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Thread: Culture, a brief history.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    The evolution of societies / cultures, is in part based on the +3.5B years of biological evolution that came before. So whether we like it or not hierarchies will exist because it is hard wired into us. The trick is finding the balance between those that seek gain through atrophy / abuse and those that want to tear it all down and make things flat. In both cases the ones that really lose out are those at the bottom.
    If Wisdom is the coordination of "knowledge and experience" and its deliberate use to improve well being then how come "Ignorance is bliss"

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by SeriousSam View Post
    In both cases the ones that really lose out are those at the bottom.
    Middle, actually.

    The top ones prey down, so they can have all of the things.
    The bottom ones prey up, because they have none of the things and the top ones have so many of the things that they can afford sophisticated security.
    The middle ones have a few of the things, but not enough to protect them from the top and bottom ones, so they're the easy targets.

    In short, taxes and theft.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by atemporal View Post
    Really? Isn't the point of an expert to have better knowledge than the average person so they can better advise on the sensible cause of action? I mean the whole brexit ignoring experts thing has hardly been a good idea so far has it? To assume that everyone has a hidden agenda is a bit machiovellian. It can sound wise at first glance, but at some point you have to decide who to listen to, and therefore what their agenda is (if you want to go that far).

    Most experts I know have little agenda other than a desire to ensure people understand things properly even if that is not what they want to hear. Especially when they have no direct gain from the situation otherwise. I know people who do expert witness in law cases. They hate it, it's a burden to them, they barely cover costs, and in some cases lose money. It's not a financial thing. They have no agenda being there other than to explain complicated facts to a jury of common people in a way they can understand - and often that means educating them about reality vs the BS poorly trained journalists and lame news articles on the internet spout about. They are keen convictions/rulings are not made based on BS misunderstanding. Doesn't matter what the case is, or the rights and wrongs of it. They just want to make sure the facts are what gets weighed.

    Not all sources should be weighted equally. Agendas? Sure. Some people more than most, but we must all be very very careful about dismissing experts just because. That is surely reckless.
    I think experts have their right to a say, but as I've said on any given topic I can find many different experts all with contrary views, that's how advances in human understanding work isn't it.

    For example 'global warming', so each has their own beliefs and therefore when viewing the data, see what they want to see, others are paid by pressure groups, or by industries. Also experts can be used to justify wars, or allow the major car companies to break emissions regulations. So it's best to refer to many experts, and then decide between the different viewpoints. Also that was the reason Berners-Lee was asking that scientists release their raw data(they have to anyway if they put forward a theory), but freely available data means more insight and interpretation, which was his original idea.

    Part of the restructuring of society since the second world war, means we now live in a less obviously hierarchical society, and that power is shared. It's an illusion in terms of politics, but ideas also mean power, as does access to information. It basically means listen to experts, but trust yourself more, think for yourself.
    Last edited by johnroe; 11-07-2018 at 04:48 PM.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    T>I think relying on stereotypes is easy but very limiting. Real young people don't match up to the stereotype portrayed in the media, nor do any other group. I can also spot when someone knows what they are talking about, and when they are just pulling the 'expert' card. On several of those threads(not related to components), there was on each someone who knew what they were talking about, and like I said because they have confidence in their view, they don't have to resort to all the school yard nonsense.

    Forums are interesting subcultures to study. I've never come across a small group of people who stereotype themselves as purely logical. (I mean even Spock didn't claim that!). It's like finding some lost tribe, who have their own forum language of cliches. Fascinating.


    The idea is that you need humans with different specialisations, so the 'drones' (Bee analogy warning) tend to think in set patterns and keep the 'hive' functioning, but it's the 'workers' who take the high risk strategy and leave the box and return with new ideas. But one of the problems is that just logic doesn't always give the best solution, especially if affects humans or other life. So you need to think logically, but also use other human skills of imagination and empathy, etc. to create new solutions.

    What they said changed the perception of sharks was the way it was depicted in the film, as a 'vengeful planning predator'. In fact it's just one of many predators that might kill a human. There was some bad publicity after several ships and planes went down in shark infested waters as you say WW2(they reference it in film- SS Indianapolis), but generally they were just seen as another big fish. I have swam in shark infested waters, it freaks them if you start hunting them.

