No 2293 Posted by fw, June 8, 2018
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“The human brain can imagine and speak many more word combinations representing reality than exist in reality. As such the virtual world in our minds seems more real to us even in the face of science, logic and common sense. And since we construct our own individual virtual worlds, we prefer them over the virtual worlds in others’ minds. … Which is why fake news works and why we find it extremely difficult to convince people about climate change, energy descent, the limits of technology, etc.” —Resilience.org
In yesterday’s post, Pt 9, continuum 8, Hagens clarified the difference between Proximate versus Ultimate origins of human behavior, introducing a level of complexity in human self-awareness.
In today’s post, Pt 10, continuum 9, Hagens builds on the theme of complexity in human self-awareness by pointing out the strength of our personal beliefs over the authority of fact-based evidence. In Hagens’ words, “We evolved to be wrong. And we have a lot of blind spots about our physical world.”
Below is the embedded video of Hagens’ 60-minute address, followed by an 18-minute Q&A session. My transcript of Pt. 10, continuum 9, runs from 18:11 to 19:18.
Alternatively, a video of Hagens’ talk, along with a “loosely related” essay on the talk, are available by clicking on the following linked title. This version, published by Resilience.org, also includes excellent readers’ comments, including responses by Hagens.
TRANSCRIPT (from 18:11 to 19:18)
18:11 – [Continuum 9: Belief vs Facts] — Beliefs versus Facts. Science and words are very recent inventions for our species. The mind can invent thousands or millions of times more possibilities than exist in the real world. And our brains can easily be tricked into some vision or some story that makes us feel good and we want to be a part of even though it’s not based in reality. This is also why many of us are arguing with our friends on Facebook with various facts about ____________ fill in the blank. And it [settles] nothing, or it does very little, because people don’t really respond to facts. They respond to feelings.
19:02 – The physical world is our reality, but our evolutionary past led us to this moment. We evolved to be wrong. And we have a lot of blind spots about our physical world.
[Resilience.org Supplement] — Belief vs Facts – The human brain can imagine and speak many more word combinations representing reality than exist in reality. As such the virtual world in our minds seems more real to us even in the face of science, logic and common sense. And since we construct our own individual virtual worlds, we prefer them over the virtual worlds in others’ minds. Which is why ‘beliefs’ are far more powerful than facts. Beliefs usually precede the reasons used to explain them. Which is why fake news works and why we find it extremely difficult to convince people about climate change, energy descent, the limits of technology, etc.
About Dr. Nathan John Hagens – Hagens, 51, worked on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and Salomon Brothers for 10 years before closing his own hedge fund in 2003 to develop a systems synthesis approach to the human predicament. At present, Dr. Hagens is a professor at the University of Minnesota where he teaches a systems synthesis Honors seminar called Reality 101, A Survey of Human Predicament. The readings and lectures cover literature in systems ecology, energy and natural resources, thermodynamics, history, anthropology, human behavior, neuroscience, environmental science, sociology, economics, globalization/trade, and finance/debt with an overarching goal to give students a general understanding of how our human ecosystem functions as a whole.
Visit Nate Hagens’ personal website at The Monkey Trap.
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