Human Cognition 101

Ad-hoc explanations out of the air

We publish the parts of a bigger article which is being in elaboration now. As everything else posted at M&M, this text is going to consider several absolutely non-related issues, the only common point of which is human consciousness. Maximus&Magnus           

Tradition

“Gammel vane er vond å vende” [1] 

Norwegian proverb

One always hears about how valuable tradition is, but how detrimental it can be is often forgotten. If something has been thought about – and maybe also taught about! – a particular way for years and even generations, how difficult is it not to think about it differently! Not only must one’s own habit be combated, but a certain way of doing things is often accompanied by a belief that this is how it should be done. And beliefs are not something we easily trade… Continue reading

Advertisements

The Highest Payoff

Evolution follows a very simple rule: genes live on only if passed on. Clearly then, the organisms that prevail in nature are those who are able to pass on their genes; those that are best able to protect themselves and their offspring. Since all the creatures are the result of such a harsh process, they are adapted to serve themselves – or, rather, their genes. This is interpreted as meaning that we measure the payoff of actions in promoting oneself and one’s position. And, as much is true, we always try to maximize the payoff of something. But, from a simple rule one can get a complex system. Continue reading

Evolution, Religion and Society

Recently I started to read the book “Natural Justice” by Ken Binmore, and in his introductory chapter he talks about the evolutionary basis for morality. For his part this is meant only as an introduction of sorts, and therefore the exposition is shortened and simplified, and so it would be unfair to criticise it too harshly for avoiding some issues. But, it did get me to think about some common presentations and arguments from evolution that I feel are too much of a simplification – especially if the goal is to make ethical and political claims based on human nature. I will in this article raise some general questions considering how one argues from and presents evolution, and in particular I will present important concerns about the focus on religious beliefs, that is beliefs containing deities or the divine, by certain atheistic groups. Continue reading

Encouragement and Punishment: Behaviour Syndrome

Usual system of early education, based on encouragement and punishment, affects mainly the animal nature of human, but every action is doomed to have a counteraction. And our animal nature, which has since the childhood become a main part of our social life, produces in the future such anomalies as fear, feeling of vanity and inferiority, and all the psychoanalytical complexes according to the list. In Japan children were traditionally allowed to do anything at all until the age of 6-7 – probably that is the reason why prewar Japanese culture has conquered one of the biggest animal fears of all – the fear of death.

Continue reading