    (that atemporal would make such an extrapolation is what's interesting).

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I think experts have their right to a say, but as I've said on any given topic I can find many different experts all with contrary views, that's how advances in human understanding work isn't it.

    For example 'global warming', so each has their own beliefs and therefore when viewing the data, see what they want to see, others are paid by pressure groups, or by industries. Also experts can be used to justify wars, or allow the major car companies to break emissions regulations. So it's best to refer to many experts, and then decide between the different viewpoints. Also that was the reason Berners-Lee was asking that scientists release their raw data(they have to anyway if they put forward a theory), but freely available data means more insight and interpretation, which was his original idea.

    Part of the restructuring of society since the second world war, means we now live in a less obviously hierarchical society, and that power is shared. It's an illusion in terms of politics, but ideas also mean power, as does access to information. It basically means listen to experts, but trust yourself more, think for yourself.
    I agree with most of that, except the last bit about trusting yourself more. I think there are some cases where people have to admit they don't understand something well enough. Eg the MMR vaccine where some Dr spouts BS conclusions in the media linking it to autism. Now pretty much any and all medics I've spoken to either practising or involved in public health planning, tropical disease, or full-on medical research all say his conclusions were a downright distortion, poorly backed-up, and skewing or even making-up results based on little more than asking parents, "oh do you think it gave your kid autism"? The effect was journalists latched onto 1 Dr as "an expert", dismissed a load of others (rightly) contradicting him, and spouted a story resulting in large swathes of people rejecting a perfectly safe vaccine out of fear mongering. That Dr got struck off in the UK (and is now working in the US IIRC). People came to their own conclusion based on the resources they had (media citing a Dr) and came to the wrong conclusion, putting their own children at risk. That is a classic example of where trusting yourself to understand complicated things just doesn't work.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by SeriousSam View Post
    The evolution of societies / cultures, is in part based on the +3.5B years of biological evolution that came before. So whether we like it or not hierarchies will exist because it is hard wired into us. The trick is finding the balance between those that seek gain through atrophy / abuse and those that want to tear it all down and make things flat. In both cases the ones that really lose out are those at the bottom.
    Yes that was the point at which this thread started, human culture and how we came to dominate the planet. In the video he talked about societies being decentralised prior to the agricultural revolution, at which point powerful hierarchies formed(governments, corporate/political and religious), but power became less centralised after the printing press meant free flow of ideas, from inventions and cures to ammunition and revolution.

    I agree I think,that there needs to be a balance, but the aim is more power which makes people feel more liberated from old ways of thinking. Less alienated and also taking more responsibility. One of the main human traits is our adaptability, so changing the way we think has always been essential, and even manipulated through propaganda(thinking of how people in say N. Korea are adapted to a very centralised system of thought control).

    Everything is changing so fast, soon most humans in the advanced countries will have to redefine their lives, even their identities(what am I if I'm not a worker drone?), computers and AI + robotics. I suppose the agricultural revolution gave us time for other interests, ie: culture. Next we will have more freedom, more information and more potential to create something else. I wonder if watching early sci fi, makes people believe anything is possible, or is it hard wired or biological.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    (that atemporal would make such an extrapolation is what's interesting).
    it's the natural extension of your argument. we are in a thread on abstract thinking no? It doesn't take much to see the link.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    Middle, actually.

    The top ones prey down, so they can have all of the things.
    The bottom ones prey up, because they have none of the things and the top ones have so many of the things that they can afford sophisticated security.
    The middle ones have a few of the things, but not enough to protect them from the top and bottom ones, so they're the easy targets.

    In short, taxes and theft.
    You are probably right if looking at the short term, though it does get rather complicated. If you look at the French Revolution for example, some sections of the middle class lost their heads whereas others did rather well out of the whole debacle. Then arguably the biggest losers in the Russian revolution were successful smallholding farmers, who are probably top of the bottom end.

    That aside though my point was more about the longer term effects.

