Sections of this chapter
The Components of Intelligence
The Common Denominator of Evolution
Intelligence of an Atom
Intelligence of an Amoeba
Generalists and Specialists
The Human Brain
The Amplification of Intelligence
The Game of Life
Just as life is an effect of matter and the laws which determine the behavior of matter, so is mind an effect of life and the laws which determine the behavior of life. A mind is the set of all thoughts and perceptions which an entity possesses. Insofar as these thoughts and perceptions are predictable and controllable, the mind is conscious. Insofar as these thoughts and perceptions are unpredictable and uncontrollable, the mind is unconscious. To predict is to imagine an event correctly before it is actually perceived. To control is to deliberately cause the formation of a predicted event. A predicted thought or perception is simply any correctly imagined future event. A controlled thought is any event we imagine when and how we desire it. "Control" is an ethically neutral concept as we have defined it. "Control" in the sense of dominating another person is unethical, as will be shown later. For example, if we ask someone the time of day and he freely tells us the correct time, then this information is a controlled event which is not destructive or unethical. We clearly need to control our own bodies to some degree or we will, by definition, not be intelligent.
If there is anything that we know with certainty, it is that we have minds because we each have thoughts and perceptions. We cannot be certain as to what is causing our thoughts and perceptions or what they mean, but we cannot logically deny that they exist because we cannot be a figment of our own imagination. Therefore, our mind is an indisputable reality, which is at least as real as our body and may in fact be the ultimate reality.
Of Mind and Body
Our minds are related to our bodies, but not in an obvious way. Our thoughts are not identical to our bodies, or we could not distinguish between the two. We know that our thoughts are at least in part effects of our body because we can modify our thoughts by modifying our body.
In a famous experiment by the neurosurgeon Penfield, it was shown that by stimulating various parts of the brain it was possible to induce hallucinations, i.e., thoughts and perceptions which to the experimental subject were indistinguishable from "real" experience [611, 793]. By the proper stimulation - electrical, chemical and/or mechanical - of the brain it is possible to induce the recall of forgotten events, hallucinate any sensory experience, and feel any emotion--fear, rage, or love . These techniques are not precise, but the general types of thoughts are controllable by manipulation of the brain. The mind is clearly a field effect of the body just as gravity is a field effect of mass or the curvature of space, depending on one's point of view. The mind is also an effect of things other than the body; for the body is, at least in part, an effect of the mind, since by merely thinking and an act of will we can bring about changes in the physiology and chemistry of the brain and in some quantum processes (see Chapter 5).
Our bodies and consequently our minds are subject to modification by the external environment - physical, biological, and psychosocial. A sharp blow or severe electrical shock to the head, as well as chemicals which disrupt nucleic acid synthesis, can induce amnesia [611, 717]. An infection of meningitis or kuro will induce a wide variety of mental disorders. Being told that a loved one has died can induce grief and trigger aggression, suicide, or other destructive behavior. More specifically, a state of mind can produce changes in the body.
This is most clearly demonstrable by persons who learn to control at will their heartbeat, blood pressure, and EEG patterns through biofeedback training techniques in which they learn to associate a prior subjective mental state with a subsequent, objectively measurable physiological state . Of course, simple mental states such as emotions can produce gross changes in body states - for example, suicide and the whole range of psychosomatic illnesses. There is suicide through depression, muscular convulsion through hate or fear, and nausea and vomiting through disagreeable visual perceptions. Therefore, we must conclude that mind and body are two different parts of a complex interactive system in which each can affect the other and neither can subsist without the other. Neither part precedes the other, but both evolve together, the complexity and entropy of one affecting the complexity and entropy of the other. This process is a tangled hierarchy in which the brain affects the mind, which in turn modifies the brain, which again modifies the mind ad infinitum. This is analogous to an infinite set of reflections of one mirror in another or, more apropos, to the process of autopoiesis in cells by which DNA creates proteins while proteins create DNA to produce the epiphenomenon of life. Consciousnessis the epiphenomenon of an autopoietic interaction between mind and brain. The synergistic whole which is the mind-body system is called "intelligence."
An intelligence is a mind-body system. Neither mind nor a body alone is intelligent. The universal and only common property of all intelligence is its capability to predict and control the total environment - physical, biological, and psychosocial. The greater the capability to predict and control, the greater the intelligence. Evolution is the process of ever increasing intelligence within the universe. The increasing collective intelligence of the biosphere is the only common denominator in the evolutionary process.
Because the universe is an interconnected whole extending beyond time, space, and matter, no part of the universe is devoid of intelligence [62, 63]. This means that intelligence is a property of all matter and life, not just of humans. The differences we perceive are in the degrees and dimensionality of intelligence. There are other definitions of intelligence, but they are less useful in describing the evolutionary process and are more anthropocentric. Therefore, we will only use this definition of intelligence.
Matter predicts and controls a very limited aspect of the environment - the integrity of its own structure. Any material system is homeostatic, for however briefly, and seeks to maintain a specific structure. The higher the entropy of the system, the more stable it is and the longer it will maintain its current structure. Therefore, within the world of matter, nucleons are more stable than atoms, simple atoms are more stable than complex atoms, atoms are more stable than molecules, and simple molecules are more stable than complex molecules. The more complex the structure of matter, the more intelligence it takes to maintain its structure and keep its entropy from increasing.
Matter, like life, can grow in complexity through a specialized or a generalized path. As in the case of life, the specialized mode of development leads to extinction. Atoms which increase complexity solely by adding nucleons and electrons eventually become so unstable that it takes superhuman intelligence for them to maintain their structure for even an instant. We see this in transuranium atoms, which are the most complex atoms known, with atomic weights of several hundred.
Carbon is the only fully generalized atom which can serve equally well as either an electron donor or an electron receiver. Silicon is a close second. As a consequence, carbon can form more stable compounds than any other element. The forming of compounds is a more generalized method for increasing an atom's complexity than the adding of nucleons and electrons. It leads to entities with atomic weights of several million. Silicon has similar chemical properties to carbon, but it is already more specialized and its compounds are less stable. A corollary of this is that a specialized entity is generally more unstable for a given degree of complexity than a generalized entity. This was fairly obvious in the case of animal evolution, but it is more generally true in the case of material evolution. From this it follows that all life forms everywhere in the universe should be based on carbon and not on silicon, because self-replicating silicon-based molecules could not effectively compete against self-replicating carbon-based molecules in any natural environment. If silicon-based life forms ever evolved, it would have to be done artificially by deliberately insulating the silicon systems from having to compete against carbon systems.
From the preceding it is clear that the intelligence of matter is in one-to-one correspondence with its structure and that the more complex matter is, the more intelligently it behaves. As was indicated in Chapter 1, there is no clear demarcation between complex material and simple living systems. Therefore, there is no clear demarcation between the intelligence of complex matter and that of simple life. The difference is mainly one of degree, not of kind.
Life clearly predicts and controls more of the total environment than matter because it must maintain the stability of a much more complex system. Reproduction is already a predictive and controlling property of life that does not exist in simpler matter, although we have seen that it does exist in complex low-entropy matter such as self-replicating molecules. What life does - which matter never does - is to predict and control the behavior of other life forms and make choices. This is obvious with the amoeba, which senses, intercepts, engulfs, metabolizes, and generally uses for its own purposes another living creature such as an alga cell. It makes a choice to consume other cells. Therefore, the evolution of life is based, in part, on predicting and controlling the behavior of matter, as is clearly demonstrated in the photosynthetic life forms; but a much more important and generalized capability is to be able to predict and control the behavior of other life forms and to make choices. Life seeks to maintain an evolving dynamic structure, while matter seeks to maintain a static structure. Life can choose and innovate. Matter can never choose nor innovate. Therefore, matter has intelligence only about matter; life has intelligence about life and matter. Humanity has intelligence about intelligence.
What is unique about human intelligence is that it can predict and control its own ability to predict and control. This is reflected by the human ability to direct its own evolution by increasing its extragenetic information. All other species are completely dependent on mutations in their DNA for evolution. Humans can evolve independently of genetic mutations once the complexity of their nervous system has increased to the point that they can create artificial components of their own intelligence. This notion of "intelligence about intelligence" is a dimensional quadrature called ethics.
Dimensional Quadrature (D.Q.) occurs every time there is a quantum leap in evolution and an entirely new dimension of evolution is begun. (See discussion of major dimensional quadratures in the Introduction.)
At each D.Q. there is a new type of evolution possible and the evolving entity has ever greater control over its own evolution. Matter has no choice over its own evolution and is driven by deterministic laws, i.e., deterministic on the average. Life has more control over its own evolution, although it is still partially driven by random mutation over which it has little or no control. On the other hand, life can make choices that will affect its own intelligence.
- 1.The first D.Q. was the Big Bang.
- 2.The next D.Q.(s), according to the latest theories, occurred during the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang and is/are not well understood; but the end effect was to establish our own universe as a separate bubble with elementary particles of matter, as opposed to antimatter, and the laws of nature as we understand them.
- 3.The next D.Q. was the creation of hydrogen atoms--complementary pairs of protons and electrons--out of elementary particles.
- 4.The next D.Q. was the creation of helium atoms out of four complementary pairs of hydrogen atoms.
- 5.The next D.Q. was the creation of carbon, the first atom with four complementary pairs of active protons and electrons, out of helium - although all the atoms are part of the evolutionary process and represent more specialized subquadratures. There followed many subquadratures, leading to all the other atoms.
- 6.The next D.Q. was the creation of organic molecules based on carbon.
- 7.The next D.Q. was the creation of self-reproducing molecules.
- 8.The next D.Q. was the creation of life, with nucleated cells as a subquadrature.
- 9.The next D.Q. was creation of multicellular life, the metazoa, with many subquadratures as the nervous system evolved in ever more complex hierarchies to paired, quadruple brains.
- 10.The next D.Q. was the creation of ethical life represented by human beings with paired, quadruple brains - of highly developed neocortex, mammalian cortex, reptilian complex, and primitive fish brain - that enable humans to predict and control their own intelligence.
