(a friendly warning, the text below is not quite ready so some could be misunderstod)
Evolution – gene and development of cultural expressions where intelligence can be expressed as “in telling genes” and survival of the fittest can be expressed as smartness; a battle between profits & power vs. altruism and humanism (needed to be defined)
Above (explan in details elsewhere) we see a development from closed to open systems with increased complexity. A complexity we hardly understand in a way to see where “we are going”, what forces drive the present evolution now when we believe we have taken over.
Below some reasoning on my way to increase my own understanding
Human hosts the evolution of information where we can see (ad to a large extent physically host) a development from simpler to more complex hardware, software which interacting an increasing complex way. The information processing capacity is now even rapidly increased while using external capacities in terms of computer processing including the development of artificial intelligence. In quant physics matter becomes complex to understand in traditional ways and this is also influencing “all the way up” to macro cosmos. Indeed an impossible information processing situation which will not be easier to grasp in the future. That is, if we do not can develop integrated information processing between human and artificial intelligence where also some traditional humanistic ethics have a place.
But what are the consequences of hosting much of the evolution of the brain? How does our own brain understand itself, is a question addressed during a very long time but are we approaching a beginning to an answer?
We could use the old metaphor “running my car”, where (mainly) neocortex is the pilot and “old” cortex the vehicle. Another metaphor turns up, The oat draw the chart, where oat could be regarded as the (socio)culture, the horse our brain/thinking/psychology and the chart the old brain and most of the body.
In the second metaphor we can see the oat as cultural shaping forces somewhat in line with Karl Poppers world 3, the horse as his world 2, that is, individuals mental, cognitive “map” (as Pepper expressed it – Pepper, S. C. (1942). World Hypotheses. Berkeley: University of California Press), which guide individuals´ way in life, and the chart as precognitive and bodily processes.
Following the thinking above, we can ask ourselves what are the driving forces for the evolution of culture? Postman contributes to this question as shown below. But before going to his thinking I would like to put forward some which just turned up this morning.
On main “factor” in the history of evolution of life on earth has been flexibility/adjustability, that is, those who could adjust to contextual changes best could more effectively pass on their solution/capacity to gene setup of off springs. This might also have a general feature which promotes more and more open solution systems functioning.
Fittest is here a concept which can be contenting (at least) two main features; (a) the most powerful, strong physically which could dominate member of the specie (and physical protection of course) and (b) the most adjustable problem solver, which can (also gradually foresee and) deal with contextual changing processes.
The first increase reproduction by force and the other with a more contextual perspective, that is, strong vs. smart.
In the evolution of primates three different “versions” are often discussed, to very opposite versions; the “power” vs. “flower”, hierarchies vs. more chaotic, and a more integrated version, a problem solver version, considering the group survival in complex contexts – the later developed towards Homo sapiens.
But when we observe the evolution of human beings today we all three “versions” and not a final version. The reason is simply, we still host the old parts of the evolution of the brain – spatial, analogue information code – as well as the new part – sequential, vertical verbal information code.
As our understanding of our own brain is still limited we can to some extent speculate (or guess as Karl Popper might express it) about some crucial issues of importance to understand to future evolution which now (probably) has quite other prerequisites than earlier – due to the evolution of human brain.
One important issue is how new and old brain interact – also in terms of communication with genes expressions including basic physiological functioning in a, for old brain, quite new situations/context.
This is of great importance to understand the development of biopsychosocial lifestyle related diseases and problems, we called it later stress related but focus more today on the lifestyle conceptualization while stress still is not defined in an consensus way. This is not lifestyle related diseases either but it has relevance if connected to diseases and problems we mainly theoretically assume is related to lifestyle behaviors of individuals in complex biopsychosocial-cultural-environmental contexts. This while present methodology has problems to deal with complex systems integrated human life situations.
Crucial is how cultural (sub, subsub, subsubsub..) forces, not always easy to reveal, observed and understand, shape individuals – influenced in a transactional way/manner which in turn somewhat influence the cultural features. Moreover, a kind of filtering (discuss in a more elaborated discussion of Karl Poppers three word approach) from “out there” via sub cultural society and group processes of different composites, where formal and informal education is often an effective vehicle of manipulation which probably very often not is intentional – motivating the development of a sound critical problem solving way to approach educational processes, hopefully encourage by teacher as in the old Greek tradition.
Again we are back to the interactive/integrating process space-time; mind-matter, old and new brain and how different cultural forces mostly non-intentional shape individuals in their biopsychosocial-cultural-environmental context. Concepts like internationalization, socialization and so forth try to reveal some of its content. But how can mini theories be “put” into a system integrating model where at least some of real word life of human can be understood?
My conclusion is that we need (urgently) need to improve our understanding of culture as an evolutionary driving force shaping us in a not understood complex way. This is too important for human future – as the changing of climate, which I regard as extremely important not very much considered by profit interest – not to try to understand and influence in a humanistic way. A metaphor turns up; “are you or I driving the car? Hmm … do not you even know it” (from my dissertation, 1986)
But, it might also be a profit interests here that drive most of our cultural development where marketing is one example trying to get people to buy things which promote profit interest without understanding it (see postman quotation below). At superior cultural levels e.g. religious thinking shape individuals to think without much reflection and reasoning. This also influence democratic processes as in US- elections together with a massive profit interest as well as … see Postman below.
Given you agree with some of my writings above, we need to find ways to better understand shaping processes in our societies and try to “be ahead” and foresee where we are going and put in humanistic, empathetic values framed in ways they can be competing with those related to profit and power at cost of human development. We need to find a democratic solution to limit profits, power, destructive leadership, .. as well as chaotic processes to find an “all winner approach” based on sound science which can understand better and more effectively deal with individuals´ real world life – a cultural revolution with (well defined) humanism as a basic goal. The alternative is that the driving forces are profit, power, … continue to be in charge (we perhaps not really realize due to limit understanding) – line now is still in medicine concerning lifestyle related diseases and problems.
I think the below (somewhat updated) is still very much to consider – or are we already there?
Neal Postman: “What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility ” .. Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture’s being drained by laughter? (Postman, 1985, p 155-156) .. ”What afflicted the people in Brave New World was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking” (p. 170).
Discussion focusing on “cultural medicine” is not yet translated from Swedish. Will be a complement to the above.
References will come here below soon
2012-11-17 Bo von Scheele