TED Conversations

Casey Christofaris

Owner, CS3 Inc


This conversation is closed.

Is evolution/religion/everything a self fulfilling prophecy?

What separates us from the rest of species? Recognition of self right? Some will want to argue that there are other species that can recognize self. But then you need to ask well do they recognize self do to our experiments and what we have defined as self recognition or is it innately in them? So is it that we recognize self because of them through evolution or do they recognize self do to us? A bird called the magpie is self aware using the mirror test. It’s easy now to look in a mirror and say yep that’s me, but it’s a million times harder to say that this is just a visual representation of trillions of moving, living, self-replicating entities.

This is the principles that I would like to use in defining self fulfilling prophecy:
Robert Merton's concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy stems from the Thomas theorem, which states that "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."[2] According to Thomas, people react not only to the situations they are in, but also, and often primarily, to the way they perceive the situations and to the meaning they assign to these perceptions. This causes people to have negative viewpoints. Therefore, their behavior is determined in part by their perception and the meaning they ascribe to the situations they are in, rather than by the situations themselves. Once people convince themselves that a situation really has a certain meaning, regardless of whether it actually does, they will take very real actions in consequence.

So we are just a bunch of self replicating entities that have evolved in to a self recognizing being. Will history keep repeating its "self"?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 8 2012: "This statement is true."
    (Even if it's false). It's a statement of absolute truth. It's self-consistent.
    "This statement is a lie." - this is a statement of an absolute lie. The statement lies about itself. It's contradicts itself.

    References to self are always fascinating. Want to say something "wise"? Say something circular:
    "Good judgment comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgment."
    "Say what you think, think what you say."
    "Do what you love. Love what you do."
    "Those who know don't tell. Those who tell don't know."
    "Do unto others what you would have them do to you."

    Want to say something funny? Say something circular:
    "Why do we have noses that run and feet that smell?"
    "Why do we drive in parkways and park in driveways?"

    Want to reveal the core of the controversy, reveal a lie or a hypocrisy? Apply a statement to the speaker or to itself:
    "Protect the rights of the unborn women."

    I do believe that cycles and circularity are at the core of our existence. If we don't see a cycle, most likely, we are not looking at the whole. How do these cycles start? They start from self.

    Free will (omnipotence) is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Determinism (omniscience) is a self-fulfilling prophecy. They seem to be mutually exclusive, but I think, they are one and the same.

    Great question.
    • thumb
      Nov 8 2012: Good day Arkady,

      Yes, one can not exist with out the other. It can be seen as cause and effect. Or balance......ect. Light can not exist without dark, and dark can not exist with out light.


      You can not know joy without knowing pain. But does not mean you need to live in pain.
      • thumb
        Nov 8 2012: Re: "...dark can not exist with out light..."

        What do you mean? Dark can ONLY exist without light. When there is light, it's not dark...

        Perhaps, even better way to say it that "there is no dark" or "dark does not exist". Just like "non-existence" does not exist. Existence IS a "self-fulfilling prophecy", if you want to put it that way :-).

        "The road up and the road down is one and the same road" -- Heraclitus

        The road is the only thing that exists. "Up" or "down" (direction) exist only in our head. The road itself goes both ways.
        • thumb
          Nov 8 2012: If there was never light, and only dark, one could not gain a perspective of other all would be the same... and thats what needs to exist for one to exist. Is the other.

          Non-existence and existence, one can not exist without the other. Right so to understand the concept of one you also need to understand the concept of the other. So since everything is of the mind. I will define non-existence as everything before the recognition of self.

          So it not like the universe could not think (actually I am pretty sure I know how the universe has stored and used memory since the beginning of time) before much like how a slime mold can "think" but it wasn't until "man" that as beings we were able to self reflect. Which essentially created existence, for everything is of the mind

          Let me know if that doesn't make sense
      • thumb
        Nov 8 2012: I get it :-). You are right. Everything is of the mind. Existence and non-existence are concepts. This dichotomy does not exist outside our head. This view, however is not to be confused with solipsism, because it does not deny existence of reality outside our mind.

        It doesn't make sense and it cannot. But I get it :-) Those who pride themselves to be reasonable, perhaps, will laugh at us and say that we are talking nonsense. And they will be right too :-)
        • thumb
          Nov 9 2012: That is very true, but the best part is that there will always be someone that disagrees its human nature.

          One of my best friends who I consider to be intelligent, once tried to argue with me that oil was not toxic unless swallowed
    • Nov 8 2012: Hi, Arkady ,
      "I do believe that cycles and circularity are at the core of our existence. If we don't see a cycle, most likely, we are not looking at the whole. How do these cycles start? They start from self."

      I do love it, but i think, cycles are circling around the core of our existence; the core is Paradox. Paradox 'works' because it reconciles opposites, it presents symmetry which is broken. This implies that a paradox must transcend logic.

      Only in silence is the word,
      only in dark is light..

      There is no dance ... there is only the dance

      He who loses his life shall find it

      Center is everywhere.
      • thumb
        Nov 8 2012: Well, I think, we are "on the same page". There is no way to say it without contradicting ourselves. This is why "those who know don't tell, and those who tell don't know".

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.