Thursday, September 12, 2013

Humans Did Not Evolve to Understand the World As It Truly Is

Almost everything discovered by quantum physicists goes counter to what reality seems ogvious to be. It seems obvious we touch things, but in truth electromagnetic repulsion between atoms makes touching anything literally impossible. It seems obvious objects are solid, but in truth, they are over 99% empty space -- with the rest made up of probablistic waves. It seems obvious that everything has a local habitation, but in truth, everything is everywhere in the universe at once, with only a certain (high) probablity of being localized.

Humans engage in essentialist thinking, meaning we are programmed to believe species have an (eternal) essence, that racial and ethnic categories are essential categories, and that each individual remains essentially the same over time (the latter allows us to accuse people of being wishy-washy when they change their minds over time). The truth is that we change constantly over time, that species come and go, that evolution is the true reality, whether it be species, individuals, or societies.

As a social species, we evolved to believe all social networks must be hierarchical. This is the structure of all interspecies social networks. This is why we support powerful leaders and attempts to impose hierarchical structures on social order. It is practically impossible for us to see and understand scale-free networks, which is the structure of ecosystems (intraspecies networks) and large-scale social orders (division of labor networks).

Humans also evolved to expect there to be an orderer whenever we find order. This is why self-organization theories -- whether biological (evolution) or social (e.g., free markets) -- are widely rejected. Biological self-organization is rejected not only by physical creationists, but by secular leftists who reject any and all evolutionary explanations that are inconvenient to their ideologies. Social self-organization is rejected primarily by the left when it comes to the economy, but is also rejected by the right when it comes to culture.

The last three in particular affect our political views. Acceptance of our evolved sense of social reality and rejection of what we have learned to be our actual social reality affects left and right alike -- and altogether too many libertarians as well (those who embrace conspiracy theory explanations of the order seen in the world). Overcoming our evolved sense of how the world works and embracing how it really works is very difficult. But it must be done if we are going to best deal with reality.
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