colossal memory, understand much human language, and can be tamed, directly from the wild. However, elephants can be extremely aggressive. Poachers use the elephants’ aggressive solidarity to kill them: kill one, and others come back, charging.

Are there non aggressive very intelligent species? It’s not clear that one can find a single example of a thoroughly pacific, highly intelligent species.

Walruses, who scratch food with their huge teeth at the bottom of the sea, can turn violent and hyper aggressive if they perceive, or imagine, a threat; walruses are used to fend off Polar Bears, and human hunters. Siberians know them as the “tigers of the sea”. They will charge a boat. Some whales are pretty pacific: typically they eat plankton. Hunters such as Humpbacks and Sperm Whales are something else.

In 1820, the whaleship Essex was deliberately charged twice, with extreme violence, by a huge bull Sperm Whale, and sunk in the middle of the Pacific. It is clear that the whale plotted the attack, and conducted it with extreme gusto. Another five cases of major boats sunk by whales are known. Specialists of whale neurology believe that the whale acted in protection or vengeance (at least one of its group had been harpooned earlier, although it counter-attacked and broke the line).

Sperm Whales have the largest brains on Earth. Those brains are more more complex – in certain ways – than those of humans (much of the brain process sound in an exquisite way, both for hunting with the sonar and for communications far, far away…). Their cerebral cortex is much more convoluted than the human cortex. Sperm whales are social creatures with strong bonds, staying in stable social groups, keeping constant companions throughout their lifespan. Webcams have shown they often dive all together, within a meter or so of each other (and they can be 25 meters long, like the one which sunk the Essex). Whalers of old used to harpoon a calf, keep it attached and alive, and then harpoon the adults who came to its rescue.

First Mate Chase survived the harrowing, 4,000 miles navigation across the sea, complete with drawing straws to find not just who was going to be eaten, but who was going to kill dinner (ironically enough, this cannibalism happened because the crew refused captain Pollard’s suggestion to sail to the Marquesas, from fear of… cannibals). Owen Chase recalled: “I turned around and saw him… directly ahead of us [nearly 2,000 feet, 550 meters, away], coming down with twice his ordinary speed… with ten-fold fury and vengeance in his aspect.

“The surf flew in all directions about him with the continual violent thrashing of his tail. His head about half out of the water, and in that way he came upon us, and again struck the ship.

“The ship brought up as suddenly and violently as if she had struck a rock and trembled for a few minutes like a leaf.”

Even parrots will attack to defend their mate. Approaching an island at sea, swimming and diving, I was attacked relentlessly by giant gulls (goelands). I have avoided the dangerous crossing to that island ever since.

As intelligence grows, so does love. And thus so does the necessity of defending said love. Ultimate defense means not just violence, as Israelis and Palestinians inflict on each other, but it means inflicting, and suffering, death.

Love cannot be separated from the Dark Side. Love causes the Dark Side, be it only as a defense. The Dark Side is the price of Love.

The preceding is an explanation, and an apology of violence, in some ultimate circumstances, but should not be construed as a pretext to institute or amplify violence, just because a philosopher justified it some time (and so did Christ and Muhammad). Just as there are many types of Christianism and Islamism there are many types of violence, and many “non-violent” religions and philosophies allow many sorts of violent reactions to mitigate a violence previously imposed on the innocent. (This is the obvious way in which to reinterpret violent Jihad.)

There is an even more devious, and therefore irresistible consideration to entertain: carnivores eat herbivores, thus have to outsmart them. Hence the violence meat eaters live by, is, by itself, a contributor to higher smarts. And indeed, except for elephants, animals with higher smarts are carnivorous (yes, even orangutans love meat). Therein a quandary. And a disturbing cosmic perspective.

The thin red line between heavens and hell seem to fluctuate in human hearts greatly from the nature of the physical law. It does not mean we have to hide our hearts in the sand, Quite the opposite.

If we want more goodness, the modern theory of evil, violence and intelligence tells us that we will have to think more of physics, not just psychology.

Meanwhile, please do not ask the extraterrestrials what they had for dinner. You may not like the answer.

Patrice Ayme’

Human Kind, Yet Evil Rule

October 17, 2015

Humanity Good, Institutions Bad? Not so simple. Evil Rule (Pluto-Cracy) is a fundamental consequence of human nature, amplified by civilization.