- 11.The next D.Q. was the creation of moral life by modifying the neocortex through its information so that some humans could predict and control their own ethics.
- 12.The next D.Q. will be the creation of moral supermetazoan entities with intelligence about morality - The Moral Society, with the new dimension of being able to create creativity.
Ethical beings, i.e., beings able to predict and control their own ability to predict and control, can create extragenetic information and become free of the tyranny of random mutation by evolving psychosocially. However, they are still subject to many forces of nature and ethical errors.
Moral beings make no ethical errors which are not quickly corrected. They can evolve forever except for the perturbations of the environment, particularly those of ethical beings not yet moral.
A Moral Society is free of the perturbations of beings not yet moral and eventually acquires the ability to evolve and help others evolve irreversibly by creating creativity. Therefore, there may be an infinite hierarchy of evolution with chaotic energy and matter at the bottom, human beings a few steps up from the bottom, and Moral Societies a few steps up from human beings. We will consider these hypotheses later; for now we focus on the nature of intelligence.
The Components of Intelligence
In order for any entity to display intelligence, it must have certain essential features which work together as a single system. These components and their relationships are shown in the figure on page 15 of the Introduction. Intuitively we define these gross components as follows:
Information (F) is the symbolic representation of events and their relationships; it always exists in minimal discrete units called "quanta."
Sensors (S) are receptors of Information (F) which translate the Information (F) into a representation which is useful to the organism. "Useful" refers to anything which increases the ability of the organism to predict and control its total environment.
Connectors (N) are conduits of Information (F) from the Sensors (S) to and between other parts of the organism.
Memory (M) is a system for storing Information (F) so that it can be retrieved by the Will (W).
Will (W) is that component of intelligence which directs the flow of Information (F) from, to, and within the organism; it can operate at the conscious or unconscious level.
Logic (L) is a system for sifting different pieces of Information (F) to determine whether or not they represent mutually exclusive events and relationships.
Effectors (R) are systems for generating Information (F) perceivable to the Sensors (S) by making physical changes in the environment.
Imagination (G) is a system that generates Information (F) independently of the Sensors (S) under direction of the Will (W) in such a way that logical inconsistencies are minimized.
Each of the components, of course, can be broken down into many subcomponents involving many complex relationships. For example: Information (F) is physical, biological, and psychosocial as well as true, false, or indeterminate. Sensors (S) are optical, auditory, olfactory, kinesthetic, thermal, etc. Connectors (N) are afferent, efferent, selective, discrete, analog, etc. Memory (M) is abstract, concrete, spatial, verbal, temporary, intermediate, permanent, etc. Will (W) is vectorial, directional, strong, weak, constructive, destructive, outward, inner, etc. Logic (L) is deterministic, probabilistic, wholistic, atomistic, selective, linear, nonlinear, etc. Effectors (R) are mechanical, chemical, electromagnetic, etc. Imagination (G) is open, closed, esthetic, mechanical, creative, destructive, spatial, abstract, etc. A diagram showing all the possible fine components of intelligence would be too complex to have additional pedagogic value at this time. For now, we merely note that our figure (Components of Intelligence) and the preceding descriptions represent a simplified but still useful model of intelligence that can throw light on the basic process of evolution.
The Common Denominator of Evolution
The only common denominator in the evolutionary process is constantly increasing intelligence. Intelligence can increase in a specialized or generalized manner. Specialized intelligence is inherently unstable; it must eventually become extinct, as was shown in material and biological evolution. Specialization represents a closing of the mind-body system so that an ever narrower range of information is processed until entropy eventually destroys it. The closure occurs because an ever more limited flow of information occurs between the intelligence and the total environment. The flow of information between an intelligence and its environment is called "feedback." Positive feedback refers to information which tells an organism that as a consequence of its actions its intelligence is being increased or in some way it is succeeding. Negative feedback is information which tells an organism that as a consequence of its actions its intelligence is being decreased or in some way it is failing. Neither matter nor life nor mind can evolve without feedback. To see that this is the case, consider the flow of information in an atom, an amoeba, and a human.
Intelligence of an Atom
The atom exchanges information with the environment primarily through electromagnetic means. The electrons in the outer shell of the atom completely determine its chemical behavior. If these electrons are properly excited, by light for example, they will go into a higher quantum state and absorb part of the energy of this light. Under proper circumstances they may release this energy by jumping back down to a lower state. The electrons serve as Sensors (S) and Effectors (R) for the atom. The quantum state is a Memory (M).
The central organizing part of the atom is the nucleus. The electric charge on the nucleus determines in part the behavior of the electrons in the outer shells. The nucleus itself is not structurally affected by changes in the outer electrons, but it is electromagnetically affected when electrons are lost, e.g., by thermal stripping in a star. In this case, the nucleus displays Imagination (G) and Will (W) by recapturing electrons and completing its outer shells when the conditions are appropriate, i.e., when it has negative feedback. The nucleus can Imagine a completed shell and its Logic (L) tells it when the shells are complete. For the atom, therefore, feedback Information (F) is conveyed in electromagnetic fields which are Connectors (N); its electrons are Sensors (S) and Effectors (R); Memory (M) consists of quantum states; Logic (L), Will (W), and Imagination (G) are displayed by the nucleus, which directs the recreation of the outer electron shells into specific structures, if these are disrupted.
Of course, an atom is completely determined by physical laws and it may seem strange to speak of it displaying intelligent, purposeful behavior. Yet the behavior of a human being is also at least partially determined by physical laws. The only difference is that, for all its complexity, an atom is a much more simple mind-body system than a human being. The number of options available to an atom are only a few dozen, and we can predict with reasonable, if not perfect, precision what the consequences of any given action will be on an atom. Because a human being is so much more complex, because we have relatively so much less information about him, and because he has billions of options, the human appears to have intelligence while an atom does not. The direction of evolution is to increase freedom and choices by increasing intelligence. As we have seen, both atoms and humans predict and control their environment; therefore, both are by definition intelligent. A human being is more intelligent than an atom only because he/she predicts and controls more of the total environment than an atom. An amoeba is between the two.
Intelligence of an Amoeba
The amoeba receives feedback Information (F) primarily through chemical and mechanical changes at its surface, which constitutes its Sensors (S). These changes are chemically propagated throughout the cell and cause further chemical changes in terms of the synthesis and the dissolution of molecules. The chain of chemical changes serves as a Connector (N) within the cell.
344444444The Information (F) is stored in terms of changes in some of these molecules which constitute the Memory (M) of the amoeba. When a certain chemical state exists, the amoeba flows around a prey, engulfs it, and metabolizes it (positive feedback). In a similar way, an amoeba will try to avoid an electric field (negative feedback) which disrupts its biochemical structure. The cytoplasm of the amoeba and its various subsystems, such as the mitochondria, are the Effectors (R). The Will (W), Imagination (G), and Logic (L) of the amoeba are programmed into the DNA molecules, concentrated in the nucleus, which have had Information (F) coded in them through natural selection to seek nutrients, metabolize them, and cause the formation of ever more copies of themselves. Logic (L) is involved in selecting nutrients and rejecting non-nutrients or choosing where to move. Imagination (G) is involved in foreseeing how to engulf a prey. Will (W) is necessary to continue the cycle. Whereas the atom does not have any choice, the amoeba is clearly an intelligent mind-body system that makes choices. The intelligence of humans is an extension of this.
Fig. 3-1. Amoeba Illustration
In a human being, Information (F) is received in terms of electromagnetic waves through the eyes and the thermoceptors in the skin, which are Sensors (S). Information (F) is also received chemically through taste and olfactory Sensors (S), mechanically through auditory and pressure Sensors (S), and in the other ways. This Information (F) is conducted by nerves which are the Connectors (N) in the human mind-body system. Memory (M) is produced in and stored throughout the brain by the synthesis of Information (F) storing molecules similar to RNA and DNA, which go through a series of changes induced by the arrival of Information (F) through the Connectors (N), which also activate the Effectors (R) (bones, muscles, internal organs, blood, other body fluids, etc.). Logic (L) is inherent in the nature of nerve cells, each of which can make decisions, namely, (1) either transmit or do not transmit, and (2) if transmission is to take place, transmit specific molecules and electrical impulses. Together, systems of neurons form the brain and all its substructure which determine, at least in part, Imagination (G), Will (W), and overall Logic (L).
To a human being negative feedback is perception of his or her mistakes, attempts to predict and control which failed. Positive feedback is perception of his successes, attempts to predict and control which succeeded.
The overall Logic (L) produced by the brain is probably entirely an effect of the brain and its Information (F), since we can make excellent analogies between human Logic (L) and computers. However, this is not true of Imagination (G) and Will (W).
The closest analog to human Will (W) is the program within the computer. However, the human mind is self-programming. A computer program is more analogous to the instincts of animals, which have much of their behavior genetically predetermined. What is unique about the human Will (W) is our ability to make unlikely choices and to go against our strongest animal instincts, such as the instinct to survive and avoid pain. The human Will (W) is in fact a self-organizing program for maximizing intelligence or the appearance of this. The basic direction and the original instructions are hard-wired, but each human mind modifies the program and becomes either more intelligent or less intelligent. It seems that freedom of ethical choice is essential to maximize creativity. When this choice is taken away and fear is used through reward and punishment to induce any type of behavior, including ethical behavior, the creativity is destroyed. The human Will (W) can and has overcome all attempts of conditioning, no matter how great the punishments or the rewards, to make it go against the ethical direction. This is what makes us uniquely human.
The Will (W) uses the Imagination (G) to generate new Information (F) independently of the Sensors (S) to complete the pattern of all perceived events and relationships so that there are no longer contradictions. As we all know our Imagination (G) can generate false as well as true Information (F). The Imagination (G) is ethically neutral, although not independent of our ethics as manifested by the Will (W). What is remarkable about Imagination (G) is that it can generate true information as often as it does. If the Imagination (G) were a random-number generator of Information (F), it would virtually never generate true Information (F). The fact that it does indicates that Imagination (G) may be in part governed by events outside of the mind-body system - events transcending matter, time, and space. More will be said of this in Chapter 5.
