Sunday, 14 January 2018

Everything is fire

 
 
A recent timeline of insomniac thoughts illustrated by "The Mitchell Beazley Joy of Knowledge Library's Book Of Man and Society":
2:05am - "No labels"... What’s the difference between “labels” and words? Words themselves can stop communication because their associations are so much stronger than the work they’re being put to do.
2:09am - Language is like fire.
2:11am - Not just language. Jokes as well. I'm thinking of the reaction to the Gorilla Channel tweet. Of course Trump doesn't spend seventeen hours a day watching a specially constructed compilation of gorillas fighting broadcast from a secret transmitter on the White House lawn. Of course it's fine to share that joke. Of course this isn't "fake news". And yet I know people - friends on facebook - genuinely scared of sharing that joke, not because it will give offense, but because it might now be believed.

2:20 am - Everything is fire. Everything that defines us as separate from animals can destroy us if allowed to run unchecked: jokes, language, money, homes (and therefore property), love. All of it can become too important. Being human demands an attention to the equilibrium. Nothing can run unchecked. The past year has been a real lesson in that... I hope. A lot of people are newly terrified but the threat's always been there.
2:28am - “Intelligent life” is too rosy a description of what we are. Intelligence is a part of what humans are, sure, but maybe it’s this capacity to create systems that endanger us that should define us and define what we have in common with whatever we hope to make contact with outside of our own planet, so not “intelligent life” then, but... what? Dependent? Processing? Enhanced? Trapped? Artificious? Harvesting? Is there a word for this most fundamental human quality? What’s the label I’m now looking for?
2:29am -There are definitely people who will have written about this. I should read more.
3:08am - Leia gets nothing to do in "Empire Strikes Back". She’s the driving force of the films either side of it. It is not the best Star Wars Film.
3:10am to 5:25am -

8 comments:

  1. Regarding your remarks at 0228, I'm not sure if this is a)correct; or b)what it was you were seeking for, but consciousness-both from the biological side and from the philosophical side-in my mind, define, or at the very least, help define what is the quintessential 'thing' that defines what it means to be a human. We develop it as kids and it grows and morphs over time, and as we continue our journey further into life.

    Consciousness, with direct respect for the hunt for 'intelligent life' within the field of Astrobiology, deals a)where on Earth did this concept come from; and b)if it is *really* that important, among others. There is, as you mentioned, an awful lot of literature surrounding the biological/psychological, philosophical, and astrobiological views on consciousness.

    Admittedly, I'm not an expert; I am just a former student of the life sciences, and I dabble in Astrobiology.

    -Nicole

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  2. Hi Nicole, and thanks. Is the general consensus that consciousness is a uniquely human attribute though? I thought most biologists were happy to attribute it to a few other species nowadays. I don't know. I can't remember if I ever recommended this: https://youtu.be/u1ewwW9Ywjw?t=13m19s

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  3. You're quite right and thanks for that video clip; there are a number of animals (like mammals) who have this same attribute. There's likely other species, but there's some grey in the mix of whether or not humans want to know if our pet fish inside is aware of its existence. There's certain ways around the inability to understand what an animal is trying to say, like with rats and their ultrasonic vocalizations, which can be recorded and 'transcribed.'

    I was intrigued by this postulate of the single attribute (or multiple attributes) that makes humans, human, and I found this article: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150706-the-small-list-of-things-that-make-humans-unique. In it, it describes multiple attributes that many different animals (including humans) have, but explains why humans go a bit more beyond that of the rest of the animal kingdom. It is presented in a way that isn't speciest.
    -Nicole

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  4. Neil Edmond has suggested "Overcomplicated".

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  5. Well, according to Neil's suggestion, I'm certainly very much a human.

    -Nicole

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  6. On Twitter today, I noticed that one of the science podcasts that I follow (StarTalk) reaired a talk about what makes humans, human, and I figured I would share it in case you were interested: https://soundcloud.com/startalk_all-stars/what-makes-us-human-with-natalia-reagan-1. There's quite a lot of neat information in it and being it is almost an hour, maybe it'll have a soporific effect, too.

    I do hope this doesn't come across as being annoying; it wasn't my intention to be annoying.

    -Nicole

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  7. Not at all. That's why we have comments. I look forward to listening. Thanks!

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