    1. Atrophied hierarchy - the further up you are the easier it becomes to work within it, game the system, to progress up (well as much as is possible)
    2. Flattening - as the hierarchy reasserts itself, those better able to adapt will do well and unfortunately that's usually not those at the bottom unless exceptional

    Hence, why it is better to accept the inevitability of hierarchy structures whilst at the same time always ensuring upwards mobility is possible and that the gap from top to bottom is managed. The latter is where the real challenge lies, especially in terms of men, as there is a much larger natural variation in physical / mental capabilities. The dumbbell to Nobel effect as it is often known.
    If Wisdom is the coordination of "knowledge and experience" and its deliberate use to improve well being then how come "Ignorance is bliss"

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by atemporal View Post
    I agree with most of that, except the last bit about trusting yourself more. I think there are some cases where people have to admit they don't understand something well enough. Eg the MMR vaccine where some Dr spouts BS conclusions in the media linking it to autism. Now pretty much any and all medics I've spoken to either practising or involved in public health planning, tropical disease, or full-on medical research all say his conclusions were a downright distortion, poorly backed-up, and skewing or even making-up results based on little more than asking parents, "oh do you think it gave your kid autism"? The effect was journalists latched onto 1 Dr as "an expert", dismissed a load of others (rightly) contradicting him, and spouted a story resulting in large swathes of people rejecting a perfectly safe vaccine out of fear mongering. That Dr got struck off in the UK (and is now working in the US IIRC). People came to their own conclusion based on the resources they had (media citing a Dr) and came to the wrong conclusion, putting their own children at risk. That is a classic example of where trusting yourself to understand complicated things just doesn't work.
    Yes you are using some very specific examples. But surely it's up to the parents to decide. I'm sure they do weigh up all the arguments. There is a general distrust of some pharmaceutical companies products, based on some high profile cases. I think everyone has to take responsibility themselves, also deciding what you buy(from materials used to conditions of workers) can have a massive effect. Cultural shifts are very subtle, but there is definitely a shift towards individuals, partly based on better education levels and easy access to information, and more distrust of organisations.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    each has their own beliefs and therefore when viewing the data, see what they want to see
    If that's how they do it, then they're not experts...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    So it's best to refer to many experts, and then decide between the different viewpoints.
    That only works if you're the one overriding decision-maker. Otherwise you then get a battle between every individual who reads everything (or only some of the things), as they try and enforce their own beliefs, and you're back to square one... unless you're talking a popularity contest, in which case it's just Trial By Twitter.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    but freely available data means more insight and interpretation, which was his original idea.
    And also freely exploitable data, which WILL get abused, misused and outright stolen. This is why we have had to create things like copyrights and trademarks...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Part of the restructuring of society since the second world war, means we now live in a less obviously hierarchical society, and that power is shared. It's an illusion in terms of politics, but ideas also mean power, as does access to information.
    It's still very blatantly hierarchical - There are just many more ranks and the structure is more complex.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    It basically means listen to experts, but trust yourself more, think for yourself.
    But still quote whichever one is best misinterpreted to represent your ill-conceived pretext of an opinion, because it provides a nominalisation that can appear to justify your position, even without actually substantiating it in the slightest. Always a good tactic.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    T>I think relying on stereotypes is easy but very limiting.
    Who said we're relying?
    Well, apart from marketing and advertising, goverments, the media, and society in general, all of whom have had immense success by using kids' own stereotypes against them thus proving the stereotypes not only exist but utterly pervade such a demographic.... who said we're relying?

