People Are

When your world falls apart, it is because the reality of life does not fit whatever is your world view of life. It’s a form of culture shock. Your choice is to somehow find yourself a more logical world view — one that better fits the facts. It is hard and painful work. Or the other choice would be to is to clutch more firmly your illogical world view and withdraw into yourself. My world view has been trashed several times, a painful event, but one that leads to a higher level of understanding as we put the pieces back together in a more logical way. Here is my new one. Because I am a scientist, I always try to base my views in measurable facts whenever they are available, and so I begin with an extremely well documented fact.

1. It is a fact that the anatomical and physiological makeup of humans is determined largely by their genetics, and that they inherit their genetics from their parents. This fact is demonstrated in many ways, but the most obvious is that we are able to change genes. If a change in a gene causes a change in a phenotype (phenotype is a physical or physiological trait), then the gene must somehow affect the phenotype. And there are many other proofs. It’s a well documented fact.

2. It is a fact that humans have brains and it is also a fact that our brains do many things for us that are common to all humans (are inherited from our ancestors) and of which we are not aware. We know this in general because of what happens to people whose brains have been damaged. We do not know very much about the specific.

3. In other words, there are some common characteristics of all humans that are different from other organisms, and some of them are common to us all, even if we don’t know it.

4. I believe that one of these human qualities is our ability to make logical sense out of our environments. In all my past ten years of searching around the world including the USA, I have found that every person has a life-logic that makes good sense if we listen to the foundations for that logic. Many life-logics are extremely damaging to the self or others, but they all make logical sense. Our life-logic has been called a world view.

I believe our brains are always looking for a world view that is logical. Whether or not our world view is factually valid is another question. Some realities are not measurable; some world views conform better to measurable facts than other world views. However, all world views are logical within their own construct.

5. I believe, once the human brain has reached a logic that makes sense, it will protect that logic with everything in its power, and the greatest of these is denial. Denial is an automatic human response to anything that threatens us or (specifically because that’s what I’m talking about) our world view. Of this, I speak from experience, and again I believe it is a universal human trait. This has at least two results:

  • a. most people believe that every other world view is illogical and refuse to listen to what in reality is the logic of other people’s world views; and
  • b. because we are afraid of the emotional black hole that would exist if our world view proved to be wrong (and we know that all world views are wrong in some respects), we create cliques, clans and wars. This is not for the purpose of finding out what is true, but to prove that our own world view is correct. Unfortunately, this is impossible because no world view is 100% correct, so most of the time we don’t know what we are fighting about because fighting proves nothing about the relative accuracy of the various world views, and so we make small problems bigger in order to prove something that is unprovable. Politically, this means that the “pendulum keeps swinging from one extreme to the other and back again.”

6. It is a fact that a very large part of the unique quality of the human brain is that it can adapt to environmental circumstances. In other words, we are all the product of our own experiences, laid on top of the basic qualities of the brain.

7. I believe that a very large element of our American environment (our culture) is that we are taught to believe we aren’t good enough unless we are “winners.” It doesn’t matter what we win, so long as we win something, then we are OK.

8. It is a fact that the scientific method is based in measurable facts. This gives us the option (for those who have access to the method) to build our individual and collective world views on the basis of measurable facts. Undeniably, the scientific world view is more likely than, say emotions, to approximate the reality of things that can be measured. This is demonstrated by the reality of technology. If we didn’t have a good grasp of some real universal law, our airplanes would not fly. So it’s clear that we can (if we choose to do so) get closer to factual reality if we base a world view in measurable facts.

9. Any good scientist knows the difference between things that can be measured and things that can not be measured, and also knows how to tell the difference beween a fact and an opinion or other non-measurable belief. That is why scientists don’t argue with people who are not interested in sorting these things out. There is nothing to argue about unless both sides are willing to acknowledge the portion of information that is proven or provable. There is no point to a big argument over whether or not gravity exists, for example, and working scientists are among the most busy people on the planet just trying to keep hold on their careers. Such an argument is not relevant to their world view.

Most good scientists enjoy a genuine search for knowledge. Most scientists are very committed to the general welfare. Once they know how we are causing harm to ourselves, they want to help fix it. Technologists are not scientists, but most technologists feel similarly. The problem is that the world view of most technologists is that technology will save us from the laws of nature. Unfortunately that is not a viable world view relative to the facts. Most other people also are positively motivated, in the sense of helping humans, but their world views usually have more to do with the opinion that either religion or politics will “save us.”