The final observation in this context is that when the Imagination (G) produces a new, true idea, this is analogous to a beneficial mutation in the genes. False ideas are analogous to deleterious mutations. New ideas are psychosocial mutations. New, true ideas are as rare as are beneficial mutations. Indeed a truly new beneficial mutation may have never been observed in the laboratory, although new deleterious mutations are commonplace. There is a close connection between evolution and human creativity. Just as generalized species are favored in evolution, so are generalized humans favored in the creative process.
Generalists and Specialists
To generalize is to increase all the components of intelligence in approximately equal amounts over relatively short periods of time. To specialize is to expand only a few components of intelligence and not expand or contract the other components of intelligence. A specialist is distinguished from a generalist not by what he knows but by what he does not know. The generalist will be much more intelligent about many more parts of the environment than the specialist, although the specialist will have more information but possibly less intelligence than the generalist about a few aspects of the total environment. To see how this could happen consider the following:
Assume all the information that exists is divided into three primary dimensions - the physical, the biological, and the psychosocial. The abstract, three-dimensional space of this information we might call No÷-space or "Mind space." Then a specialist and a generalist would appear as in the figure below.
The surface area of each figure represents the total sum of knowledge and information. The intelligence is the interaction of all the information and is represented by the volume of each figure. A specializing Specialist is represented by an elongating ellipsoid. A generalizing Generalist is represented by an expanding sphere. As is well known, a sphere has maximum volume for a given surface area. Therefore, generalizing always maximizes intelligence. This model is true for circles and ellipses or their analogs in any dimension, i.e., it is true whether No÷space has 2, 3, or n dimensions. It is even more true of the highest form of intelligence, creativity.
Fig. 3-2. Ellipsoid/Sphere Figure
Creativity is the capacity to generate new intelligence in ourselves and others without decreasing intelligence for anyone. It is a special dimensional quadrature of intelligence expressed by the following equation, which is the simplest equation meeting the boundary conditions.
Equation 3.1C = IE
where: C = Creativity in quanta of new, true information generated per unit time.
I = Intelligence in quanta of old, true information predicted and controlled per unit time, minus old, false information acquired and believed per unit time.
E = Ethics in terms of current new, true information imagined and believed per unit time, minus current new, false information believed per same unit time, divided by total current information imagined per unit time. Therefore E is a dimensionless ratio between -1 and +1:
E is as above
Yt =true imagined information
Yf =false believed information
Intuitively Ethics are equivalent to the value a person puts on truth over happiness or to the amount of energy devoted to creative activity versus destructive activity.
Happiness is a state of mind in which we believe that our desires are being fulfilled. Desires that have been fulfilled do not make us happy. We are made happy only by desires that are being fulfilled. Unfulfilled desires make us unhappy so long as we have these desires. A person devoid of desire is neither happy nor unhappy. Happiness can be produced by self-delusion. Happiness and creativity are not mutually exclusive, but neither are they the same thing. We maximize happiness not by pursuing it but by maximizing creativity and ignoring happiness. More will be said of this later.
For now, consider the following table, in which the arrow is a symbol meaning implies:
Table 3.1: ETHICAL BOUNDARIESE = -1 Condition of Immoral persons, who never create and only destroy. They care nothing for truth but value only happiness. They are incapable of imagining anything that is not false.
-1 < E < 0 Condition of Unethical persons, who destroy more than they create; they value happiness ever truth; they believe false information more often than they imagine true information.
E = 0 Condition of Trivial persons, who create and destroy in equal amounts. They value truth and happiness equally. They are just as likely to imagine true information as believe false information. Almost all subhumans are trivial entities. Almost no humans are trivial.
0 < E < 1 Condition of Ethical persons, who create more than they destroy. They value truth over happiness. They imagine true information more often than they believe false information.
E = 1 Condition of Moral persons, who only create and never destroy. They value truth and only truth. They care nothing for their or anyone else's happiness. They imagine only true information, and never believe false information.
Destructiveness is negative creativity. Destructiveness represents the spread of false information or the elimination of true information.
Unethical and Immoral persons have a great penchant for self-deception. That is how they seek to maximize their happiness.
Ethics is a macro quantum operator associated with the frontal lobes. It will be discussed in Chapter 5. We merely note for now that generalization maximizes both Intelligence and Ethics, although it is theoretically possible to be generalized through conditioning and still be unethical. Ethics derandomizes the Imagination. When the Will (W) is ethically driven and not conditioned by fear it produces a generalized intelligence. Fear leads to specialization and the destruction of Ethics. All these phenomena are intimately involved with the structure of the brain.
The Human Brain
The unique feature in the evolution of the brain is that old structures are not replaced, nor do they merely grow and become larger. Instead, new structures are constantly being added to the brain, thereby introducing new dimensions of capability. This is shown in the figure below, which indicates the evolutionary progression in brain development from fish to man [632, 720]. Referring to the table and chart below, we can see that within the human brain there is a fish brain, a reptile brain, a primitive mammal brain, and the neocortex, which we share in part with other apes and the higher mammals.
All those brains have Imagination (G), Logic (L), Memory (M), and Will (W) built into them; but in the simpler brains they have simpler functions, just as the components of intelligence have simpler manifestations in lower life forms. As each new structure is built upon the brain, under normal conditions it dominates the previous structures usually by selectively inhibiting certain portions of the more primitive brain when they conflict with the Logic (L) or Will (W) of the higher brain. The most outstanding difference between the purely human brain and the ape brain is the development of the neocortex.
Estimates of "Extra" Neurons in Hominid Brains
(Adapted from Tobias )
Hominid Group Endocranial
Chimpanzee 400 45,000 4.3 0.9 3.4 Gorilla A 540 200,000 5.3 1.8 3.5 Gorilla B 600 250,000 5.7 2.1 3.6 A. boisei 530 50,000 5.2 1.0 4.2 A. robustus 500 45,000 5.0 0.9 4.1 A. africanus 500 25,000 5.0 0.7 4.3 Taung 540 35,000 5.3 0.8 4.5 Sterkfontein 60 435 25,000 4.6 0.7 3.9 H. habilis (type) 680 35,000 6.2 0.8 5.4 H. habilis (paratype) 650 30,000 6.0 0.8 5.2 H. erectus 750 45,000 6.6 0.9 5.7 H. erectus 900 50,000 7.4 1.0 6.4 H. erectus 1000 50,000 8.0 1.0 7.0 H. erectus (range) 750-1225 50,000 6.6-9.4 0.9-1.0 5.7-8.4 H. sapiens 1300 60,000 9.5 1.0 8.5 Varied Pop. means 1276-1400 53,000-68,000 9.4-10.0 1.0-1.1 8.4-8.0
* = Actual measurement
** = Estimated, in thousands of millions
The neocortex represents over half the mass of the human brain, but it is less than 10% of the ape brain. This is the part of the brain which underwent explosive development when hominids made the transition from Australopithecus to Homo sapiens by way of Homo habilis and Homo erectus. The neocortex is the most complex part of the human brain and is associated with all higher activities ranging from speech to invention.
Emotions, as usually understood, are a type of preprogrammed logic associated with the reptilian complex and early cortex of the mammals (the limbic system). Emotions trigger automatic responses in the Effectors (R); these are characterized as fearful or loving behavior. All emotions can be regarded as various manifestations of fear and/or love. This behavior requires little or no learning and has distinct survival value. Loving behavior, which is characterized by the nurturing and protection of the young, the mate, and/or other members of the species is almost totally absent in reptiles and almost universal in mammals and birds. Therefore, the emotion of love is probably associated directly with the early mammalian cortex, although the limbic system seems to modulate all emotions. Fear is primarily associated with the R-complex. A chimpanzee has the same range of emotions as a human. What distinguishes a chimpanzee from a human are his ethics and his capacity to learn, invent, and use machines. These behavioral differences are due to the human part of the brain, the neocortex.
As was indicated earlier, human evolution was made possible by emotional changes which first produced sexual pair-bonding between mates and then produced the hunting bond between groups of males. The sexual and hunting bonds together made it emotionally possible to form human society. However, it was the neocortex which made it intellectually possible for humans to create and use the increasingly complex machines which are today an overwhelmingly important component in human evolution. The neocortex differed from the other parts of the brain in that it was totally dependent on extragenetic, environmental programming to function. Its major function was to direct the synthesis of the machines which amplify human intelligence.
The Amplification of Intelligence
Human intelligence was first amplified by creating tools. This eventually gave the hominids Effectors (R) equivalent to or better than those of the most specialized animals without their having had to become specialized themselves. At first the amplification of human intelligence was limited almost exclusively to the Effectors (R). This is where humans were most defective relative to other mammals. With the beginning of group hunting and linguistic evolution, humans began to greatly amplify their Connectors (N), Memory (M), Logic (L), and Information (F). This is where humans were most defective relative to each other.
Language serves as a social Connector (N) enabling Information (F) to flow between humans in a rapid and efficient manner. This is often a much more effective and general means of communication than by visual example or by crude reward and punishment, i.e., conditioning of desirable and undesirable behavior respectively. This latter type of communicative behavior exists among all mammals. But only humans systematically create languages. (The language of bees and many other animals is entirely instinctive and noncreative).
There is a slight possibility that the languages of the dolphins and other cetaceans have creative elements, but no experiments so far prove this. The large brain of the dolphin is apparently a specialized organic computer for causing and interpreting sonar signals. Cetaceans have neocortexes comparable in complexity to those of humans, but the frontal lobes are less developed. They and other higher mammals such as primates and the elephants may have a rudimentary ethics.
Language also provides an alternative means of storing Information (F) in terms of abstract symbols instead of visual images. In this way, through oral tradition, the cultural Information (F) of humanity could be passed from generation to generation in abstract form and not merely through visual representations. The oral tradition became the collective Memory (M) of humanity. The abstract formulation of extragenetic Information (F) within the human nervous system also enabled humanity to introduce the rudiments of symbolic Logic (L) into its thinking processes and thereby amplified its genetically structured Logic (L). The neocortex, through the machine of language, was therefore capable of amplifying Information (F), Memory (M), Logic (L), and Connectors (N).
