The Echoes of the Mind (170-1) The Irony of Abstraction

The Irony of Abstraction

A key mental aspect of human descent was a freer abstraction ability. This characteristic improved counterfactual thinking, but at the cost of loosening the moorings of the mind to actuality. The upshot was language sophistication, augmented engineering skill, free subscription to fantastic religions, and illusions of grandeur, the grandest being that man was the most intelligent animal.

The definition of intelligence is the ability to behave appropriately. Liberating the mind to construct its own paracosms begat both the vision to create powerful technologies and the ability to disregard risk and ignore consequences.

This ushered a collective illusion of intelligence: that humans are uniquely superior. In fact, humans are uniquely stupid, as this super-predator species has largely lost the wariness that comes from being bound to what is. In its place is indulgence in whatever imagined frivolities come to mind. The proof of foolery can be seen in absurd systems of faith, including: modern ‘scientific’ naïveté (naïve empiricism and naïve realism), despite compelling evidence to the contrary; economies which produce society-renting inequities and global environmental destruction; and polities – notably democracy – which deliver idiotic, divisive, and destructive governance.

Boundless abstraction in a free-ranging mind is not a blessing of intelligence. It is instead a subterfuge that bestows a trickery of acumen and an ignorance of reality.