My Thoughts: Human Past and Human Nature

a list of idea-tools that I may/may not use depending on if they turn out to be useful or true


BELIEFS CAN SHAPE STONES BUT QUESTIONS LEAVE NO TRACE. Mysticism and philosophy leaves no trace in the archaeology, but offerings, sacrifice and monumentalism does. So our picture of the past beliefs are seen only in this light, which could be misleading. Just think of how we would view ancient Greece without the benefit of all those texts? We would not see the philosophy at all. And those that tread lightly upon the earth leave no trace of their passing.


INSTINCTS CANNOT BE RELIED UPON. WE ARE NOT IN OUR ANCESTORS WORLD. Our instincts evolved for a different world than we are now in. So can’t entirely rely on these anymore. The world has changed too much, and we cannot rewind it back, anymore than we can totally rebuild an eco-system. But also we cannot escape them either. Our human nature must be taken into account with how we need to behave now. So which of our natural tendencies do we change?


WE ALL SEE MORE PATTERNS THAN ARE REALLY THERE. SO WE MUST BE WATCHFUL OF OURSELVES. Our instincts were never 100% reliable, they can be fooled. Even the instincts of animals can be fooled for these are often used by tribal hunters. Optical illusions and other cases where common sense lets you down. They show that we make cognitive errors and have cognitive bias (LINK to be added). We ALL see more patterns than are really there, so ALL of us must look out for which ones we have that are the wrong patterns. We must all think (apply discernment) about the idea-tools we are using, or you will always be using some duff ones. So patterns for actions are provisional. You will make mistakes, and always perfect actions are impossible.


REALITY IS OVERWHELMING. Too much data, so we need filters (shades) to deal with it. But then this feeds into cognitive bias, and only seeing the evidence that fits preconceived ideas. We need it, but it also hinders us.


TELEVISION, THE MODERN HEARTH FIRE. In the evening like our ancestors we gather around a flickering light to hear news, stories and gossip. Not so very different? But then we heard it, and now we see it enacted. Due to the mirror neurons in the brain, we do not just visualise we also act out within our own minds. What we are exposed to is both more and less under our control. Unlike at the tribal fire, we can switch them off.


HUMANS & SETTLEMENT. Did early medieval nucleated settlement formation coincide with increase in travelling communities? Nucleation creates spaces between for them to stay, which would not be there in scattered settlements.