In recent years there has been increased speculation about and growing interest in the alleged phenomena of extrasensory perception (ESP) in general and mental telepathy in particular. If these human capabilities existed and, more importantly, if they had survival value, they would have been subjected to natural selection in human evolution and we would communicate by mental telepathy and not by language. Furthermore, these alleged capabilities are of an organic nature and are not created; therefore, even if they existed they would represent an organic adaptation and not a psychosocial creation, which is the main trend in human evolution. By creating machines which amplify generalized intelligence through the unlimited growth in extragenetic information instead of forming new organic structures which further specialized intelligence, the evolutionary potential of humanity is maximized.
Through the continued evolution of the machine of language and other related interactive machines - writing, mathematics, printing, radio, computers, etc. - the collective nervous system of humanity is being created, making it possible for each person to have access to almost all the creative Information (F) which has been accumulated up to the present. The Sensors (S) are now being amplified by telescopes, microscopes, radar, television, seismographs, thermocouples, and remote electromechanical Sensors (S) sent to other planets and linked to earth by new mathematical languages and radio waves which are becoming the cosmic Connectors (N) of humanity. The primitive tools (Effectors) of the early hominids have evolved into space ships, nuclear power generators, and cities. These machines give humanity greater collective intelligence today than any speculated extrasensory power of 100 years ago. The machines of 100 years hence can create greater collective intelligence than the whimsical speculations of the advocates of ESP today. Since the beginning of group hunting and probably before, the direction of hominid evolution was toward the creation of collective human intelligence through the integration of persons, machines, and knowledge.
All intelligence is collective. The individual intelligence of the atom is the collective intelligence of the elementary particles and forces which constitute it as a coherent organized system. The individual intelligence of the amoeba is the collective intelligence of the complex of molecules and chemical forces which constitute it. The individual intelligence of a human being is the collective intelligence produced by the billions of cells which constitute its body and the forces which bind them together into complex interconnected systems of organs, nerves, bones, and muscles. The collective intelligence toward which humanity is evolving is a complex of individual human intelligences tied together by machines, knowledge, and ethics. This is the collective mind-body system we call humanity. It is a dynamic entity which began millions of years ago and extends into an uncertain future.
The future of human intelligence is discussed in Part II. In order to extrapolate toward the future, it is necessary to see the interactions which have occurred in developing collective intelligence at the psychosocial level. As was pointed out earlier, one of the prime machines in psychosocial evolution is human organization. Language, tools, and cities are effects and causes of human social organization.
Social organization is clearly not unique to human species, but manifests itself in species ranging from termites and bees to baboons and wolves. Social organization can be seen as an evolutionary attempt to increase intelligence at a super metazoan level once a metazoan species is reaching an upper limit of complexity along a specific line of development. This is analogous to the early formations of cell colonies once cells were reaching their limit of complexity. All social organizations, other than human society, are almost entirely a product of genetically preprogrammed (hard-wired) instincts and emotions. The human family and to a lesser extent the hunting band are probably also mainly genetically determined organizations. However, a human society with laws, language, religion, institutions, plus complex hierarchies of power and responsibilities is clearly not genetically determined, but is a complex psychosocial machine created by humanity. Like any other machine, human society is an amplifier of human intelligence and is subject to the law of natural selection. Those societies which can best integrate human knowledge and creativity in a system of growing capability to predict and control the total environment will expand and replace those societies which are less capable.
A human society is composed of the following interacting components: (1) a mass of individual human intelligences; (2) inherited and recently created knowledge and technology; and (3) an ethical code. In general the larger the collective mass of individual intelligences, the more intelligent the society will be, if (a) the knowledge and technology of the society are adequate to support and integrate these intelligences, and (b) the ethical code engenders cooperation and not mutual antagonism between the individual intelligences. However, as we can see from Equation 3.1, what maximizes intelligence does not necessarily maximize creativity.
Knowledge includes the sum of extragenetic true Information (F) which is available and usable by the society to predict and control the total environment. It includes all scientific facts and laws, but it excludes superstitions, prejudices, and other false information which does not enable persons to predict and control the objective world, but which subjectively convinces them that they can. This last type of information is entropic and is analogous to a deleterious mutation in the DNA molecule. In general, truth is information which enhances our intelligence whereas falsehood is information which decreases our intelligence when we believe it.
Technology includes the set of all machines - organizations, language, tools, buildings, books, computers, etc. - available to the society. The technology of a society is the set of all machines available to it and the processes for using, building, maintaining, designing, and improving these machines. Therefore, there is an overlap between the technology and the knowledge of society. Clearly the society is most intelligent if each of its cooperative members can use any of its machines. This is obvious in the case of language, because almost any current human society would quickly disintegrate without a common language. But it also applies to every other machine. A society which had an automobile for each person, but in which only a few knew how to drive, would derive very little benefit from this machine amplification of its Effectors (R), i.e., the running and walking capability of its members. From this we can deduce a general principle that knowledge is most effective, i.e., maximizes intelligence, when it is shared by all cooperative members of the society. Whatever decreases the flow of knowledge between cooperative members decreases collective intelligence.
The limitation which runs throughout the above discussion is that members be cooperative. For persons to cooperate it is essential that they share at least one common goal. Insofar as they have contradictory or opposing goals, they will be uncooperative. The only evolutionary goal is to increase intelligence. Insofar as members of a society share the goal of increasing their intelligence and that of others, they will cooperate and continue to evolve. A short way of summarizing these points is to observe that we maximize intelligence not by seeking to maximize intelligence and ignoring ethics, but by seeking to maximize creativity. For humanity the purpose of evolution is to maximize creativity. Such a society will have an evolutionary ethical code. The question is, What happens when societies have a goal other than maximizing creativity? What kind of an ethical code, if any, will such a society have?
Objectively, we know that individuals and many human societies today and in the past have had goals other than increasing intelligence, let alone creativity. The United States was organized with the maximization of freedom, not intelligence, as the central stated goal. Communism was supposedly organized according to the principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need," i.e., material security, as the central goal. The communist principle is somewhat ambiguous since it does not state precisely what is expected from persons as a function of their ability, or how ability is determined, and it does not clearly state how needs are determined or which needs and whose needs have priority in being fulfilled. These ambiguities have all been resolved in favor of absolute, total control by the Communist party over every person who lives in a communist society.
The American goal of freedom was somewhat less ambiguous, and it could be stated according to the following principle: "Personal freedom is the right of each person to do and say whatever he pleases, so long as he does not in the process interfere with the right of another person to do and say as he pleases." Here the problem arises when someone claims that someone else is interfering with his freedom. Many Americans interpret this to mean "freedom from want" so that the communistic ethic is a subset of the democratic ethic. Lenin also aptly stated, "No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses" . No matter how progressive and rich a free society is, there will always be persons who through stupidity, laziness, or illness may be poor if the society is truly free. Only by limiting freedom is it possible to guarantee that no one is poor. In other words, "no one has the right to be rich so long as someone else is poor." This notion lends itself to democratic socialism as it exists in Sweden and other countries.
In the communistic and the American societies it became necessary to develop an ethic about how to determine priorities in accomplishing their stated central goals. This was the alleged purpose of the respective governments and their corresponding legal systems. As we shall see, both systems have begun to break down, i.e., become entropic, because the evolutionary goal of maximizing creativity has become increasingly irrelevant to these societies, and in the process they have ironically also deviated even further from their actual stated goals of maximizing freedom and material security respectively. But for a time both the American and the communist societies were able to evolve because their respective central unifying goals created a certain amount of cohesion among the people and engendered cooperation.
For convenience we will call the American goal of maximizing freedom the "democratic ethic," the Communist goal of maximizing material security the "materialistic ethic," and the goal of maximizing creativity the "evolutionary ethic." These goals are not mutually exclusive, but depending on which goal is given priority, the society takes on different forms, at least in the beginning. It will be shown that societies which do not give overwhelming first priority to the evolutionary ethic eventually all achieve a very similar entropic final form, irrespective of their stated ethic, and end up with neither freedom, security, nor creativity.
One of the definitions previously given is that entropy is a decrease in the coherent information in a system. Since Information (F) is a component of intelligence, anything which increases entropy also decreases intelligence. Since each of the components of intelligence is a function of a structure which incorporates Information (F), to decrease any component of intelligence is to decrease Information (F) and to increase entropy.
Therefore, the entropy of a system is increased if its intelligence is decreased. Since a human society is an embryonic collective intelligence at the super metazoan level, based on psychosocial as opposed to biological evolution, we can estimate whether a human society is evolving or undergoing entropic decay by seeing if its collective intelligence, i.e., ability to predict and control the total environment, is increasing or decreasing respectively. If it is decreasing, then we know that that particular society is doomed to extinction because once an evolutionary entity begins to decay, it is on a one-way street to oblivion, as it was with the European Neanderthal and the Roman Empire. A constant increase in intelligence is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for a society to remain progressive. Anecessary and sufficient condition for society to evolve forever is that it constantly maximizes its collective creativity, as will be shown.
Distinct human societies, usually called "cultures," are the equivalent of differentiating species in human psychosocial evolution. However, so long as these societies can exchange cultural information, they are equivalent to interbreeding subspecies and they jointly occupy the top rung of the evolutionary ladder. This is also the case with the different interbreeding races of humanity who, because of their ability to interbreed, also jointly occupy the top rung of the evolutionary ladder. However, it is possible for a human society to be increasing its collective net intelligence along a specialized path.
As we have seen, when specialization occurs a species is doomed to eventual extinction, even if its specialized intelligence is actually increasing for an extended period. The dinosaurs of 65 million years ago and highly specialized mammals of 40 million and 14 million years ago are examples of this. The best way to detect this partial decay in a human society is to see if any of its eight gross components of collective intelligence is decaying. If one component is decaying, then the society must eventually decay even if its net intelligence is currently increasing. Specialization always involves the decay of one or more components of intelligence. Specialization of intelligence always decreases creativity when it results from a deliberate choice. For humanity, specialization decreases Will (W) by decreasing ethics.