In “Human Kind“, 14th October 2015 George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 14th October 2015, suggests that:“Fascinating new lines of research suggest that we are good people, tolerating bad things.”

Sounds good. It’s very self-congratulatory: defining oneself as “on the left”, “liberal”, etc. has much to do with self-satisfaction about what a great human one is. I sent the following comment:

“Saying that “people are good, while tolerating bad things” is an ineffective morality. The crux, indeed, is the moral nature of institutions, controlled by a few, rather than whether humans are kind or not.”

That observation of mine was censored, as  all my comments to Monbiot in the Guardian are. Human kind? Thus Monbiot readers’ minds are kept safe from my dreadful influence (lest readers flee the Guardian, and starts reading my site?).

Cephalopods Are Highly Intelligent, But They Have No Cultural Intelligence., Thus Stay Mental Miniatures

Cephalopods Are Highly Intelligent, But They Have No Cultural Intelligence., Thus Stay Mental Miniatures

Meanwhile in the terror war occupation in Israel, in a few days, more than 40 young Palestinians got killed. One by one. Human kind? If something looking like a Palestinian moves, it gets shot. Some Jewish Israelis got actually shot because other Israelis thought they looked like the enemy (hey, they are all supposed to all be Semites! One very blonde beauty with very long hair who happened to be an Israeli soldier shot dead a Palestinian youth who may have pricked her: she is OK, don’t worry).

Cephalopods are surprisingly intelligent. They even use tools (the definition of Bergson of man as Homo Faber, Homo Artisan-Of-Hard-Materials is to be questioned). However, cephalopods experience short, brutish, asocial lives, and that boxes in their intelligence. This demonstrates that fully-dimensioned intelligence is social, and, in particular, cultural.

Superior intelligence is not just about the individual, it’s about the collective. Our biosphere, our part of the biosphere, is collectively intelligent (somewhat as in the movie Avatar).

Before I quote the interesting part of Monbiot’s article (which mainly quotes others), let me re-iterate my main thesis on altruism and love:

All advanced brain animals have to love, love enough to raise the young. To say love dominates, is saying we have brains grown with culture. It’s an important thing to say. And it explains the experiences Monbiot mentions.

Compare to the poignant fate of cephalopods, whose bright intelligence starts from scratch, with no culture, whatsoever. Cephalopod intelligence shines brightly, and quickly peters out, in a flurry of new born eggs.

So, the difference between us and squids is that we are adorned with philosophers, and other thinkers. The scorn Monbiot heaps on them is neither kind, nor wise, not to say arrogant, coming from someone with a simple journalist background (and it shows!).

A review article in the journal Frontiers in Psychology points out that our behaviour towards unrelated members of our species is “spectacularly unusual when compared to other animals”. While chimpanzees might share food with members of their own group, though usually only after being plagued by aggressive begging, they tend to react violently towards strangers. Chimpanzees, the authors note, behave more like the Homo economicus of neoliberal mythology than people do.”

That is not just a funny joke, but a deep observation, that traders are just enraged chimps. However, to view chimpanzee behavior as typical of other animals is erroneous. Chimpanzees are half-savannah animals. I saw one once in an area with small, very small, and sparse trees, and the first serious forest was weeks of travel away. Not surprisingly, he was acting fiercely and dangerously, in an area roamed by lion prides. Lions having a look at him, won’t try to come close: he shook an entire small tree he was hanging from, and swung away, with incredible power and speed, after flashing his four inches canines.

Thus Monbiot go off the deep end with chimpanzees. Here is a more balanced view: humans keep much in common with chimpanzees. They both descend from common ancestors (who may have been more Homo like than Chimp like: we don’t really know, however fossils, and logic, point in that direction).

Emotionally and socially, the psychology of chimps is very similar to humans,” says famous primatologist Frans de Waal at Emory University in Atlanta (a Dutch who started his famous observations in the Netherlands; universities in the USA have more money).

For instance, de Waal noted, chimps have shown they can help unrelated chimps and human strangers at personal cost without apparent expectation of personal gain, the sort of selfless behavior often naively claimed as unique to humans. They also display culture, with groups of chimpanzees socially passing on dozens of behaviors such as tool kits, and methods from generation to generation that are often very different from those seen in other groups. There are basically as many Chimpanzee cultures as chimpanzee tribes (and that’s thousands).

