On 3/23/06, Samantha Atkins <<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>> wrote:<br>> <br>> On 3/23/06, Anne-Marie Taylor <<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>> wrote:
<br>> > <br>> > I assumed that knowledge and ignorance must be part of the genes because <br>> > some end up being wise while others are very content being ignorant. I <br>> > was curious to know if sometimes it's easier being content and have
<br>> > no stress or being wise and having a lot of responsibilities. (For a <br>> > knowledgeable person has a super set of the range of options). <br>> > Do you think it is part of our make up or do you think ignorance is
<br>> > a choice?<br>> <br>> Becoming more knowledgeable is a choice. Since it is a choice that requires<br>> some not inconsiderable effort compared to remaining relatively ignorant it<br>> is not the default or most popular choice. Humans conserve energy generally
<br>> speaking. It is certainly not easier than remaining ignorant. It tends to<br>> maximize longer term well-being and options for self and others. If one<br>> values short term ease more than long term viability then ignorance is
<br>> chosen, mostly by default. <br>> <br><br>To expand on this, while greater knowledge is often an advantage, it comes at a cost, for example in terms of time spent, exclusion of other activities, etc. <br><br><ul>
<li>Whether or not this is <span style="font-style: italic;">considered good</span> depends on the subjective values of the individual or the group doing the judging. We have many examples where scientists and visionaries have been ostracized and persecuted.
<br><br></li><li>Whether or not increased knowledge provides a <span style="font-style: italic;">survival advantage</span> depends on the nature of the environment and its specific opportunities and threats. There are many examples where having stronger community ties provides greater survival advantages than having greater objective knowledge which might distance one from others.
<br></li></ul>In our environment of accelerating technological change, I think that (1) increasingly objective knowledge of how things work, applied to (2) increasingly inter-subjective knowledge of our shared values (those that persist because they tend to work) is the path to increasingly effective social decision-making that will be seen as increasingly moral.
<br><br>While I don't agree with the original poster's suggestion that "knowledge is in the genes", I also don't think that, ultimately, "knowledge" or "understanding", in the sense of a complete model, is in the humans either. In a very profound sense, much of what we rely on is encoded in our environment, including our culture. In a like sense, we will do well to intentionally contribute to building a broad framework of wisdom incorporating (1) and (2) above while recognizing that it will be operating at a level of complexity beyond individual human comprehension and its *specific* behaviors will be unpredictable.
<br><br>- Jef<br><a href="http://www.jefallbright.net">http://www.jefallbright.net</a><br>Increasing awareness for increasing morality<br>Empathy, Energy, Efficiency, Extropy<br><br>