    They exist, fact of life.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Real young people don't match up to the stereotype portrayed in the media, nor do any other group
    Ha!
    Not only do they match up, they actively try to embody them - What do you think Fashion and trends are all born from? Sterotypes come from a combination of peoples' general lack of originality and their desire to 'fit in'. That's exactly how and why they not only exist, but most definitely work.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I've never come across a small group of people who stereotype themselves as purely logical. (I mean even Spock didn't claim that!).
    Spock wasn't purely Vulcan, though.
    And while people on forums might not claim to be purely logical in themselves, they frequently assert that their arguments are... some are quite correct, although the percentage of those whose arguments are not and/or who are more likely to attack your own on the basis that they similarly lack logic, rationality and/or reason is far higher.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    It's like finding some lost tribe, who have their own forum language of cliches. Fascinating.
    See, remarks like that just come across as you trying to make this forum sound like a bunch of socially-challeneged weirdos, and yet in doing so you also manage to present yourself as someone taking their first steps outside of the house and interacting with the rest of the world.
    It's actually a trait I find common among my more pretentious middle-class friends who, like you for example, seem by their manner and pretentions as if they might belong in a wing-back chair and smoking jacket, sipping brandy and puffing on Meerschaum pipes while discussing the merits of Tolstoy and hedging gentleman's wagers on where The Empire might wage battle next... interspersed with tales of when they were tiger-hunting in Poonah, of course!

    You know, if you wanted to start analysing and comparing cliches...!

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    What they said changed the perception of sharks was the way it was depicted in the film, as a 'vengeful planning predator'.
    No they didn't. I've already pointed out that it's an age-old perception merely recycled for the new generation....

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    There was some bad publicity after several ships and planes went down in shark infested waters as you say WW2(they reference it in film- SS Indianapolis), but generally they were just seen as another big fish.
    Again, no they weren't, as you know from all the centuries-old historical accounts already staring you in the face... I suppose you like to believe you're thinking creatively by ignoring all that blatant evidence, or something, but really you're now just being willfully ignorant and opinionated.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    (that atemporal would make such an extrapolation is what's interesting).
    That your flawed and unreasonable opinion led to such cunning witticism is precisely what's not...

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by atemporal View Post
    it's the natural extension of your argument. we are in a thread on abstract thinking no? It doesn't take much to see the link.
    I was thinking of seals, and anything else that hangs around to long. I find sharks interesting(I posted a link elsewhere to a live great white cam), they drift effortlessly through whole masses of sea life, but if it detects the slightest failing, WAM, death. (Actually despite what I said, sharks have the level of complex AI neural net systems.) But what I mean is that for millions of years they've aided evolution, and that is how life and nature work, and then along comes Spielberg, WAM, every macho sprat wants to kill a shark, and hang it on a hook.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I wonder if watching early sci fi, makes people believe anything is possible, or is it hard wired or biological.
    Well the latest thinking about consciousness incorporates the hypothesis that it is contingent on being able to make "stuff" up in your head...

    There's also the theory that we're now experiencing another "Gutenberg" revolution due to the availability of podcasts etc. via the internet. Having gotten fed up with "sound bite" discussion on traditional media, people are turning to long format on youtube etc.

    The odd thing about decentralisation is that it doesn't always mean more widely spread. As more resources become available so the pareto effect becomes more prevalent.
    If Wisdom is the coordination of "knowledge and experience" and its deliberate use to improve well being then how come "Ignorance is bliss"

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    but if it detects the slightest failing, WAM, death.
    I'm slightly suspicious of the idea that you would consider the natural order of things to be a "failure" of some kind... or worse, to be "weak and stupid". That's a bit far down the anthropomorphising route, don't you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    and then along comes Spielberg, WAM, every macho sprat wants to kill a shark, and hang it on a hook.
    ABSOLUTE TOSH!!!
    The Chinese have long been shark hunters and the Romans in particular were hunting sharks and whales long before Jesus walked the Earth. Heck, the Romans even hunted a couple of whale species to outright extinction!!
    Peru is another example of a large shark-hunting culture and graves over 1900 years old stand testament to the most prolific hunters.

    Both meats have been very popular for centuries and the practice became widespread around the world long before Spielberg was even born.... Where do you think shark fin soup came from?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeriousSam View Post
    Well the latest thinking about consciousness incorporates the hypothesis that it is contingent on being able to make "stuff" up in your head...
    Sorry, but that just seems pretty blatant to me - If the belief in anything being possible was dependent upon watching early sci-fi, then what the heck episode of Star Trek was DaVinci watching... and what was being watched by those who dreamed up that early sci-fi?
    No, all reasoning points to the ability to imagine off one's own back, with external influences being mere stepping stones to your own or other peoples' imaginings.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    T>'might belong in a wing-back chair and smoking jacket, sipping brandy and puffing on Meerschaum pipes while discussing the merits of Tolstoy and hedging gentleman's wagers on where The Empire might wage battle next... interspersed with tales of when they were tiger-hunting in Poonah'.........unbelievable that's exactly me!

