Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Curriculum


Bias: The Duality of the Brain, The Way We Think (Bias and Irrational Thinking), Herd Mentality, Self-Importance
Development and Conditioning: Habit and Addiction, Indoctrination and Belief Systems, Media, Family vs Peers
Drives: Status, Ego, Pursuit of Happiness, Love and Relationships
Emotions: Natural Empathy, Apathy/Emotionlessness (afraid to have emotions/protect yourself emotionally), Valuing the Histrionics/Outgoing, Selfish Valuation of the Universe (includes Ancestor-Worshiping)
Needs/Lifestyle: Fulfillment, Need for Sleep, Nutrition and Diets, Money Management and Investing, Climate
For a glimpse at the above material, please visit MoralityCourse.com’s Part One: Human Nature.

What is Human Nature?

Human nature is one of those things that everybody talks about but no one can define precisely. Every time we fall in love, fight with our spouse, get upset about the influx of immigrants into our country, or go to church, we are, in part, behaving as a human animal with our own unique evolved nature—human nature.
This means two things. First, our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are produced not only by our individual experiences and environment in our own lifetime but also by what happened to our ancestors millions of years ago. Second, our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are shared, to a large extent, by all men or women, despite seemingly large cultural differences.
Human behavior is a product both of our innate human nature and of our individual experience and environment. Most social scientists explain human behavior as if evolution stops at the neck and as if our behavior is a product almost entirely of environment and socialization. In contrast, evolutionary psychologists see human nature as a collection of psychological adaptations that often operate beneath conscious thinking to solve problems of survival and reproduction by predisposing us to think or feel in certain ways. Our preference for sweets and fats is an evolved psychological mechanism. We do not consciously choose to like sweets and fats; they just taste good to us.

General Solution to Bettering the World: Game Theory

Quoted from War and Peace and War by Peter Turchin

“Game theory shows us that punishing free loading and other poor behavior is more important to society than personal gain. Explanation: Research shows there are three main types of people – knaves who are always self interested, saints who are always giving (forgo self-interests to benefit the group), and moralists who try to make everyone better off (balance self-interests and the group’s). Societies are better off with more saints than knaves, however, knaves get double benefits in groups with more saints. Thankfully the biggest group, on average, is not knaves, but is moralists and the punishment of free riders (knaves) is the key to keeping moralists cooperative. With knaves being punished, moralists are discouraged from acting like knaves, and the exposure of the knaves’ reputations will likely lead to longer term cost to the knaves.”
PT continues: There is a very subtle but important additional benefit that religion brings to groups. Usually inequality plays a big role in reducing harmony in a group, as mentioned. The effect is far less where the group shares a common religion. It often “does away with jealousy and envy.”
Repeated conflict also helps cohesion. As PT points out, where conflict subsides, there is a greater likelihood that individual groups start to form and break away, probably because they no longer rely heavily on the overall group for protection.

Also, a study by Colin Camerer concluded that people across the world share a set of common social preferences: they care deeply about fairness (and reciprocity) and will reward those who are pro social and punish those (often at a cost to themselves) who are anti social.

Supporters of “Human Nature”-driven Policy

The head of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in the UK), Matthew Taylor, has urged that we look to neuroscience to guide social policy and move on from the old ideologies of right and left to the right and the left hemispheres of the brain. The evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson has argued that we should “connect the world of evolutionary science with that of public policy formation”. Professors Semir Zeki and Oliver Goodenough anticipate a “millennial future, perhaps only decades away” when “a good knowledge of the brain’s system of justice and of how the brain reacts to conflicts may provide critical tools in resolving international political and economic conflicts”.
Source: New Statesman – A mind of one’s own