Vera Nova

Director Research Analysis, NOVA Town Futuristic Development

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REVISING OUR HUMAN INTELLIGENCE ON A DIFFERENT SCALE. Can we augment our own perceptions and improve our mentality (not technology) ?

In this modern age of technology that allows any of us to communicate almost instantly worldwide we understand each other no better than millennia ago.
We do experience the laws of our own limitations in perceiving but commonly do not admit them. Can we augment our own perceptions and improve our mentality (not technology) for to exist within the natural world more intelligently?

Lets remember that no living creature can fly out of its own mind to observe the world "objectively", as it is.

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    Jul 29 2011: Yes, I believe we can, as intelligence is not fixed but can be changed and upgraded with study, discipline, and seeking to improve. Howard Gardner in Frames of Mind shows how everyone can be smart and after 15 years of teaching middle school students I have seem them improve their mental abilities through use of the ways that they learn. Unless there is a malfunction of the brain itself through birth defects or damage becoming smarter and a better communicator is a choice each person makes I think. Look at this community for example and you questions specifically. You are getting smarter as you read each persons answer and you are developing a better thinking pattern. Congratulations you are raising your Intelligence Quotient!!!!!!
    • Jul 30 2011: I personally am a fan of Howard Gardner's take on intelligence. It rids one of the thought, "I'm bound to not get smarter just because of my genes". Good post, James!
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    Jul 30 2011: I so understand, Raj. Growing up as a city girl, I felt literally shaken every time when my feet touched some patches of grass in our old forgotten courtyard. When one is entering the forest (without playing some loud music) he feels the most powerful quiet excitement, that takes over one's whole mind and body. This is a direct interaction with a magnificent living nature's world.

    I have no doubts that we miss something crucial, physically and mentally. We are still unaware that we experience this grand emotional starvation in cities, that no artificial entertainment, phone calls, e-mails, concepts or second-hand knowledge can substitute. That is why one when works in his cubical office on a 20th floor, he commonly gets a pot of a living plant to put it somewhere near... not just for a decorating purpose.

    Werner Heisenberg was a grand philosopher, not just a great scientist. He was aware that no matter how confident we, humans/scientists, might be while gluing made-up names onto the descriptions of some observed events (such as lurky "quarks", "particles" or "waves"), nature is not at all what we see based on our limited perceptions. We shall not play with things we do not really understand, and we shall not so respect what we think we "know", but we need to learn to respect what we might Not really know.
    • Jul 30 2011: There is much "beauty" in nature and wonder that goes along with thinking about the world. This sense of wonder is something that's truly pure. I think we've become too convoluted in our way of thinking about nature. Too mathematical, too logical, too mechanical at times. I know I've done the same at times in my thinking.

      I like your allusion to Heisenberg. Even if we have a theory of nature as consistent as QM, we still will not understand nature fully because of our limitations, intellectually and perceptually. Scientists that say we understand everything today and are very passionate about giving a specific view in science an absoluteness are kind of being a bit naive. Every theory is probable to being falsified, it's an axiom of Science.
  • Jul 27 2011: In the modern world, we have the luxury of pursuing knowledge at a high rate. Because of the internet, you have near infinite access to journals, wikipedia pages, and google searches for any given topic.

    Therefore, it can be concluded that our collective intelligence as a global civilization has increased exponentially over the course of our human history. We are now more equipped to tackle big problems and attain better solutions because of avenues such as the internet.

    If we gave more prominence to academia and not the entertainment industry, we would, in theory, have an exponential increase in the collective intelligence of our world. However, it's more "fun" to watch "Keeping up with the Kardashians" than learn how our economy works at even the basic scale or actually understand some of the concepts in Physics or any other academic subject. I am not bashing our culture, but just pointing out the consequences of making our culture more Academically or intellectually oriented.

    A utopia novel I would actually read would be about such a society. A society in which academia and intellectualism are more favored culturally than more bland entertainment. That would be actually interesting to study...
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      Jul 27 2011: Thank you for your reply, Raj. Let me re-phrase MY QUESTION - can we evolve our minds and bodies, or say, our intelligence, while we keep isolating ourselves from the rest of the real living world, while our "knowing" about our environment and ourselves based on some "info" and "data" and limited experience we have within our artificial man-made society?
      • Jul 28 2011: Interesting prompt...

        They have done Psychological studies on humans that have been imprisoned from all normal human life. These humans have been restricted of the tpyical stimuli that are imposed onto us everyday like the noise of cars, tvs, etc. It was found that without language, they weren't able to develop the intelligence to match their age. It seemed as though their mental capacities were limited to that of a child. So in that respect, if we are isolated from various stimuli and deprived of language, the development of out intelligence can be hampered to a high degree.
        Just wanted to throw that out there as a reference point if needed...

        I think we can evolve our mind and bodies, but perhaps only to a certain extent. I think the bloom of our collective intelligence as a society in the modern era has been greatly dependent on the fluid transfer of information to the masses. If we take that variable out then maybe our progress as a society may be hampered. However, if we construct this society such that intellectualism is considered to a high degree, then we may maximize our chances of evolving our minds and bodies. If a society is based upon the philosophy of pursuing knowledge, then I believe that society will be prosperous in evolving its minds and bodies.
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          Jul 29 2011: Not only we, humans, go crazy in isolation from nature, (whether we are educated or not), but no birds, or mice, or monkeys can "normally" live in a cage. They suffer in many ways, ultimately confusing myriads of nearsighted researchers who still do not understand that they cannot collect any truthful data, if it is based on watching and experimenting on caged animals. Many of us become "caged animals" in our postmodern artificial society. This man-made environment provokes all kinds of extreme behavior, including mass-psychosis "driving" our economy, arts, crime, depression and physical illnesses. I believe that we should find an intelligent "proportion" in our mode of living. I mean we cannot survive in real wilderness, as we are, but we can find some better ways to co-exist with the real living world.