10. I believe that — religion is to spirituality as technology is to science. In other words, religion and technology represent different efforts of humans to build logical world views with which to control the laws of nature. Unfortunately, we know factually that we can not control the laws of nature and survive, because the ecosystem is structured with the laws of nature as its foundation. If we pull out the foundation stone the whole thing will crash. It is like a cell in your body trying to change the way your body. If the cell wins, you are dead. Fortunately we probably can’t do this to the ecosystem. As a religious friend of mine says:

“Lynn, you should not worry about the ecosystem. God has created a living earth with checks and balances so that it can protect itself.” True, but the fix will be tragic for humans, and I was actually more worried about the grandchildren.

11. American politics is about winning at any cost, whether or not it is for the general welfare. People in power know that they do not have the power over millions of other people. Therefore, people in power, whether they be corporate leaders or politicians, control the masses by creating false world views that they proceed to “sell” in any way they can.

  • a. They can not sell a false world view using all of the real facts because people are by nature logical and would smell a fish;
  • b. People are by nature logical, and will rebel if they can’t have a logic;
  • c. Therefore people in power leave out factual steps in the logic they provide to pacify the people. They replace these with bullshit that sounds more attractive than the real facts. Thus they give the people two things that people by their nature want very much: a logical world view; and a happy story to go with it.

The problem for the people is:

  • a. The leaders do have access to the facts;
  • b. If the leaders can seize control of communications and education so that they can falsify or leave out important measurable facts, then the world view of the people will not approximate factual reality and that of the leaders will, with the result that the leaders will have the major control over the power. Factual reality holds more power than the logic of one’s world view because you can make real physical things work with factual reality, whereas world views are mostly composed of subconscious or emotional realities;
  • c. The facts have three levels of physical reality that are different from each other.

Level One – individual comfort (I won’t give up my world view no matter what) – refusal to listen to other people’s equally logical world view.

    Level Two – The human group welfare (this would usually be a clique, clan or worldview sort of group, but also could be any human political group) – whatever worked for my father is obviously best for my son and everyone else’s sons. Peer pressure and mob behaviors are included. This is where the pendulum swings but no progress is made toward success.

    Level Three – over-all reality, which in the case of us is the whole ecosystem because we can not survive without it.

      Thinking about our world view in terms of levels is very useful. It explains some realities that otherwise appear to be in conflict. For example, evolution.

      Successful evolution is a sort of negotiation in which the basic needs of all the levels are met. Take cells for example. At level one, the cell that eats another cell changes nothing of significance to evolution, but only to himself. And then someone eats him. At level two, the cancer cell appears a big (political?) winner over all the other cells in the body. But as a result the body dies, along with all its cells, eliminating them all from further participation in any kind of life. At level three, the cells work together to keep the body healthy and thus are able to pass on their genes to another generation of bodies and cells. So if anyone tried to tell you that evolution is an exercise in “tooth and claw” their world view logic is somewhere between level one and level two and represents only a small part of the real picture.

      Unless human kind can develop level three social skills, we will end up like the cancer cells, because the fact is that the overall ecosystem is a good deal bigger than any or all of us, and is probably not listening to any of our world views. Like all living systems, it will do whatever it will do according to the laws of nature (we do know how this will happen in a general sort of way) to save itself, so if we genuinely want our politics to benefit our sons we should find out what the ecosystem genuinely requires in order to stay healthy, and not what some economist (or military general, or president) says it should need according to his very logical world view that leaves out several important facts at the very base of its logical structure.

      And this is why scientists don’t try to talk to people who won’t listen to real measurable facts of level three.

      The fact is that level three will determine the true quality of life for our sons, and at level three we all want the same thing, which is quality of life. Therefore, it is a complete waste of our valuable logical brains to spend them unnecessarily muddling around in levels one and two when we could, instead, listen to the various ways in which we all express exactly the same needs, wants and desires. We could be using all that information to work together at level three to get what we all want, need and desire.

      We will never get these needs fulfilled by killing off competitors at level one, or overrunning elections or the ecosystem at level two, because we cannot force level three to do what we want her to do. Our only option is a level three evolutionary compromise in which we adapt our fairy tales to the factual, physical, measurable needs of level three survival — if we decide that is more important than our own need to believe we are more powerful even than God. We are not more powerful than God, and I do not believe God wants us to trash His beautiful living ecosystem.

      And unfortunately for our fairy tales, God’s laws respond to our behaviors — not our world views.

      I wonder what the person said the next day after he chopped down the last tree on Easter Island? “Oops, shouldn’t have done that!”