THE DANGERS OF GROWING IMBALANCE IN HUMAN MIND
In an article titled Humans, The Utterly Misconceived Species, I tried to present the growing imbalance in the human mind. Humans progressively conquer new frontiers and achieve astonishing scientific and technological results. Thus, the capabilities that humans have today did not exist 20 years ago, and what was available then did not exist 30 years prior and so on. Such steady progress is a direct reflection of humans’ collective advancing intelligence. One may present this steady growth trend in human development in a simple graph below.
Any point on this graph shows a particular time in history and humans’ progress at that time. This graph just shows a concept and not the pace of growth or the quantity of progress. The deeper into history we sink, the less intelligent, less creative, and less capable humans had to be, and the closer to the modern time we move, the more capable humans have become.
Thus, many thousands of years ago, people would have to be utterly deprived, primitive, and incapable of achieving anything remarkable, but at the same time, it presents some irreconcilable problems. People today with this advanced technology would face substantial challenges in replicating the pyramids in Egypt that these seemingly “primitive” people built some 4500 years ago. Some scholars make a convincing case that the pyramids are not 4500 years old, but they are 12500 years old that makes this mystery even more intriguing. These facts defy what seems otherwise as to the rational precept that the ancient people were less capable than the current generation of people.
Resolving this paradox might reveal who those people were, and the state of their civilization, how they lived, and why they disappeared. Understanding the structure and function of the human mind provides us with an objective assessment of the trajectory for our destiny. If we are heading toward the same fate, this might help us change the course to avoid our demise. I argue the precept that human civilization has always moved forward and upward on a straight assenting line might be inaccurate, and we need to re-examine it.
The fact that people become more knowledgeable about the progression of time makes it almost impossible to explain how those ignorant people built the pyramid that we cannot replicate them today. And even if the technology of today made it possible for us to do it now, the people three centuries ago who lacked the current technology could not have done it. Unable to explain this, some highly-educated people with many followers claim that ancient aliens descended on Earth and built these structures. Then for some unknown reason, they left the Earth without a trace, or they are still here but are concealing themselves from us. Those who make such claims produce numerous artefacts from different parts of the world to prove their claims. They produce documentaries titled as, the Ancient Aliens.
While one must be open-minded, but there might be more viable explanations for this. These aliens had to be superbly intelligent to be able to travel from another planet to construct these astonishing monuments at a distanced planet, the Earth. Reason being the essence of intelligence, we need to logically assess what would have motivated them to undertake such a challenging task? If they wanted to convey a message through these means, why would they not choose simpler ways to do it to spare guessing for millennia in vain? Why didn’t they teach the earthlings some of what they knew to help move humans out of perpetual darkness for so long? Why wouldn’t they stop the stupid wars from happening? And why did they suddenly stop all such activities? We need a paradigm shift to consider alternative possibilities.
Contrary to the first graph, the human intelligence, science, and technology have not advanced on a straight ascending line. Still, instead, the growth has been exponential with the progression of time. That is because most new findings, inventions, and discoveries enable new achievements, and that accelerates the pace of growth. For instance, one person discovers electricity, and an endless number of people use it to invent many new things that include the computer. And this single invention has created limitless other possibilities, and so on. Thus, the graph below more accurately presents this progress.
However, this, too, raises other difficult questions. Because time never stops, the growth of human intelligence gains speed and momentum. Thus, we need to know where this graph representing human intelligence ends. Can it ultimately become infinite, and could finally humans become godlike beings capable of doing anything and everything? When we see how human intelligence entangles with human instincts, it presents a considerable dilemma. These two mental forces are permanently intertwined, and they mutually affect each other’s function. Because instincts are unchanging, but Intellect relentlessly grows, a growing mental imbalance has emerged between them that is reaching dangerous thresholds. This trend occurs at a subconscious level, and remains hidden, despite its profundity. The graph below shows this notion.