As was indicated in the previous section, the components of collective human intelligence are a function of three underlying subsystems: (1) the number of intelligent individuals; (2) the collective knowledge and technology; and (3) the ethical code. This is analogous to early hominid intelligence, which was a function of the three major subsystems: (1) the nervous system for Will (W), Imagination (G), Logic (L), Memory (M), Information (F), and Connectors (N); (2) the eyes, ears, taste buds, olfactory membranes, etc. for Sensors (S); and (3) bones, muscles, skin, and organs for Effectors (R). Information (F) in all systems is whatever is received by the Sensors (S) or produced by the Imagination (G) and the genes. The major source of social entropy is that the system becomes specialized to avoid certain types of Information (F). Ethics are a uniquely human subsystem for preventing this.
Species below the human will automatically specialize to fill an ecological niche if such a niche is made available to them, because almost all subhuman species are genetically programmed to assimilate nutrients, survive, and reproduce - and nothing else. The law of natural selection operates automatically to increase intelligence and eliminate entropy by assuring the long-term propagation of the most intelligent, generalized species and theeventual extinction, although it may take hundreds of millions of years, of the less intelligent and/or more specialized species. However, Homo sapiens is genetically programmed to do one more thing - to learn, teach, and, above all, to create.
To create is to systematically organize the total environment into new patterns which increase the net intelligence of the biomass. Learning and teaching are therefore a special type of creation where we reorganize our Information (F) and that of others. Creation is manifested in all invention. Homo sapiens is the only species today which systematically invents, although many species can innovate behavior. The earlier hominids also, obviously, invented. Although invention is only one aspect of the creative process, it is a necessary part of human evolution. Therefore, we will often use it as a surrogate for creativity in tracing the ethical evolution of humanity. We will show that the rate of invention is an objective indicator of the ethical state of a human society. Ethics are rules of optimal conduct which maximize the evolutionary rate of progress for the group adopting them. But ethics, like any other evolutionary subsystem, is subject to entropy.
Sometime early in hominid evolution, perhaps as long as six million years ago, a mutation occurred in the hominid brain which produced a need in our ancestors to create. This was the seed from which the purely human neocortex was to grow. Natural selection was a mechanism by which the seed was nurtured, but the seed itself was a choice made more probable by the particular ecological niche that the early hominids had chosen. The need to create would have had little or no survival value among a species devoid of manipulative dexterity and not dependent on invented tools even if, like the dolphins, it had a very complex nervous system. The need to create could neither be engendered nor express itself in a brain significantly more primitive than that of an early hominid, e.g., that of a reptile or a marsupial. Within the early hominids this need was an additional spur to evolution because it increased the rate of beneficial psychosocial mutation, i.e., the rate of invention.
The inventions of the earliest hominids were probably few and far between in number. The fossil and paleoarcheological evidence indicates that about four million years must have elapsed between the time of the earliest tool-using hominids and the crudely shaped stone tools of late Australopithecus and Homo habilis. For at least four million years our ancestors did little more than trim branches and select stones in their tool-making activity. Eventually some genius among our ancestors realized that the much more useful sharp-edged stones could be produced by deliberate chipping and that he/she was not dependent on mere luck for finding these stones.
The early hominids probably did not have a brain sufficiently complex to realize this fact through abstract reasoning alone. Instead, they had to engage in a creative process of research and development. There had tobe a need in these hominids to experiment by trial and error in modifying stones simply because it was fun. In this way they came to realize that systematic chipping would put an edge on the stones. This need to obtain new Information (F) from the environment by playful experimentation is an essential ingredient in the creative process. But it is not enough.
A chimpanzee also has the need to experiment with his environment. He will pick up new objects and take them apart to see what makes them tick. In controlled laboratory experiments, chimpanzees will repeatedly engage in complex problem solving without any external reward. The act of solving a problem is reward enough. Indeed, once chimpanzees begin to be rewarded for solving problems, they will lose their interest in problem solving when they are no longer rewarded . This phenomenon occurs among many children. Extrinsic reward and punishment are destructive to the creative process. Therefore, the early hominids probably also had these characteristics since their brains and bodies were very similar to the chimpanzees. But they also had something else.
A chimpanzee will apparently not make a tool unless he has an immediate need for it . Human beings will make many kinds of machines just because it is fun. This is clear just by watching very young children playing with blocks or building sand castles. This is a higher level of experimentation. One does not merely take things apart to see what makes them tick, but one puts things together into a new order to see what will happen. There is a close relationship between play and creativity. This is the key to the instinctive behavior which is uniquely responsible for psychosocial evolution and human ethics.
Each invention provides new Information (F) about the environment and makes persons who possess this Information (F) more intelligent. Once our ancestors began to invent systematically, they must have quickly learned that, along with being fun, creative activities increased their intelligence and the intelligence of those with whom they communicated. Thus, the embryonic instinct to learn, to teach, and to create became an integral part of our ancestors' psychosocial makeup, because it was a form of play.
The hominid families which were most predisposed toward creative behavior would generally have the best technology and would communicate this knowledge to their loved ones as a form of play. These families would, through natural selection, replace the less creative families. The evolutionary pressure on the hominids was for acquiring and communicating knowledge about the total environment, because for a generalized species like the hominids all aspects of the environment influenced their survival. Therefore, humanity has an innate need to predict and control its total environment. This need became as basic to our hominid ancestors as their needs for self-preservation and sex. Indeed, this need was in practice even more basic, because only by increasing their ability to predict and control their total environment could the hominids survive and reproduce at the expenseof their competitors. Therefore, the evolutionary ethic is genetically programmed into the human nervous system as a form of play as well as a duty. However, it is a recent programming of the neocortex. It will sometimes conflict with the long-established, deeply embedded emotional patterns of fear which are programmed into the primitive brain. It is the rare human being who goes against his/her strongest fears in order to fulfill his/her ethical needs. Yet ethical behavior was so essential to human survival that the later hominids created psychosocial machines to help amplify ethical resolve. These machines were then subjected to natural selection, as are all factors in the collective intelligence of humanity.
The amplifiers of ethics were psychosocial machines created by persons who dimly perceived the nature of their ethical needs. They knew that they wanted to understand, predict, and control the whole world around them in general and that part of the world which was dangerous and threatening in particular. Most of the natural phenomena they observed - light-ning, floods, earthquakes, and, above all, death - were ultimately beyond their ability to predict and control. But humanity had a primitive emotional need to feel secure and a more recent need to predict and control as an end in itself. Humanity satisfied both needs with the machine of religion.
The earliest, clear, indirect evidence of religion among primitive hominids is found among the Neanderthals who, as was indicated, engaged in ceremonial burials, cave bear rituals, trepanning, and ritualistic cannibalism. There is some much more meager evidence that Homo erectus, who inhabited North Central China about 400,000 years ago, also practiced ritualistic cannibalism by frequently eating the brains but not so frequently eating the other, much more nutritious parts of the hominid body. In any case, once the hominid brain had reached the complexity approaching Homo sapiens, humanity was capable of abstract thought and abstract, purely psychosocial machines, such as religion.
One type of abstract machine is a psychosocial model of some aspect of nature. A model is a representation of events and their relationships and incorporates, by definition, Information (F). A doll is a concrete model of a person showing some correspondence with the superficial events and relationships which constitute a human being. A map is a two-dimensional concrete model of a three-dimensional part of the world. If it is a good map, it will have some correspondence with the geographic events and relationships which constitute this part of the world. A verbal description of a person is an abstract model of that person. A set of mathematical equations describing the geography of a region is an abstract model of that region. Religion is a model which seeks to describe the fundamental properties and purposes of the universe.
Religion is a model for explaining the unexplainable. All that humanity can neither understand nor accept is eventually explained by religion. Therefore, religion was at first concerned with explaining almost everything that humanity perceived, virtually all natural phenomena. The essential feature in a religious model is that it gives an explanation, that is, it subjectively claims to enable us to predict and control, but does not necessarily increase objective intelligence and may in fact decrease it. In other words, the essential core of religion is illusionary, subjective knowledge, although it may also incorporate real, objective knowledge.
What makes knowledge illusionary is not the fact that it is subjective, but rather the fact that it does not enable us to predict and control in the objective world. The only way we know that we know is when our alleged knowledge actually enables us to predict and control the physical, biological, and/or psychosocial environment. This is objective truth. When we incorporate false information which makes us believe that we can predict and control, but in fact does not permit us to predict and control any aspect of the physical, biological, and/or psychosocial environment, then we have illusionary knowledge and subjective truth.
Subjective truth is simply Information (F) which makes us believe that we have knowledge. It may or may not be illusionary. Objective truth is Information (F) which in fact does enable us to predict and control. The prediction and control may only be partial. Indeed it can never be truly complete. When we incorporate objective truth as a component of intelligence, it produces real knowledge. The foundation of religion is always subjective truth. Therefore, it is prone to produce illusionary knowledge and decrease intelligence. A religion is defined as an organized set of subjective beliefs, i.e., a subjective model, which claims to describe and/or explain fundamental processes and purposes of the universe and humanity's relationships to them. A "paradigm" is any similar type of model which may or may not also include objectively true beliefs. All religions are paradigms; not all paradigms are religions.
Primitive hominids would not have created religion if they were not ethical. They would not have been ethical if they did not value increasing their intelligence. The emotional need to increase intelligence, however, can be fulfilled simply by the subjective belief that one has knowledge. Therefore, although religions begin in an ethical attempt to create a coherent, true model or paradigm of the universe, including one's relationships to it, they easily become entropic systems which close the mind by convincing the believer that all the truly important matters are explained. Religions fail when they use a form of play as an antidote to fear. When we are driven by fear we always deceive ourselves. When this happens, the society which incorporates this religion as the basis for its ethical code begins to decrease its intelligence and it eventually becomes extinct.
Religion serves as a repository for the evolutionary ethic. Almost all contemporary religions claim to value truth. Judaeo-Christian belief is replete with notions such as "God is truth" and "the truth shall make you free." In Zoroastrianism the most heinous crime, even worse than murder, is lying. The problem is that once a religion claims to have found truth, it closes its collective mind to the possibility it may be wrong and destroys the intelligence of its adherents. In other words, all religions have a central dogma which cannot be doubted. This lack of doubt destroys objective truth, decreases intelligence, and diminishes creativity. It turns play into punishment. Furthermore, this state of affairs is inevitable for all religions.