The big difference I see going for us is language,” de Waal said. “They can learn a few symbols in labs, but it’s not impressive in my opinion compared to what even a young child can do. They don’t really symbolize like we do, and language is a big difference that influences everything else that you do — how you communicate, basic social interactions, all these become far more complex.

Mathematics is, first of all, a language, remember.

The hyper aggressivity of Chimpanzees is related to their evolution: “They don’t like cooperating with strangers, that’s for sure,” de Waal said. Harvard biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham suggested this pattern of genetic (so to speak) violence may have been part of humanity’s legacy for millions of years. Yet, de Waal observed that based on what the canines of Ardipithecus suggest, “chimpanzees may be specialized in that regard [hyperviolence]. It’s only with the special recent human conditions of settlement and agriculture that gave us the incentive to worry about wealth, leading us to become warriors that way.”

This is close to my thesis: EVIL RULE (“Plutocracy”) was made possible by civilization. Before that it was just Demonic Males. Demonicity plus civilization = Evil Rule.

Compare de Waal’ subtlety with Monbiot’s imbalanced enthusiasm characteristic of the journalist he is:

“Humans, by contrast, are ultra-social: possessed of an enhanced capacity for empathy, an unparalleled sensitivity to the needs of others, a unique level of concern about their welfare and an ability to create moral norms that generalise and enforce these tendencies.

Such traits emerge so early in our lives that they appear to be innate. In other words, it seems that we have evolved to be this way. By the age of 14 months, children begin to help each other, for example by handing over objects another child can’t reach. By the time they are two, they start sharing things they value. By the age of three, they start to protest against other people’s violation of moral norms.”

Altruism is shown by nearly all advanced animals, because that’s how intelligence is grown. Thus, it’s not about material rewards. On board (so to speak) systems reward altruism intrinsically. Monbiot again:

“A fascinating paper in the journal Infancy reveals that reward has nothing to do with it. Three to five-year-olds are less likely to help someone a second time if they have been rewarded for doing it the first time. In other words, extrinsic rewards appear to undermine the intrinsic desire to help. (Parents, economists and government ministers, please note). The study also discovered that children of this age are more inclined to help people if they perceive them to be suffering, and that they want to see someone helped whether or not they do it themselves. This suggests that they are motivated by a genuine concern for other people’s welfare, rather than by a desire to look good. And it seems to be baked in.

Why? How would the hard logic of evolution produce such outcomes? This is the subject of heated debate.”

The heated debate is happening because the sort of view I defend (the view in Avatar, that of global intelligence, one could say) is progressing against the very reduced Survival-Of-The-Fittest approach.

The difference between us and squids is that we are adorned with philosophers, and the scorn journalist such as Monbiot heaps on them is neither kind, nor wise, not to say arrogant.

Humans are intrinsic scientists and philosophers, not just lovers and warriors. To try to say they are all one, and not the others misses the big picture.

The left, by insisting that humans are kind, underestimates the evil institutions are capable of. Institutions, although moral persons, in the legal sense, are not held back by human ethology in the behaviors they are capable of. (Nazism provided with plenty of example of that: even the very worst Nazis, including Himmler or Eichmann, found really hard to go all the way, and could do it, only by using institutional tricks, making institutions, Nazi institutions to force them to do what even them found too hard to do.)

Let’s not underestimate institutionalized evil. It has no bounds, whatsoever. Nazism, or Stalinism, were not about just a few very bad guys, they were about evil institutions, including a Prussianized army (in contrast to a human one). Let’s build human kind institutions that cannot not be commandeered by just a few (as our entire democracy-through-representatives regime gangrening the West, not to say the world, is).

Thus, to progress morally will mean to progress in the intelligence of the institutions we will set-up to rule over us. Hence moral progress will be a consequence, and only a consequence, of scientific and technological approfondissement (deepening).

Patrice Ayme’

Dying Of Laughter. Not Dying Of Fright

January 11, 2015

MORTS DE RIRE, PAS MORTS DE PEUR

Fanatics kill those who laugh. Their crime? They did not die of fright, first.

Huge demonstrations in France to protest the killing of famous humorists, authors, and even of an important progressive Bank of France economist (Maris). And also Jews, just because they were Jews, and police officers, just because they were police officers.

