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Article :: Human Nature

6. The Attributes of Man


6. The Attributes of Man

Mankind is a member of the animal kingdom (if you do not accept this, return this book for a refund, you are immune to obvious fact and conclusions) with added capabilities making us a unique form of life on earth. Individual man shares the compelling need to survive and procreate with all other living things. In addition, mankind possesses intelligence, the ability to choose, the ability to communicate, the ability to cooperate and the ability to make tools.

Communication and cooperation are social attributes of man. These key survival skills can only be realized in a social setting, in the presence of other men. Thus, the whole of mankind is greater than the sum of the parts, by virtue of the fact that additional possibilities are enabled by individual people associating with others.

6.1 Intelligence:

  • "The ability to objectively observe facts and discover true relationships (knowledge) between facts allowing informed choice."

Intelligence enables the accurate prediction of consequence from action, allowing informed choice to be made, thus controlling consequence, guided by goals and the facts. It should be pointed out that those who are able to intellectually understand and explain but do not align their actions with intelligent choice are not, by this definition, intelligent. Intelligence requires both the ability to objectively discern and willingness to act, since there is no consequence without action. This is the meaning of the phrase "Actions speak louder than words."

The basic operation of intelligence is described in Section XX, "Feedback Model of Intelligent Choice".

Words are just noise that may be lies. Action is the only thing we can observe and thus know is true of our fellow man. Any opinion of their inner workings must be speculative until enough actions have been observed to form a hypothesis of their nature. Once this hypothesis is formulated, we still cannot call it truth, since it was formed under the limited number of conditions (environments) we were able to observe. The best we can do is to assign a probability to any prediction we may care to make about any particular individual or group. If they are intelligent, one thing that is certain is that all of their choices will be consistent with personal survival and meeting their goals. This is true both of individuals and groups of individuals.

The ability to predict is knowledge. Knowledge is the proven relationship between action and consequence in an environment. Since action must precede consequence and action is a choice, knowledge allows the prediction of consequence for various possible choices.

Thus, if knowledge is available of the skills, degree of intelligence, goals and environment of any individual or group, it is possible to make high probability predictions of the choices they will make in the areas of their goal seeking and survival.

If the perceived facts and environment of any intelligent individual or group are controlled it is therefore possible to control the choices they make in the area of their goals and survival with a high degree of probability. Thus, it is possible to control mankind using false knowledge, perceptions and control of his environment. Mankind can be (and has been throughout all of history) tricked into making incorrect choices.

It is a good assumption that every single reader has also been tricked into incorrect choice, at least once.

6.2 Ability to Choose

  • "The selection and performance of one or more actions from among the possible alternatives."

The environment of any individual or group has constraints imposed by the facts and natural law. We cannot choose to defy gravity and float. We cannot put ourselves into debt without consequence. What we can do is use our intelligence to consider the facts and constraints of our environment to decide what choice is best from among the alternatives. We can then choose to act or not act.

If you are in an environment that has survival threatening consequences (might be a bluff) for some choices, such as defying authority, you can still choose to display courage and make choices other than those demanded. The point is, apart from being unable to float because of gravity and other physical considerations; there are absolutely no constraints on the choices that can be made if you are willing to accept the consequences. This means that mankind is inherently free, bound only by natural law.

Given the fact that no one can read your mind, no one can anticipate your actions if you are willing to risk consequences that are assumed to be unacceptable. By definition, the unpredictable cannot be predicted.

This is a very large hint that it is possible to individually fight social engineering by considering the direction they are trying to force you in and choosing to take a different course. Social engineers have a very large weakness by claiming to be working for social good. This limits their ability to directly counter your actions using force. Their bluff can be called, if you keep within the bounds of true law.

6.3 Perception

  • "The processing of raw information to fit into a one´s conceptual view of reality."

The world around us contains a great deal of information that is not accessible to our senses, which have limited abilities. There are sounds we are unable to hear, sights we cannot see, smells we cannot smell, things we cannot feel. Mankind has greatly extended the range of sensual perception with tools such as microscopes. This provides more raw information.

Information is overwhelming to the point of uselessness until it is preprocessed to extract the facts it contains. The human eye, optic nerve and visual cortex do a great deal of information compression and extraction of relevant vision characteristics before we consciously become aware that we are looking at a green and red thing. We do further processing and access of memory before we decide we are looking at a rose. We store the fact in memory; we saw a rose at a certain place and time which looked like this. Memory of unimportant facts such as this are fairly accurate, but of limited duration.