Hence, the growth of human intelligence and the stagnation of instincts is an essential difference between them. The vast difference in the assertiveness of these two forces is another crucial difference between them. In that, human intelligence is superbly creative, but when it falls into conflict with instincts, as they often do, it is a pushover compared to wanton, blind, and blinding instincts. Intellect resembles a refined and polite lady; instincts resemble a mindless thug. The intensity of each of the 19 human mental forces that drive all humans varies from one person to another. Among them, each of the instincts creates a particular sort of pleasure for humans. The strongest among them creates the deepest pleasure, and the temptations they induce become irresistible, and that renders such instincts blind and blinding and forceful. When such instinctive pursuits are impractical or unethical, they fall into conflict with reasoning or moral Intellect. In most people, and most cases, the selfish pleasure-seeking instincts win the battle, silence the Intellect, and drive the action.
At this juncture, the defeated Intellect applies all its abilities to find the best ways to achieve the goal of the instinct pursues, as if this battle never occurred. Thus, most often, peoples’ instincts drive people in what they do, while their Intellect guides them in how to do it. In such cases, the ability active at the time forces the reasoning faculty to relent its function and opposition. Thus, such pursuits are devoid of human intelligence, although the steps people take to implement are sheer intelligence, regardless of the quality of the intelligence applied. The objective is wrong from the start, most of such deeds lead people to their gravest mistakes, demonstrable through countless real cases.
We need to realize that instinct alone governs the world of animals. Hence, it is the essence of being animal, just as Intellect being exclusive to humans; it is the essence of being human. Instincts very often dominate Intellect and reduce it to its mere servant. Therefore, its growth increasingly empowers instincts and augments the potency of these blind forces that include aggression. Mans’ combative propensity has always existed. However, humans’ limited intelligence in the past also limited their destructive power that has been fast-changing because of humans’ exponential growing mental imbalance.
Throughout history, humans relentlessly have been fighting wars. The immense death, destruction, and pain it inflicts on people preparing to win wars have become significantly crucial to humankind. Thus, people forever have been devoting much of their limited resources to be combat-ready for offensive and defensive wars. That is because instincts drive human behavior, while Intellect seeks ways to achieve them. This human condition has advanced the military industry and technology at a much faster pace than all other aspects of human endeavor. Hence, for instance, the WW. I claimed 12 million lives, but only some 20 years later, WW. II claimed about 70 million lives. This phenomenal destructive ability was due to the progress of human intelligence in this short time—another war at the scale of WW. II today would force all governments to use all their big guns. Then, not only humans but even butterflies could not survive such a disaster that this advancing human Intellect has enabled us to do.
The combination of three human phenomena is significantly alarming. First, humans’ utilitarian Intellect relentlessly becomes more capable. Second, it unconditionally and indiscriminately avails itself to achieve all good and evil objectives. Thus it lacks personality and character. Third, most often, humans’ progressing and mighty Intellect is slavishly at the service of their primitive instincts. Therefore, the progressing Intellect that we perceive as the mark of advancing humanity empowers humans’ primitive instincts and magnifies the animal in humans. These features together make a combustible mix that poses a considerable threat against human civilization and demands earnest attention.
Indeed, human intelligence is the most beautiful of all human attributes. It lavishly rewards humanity with endless creativity, comfort, prosperity, glories, and pleasure. It helps prevent and cures illnesses, mitigate pain, and prolongs life. However, its side effects are no less significant. It reminds one of the eastern philosophy of Yin and Yang, which indicates that in everything good you find some bad, and in everything bad, you find some good.
For example, advancing human intelligence has increased the great life expectancy, but it has also resulted in an explosive population increase. From the dawn of time, the world population reached 3 billion by 1963. In the next short 37 years by November 1999, the world population doubled, and then it increased by another 1.5 billion in the next 20 years. These increased humans need jobs for sustenance, but the advancing technology progressively diminishes the need for the workforce. A company with 12000 employees had gradually reduced its employees by 40% while increasing production by 30%. The population and technology are the two most significant factors in the world economy, and no one can stop either one of them from growing. And the progress of each demands the demise of the other that is a paradox. As the population increases, they use more technology, expedite air and water pollution, global warming, and depletion of the resources. To this, we must add the massive stockpiling of weapons of mass production. All of these are of the fruits of the exponential growth of human intelligence devoid of wisdom to sublimate it. Knowing the structure and function of the mind should provide us with clues to how the people of distanced past behave and lived.