    I have used the same arguments as you, about why people stereotype. It's very hard to imagine 1.5 billion Chinese people for example, but apparently a specific AI system can do that. But I think now, it is very difficult to stereotype whole groups of people, you have to shift your mind to a different mindset(ie:seven billion individuals on a planet).

    I mentioned the earliest sci fi way back, second century AD it was a parody of ancient Roman travel writing, where the destination was the moon. Again it's that human ability to use abstract thought, to imagine something out of their normal realm of knowledge and experience. Da Vinci was an inventor thinking for himself on how to solve terrestrial problems.

    We create our collective future through our stories, our fiction, our culture. In 1898 Morgan Robertson wrote a novel 'Futulity' about a massive Atlantic liner called Titan, all the richest clients wanted to be first to sail, on the 800 ft liner, that was labelled 'unsinkable'. Because of this over confidence the fictional ship had too few lifeboats, and when it hit an iceberg many were lost. Fourteen years later the Titanic was launched.

    I even saw a case that reminded me of Terminator. The military are really now in an arms race to develop AI and robotics/drone warfare, and there's even talk of space forces protecting mining rights for example. They use AI in their weaponry, it still mostly relies on humans to pull the trigger but some systems like the Israel Iron dome can be fully autonomous. To decide what the missile is, what it's weapon load is, it's trajectory, and where it will land and intercept it, is just about within human power, but when there are multiple launches. There was a case of an automated weapon opening fire on it's own troops in South Africa. It's inevitable that that will happen as a system learns, but it shouldn't stop progress.

    The natural world isn't very forgiving to the injured or stupid, but humans have created their own culture.
    Last edited by johnroe; 12-07-2018 at 05:38 PM.

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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    unbelievable that's exactly me!
    Yeah it shows....

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    But I think now, it is very difficult to stereotype whole groups of people, you have to shift your mind to a different mindset(ie:seven billion individuals on a planet).
    It's very easy and a very successfull marketing strategy, as evidenced by iPhone sales.
    It's even easier if you yourself create the stereotype in the first place - If you build it, they will come. If you stereotype it, they will buy it...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I mentioned the earliest sci fi way back, second century AD
    I probably wasn't listening... although I doubt you were alive back then, else I'd have heard of you.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Again it's that human ability to use abstract thought, to imagine something out of their normal realm of knowledge and experience.
    But however early you want to find sci-fi, those ideas that inform subsequent generations had to have been informed themselves, and thus all is circular, otherwise you are just reliant on the ability of creativity as Sam pointed out.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    We create our collective future through our stories, our fiction, our culture.
    Good. Call me when I can buy a flying DeLorean....

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    There was a case of an automated weapon opening fire on it's own troops in South Africa.
    Good for them - I imagine the Saffers will make billions selling that to the Americans!!

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    The natural world isn't very forgiving to the injured or stupid, but humans have created their own culture.
    The natural world is very rarely stupid. That's a human trait.
    But of course we've had to create our own culture and invent new ways to die, because we've killed off or banished most of our natural predators.

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    Senior Member SeriousSam's Avatar
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    Re: Culture, a brief history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    Sorry, but that just seems pretty blatant to me - If the belief in anything being possible was dependent upon watching early sci-fi, then what the heck episode of Star Trek was DaVinci watching... and what was being watched by those who dreamed up that early sci-fi?
    No, all reasoning points to the ability to imagine off one's own back, with external influences being mere stepping stones to your own or other peoples' imaginings.
    Well you seem to have made up the part about me referring to Sci-Fi...
    If Wisdom is the coordination of "knowledge and experience" and its deliberate use to improve well being then how come "Ignorance is bliss"

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