However, if you are a woman who has been brutally raped in the past and see a man behind you on a dark, lonely street, your interpretation and memory of this fact may not be so objective. Even if nothing happens, the mistrust and fear of men learned in the past would likely result in storing a memory of your terror and narrow escape, rather than the objective fact of "man at night". Your past experience has altered your information processing by associating a previous bad memory of one man, resulting in the acceptance of inaccurate information. Your perceptual bias interfered with your ability to see this event clearly. The actions of one violent man have caused you to fear all men. You have become prejudiced and fearful of making some choices, a severe loss of freedom. This is not something that you can be blamed for and pity does not help. To change it, you must find the courage to not reject all men, to give some man enough benefit of a doubt to allow him to earn your trust to overcome this life-crippling experience.

Differences of perception result in difference of points of view or interpretation of facts or subjective reality between individuals. Comparing perceptions to arrive at common truth is required to acquire objective facts and knowledge.

6.4 Habits

  • "A set of choices learned in the past from considering a similar environment and set of facts. An automatic, previously learned response."

Life is a very busy place; time and energy are scarce commodities. As a consequence, these resources must be conserved and used efficiently. One of the greatest strengths of intelligence is our pattern-matching ability. When we are confronted with a situation matching one we have already learned to deal with, normally we automatically respond out of habit. For example, go to the refrigerator during commercials.

Sometimes, the situation is not exactly the same and our habitual response may be inappropriate, resulting in poor choice. For instance, trust may have been earned in the past and an unusual request granted, based on trust. Trust is a habit which may be used to our detriment. This is the reason that trust is so hard to achieve and so easy to lose.

Habits also explain the astounding learning ability of infants and young children. They have no habits or preconceptions interfering with their discerning of fact and knowledge. As we\ grow older, habits accumulate, interfering with our ability to observe and learn in an unbiased manner.

As with intelligence, if you know someone´s habitual response, this ability to predict may be used against them.

6.5 Memory

  • "The ability to store and recall facts, knowledge, events, experience, perceptions, emotions or information in general."

Memory is a crucial requirement of intelligence since most relationships between facts happen over time; past events must be remembered in order to understand the temporal relationship between facts. In addition, previously acquired knowledge must be remembered in order to be intelligent.

Information is filtered by our senses and preprocessed and categorized in terms of our understanding of reality prior to storage in our brains. This means that memory may not be objective knowledge or completely accurate unless objectively understood prior to storage. External memory such as books and notes can guard against this.

Since intelligence is the processing of facts to determine true relationships, the more objective facts and knowledge that are accessible to a thinker, the more probable that further knowledge will be discovered and correct choices made.

6.6 Emotions

  • "A heightened state of perceptual bias triggered by an overall summary of state of being."

The emotional state of an individual is the sum, perhaps reinforced by hormones, of all conscious and subconscious perceptions and environmental factors at a given moment.

Fear is an emotion. It may be triggered by walking alone past a cemetery late at night. Even in the absence of any sensed danger such as seeing a ghoul, cultural influences such as horror movies will trigger the learned habit of fear. The objective elements of your mind will tell you this is nonsense. You will still look over your shoulder and avoid shadows, just in case. All of your senses and entire intellectual state of being are biased to a heightened state of awareness, prepared for fight or flight.

Happiness is an emotion that tells you all is well, you are safe and secure and the environment contains no immediate threats. You will be biased to drop your guard and enjoy this state.

There are many who profit by the claim (and we are enslaved by this assumption) that man is a conflicted and faulty creature, at perpetual internal war between his irrational emotions and rational intellect and thus must be forcefully organized. I reject this false claim entirely. There are individuals who are emotionally confused which is a product of factual, intellectual and perceptual confusion.

This is a chicken and egg argument. Those who claim that emotions are in charge, controlling intellectual response assume this. I assume the opposite. My claim assumes that man is designed correctly and intellectual control is the best design choice for survival, which requires a correct intellectual choice in response to facts. The counter claim assumes that man is designed in a faulty manner, leading to incorrect survival choices. If true, we would have been extinct long ago as opposed to risking it now. You choose.

Since emotional response is a product of perception, habit and environment, knowledge of an individual´s or group´s habitual emotional response coupled with ability to control the environment and perceptions allows emotional response to be controlled.

Fear has been the dominant method used for social control of individuals and groups throughout history. Courage and using your intelligence is the antidote.

