Weekend Brain

November 16, 2012

Clear and chilly this early Friday morning on California’s northern coast — nice now but we’re supposed to have about a week’s worth of rain starting sometime today.
Weather is part of our living environment, just as is this laptop, but way more violent (as long as you stay off Fox News).

As we way-quickly approach the gift of the weekend, ease-of-life is the source of mankind’s problems.
And we peaked brain-use-wise a shitload of time ago: “A hunter-gatherer who did not correctly conceive a solution to providing food or shelter probably died, along with his or her progeny, whereas a modern Wall Street executive that made a similar conceptual mistake would receive a substantial bonus and be a more attractive mate,” Professor Crabtree says.
Yes, that Crabtree.

Not only are we physically f*ucked, but we’re on a deep slide toward being more stupid.

(Illustration found here).

A geneticist by trade, Prof. Crabtree offers that an easy-life we humans have since gathering in big cities and all these so-called technological advances has stopped/and/or slowed the immense capacity of the human brain to learn new tricks…
And there ain’t no goin’ back:

Although we are now surrounded by the technological and medical benefits of a scientific revolution, these have masked an underlying decline in brain power which is set to continue into the future leading to the ultimate dumbing-down of the human species, Professor Crabtree said.
His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans.
Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.
“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important issues,” Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics.
“Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues.
I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2,000 to 6,000 years ago,” Professor Crabtree says.

One only has to look at the nowadays to see we humans have indeed shit in our mess kit.

However, the muddled human brain has a bigger question of itself — what do we perceive when he supposedly perceive something?
From HuffPost and the tortured logic of information theory:

In light of all this, it’s hard to escape the inventor Ray Kurzweil’s conclusion: “We don’t actually see things [at all]; we hallucinate them in detail from low-resolution cues.”
As Beau Lotto explains in his presentation, we’re hallucinating reality all the time — but we only take notice when our hallucinations fail to make accurate predictions; when we think we’re certain of something that’s actually not so certain, and our brains have to hunt down new information in order to make better predictions.
Claude Shannon once said, “Information is the resolution of uncertainty.”
The more certain we are in our hallucinations, the less information we think we need — and the less open to new information we become.
Beau Lotto finishes his talk on a similar note.
“Only through uncertainty,” he says, “is there potential for understanding.”

The understanding of what?
In these most-crazed of times, we’re enduring the run-up to the most-catastrophic events our fragile, decaying brain can muster, from climate change to wars all the time everywhere.
In the olden words of the late-fab John Lennon:

“I’m almost scared to go to England, ’coz
I know it would be the
Last time I saw Mimi—
I’m a coward about
Goodbyes …

Have a good year
Keep healthy
John
Love from Sean & Yoko xx”

Weekend next week, or maybe the week after — whatever.

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