[ExI] EP

Natasha Vita-More natasha at natasha.cc
Wed Oct 10 13:31:18 UTC 2007

At 11:47 PM 10/9/2007, Keith wrote:
>At 04:03 PM 10/9/2007, Natasha wrote:
>>At 10:01 AM 10/9/2007, Keith wrote:
>> >At 12:26 AM 10/9/2007, James Clement wrote:
>> > >If the brain can be looked upon as a combination of interconnected
>> >computers
>> > >running many programs and subroutines, most of which are inherited from
>> > >reptile, mammal, and primate ancestors, what can we do to override or
>> > >reprogram these?
>>Natasha wrote:
>> >This a topic of great interest to me.  The inherited reptilian program is
>> >dangerous in many environments.
>>"Our line parted ways with the reptiles a *long* time
>>My line has its amygdalae.
>My line has the remnants gill slits of which I can feel in the roof 
>of my mouth with my tongue.  It also has a swim bladder that has 
>been modified into lungs and three reptile jaw bones that have 
>become hammer, anvil and stirrup in my ear.  Point being is that 
>over evolutionary time parts can really shift function.

I have a another remnant, but it is too privately located to discuss.

>>"Psychological traits that were not conducive to reproductive
>>success in the last few million years when our ancestors lived as
>>hunter gatherers would have been bred out of the line.  (Keeping in
>>mind 'inclusive fitness.')"
>Badly over simplified.  Parts of the medial frontal lobes (cortex in 
>nature) are considered essential elements of the limbic 
>system.  Modern anatomy of the brain as seen by fMIR recognizes at 
>least several dozen distinct functional regions.

Yes, but has a few good points.

>Interesting, but it's really hard to ascribe this entirely to 
>hardware.  Is the attractiveness of round headlights on a jeep due 
>to classing one as an animal or due to all the WW II jeeps seen in movies?

I enjoyed his approach.

>Oh my, David Icke, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Icke quoting 
>Carlos Castaneda, quoting "Don Juan," the Mexican Yaqui Indian shaman?

Haha!  I thought it was really kind of funny, actually.  I have a 
thing with Carlos Castaneda.  (I lived with the foremost Navajo 
Indian' Medicine Man known as "Longsalt" and his family before Carlos 
wrote his famous books.  I can tell you first hand that Carlos is a 
marvelous fiction writer.)

>When I was going to the U of A I worked across the street from 
>Pascua Village in Tucson.  So I knew a _great deal_ about the Yaqui 
>Indians.  I also knew the son of the guy who was reputed to be the 
>prototype for the fictional "Don Juan."  This is appealing, popular 
>material but it is also the kind of material that would tend to turn 
>off hard science people.  Incidentally a hard science question would 
>be just why Carlos Castaneda had so much appeal.  Or others I am now 
>under legal advice not to mention.


>> >One decidedly noticeable environment is
>> >when humans interface with machines, especially automobiles.  If you
>> >sharpen your focus onto the body language and facial expression of drivers,
>> >it is exceedingly apparent that they perform like tightly wound aggressors
>> >vying for position, as if the urgency of their need entitles them to make
>> >abrupt and savage behavior.
>>"I have not noticed this, but I seldom concentrate on the drivers
>>inside.  It has been my experience that most of the time people are
>>fairly cooperative in traffic.  There may be wide variations
>>depending on the geographic location though.  But given that your
>>observations and inferences of the internal state of drivers are
>>correct, how was it that genes that contributed to this behavior
>>contributed to reproductive success in the lives of our ancestors?"
>>I don't know, genetics is not my expertise.  But it's competitive
>>aggression to get ahead of the other guy for getting the food or survival.
>You might want to consider chimps or the anthropology of primitive 
>cultures such as the Yanamano.  At least with men (or male chimps) 
>in a tribe, the watchword is (guarded) cooperation.  de Waal's books 
>are an interesting read as are Jane Goodall.
>>Getting ahead is not determined by the destination but more from the
>>physical relationship of position and speed.
>Gasoline and testosterone.  :-)  Men are risk takers.  Used to be, 
>and still is in some places, a high fraction of them died.  It's not 
>a constant though, it is modulated by environmental outlook.

Women too, incidentally.  Many of the women driving the big SUV's 
here in Austin are Hispanic.  Big SUVs, little roundish ladies and 
stern looks on their faces.  I think it is more of a status symbol 
for gender though - "My man is a great hunter gatherer and I am 
taking control of his procurement."

>>I watch behaviors in a lot of environments.  Airports are good too -
>>watching how people come and go and the relationships of people getting on
>>and off planes, etc.  Grocery stores are also quite fascinating, especially
>>in different countries and cultures.  (Communications / media designers
>>tend to do this as part of our visual narrative.)
>> >Of course it is necessary to have internal and external warning systems but
>> >I think that humanity cannot overcome many of our current foibles unless
>> >and until we manage the hyperemotional disarray our inheritance and enhance
>> >our sensory awareness.
>>"I see your point.  I don't think we are going to get far with either
>>unless we understand at least the evolutionary origin of our
>>psychological traits and perhaps it will take understanding even the
>>circuit wiring."
>>"However, consider "hyper emotional disarray [of?] our
>>[of?]  (Yes, thanks -  I'm multi-tasking as I am writing ...)
>>"Whatever emotional traits we have come from
>>selection.  They are not likely to be in disarray in the environment
>>of evolutionary adaptiveness  (EEA), at least when considered from
>>the viewpoint of the genes that construct our emotional circuits.  If
>>they are in disarray today, it's because the environment (material
>>and memetic culture) has changed and genes have not kept up.  How has
>>culture changed?  Is the change permanent?  If we could, what changes
>>should we make in these traits?  (We will have the ability to do it
>>soon, so thinking about this might be rather useful.)"
>>You are placing more emphasis on genes and I am placing more emphasis on
>>behavior.  I'm not an essentialist, so I have to say that behavior is
>>partially genetic and partially adaptive and influenced by many variables.
>It depends on the behavior.  Ultimately all behavior is the result 
>of genes that build animals able to behave at all.  Some behaviors 
>are much more hardwired than others.  The most hardwired we may not 
>even be aware of.  See the EP explanation of capture-bonding.

Can't agree.  The senses take on a life of their own.  Yes they were 
engineered to sniff out the environment and protect us, etc., but 
they also are worthy of so much more.  I think this century will be 
the century of the senses.

>>"'[A]nd enhance our sensory awareness.'  We are not aware or conscious
>>of everything that goes on.  Why?  I suspect awareness is a limited
>>and precious mental resource.  We probably have a lot of hardwired
>>circuits to focus it on matters of pressing importance, and I think
>>there are mental illness states involving awareness.  If we were to
>>enhance our sensory awareness, what would it take?  What might it
>>cost in terms of other mental features?"
>>If not done with elegant science and a very smart control gauge, it would
>>cost a hell of a lot.
>Right.  Awareness is only one mental time sharing process.

Nicely put.

<http://www.natasha.cc/>Natasha<http://www.natasha.cc/> Vita-More
PhD Candidate, CAiiA situated in the Faculty of Technology, School of 
Computing, Communications and Electronics,
University of Plymouth, UK
<http://www.transhumanist.biz/>Transhumanist Arts & Culture
<http://extropy.org/>Thinking About the <http://extropy.org/>Future

If you draw a circle in the sand and study only what's inside the 
circle, then that is a closed-system perspective. If you study what 
is inside the circle and everything outside the circle, then that is 
an open system perspective. - Buckminster Fuller

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