Thus, in this context, it is imperative to know where does the graph representing this runaway human intelligence ends? Is it impossible for this growing mental imbalance that results from the progress of the runaway of human intelligence that might ultimately devour the very civilization it has created? What would happen if it did occur? Only small pockets of people might survive in different parts of the world who would repopulate the Earth and incrementally would grow intelligent again and reclaim their civilization. For what compelling reason must one be convinced that this has not happened to humans periodically in the past? If one was to argue against it, what would the argument sound like? What if the graph representing exponential growth of human intelligence shown before, at one point becomes circular, and destroys itself to start anew. And, what if this happens every few thousand years and makes the trend cyclical? The graph would look something like the graph below.
From this stance, human intelligence resembles electric eels that live in swamps. They discharge massive surges of electricity to fend off predators such as alligators and hunt for fish, and this becomes a precious means of survival for them. In time, however, this blinds them in both eyes, and they have to rely on their other senses for survival. In this analogy, the human intelligence to humans is what this electricity is to electric eels. Our intelligence helps us in so many ways, but its perils are no less remarkable. The difference is that we can control our destiny, but they cannot.
If this happens, the very tiny number of surviving humans being severed from their civilization return to nature for sustenance. The fast sink deep into a primitive state and live in caves and jungles again. In time they lose their records and forget who they are, as is the case with us. In thousands of years, they mature back for the cycle to repeat itself. This hidden growing mental imbalance must be taken seriously to elevate wisdom to levels to sublimate human intelligence so that human intelligence would be applied only constructively. The surviving pockets of humans would look something like these pictures.
So, how did those primitive people thousands of years ago managed to build the pyramids in Egypt and other such structures elsewhere? I suggest that maybe they had reached levels of sophistication far superior to ours’, and were much more capable than our state of mastering science and technology. Imagine our civilization goes through such devastation, and the posterity of the survivors’ thousands of years later find the remnants of some of these high rise buildings. What would these structures show the intellectual aptness of our generation of civilization? How could they learn about our supercomputers, great software, our space program, our landing on the Moon and reached Mars, and so on? Hence, such remnants could never accurately show the full extent of the advances we had made. Just the same way, as complex as the pyramids and other such structures, are, they have to be only a tiny fraction of the level of those peoples’ intellectual aptness before they were destroyed. Thus, it is possible that not only we have not yet arrived at their level of sophistication, but we have not even reached the minimal levels that would enable us to comprehend their level of intelligence. If there are any merits to this line of thinking, we have utterly misunderstood our history on Earth.
Thus, maybe, not the ancient aliens, but an exceedingly intelligent generation of native earthlings of the past have built them? Furthermore, is it possible that these accumulative remnants of different generations of civilizations that we are misreading them? Those people have used natural things to make them so that they could withstand the harsh natural elements such as the sun rays, rain, wind, and so on, and rocks were these elements. Other human-made things could not have lasted for a long time to be of any value. Scholars relentlessly seek to decipher any possible hidden messages from them. Maybe they had come to learn about this growing imbalance in their mind that they failed to overcome. Is it possible that they had come to realize that their runaway intelligence devoid of sufficient wisdom to sublimate it is not sustainable and was going to end their civilization and wanted to leave lasting marks of their civilization for the posterity?
Learning the dangers of the growing imbalance in the human mind might shake us into our senses to snap out of this antiquated combative mode of conduct that has been consuming so much of humans’ limited resources for so long. At one point, humanity must rise to new levels of true civility and civilization so that our claim to being civilized would no longer ring hollow. Elevating wisdom is the key, and this study shows how this could be done on vast scales to increase ambient human intelligence, wisdom, and happiness.
Stephen Hawking repeatedly talked about the danger of the total demise of humanity because of the function of human instincts. He suggested establishing colonies on other planets. In my opinion, while being alarmed by human instincts is realistic, colonizing other planets can never be a viable solution. For, if our primitive instincts are a threat against our survival on the planet earth, people will carry their instincts with them wherever they go and will destroy them there. Hence, the solution rests on elevating wisdom to manage Intellect and learn how to defuse our primitive instincts from our progressing Intellect to defuse the threat. And this study is perfectly capable of achieving that.
STEPHEN HAWKING Copyrights© Mark Abraham