Four million people marched in  the streets to demonstrate their support for Freedom of Expression, and the LAIC Republic (with more than 80% approval rating). Forty-seven heads of states and governments joined, including Merkel, British PM Cameron (his first demonstration, ever), and all the important politicians in Europe.

The Marseillaise was sung, again and again, for Charlie Hebdo humorists, some of the fiercest anti-nationalists, ever.

"Je Suis Charlie" Demonstration in Nice

“Je Suis Charlie” Demonstration in Nice

The bells of Notre Dame rang for some of the most Atheist and Pagan thinkers, ever. This is perfectly appropriate: after all, the philosopher Pierre Abélard taught at the Cathedral which stood where Notre Dame now is. Abélard exposed the contradictions of theology, publishing the “Sic Et Non”, the “Yes And No” in 1121 CE. Abélard founded general semantics, among others things, and was famous throughout Europe for his songs.

The attack against Charlie Hebdo was the most severe such attack ever since Francia was founded by the Franks, more than 15 centuries ago. A fact that is striking and true: even the Nazis did not stoop that low (instead they affected a respect for French culture, and that’s how Sartre and company got started).

The Franks clamped down on ”Orthodox Catholic” Christianism, which had devastated the Roman State they were then in charge of saving. The Franks re-established the laic state that ruled before the Emperor Cult and the associated Christian State emperors imposed.

The Franks created their own bishops, and their own saints. This is well documented in bishop Gregory of Tours’ “History of the Franks”. Gregorius was leading prelate of Gaul (Gallia). The Christians fanatics, led by the Pope, would brandish death threats for generations. Ultimately they had to come on their knees, and beg the Franks to chase the Lombards (Long Beards) from Italy. That was 300 years after Clovis imposed a tolerant, laic Christianism.

Laic Christianism? Yes. Actually laic versions of Islam, especially Sufi (such as the one centered on Senegal) already exist. They have been submerged by fanatical version promoted by Saudi Arabia plutocrats, in the last few decades.

France became the “Eldest Daughter” of the senile, murderous Christian Church that had ravaged the Roman mind, Romanitas. So doing, Francia rebuilt Christianism.

(Three centuries after Clovis, Charlemagne attributed land to the Papacy, creating the so-called Papal States; it was well understood that the Pope took his orders from the “Renovated” Roman Empire).

Laicity translates the French laïcité, from Late Latin laicus + French -ité –ity. “Laicus” comes from the Greek “laikos”, meaning, of the people. I am not going to dissert on this now, but “Laikos” stands for “Human Ethology” (to describe it in the contemporary scientific semantics). Our common humanity, in other words.

When an ideology tries to devastate human ethology, Laicity, it should be repressed. Repression is civilization.

Indomitable Spirit, Crushing Infamy

Indomitable Spirit, Crushing Infamy

France has lost many battle, but is winning the war. This is exactly why Al Qaeda targeted her at her heart, Freedom of Expression. “Frank” means “Free”. The Franks gave their name to the Roman “Francia” they led.

Even the New York Times, in an excellent article by Douthat recognizes that “France is the Crucible of Europe”: “notwithstanding these declinist fears, France isn’t actually irrelevant or spent. Instead, it’s arguably becoming more important, more central to the fate of Europe and the West.

… politically, culturally, even intellectually, events in France over the next half-century could matter more than at any point since before the two world wars. Indeed, more than Germany or Greece or Britain or any other actor, it’s in France that the fate of 21st-century Europe could ultimately be decided…”

Why and How Did France Become So Central To Civilization?

Present day France, at the crossroads of the three main trade routes of Europe, has been continually at war for millennia, and whoever happen to reside there lost many battles. However this central position has fostered tolerance and understanding. Already 16 centuries ago, Celto-Germans, Romans, Jews, Franks, Goths and Burgunds had built a melting pot: many languages were spoken (three Celtic languages, Latin, Frankish, and various Germanic languages), and many religions were practiced (Francia did not have.

By 600 CE all citizens of what is now most of France, Germany and surrounding lands had become “Franks” (following the Constitutio Antoniniana of 212 CE).

The Franks, attached to freedom, as all Germans, outlawed slavery over all of Europe… Except in the part of Iberia the Islamists controlled. After the Franks invaded Britain in 1066 CE, not only did they outlaw slavery, but the franks established the basis of a more democratic state.