          We are born naked, and for millions of years we haven't developed any feathers or furs. We stay unprotected without our artificial clothing. We cannot see, or fly as birds do, and unlike other animals we cannot find faraway destinations without compasses. We cannot run as fast as jaguars and instead of running we use cars. We cannot communicate instantly as the whole natural world does, therefore we build phones and computers. Though as we now use our devices we still cannot understand each other any better. I do not see much of our "superior intelligence" compared with the highly intuitive, fantastically "equipped" animal world. I see that as human animals, we are actually handicapped creatures, who prefer to Replace this Natural process of adapting to environmental change, by producing our artificial tools, devices and technological toys. We do not comprehend what we really do, because we keep suppressing our nature-given intuition.

          We prefer to imitate, what we see in nature, and build our own artificial environment, isolated from nature. I'm thinking what can be done to balance our artificial isolation?
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          Jul 29 2011: I like the way you think, Raj.
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    Aug 20 2011: Are people ever capable of rethinking their own intelligence, in whole?
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    Aug 4 2011: You might look at the early monastic communities of Ireland for some of the greatest thinkers in theology as a model.
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      Aug 4 2011: I'm a little familiar with this....and will be glad to read more. Let me know what you like the most about independent small communities of individuals who wish to think and live independently from the rest of people?
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        Aug 4 2011: They took on individual responsibility for their lives and work. They met once a week as a community and kept the goal on simple ideas and beliefs. They helped others without expectation of return, they developed their minds and spirits and finally they worked to become the best they could be as to who they were.
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      Aug 4 2011: I should get going, but will be back tonight.
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    Jul 30 2011: Thanks I think he has added another intelligence called existential intelligence but I am not sure. Are you a teacher or professor?
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      Aug 4 2011: Have I answered your question, James? I've tried a few days ago, but cannot find my reply here....
      I'm a researcher working in this very unusual, pioneering field connecting sciences, math, arts, philosophy and psychology. However, many people know me as an artist - you're welcome to visit this site www.novatownsite.org/building-unknown/p2/ --- one of the articles about my art. I do very many things, but am staying away from any standards that make no sense to me. If I teach art it is more about philosophy of how we think, and perceive our own reality and thoughts. I do like independently living and thinking people, like yourself.
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        Aug 4 2011: thanks for the further information. I went to your web site and observed your art. I really like it. I was wondering if you have ever considered using your art in advertising?
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          Aug 7 2011: Hello James, I'm very glad that you've found something likable in my paintings. I started painting when I was very young, but I was driven by this unusual wonder. I've been desperate to understand How we perceive our visual reality and "what it is made from"... While practicing painting in that old traditional art school, and then browsing in some univ-ties, I've come to realize that they do not teach the foundation of knowledge, or the laws of perceptions in schools, or elsewhere. I've been wondering how is that the most illusive (illusionary) sensory perception of all perceptions we possess, our sight, has become a basic source for our judgments and knowledge of all kinds, even for sciences. I was also wondering how our sciences could be developed if we were all born blind. Could geometry, for instance, be at all possible? Eventually I've found some answers... in a field of classical art, where anyone can easily observe how the basic laws of our perceptions govern everything we may sense, experience and know.
          What I can very briefly put together here so far is that we have to constantly Compare our sensations, Focus on some of them, while creating a background based on some sensations that seem less important, and Frame our "final" Composition, just like a classically trained artist frames his painting when it is done. Our sight does these procedures with every blink, in every moment, so we are "painting" new pictorial "masterpieces"in our minds endlessly, whether we are awake or asleep. Our minds do the same work while observing, thinking, dreaming and memorizing... This process is unstoppable as long as we stay alive. Once we begin to understand What kind of internal laws allow us to sense, see, hear, smell or touch, it would be no end to our crucial discoveries...

          You've asked if I have ever considered using my art in advertising, I have a vague idea, James. My art is too uncommon. Please let me know if you have some suggestions.

          Best Wishes
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    Jul 27 2011: Our personal experience is what we may turn into our real knowledge. Some remote participation is not about knowing an actual subject, or event, or conditions.

    Therefore Collective knowledge can be very misleading. Only a person can digest his/her personal experience into his/her personal knowledge. We can share with some collective information but without direct experience we only re-play some sound-bites.

    We are drowned in endless information, that no human mind can really digest. However we often call incomplete, twisted information "knowledge", and we believe that usual training in "understanding" collective information that we receive in schools, is "education". We very often call a person who remembers lots of data "intelligent".

    David Shenk calls this "data smog" which is "bad for your health, promoting stress, memory overload, compulsive behavior and attention-deficit disorder."


    Can we really survive within our man-made environment while so drastically limiting our real experience and knowledge?

    What can we discover and learn about ourselves if we look at ourselves from a different perspective, beyond
    collectively put together soundbites?
    • Jul 30 2011: I agree with you on how our personal experiences translate into real knowledge. In terms of science this is very important because if you don't actually delve into a theory, you'll only be able to contribute tasteless soundbites and no real digested commentary.

      Everybody has done this at some point, I know I've done this a LOT. It's also detrimental to those that actually have a passion for a subject but just don't have the basic knowledge needed to actually digest the information (like a High School talking about Quantum Mechanics, but doesn't have the resources to actually understand it mathematically). But that's just how it is...

      As for "data smog", it's good that you've pointed that out because I've been thinking about the ramifications our data infested lives have on our brain. When I went to India to live with my Grandma for a week in the village country, my circadian rhythm reseted itself and I gained a sense of energy that I just didn't experience back in college. It was really energizing. That was because I was away from all modern technology and only had my brain to entertain me.