Any comprehensive model, or paradigm, of nature will have to be incomplete because the universe is an infinite, interconnected whole (as we saw in Chapter 1). We could not have absolute truth without infinite knowledge - which is an impossible event for any finite being. Even a complex collective intelligence made of billions of fully integrated, cooperative, individual human intelligences would still have finite knowledge. Therefore, all models have errors and must be modified even in their most fundamental assumptions. Our models of nature cannot evolve unless we doubt their validity. But the emotional need fulfilled by religion is that it offers us certainty in an uncertain and dangerous world. Religions become destructive when they are used to relieve fear rather than enhance the joy of play. When repetitive ritual rather than creative play becomes synonymous with ethical duty, the religion is destructive.
The Neanderthals were probably quite concerned about death. The thought that their egos would someday be extinguished was unbearable. So they apparently developed a religion which postulated a model of the universe in which there was a life after death, i.e., a model in which the individual intelligence produced by the interactive effect of the body subsisted after the body was destroyed. Therefore, the Neanderthals buried their dead with weapons and other tools which might be of use in the life after death. They also probably believed (with what we now know is good reason) that many of the essential qualities of a person were contained within his brain. However, they probably also had the subjective belief that these qualities could be transferred and preserved in the society by eating the brain of the dead person. As was previously mentioned, this practice exists today among the Papuans of New Guinea. It is the cause for the spread of the fatal brain disorder, kuro. It is also quite likely that the Neanderthals, like most primitive people today, believed in spirits which animated everything in the universe from the sun and moon to the giant cave bears and their own bodies. These beliefs were probably shared in great part by the Cro-Magnon and probably did not cause a significant decrease in collective intelligence, unless possibly the ritualistic cannibalism involved killing and eating the most honored member of the society in times of stress in order that the whole group could share his/her qualities. Religious practices similar to this existed among the Aztecs and, to a lesser extent, among the ancient Vikings. However, many religious activities and rituals were clearly a waste of time which could have been more effectively used to cope realistically with the environment; their main function was to relieve fear through self-delusion.
There is a trade-off of advantages and disadvantages in religion. The advantages in religion are that it serves as a repository for a unifying ethical code that ties people together, engenders cooperation, and may even foster an increase in creativity by increasing both intelligence and ethics. We note that the word "religion" comes from a Latin word meaning "bind together." The creative side of religion is evidenced by the educational activities of the Catholic Church, Protestant missionaries, and other religions as well as the extreme creativity of the Renaissance that was in part intertwined with Christianity, e.g., the Reformation as well as the Sistine Chapel and the music of J.S. Bach. Religions also provide emotional tranquillity to persons by giving life a meaning and sense of purpose as well as by deluding its adherents into believing that they are coping with an aspect of nature which is currently not controllable by technology, e.g., earthquakes, disease, or death. As technology evolves, an ever greater part of the universe is truly controlled by humanity until religion is concerned almost entirely with predicting and controlling the mind or soul.
Religions may seek to predict and control the mind by not allowing the propagation of any information which is contrary to its model of the universe. This happened under Christianity and Islam. However, the most insidious and destructive aspect of religion is that it can make its adherents totally obsessed with predicting and controlling their own thoughts to the exclusion of objective reality. In the process they cease to invent and be objectively creative. Instead they become obsessed with what they call "the spiritual life." We have seen this happen in our own time to India, Tibet, the Islamic countries, and, to a much lesser extent, Spain. Spain is now reversing its mystical specialization as it becomes integrated with the rest of Europe. This is discussed in more detail in the next chapter. In another time, through the process of natural selection, these societies would be brutally and ruthlessly replaced by less mystically specialized and more technologically advanced societies, as has happened thousands of times in the past. In fact this is happening to Tibet now in a destructive manner as Chinese Communism (a secular religion) replaces all the ancient Buddhist traditions, not all of which were destructive.
The implications of religion and mysticism in the modern world are discussed in Chapter 4. For now, we merely note that religion has been a common key component of human society and mental evolution for at least 100,000 years. At the same time, it has been the main repository of both ethics and entropy for the human race. This paradox is due to the fact that religion is a manifestation of subjective ethics, which may manifest itself in an objectively valid ethical code.
Organically determined ethics are a function of the neocortex's genetic preprogramming, which compels us to explore, construct, learn, teach, create, and find joy in the process. This genetic program can be seen at work in young children who are naturally curious and try to learn as much as they can about everything. It is also manifested by the fact that very young children almost never lie, but feel compelled to tell the truth even when it is to their disadvantage. We have to learn how to lie. Truthfulness was clearly an essential component of creative human organization lest false Information (F) were to propagate throughout the group and decrease its collective intelligence. If members of the group could not trust each other's word, this would impede their ability to cooperate and further reduce collective intelligence as if the group had defective collective Connectors (N). Therefore, there was ever stronger evolutionary pressure for ethical selection once group hunting began.
Subjective ethics are rules of conduct we feel compelled to follow irrespective of their emotional effects, although normally they bring us joy. We will follow these rules even if they cause unhappiness and distress to ourselves or our loved ones. In some cases we may even follow these rules when we know that they could cause our death. No subhuman animal can behave this way. This is what is called the "Moral Sense."
Ethical behavior is a result of genetic programming which is amplified by an ethical code. The ethical code is sometimes verbally explicit, but it may also be incorporated into behavioral tradition. Insofar as the ethical code is objectively valid, it increases the creativity of the group, sometimes at the expense of individual intelligence. Natural selection provides for the multiplication of the progeny of the most creative group at the expense of less creative groups with ethical codes that are more at variance with the evolutionary ethic. The ethical code of a group is an objectively measurable machine analog of individual subjective ethics. This serves to amplify the collective creativity of the group just as subjective ethics amplifies individual creativity. As the human species evolves, its capacity for abstract modeling increases and the ethical code becomes incorporated into the religion of the group. The religion is the main repository of ethical rules of conduct. When these rules are based on false premises which decrease group creativity, then the religion becomes entropic and eventually leads to the group's destruction. However, these policies and rules of conduct are maintained because the adherents subjectively feel that they are ethical and either consciously or unconsciously believe that by following these rules they are increasing the collective creativity of the group.
Therefore, one way of looking at an ethical code is as a set of rules, not necessarily verbalized, which are subjectively perceived, consciously or unconsciously, to increase the collective creativity of the group to which its adherents belong. Ethical codes evolved through natural selection among human hunting bands over a period of at least five hundred thousand years. Those codes which increased the group's collective ability to predict and control gave its members collectively higher fitness and were carried forward generation after generation by nongenetic inheritance. The fact that an ethical code increases group fitness is an objective criterion that it is valid. An increase in group, not individual, fitness is a necessary but not a sufficient reason for objective ethics. Objective ethics are the machine amplifiers of personal, organically determined, subjective ethics programmed into the neocortex.
The difficulty in giving the necessary and sufficient reasons for an objectively ethical code of conduct stems from the fact that ethics are relative. Identical behavior under different circumstances is not always ethical. For example, one ethical imperative that must have been part of all viable human groups was that of mutual nurturing and protection of members of the group. However, when a member of the group became destructive to the welfare of the group through pathology or by abandonment of the group's ethical code - e.g., a person who murdered members of the group in order to take their food, tools, or mates as means of enhancing his personal welfare - then the nurturing and protection of that person would have been destructive to the collective creativity of the group. Therefore, all viable ethical codes had to have a set of rules which when violated would automatically ostracize from the group any violator. For example, there is no working ethical code among any known group of humans which tolerates opportunistic murderers in their midst. Therefore, all ethical codes have evolved provisions for determining who can be and who cannot be a member of the group. These provisions always produce pressure to conform to established norms. Inventive, creative behavior is by its very nature nonconformist. Therefore, there is a trade-off between the rigidity of the ethical code and the creativity of the group.
An extremely rigid ethical code produces a high degree of group cohesiveness and mutual supportiveness, but it impedes creativity. This produces a collective intelligence with excellent Connectors (N) and a strong Will (W), but a weak Imagination (G). Furthermore, if the ethical code is largely subjectively determined and incorporates irrational patterns of behavior - such as taboos against exploratory and inventive behavior (these exist among the Australian aborigines)  - and/or if the ethical code demands a considerable expenditure of energy in nonevolutionary, ritualistic behavior (for example, the building of enormous tombs and other elaborate preparations for life after death), then the ethical code will eventually impede the capacity of the group to compete against a less rigid and wasteful group.
The fact of the matter is that up to now ethical codes have not evolved in a conscious, deliberate effort to maximize group creativity. They were more analogous to random psychosocial mutations and were subjected to brutal natural selection in ethnic and later religious wars. Religions often represent a type of psychosocial specialization which increase entropy by closing the collective mind of the group to contradictory models. Therefore, religions which evolved in more progressive cultures represent radical psychosocial mutations within the group that are imposed by revolutions. Religion is a psychosocial bond which is a more tenuous extension of the sexual and group hunting bonds of primitive hominids. A rational, objective system of ethics can serve the same purpose.
Objective ethics are a way of forming an ethical code which can continue to evolve without closing the collective human mind. By seeing ethical behavior in its evolutionary perspective we can determine objective criteria of optimality by which to judge whether an action is good or evil. Survival may appear to be such a criterion. But survival is more a constraint, or better still, a consequence, of ethical behavior rather than the prime criterion of optimality.
Optimality refers to the extremal (a maximum or a minimum) of a process in a desired direction. The direction of evolution is clearly toward ever greater intelligence through increasing complexity. Creativity is the most generalized form of intelligence. The complexity of a system is directly proportional to the number of its individual components and the number of the interconnections between the components. As has been shown, specialized complexity is increasingly unstable and eventually becomes entropic. Only generalized complexity and intelligence continue to evolve. Objective ethics are therefore generalized rules of conduct which when followed maximize over time the collective creativity of a group.