This made France a natural place for Protestantism: Cathars and Protestants appeared there, centuries before Luther. And for the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment brought not only the republic of the United States of America (with a 5 trillion dollars world war to defeat Britain and give birth to the USA), but also the French Constitution of 1789, which proclaimed all men equal and gave them equal rights, independently of property, race, ethnicity, religion.

The Revolution of 1789 gave rise to the United Nations’ Charter, the very core of today’s civilization. 1789 also gave rise to the present European Union. France originated, and is the natural soul of both enterprises (and not just of the USA).

Let’s go back to Douhat (who embraced several themes I embraced for a decade):

“Then amid these political and economic patterns there’s an important intellectual possibility — namely, that if there’s something beyond the West’s current end-of-history torpor, some new ideological conflict or synthesis, it might emerge first in the place where so many revolutions had their birth.

France has always been a country of extremes — absolutist and republican, Catholic and anticlerical, Communist and fascist. Now it’s once again the place where strong forces are colliding, and where the culture’s uncertainties — about Islam, secularism, nationalism, Europe; about modernity itself — suggest that new ones might soon be born.

The decline has been real, but the future is unwritten. If there is real history yet to be made in Europe, for good or ill, it might be made first in la belle France.”

Not just Europe, the world.

Far from being struck by blind awe, evoking France, and its intellectuals. Actually the devastating notion of “multiculturalism” was born there. Some secondary French intellectuals breathed heavily on the United Nations, in a dumb tradition Rousseau inaugurated, to suggest that any culture, as long as it was different was glorious and to be allowed free reign.

This was Rousseau’s grave error, and it’s not at all what the history of Western Europe suggests. Far from it.

It is the Franks who grabbed and brandished the word “Europe”, when the Islamists launched three furious, massive land and sea invasions of Francia, in the period 721 CE-749 CE. They failed, their armies were totally destroyed, the Arab Caliphate fell (750 CE).

The history of Europe is the history of the progression of ever better ideas (and the annihilation of very bad ones). The Romans outlawed any religions founded on human sacrifices, and tried to make work a universal republic (their failure was due to a global fiscal failure, allowing the rise of plutocracy; so the problem is very contemporary). The Franks threw out religious fanaticism, and outlawed slavery.

None of this would have happened without creative brainwork. Those who don’t understand satire, don’t understand creative thinking. Satire is an old Greco-Roman tradition: consider the Satyricon (Book of Satyr-like thinking”; or consider satire from Horace, Juvenal, Apuleius…). Dionysian thinking and practice was all about satyrs, and satire (Nietzsche recognized its use around 1870, but Dante, Rabelais, Erasmus, Voltaire, etc. are all about it).

France is the country of intellectual extremes because it is the country of debate: one cannot debate persons who are in full agreement. Many French, when launched in a conversation, love to start their sentences with :”Non!”. It’s not that they dislike their interlocutor, but they need to stand, and be opposed (they will often defend the opposite point of view in the next debate).

And that is why Al Qaeda targeted the core of what makes debate possible, Freedom of Expression. Satire, and especially blasphemy, is not just a right super intelligence has. It is not just a duty.

Satire and blasphemy is how super intelligence is born. Imitations never qualified.

Patrice Ayme’

Vignettes on the massacre: 1) One the heavily armed thugs took over a Jewish supermarket, on the ground that all Jews should die (that’s more or less implied in the Qur’an, and certainly very explicit in the Haddith: I will roll out the quotes in another essay). The terrorists commandeered one of the cashiers to close the iron curtain. A 21 young Tunisian grabbed the terrorist’s machine gun, armed, aimed, and pulled the trigger. But the gun jammed, and the murderer tore him apart with his AK47 (the terrorist had already killed a “black” policewoman, shooting her in the back, and grievously wounded other people, the day before).

2) An African immigrant introduced many shoppers in the congelation room  of the Jewish supermarket, told them to stay silent, locked the door, and cut the power. They were not detected by the terrorist, and all saved. The African succeeded to flee, and informed the police.

3) Some hostages informed the police through Smart Phones. After a hostage told the police that the terrorist was making his prayers, the RAID force decided to attack immediately. After a furious exchange of gunfire, the madman charged the officers, and was riddled with bullets, so that he could not activate explosives. Casualties: 4 officers were lightly wounded, terrorist killed, no hostage hurt (those killed had been killed by the terrorist earlier).


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