[extropy-chat] Flynn again

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Tue May 3 18:17:54 UTC 2005

Hal Finney wrote:

>Sometimes I wonder if the social changes we saw during the 20th century
>may have been caused or at least promoted by greater human intelligence.
>It's a difficult thesis to make because you first have to overcome the
>conventional wisdom that says that the 1900s were a century of human
>depravity and violence.  But if you look deeper and recognize the
>tremendous growth of morality and ethical sensitivity in this period
>(which is what makes us judge ourselves so harshly), you have to ask,
>maybe it is because people woke up, began to think for themselves, and
>weren't willing to let themselves be manipulated and influenced as in
>the past?  If so, then this bodes well for the future.
I agree that there has been tremendous growth in ethical sensitivity in 
the last century, and would say that it continues to accelerate.  
However, I don't think it has much to do with increased intelligence in 
the sense of raw thinking power, but much more to do with increased 
*awareness* of ourselves, others, and our inter-relationships.  I expect 
that with this expanding context of awareness we will tend to continue 
making increasingly better decisions that we will see as increasingly moral.

In this light, the opportunity we have before us is to develop more and 
better tools to spread this increasing awareness, especially to 
impoverished areas of the world which feel the pain and anger of lacking 
influence and participation in the general growth.

- Jef

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