6.7 Communication

  • "The ability, using agreed symbology to give and receive information to/from others"

This is a social capability of man, applicable only in a group setting. Communication allows the sharing of fact, opinion and knowledge among men. Theoretically, this implies a group of men could be as intelligent as the most intelligent member. In practice, this is rarely true. The most intelligent, like everyone else seeks personal advantage and a full sharing of knowledge is thus unlikely. Also, the most intelligent may not be accepted by the group as a leadership candidate since intelligence in a leadership position has the unpopular characteristic of interfering withn immediate gratification on the part of the group at the expense of future survival. This is for the simple reason that intelligent people can predict the future, long term consequences of choice. This means that an intelligently managed life or civilization is a balance between immediate and future needs. The short term perspective of politicians, coupled with a complete lack of rights or consideration for the unborn is a major negative factor in current social, economic and environmental trends.

Even before discredited socialism achieved power, intelligent people predicted that the long term effects of uncontrolled political power, diminishing human motivation and work ethic must result in social and economic collapse. Corrupt leaders of the time saw this as a way to manipulate misguided fools to achieve temporary power at the expense of future survival. Millions died of starvation or were massacred in the implementation and reign of socialism. The entire former Soviet Union peoples will be paying the cost of this folly and crime against civilization for a very long time.

Just so we in the west do not feel superior, we are just as manipulated and will be paying for the consequences of socialism, the fraudulent "War on Terror" and centuries of third world exploitation and manipulation for a very long time, assuming the consequence is not extinction.

6.8 Cooperation

  • "The choice of an individual or group to work with others in pursuit of a common goal".

Man has the ability to participate with others in seeking some larger goal that may or may not be voluntary. Voluntary cooperation is achieved if the individual or group perceives some advantage in participation. Involuntary cooperation may be achieved by placing the individual or group under threat of negative consequences should they choose not to cooperate. In all cases, the choice to cooperate or not is an individual choice, that can be freely made either way if one is willing to accept the consequences.

Note that cooperation under duress will not engage the full and willing usage of the abilities of the individual in pursuit of goals not of their choosing. They will spend personal resources (and cost you resources futilely attempting to control them) trying to get out of this unfortunate situation. To achieve the best results in cooperative ventures, the participants must have the perception that it in their interest to participate. It is cheapest to lie and manipulate them with false promises into doing your bidding. It will take them time to discover this, during which you can profit. Intelligent overseers have a never ending sequence of backup lies, fully formed and ready when their last lie is refuted. For example, "the war on terror" sprang up fully formed after "defeat the evil empire (USSR) and socialism" was refuted by the stunning and inevitable implosion of the Former Soviet Union. Remember the "peace dividend" we were all expecting? Don't hold your breath.

Unfortunately, a "peace dividend" is a loss for those who profit from (and thus create) conflict. The "War on Terror", if we survive it and hierarchical states exercising compulsive force are still allowed to exist will inevitably be followed by the false pretext we must all be slaves to pay for the consequences.

Because of man´s ability to choose, slavery does not work. Slaves are able to reduce their work output to the point that it costs more to care for them than can be extracted. The Romans solved this problem by allowing their slaves to earn freedom and citizenship.

6.9 Toolmaking

  • Since man has the ability to discover knowledge (relationship between action and consequence allowing prediction) and manual dexterity allowing the working of materials, man is able to use these skills in the creation of tools. A tool is knowledge instantiated in physical matter.

Using knowledge that a bent piece of wood stores energy and sharp objects pierce; man is able to create the bow and arrow. The action of placing the arrow and making the bow taut results in the consequence that the arrow flies when released. Seeking further knowledge of why the arrow does not fly straight results in refinements.

An unfortunate consequence of tools is that, since they encapsulate knowledge which the user does not need (or usually want) to know and knowledge is power, tools give power to those who may not be competent to exercise them wisely. In particular, our declining freedom is a direct consequence of the balance of power between individuals and organizations being altered in favor of those who control technology. Personally, I am beginning to regret some of my past contributions to information technology, just as the scientists who created nuclear weapons were no longer able to live guilt-free lives after these weopons were unwisely used on populations as opposed to a warning demonstration which would have achieved the same results.

Given the power of tools, scientific progress (assuming we don´t make ourselves extinct) is a genie that cannot be put back in the bottle. The answer is not to ban tools but to acknowledge that, as inanimate objects, tools are morally neutral and can be used for good or evil. It is the actions of those who choose to use tools, such as guns for harm that should be addressed as opposed to banning the thing.

<< 5. Precise Definitions of Key Terms 7. Understanding Intelligent Choice >>
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