How does a supposedly intelligent species get itself in such a mess?
More than 25,000 conservationists and international policy makers are preparing to meet in Istanbul this month to discuss world water challenges.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature says two-thirds of the world’s population will face water shortages by 2025.
Policy makers at the World Water Forum must understand that investing in good water governance is critical for a sustainable water future, the group said.
I’ll tell you why: because we view ourselves as minds separate from bodies, we fear the body/world because we cannot control it as we seem to be able to control our minds.
To combat that uncertainty, of that weird physical world out there, we invent a fiction of absolute, universal autonomy. Here’s how it goes: I do only what I intend to do, and if I am forced to do anything else except in service of my right to do only what I want to do, I am being abused by others. Furthermore, my decisions are as valid as anyone else’s, or I’m being oppressed. Why this focus on oppression/abuse? Because the social contract is forced on us because we’re born into society, but we learn quickly that to make ourselves the victim is to throw others into socially dubious circumstances, and get them in trouble with the teacher or whatever.
So now we’ve got a huge crowd of people united around the idea that their fond illusions are reality, that they are untouchable kings in a castle of their own minds, and even more, that the individual itself is a viable goal. These crowds make obeying reality a preference, and universally, they prefer to ignore reality until it’s a really big problem. This is why it takes a tragedy to awaken humanity to any situation; everyone is too busy thinking how cool they are and ignoring everything but what they want to see.
However, science is starting to shatter this religion of the godlike self:
The debate over intelligence and intelligence testing focuses on the question of whether it is useful or meaningful to evaluate people according to a single major dimension of cognitive competence. Is there indeed a general mental ability we commonly call “intelligence,” and is it important in the practical affairs of life? The answer, based on decades of intelligence research, is an unequivocal yes. No matter their form or content, tests of mental skills invariably point to the existence of a global factor that permeates all aspects of cognition. And this factor seems to have considerable influence on a person’s practical quality of life. Intelligence as measured by IQ tests is the single most effective predictor known of individual performance at school and on the job. It also predicts many other aspects of well-being, including a person’s chances of divorcing, dropping out of high school, being unemployed or having illegitimate children.
By now the vast majority of intelligence researchers take these findings for granted. Yet in the press and in public debate, the facts are typically dismissed, downplayed or ignored. This misrepresentation reflects a clash between a deeply felt ideal and a stubborn reality. The ideal, implicit in many popular critiques of intelligence research, is that all people are born equally able and that social inequality results only from the exercise of unjust privilege. The reality is that Mother Nature is no egalitarian. People are in fact unequal in intellectual potential–and they are born that way, just as they are born with different potentials for height, physical attractiveness, artistic flair, athletic prowess and other traits. Although subsequent experience shapes this potential, no amount of social engineering can make individuals with widely divergent mental aptitudes into intellectual equals.
So what science proves, The People deny, and as a result, government and media — which pander to what people want to think, not what is real — lead us further down the path of illusion.
Instead of pretending you’re so wise as you bash theists, Republicans, etc., dear friends, why not focus on the real problem — that our species is in denial of fundamental facts about its own intelligence?