Beings are ethical if and only if they can predict and control their own ability to predict and control. Beings behave ethically if and only if they subscribe to an objectively ethical code. An unethical being is any being who systematically diminishes the creativity of any person or group.
An ethical code, if it is to be intrinsically self-consistent, must limit membership in the group to ethical persons and expel unethical persons, since unethical persons are by definition destructive to the group's intelligence. Intelligence itself can be used to (1) increase intelligence through creativity or (2) decrease intelligence through destructiveness. Unethical intelligence is intelligence used to diminish intelligence; it is a type of psychosocial parasitism exemplified by human beings who prey on other more creative human beings. Ethical intelligence is synonymous with creativity. It is intelligence used to increase intelligence; for example, human beings who learn, teach, and create but do not destroy. Creativity is the highest form of intelligence. From this follows the evolutionary ethic which must form the criterion of optimality for any objectively valid system of ethics:
Each person must do his or her best to maximize creativity.
It seems that all known ethical systems incorporate the evolutionary ethic intrinsically by having taboos against certain types of specific behavior which would violate the ethic, e.g., murder and lying, and, much less often, exhortations to perform certain specific acts which would agree with the evolutionary ethic, e.g., to be industrious and to help those less fortunate than themselves. Therefore, all ethical codes claim implicitly or explicitly to increase intelligence and creativity. The problem arises when they incorporate false religious models which are subjectively ethical but objectively unethical.
Objectively we can determine the validity of any ethical code by its fitness. Since ethical codes, like all other aspects of humanity, are subjected to natural selection, those codes which survive the longest and are incorporated into the cultures with the greatest numbers of creative persons must be those which are in closest correspondence to the evolutionary ethic. In order to see that this is the case, we must first derive specific ethical principles from the more general evolutionary ethic.
As we have seen, ethics are relative insofar as specific acts are concerned, since the same specific behavior, such as shooting an arrow, may be ethical in one context but unethical in another, e.g., (1) killing wild game to be shared by the group or (2) murdering an ethical member of the group, respectively. Ethical principles are a code of conduct which is sufficiently general to apply to all possible situations, but which is still more specific than the evolutionary ethic. Any valid ethical principle must be shown to always increase at least one component of the collective ethical intelligence of the group and never decrease any component of collective ethical intelligence. Recall that creativity is synonymous with ethical intelligence. The collective creativity of the group is a function of the individual intelligence of its members, their collective ethics, and the set of all their technology. Their ethical code may be considered to be a function of their individual intelligence and collective knowledge. There is a constant interaction between the ethical code and all the other components of intelligence.
The ethical code is a unique machine which amplifies the Will (W) in the evolutionary direction. This is the only known machine which amplifies this component of intelligence. The human Will (W) is itself already genetically programmed in the ethical direction by the neocortex. Therefore, when we speak of amplifying innate human ethics, we merely mean the amplification of the Will (W) in the evolutionary direction.
We have now given examples of machines which amplify all the components of intelligence except Imagination (G). The amplification of Imagination (G) is extensively discussed later on. For now we note that Imagination (G) is diminished by the closure of mind that results from any type of specialization. Imagination (G) will be amplified by a machine which makes the total knowledge of the group available to each individual member in an integrated, coherent manner. The theory of creative transformation and its applications being developed in this book are machines to amplify Imagination (G).
The Will (W) is the component of intelligence which gives evolutionary direction to a species. The Will (W) is a vector whose direction determines what the organism will predict and control and whose magnitude determines the resolve to maintain this direction and act purposefully. Evolutionary ethics amplifies the Will (W) in the direction of the Moral Sense, namely, that of maximizing generalized, ethical intelligence. The ethical code is a psychosocial group analog of personal Will (W) used as an amplifier of the Moral Sense. The Moral Sense is the genetically programmed need to increase ethical intelligence. The ethical code, when it is in correspondence with the evolutionary ethic, gives the collective Will (W) of the group the direction of maximizing general, collective ethical intelligence. Creativity and ethical intelligence are equivalents in the sense that C = IE, where C = creativity, I = intelligence, and E = ethics. From this observation, we can deduce eight general ethical principles which form an objective, evolutionary ethical code. Such a code clarifies what we mean by "good" and "evil." They are as follows:
These principles follow logically and scientifically from the evolutionary ethic. We will state these ethical principles as theorems and present heuristic arguments for and examples of each principle.
- 1.Only actions or persons which increase creativity are ethical.
[This is the meaning of "good."]
- 2.Any action or person which decreases creativity is unethical.
[This is the meaning of "evil."]
- 3.Unethical means can never achieve ethical ends.
- 4.Means which are not ends are never ethical.
- 5.It is unethical to tolerate destructiveness.
- 6.It is unethical to be certain.
- 7.It is ethical to doubt.
- 8.Inaction is unethical.
First principleThis follows directly from the evolutionary ethic and the definition of "ethical." In general, a person is behaving ethically during a given period of time if and only if the net effect of his/her actions during this period is to increase creativity. If a person increases no creativity other than his/her own, and he/she does not decrease creativity for any other person, he/she has been ethical but not necessarily optimal, unless the other ethical principles which follow have also been satisfied.
Only actions or persons which increase creativity are ethical.
Second principleFrom the first principle it follows that since only actions and persons which increase creativity are ethical, then any action which decreases creativity is either unethical or trivial.
Any action or person which decreases creativity is unethical.
Definition: An action or person is trivial if and only if it does not affect creativity positively or negatively.
Every action and person is either ethical, unethical, or trivial. Therefore, the second principle follows from the first and from the definitions of ethical, unethical, and trivial.
If a person decreases creativity for any person including himself/herself, then he/she behaved unethically. A person may behave both ethically and unethically during a given period. A person is ethical if the net effect of all his/her actions is ethical, i.e., his/her ethical acts outweigh his/her unethical acts. A person is unethical if the net effect of all his/her acts is unethical, i.e., his/her unethical acts outweigh his/her ethical acts.
Definition: A person is moral at time t if and only if all his/her future acts after time t are ethical.
Definition: A person is immoral at time t if and only if all his/her future acts after time t are unethical.
Observation: The set of all trivial acts and persons is a set of measure zero, i.e., almost all acts are either ethical or unethical. (See Glossary for how these concepts relate to Equation 3.1.)
Third principleFrom the second principle we have that an unethical means is any means which decreases creativity. From the evolutionary ethic and the first principle we have that the only ethical end is to increase creativity. Since one cannot increase creativity by decreasing it, unethical means can never achieve ethical ends. This means that it is unethical to attempt to increase the creativity of a group, no matter how large, by decreasing the creativity of even one person.
Unethical means can never achieve ethical ends.
This principle probably became adopted into ethical codes through natural selection when early groups violated it by cannibalizing their fellows in times of famine. Those groups in which nutritive cannibalism of ethical members was practiced had less fitness than those groups which did not have this practice, but did their best to care for all members of the group. The fossil evidence indicates that cannibalism was widely practiced among primitive man; however, almost no viable society in recorded history had this practice. Those that did, such as the Aztecs, almost always limited this practice to prisoners of war, and were themselves eventually subjected to total conquest by noncannibals.
A variation of cannibalism was the much more widespread practice of religious human sacrifice among many ancient civilizations throughout the world. These ranged from the Philistines and ancient Hebrews of 3,000 years ago to the Vikings and Mayans of 1,000 years ago. This was also a violation of the third principle, which indicated a high degree of entropy in these cultures, which in turn made their replacement by cultures not practicing human sacrifice inevitable.
In modern times we have seen the violation of the third principle by societies which practice slavery. Slavery is analogous to slow-motion cannibalism in that a human being is consumed by forced work. Inevitably these societies will destroy their imagination through slavery, which is a type of psychosocial specialization, and fall prey to societies which use machines and not slaves to amplify individual intelligence. We saw this in the eventual domination of the slave-based Islamic civilization by the technology-based civilization of Western Europe, even though Islam had at one time been more technologically advanced and far wealthier than Christian Europe. The same thing happened between the slave-based southern United States and the technology-based northern United States in 1865. The United States is still suffering today from having tolerated slavery for "four score and seven years."
The economic and social problems of communist countries, which do not allow their citizens to emigrate on demand, thereby making them de facto slaves, can be traced to their violation of the third ethical principle. Another example of unethical means failing to produce ethical ends was in the Nazi use of concentration-camp victims in medical experimentations. Although thousands of experiments were done, no useful knowledge came from these experiments.
Observation: All ethical persons belong to the same group.
Corollary: A corollary of the third principle is that, other things
being equal, the more tyrannical societies will by-and-large be dominated by the more libertarian societies. For this reason, in every major war of the last 200 years, including the cold war, the freer side has won. Right makes might. It is right, i.e., ethical, to maximize the creativity of every person (E.P. 1). It is always wrong, i.e., unethical, to diminish the creativity of any person (E.P. 2) for the benefit of any other person or group (E.P. 3). Any unethical act must always lead to the decrease in the net creativity of the person committing the act and/or the group sanctioning or tolerating the unethical act. That is why the communist countries cannot catch up in creativity or wealth to the western democracies, although their monolithic control and size makes them appear militarily formidable. They must become more libertarian, or die. The ends do not justify the means.
Fourth principleSince the only ethical end is to increase creativity, means which are not ends are any means which do not directly increase creativity. Such means can only be unethical or trivial. If an act is unethical, we know from the third principle that it is inconsistent with any ethical end. If an act is trivial, it follows from analogy, and from the fact that trivial acts are a set of measure zero, that it can at best achieve only trivial ends. Therefore, means which are not ends are never ethical.
Means which are not ends are never ethical.
In other words, a means is ethical if and only if it is an ethical end in itself, i.e., if and only if it increases creativity directly. Persons or societies which use any means which do not directly increase creativity will as a consequence increase their entropy. This was previously shown to be the case for unethical means. In the case of trivial or apparently trivial means, we see this in the practice of religious rituals which do not seem to directly harm anyone but have no logical or scientific connection to the problem at hand. The building of huge tombs devoid of esthetic merit for conducting its occupants to a nonexistent afterlife represented an enormous but trivial expenditure of energy by the ancient Egyptians that could have been ethically used to build dams, aqueducts, schools, and military defenses. This trivial preoccupation with life after death, besides wasting the energy of creative people, in time led to a death-oriented civilization no longer creative and subject to conquest by succeeding waves of Hyksos, Hittites, Libyans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs until almost no trace of the original civilization remained - not its language, writing, religion, or customs. Only archaeological ruins remained.
