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In reply to the discussion: Setting human limitations... [View all]


(17,671 posts)
12. Since we seem able to design machinery to significantly expand the ability of the brain
Fri Dec 30, 2011, 12:39 PM
Dec 2011

I am not so sure there are any meaningful limitations on its capabilities. We can build machines that far outstrip our physical abilities with relative ease, I see no reason why we cannot do the same with our brains.

The limitations may well be not in our brains but in the object of our investigations. The planet itself may not support the kind of physical and mental activity required to make all those technological leaps. For every Mars lander there are about a hundred million Nike tennis shoes. For every cyclotron experiment there are about a hundred million mindless tweets. For every Einstein there is a Hiroshima.

While our intellectual capacity does not seem to me to have any meaningful limits, I think our emotional capacity is equally limitless as well. We seem not only to be able to conceptualize what others may think or feel, we can create fictional characters as experiments to conceptualize what could be possibly be thought or felt just to see what will happen and share in those emotional highs and lows. It's what religion, otherwise known as fiction, is designed to do. For every god there is a Satan. For every heaven there is a hell. For every St. Stephen there is a Torquemada.

It seems we have become so adept at the development of systems to expand our abilities we have forgotten how to simply be who we are right here right now. It seems that there are people who don't know, or care, where their food comes from. There are others who are so enamored with ideological constructs they are willing to kill for a fiction.

I wonder if the human race is finally beginning to reach a point where the planet and our own bodies can no longer support the unlimited ability of our brains to seek out novelty both without and within ourselves. The solution to that problem, if it exists, may be the most important solution the human race has found since we walked out of Africa.

Setting human limitations... [View all] Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 OP
Thanks tama Dec 2011 #1
I view religion as a mental phenomenon... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #2
Mental and social phenomena tama Dec 2011 #3
The difference is that science is self correcting, to account for human fallibility... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #15
Self correcting tama Dec 2011 #20
And that's why I don't use faith to describe my confidence in those things... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #25
Based on previous experience tama Dec 2011 #27
Science can't answer everything... Eliminator Dec 2011 #4
Clearly religion can never replace science. rrneck Dec 2011 #6
I don't think science will replace religion... cleanhippie Dec 2011 #9
Absolutely. rrneck Dec 2011 #13
+1 cleanhippie Dec 2011 #8
which is why it's the God of the gaps deacon_sephiroth Dec 2011 #10
God of the gaps tama Dec 2011 #14
Glad to see the name Henry Drummond mentioned in this forum a quite amazing man. Leontius Dec 2011 #21
In your attempt to discuss human limitations you raise 2 spurious issues: fear and religion. Jim__ Dec 2011 #5
Plato's Sophist tama Dec 2011 #16
Well, apparently, we can understand the world we live in through "other ways of knowing" cleanhippie Dec 2011 #7
and I think that's the point of the day (week? month? century?) deacon_sephiroth Dec 2011 #11
Many examples have been given tama Dec 2011 #18
I am really confused here. cbayer Dec 2011 #19
Since we seem able to design machinery to significantly expand the ability of the brain rrneck Dec 2011 #12
I think the only limits on our capabilities are those imposed on us by the laws of physics... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #17
I'd like to join your "cautiously optimistic" view of the world, and MarkCharles Dec 2011 #22
I don't think religion will go away, rather I think its influence on society will steadily... Humanist_Activist Dec 2011 #23
Good thoughts there! I don't object to people getting together on Sundays MarkCharles Dec 2011 #24
I agree wholeheartedly how dare someone think they are right the arrogant bastards Leontius Dec 2011 #26
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