It should be emphasized that religious structures are not entropic in and of themselves, but only when they represent a waste of energy and provide no social benefit. The cathedrals of Europe served as means of organizing and unifying primitive groups of Europeans who had sunk into barbarism. They were inspirational public meeting places. More importantly, the cathedrals were artistic and technological masterpieces which, like all art forms, expressed the unconscious synthesis of the collective ethical intelligence of Europe. The religious shrines and trivial customs, e.g., repositories for miraculous relics and dietary laws respectively, which were to be elaborated within the Catholic Church, were basically entropic and were not to be kept in the more progressive forms of Christianity typified by the Protestant sects of northern Europe.
All forms of compulsive, repetitive behavior which have no current relationship to creativity increase the entropy of the individual and the group. This ritualistic behavior is not confined to religions but may include the ritualistic behavior of spectator sports, as well as many of the "social graces."
As a final example, consider the willingness of devout Moslems and Hindus to starve rather than eat proscribed pork or beef. In the case of some Moslems and Hindus, their dietary laws, which originally may have had a public health or other social function, have become entropic ends in themselves, and the original ethical ends have been lost to trivial means. It is in the nature of humanity that the means eventually become the ends. Only means which are ethical ends in and of themselves will have survival value and serve evolutionary purposes. Only means which directly enhance our ability to learn, teach, and create are ethical.
Fifth principleSince (1) the evolutionary ethic directs us to maximize creativity, (2) destruction is the decrease in anyone's creativity, (3) creativity cannot be increased, much less maximized, by allowing it to be diminished (E.P.'s 2, 3, & 4), and (4) we are an interconnected, interdependent species in the process of creating a collective ethical intelligence at the super-metazoan level, then the decrease of creativity for any one person decreases it for the entire species. Furthermore, the second law of thermodynamics states that entropy must increase for any closed system. The decrease of creativity for even a single ethical individual represents a closing of the collective mind of humanity. Unless it is forcefully overcome, entropy can spread without limit and bring the human species to extinction, just as it has caused the extinction of thousands of specialized species in the past. Therefore, it is unethical to allow creativity to be decreased because to do so is to violate the evolutionary ethic.
It is unethical to tolerate destructiveness.
Historically, any society which tolerated destruction in any way was sowing the seeds of its own extinction by increasing its own entropy. For this reason, almost all progressive cultures have had strong admonitionsand sanctions against murder, stealing, lying, and other destructive acts because destructive acts decrease the creativity of the individual and, consequently, of the society. However, virtually all societies have been prone to a more subtle form of self-destructive behavior, one which stems from seeking to prevent the dissemination of information concerning their own weakness.
This is usually done for the alleged purpose of denying this information to its enemies, but in the process important information is also denied to its ethical members, and misleading, optimistic information about weaknesses of the society is put in its place. Since information is a prime component of intelligence, misleading information will diminish creativity for the individual and the society so that corrective action will not be taken and entropy will increase. Therefore, closed, secretive societies are likely to become extinct, while open, free societies are likely to grow and multiply. Thomas Jefferson's swearing of "eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man" is grounded on sound evolutionary ethical principles. The success of the United States, Western Europe, and other relatively open democratic societies over more closed, secretive, and despotic societies during the past 200 years is further empirical evolutionary evidence that it is unethical to allow creativity to be diminished for the individual or the society.
Sixth principleOnce a person or society is certain about any cause-and-effect relationship, that person or society has resolved that he, she, or it has nothing more to learn about that subject. Since the universe is apparently an infinite, interconnected whole, as was indicated in Chapter 1, and our knowledge is always finite, it is objectively false to presume that we have complete knowledge on any subject. Therefore, a state of certainty precludes further knowledge and the maximum expansion of creativity. Certainty represents a closing of the mind, which is a prelude to irreversible entropy. Furthermore, persons or societies which are certain that they have found truth will tend to be intolerant of persons who question that truth and search for more knowledge in that particular subject area. This will cause a decrease in creativity in violation of the second principle. Therefore, it is unethical to be certain.
It is unethical to be certain.
Corollary: Because it is unethical to be certain, any person or society which persecutes an individual or a group because it believes that they are unethical and are, as a consequence, diminishing creativity, will risk destroying its own creativity. Therefore, a more ethical alternative for a group is to expel its alleged unethical members by exiling them instead ofkilling or imprisoning them, which might destroy creativity. By exiling alleged unethical members, a society only risks losing a source of knowledge for itself and slows down the evolutionary rate if its judgment is mistaken; it does not destroy this knowledge for the entire species. All judgments must be tentative. We should try to avoid any act which might result in irreversible damage if our judgment is in error, although it is better to act decisively than not to act at all. In general we judge acts, not persons.
Seventh principleSince it is unethical to be certain, it is either trivial or ethical to doubt. Since, by the argument given in E.P. 6, (1) it is not possible to learn unless one has doubts because our minds become closed to new knowledge in the absence of doubt; and since (2) learning is always ethical and never trivial, doubt is ethical and not trivial. Therefore, it is ethical to doubt.
It is ethical to doubt.
Historically we see that persons and societies which have questions about nature are those that learn about nature. Those that have no doubts about any cause-and-effect relationships can not learn about that subject.
We see that the effects of suppressing Galileo's doubts about the sufficiency of the Ptolemaic model of the universe by the Catholic bureaucracy, which officially had no doubts, caused a drastic decline in scientific and technological creativity in the purely Catholic countries of southern Europe relative to the countries of northern Europe which were not subject to Catholic authority. Note that up to this time the southern European countries had been more creative in science and technology than the countries of northern Europe. If they had serious doubts about their ideology, the Inquisition would not have burned hundreds of thousands of heretics, the Communists would not have killed tens of millions of dissidents, and the Nazis would not have slaughtered millions of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, and other alleged "inferior races." If they had doubts, Catholics and Protestants would not still be murdering each other in Ireland, and Moslems and Hindus would live in peace in Asia. Throughout history the absence of doubt has been a prelude to irreversible entropy and destruction.
The scientific revolution of the last 300 years was based on abandoning the authoritative certainty of religion and substituting for it the principle of doubt. Modern science, which has done more to increase the intelligence, not necessarily the ethics, of humanity in the last 300 years than religion did in over 100,000 years, is based on the principle that all models of cause-and-effect relationships are to be assumed probably false until proven true by repeated, controlled, independent experiments. Even then a scientific model is considered not as absolutely true and beyond all doubt, but only as tentatively and relatively true until a better model comes along which better enables us to predict and control. The conservatism and skepticism of science are based on the fact that it is much easier to formulate convincing, apparently logical models which are false than to formulate models which are true. It is ethical to doubt.
Eighth principleEvolution is not possible without action. We know from the second law of thermodynamics that entropy must increase in a closed system. What keeps a system open is purposeful ethical action. At first this action is physicochemically caused, then it is biologically caused, and finally it is ethically caused. Before the onset of ethical behavior, natural selection operates in a largely automatic but not totally deterministic way, as we shall show in Chapter 5. No known subhuman species can make the deliberate choice to evolve or not to evolve, although all species can make choices which affect their evolution. Only ethical species can make this ultimate choice. Only ethical species can deliberately commit suicide. But because of the second law, merely doing nothing is enough to enable entropy to destroy the human species. Creativity either is forcefully expanded or it is destroyed by inaction and entropy. Since the evolutionary ethic is that we must each do our best as individuals and as a species to maximize creativity, we will clearly fail in our ethical purpose if we take no action. Therefore, inaction is unethical.
Inaction is unethical.
So long as humanity was subjected to the brutal and unavoidable natural selection of prehistory, individuals and groups could not avoid action without quickly becoming extinct through the actions of predatory animals, other competitive human groups or the forces of nature in general. Therefore, humans who were not disposed to ethical action quickly died and left few or no progeny. However, the advent of civilization made it possible for growing numbers of parasitical human beings to live from the ethical action of others. At first these human parasites were limited to small, hereditary aristocracies and nobilities which exploited large numbers of peasants, artisans, and slaves, but produced nothing of value themselves.
When one group of persons obtained absolute military control over others, they could enslave them de facto or de jure. Before the advent of rudimentary civilization these captives were either cannibalized or merely killed, since they were considered of no value to the conquerors except as food and they would have been an economic liability to a hunting band, except possibly for some of the women. With the advent of agriculture and the formation of large groups with many specialized tasks, it became socially feasible to exploit captives economically. The act of living parasitically off the ethical actions of others eventually destroyed the hereditary nobility either by removing all evolutionary pressure for ethical action or by turning them into a highly specialized, uncreative group of militarists and administrators. At this point the civilization would be conquered by a more ethical, less specialized, more active group. And the cycle would be repeated.
Every time that a civilization was conquered by a more ethical albeit possibly more primitive group, new vitality would be introduced into the culture, and there would follow a period of invention and development, thereby taking humanity one more step up the evolutionary ladder. "Primitive" in this context refers to a significantly lower content in extragenetic information. This happened when the primitive Hellenes conquered the decaying Minoan civilization and created classical Greece. It happened when the primitive Goths and Huns conquered a degenerate Rome and created Western civilization. Sometimes the great civilization would become expansionistic, such as the ancient Persians, Greeks, and Romans, and they would spread their knowledge to a more primitive people by conquest. But always there would develop a parasitical ruling class which was uncreative and inactive, and eventually the entropy of the leadership would lead to the downfall of the society.
This same process is going on today wherever societies are run not by entrenched nobilities but by entrenched, inactive, uncreative bureaucracies which consume the creative resources of the society and increase its entropy. This phenomenon is discussed at length later on. For now we merely note that any time that a society is ruled by an inactive elite, whether it be an elite of degenerate warriors or an elite of bureaucrats, the society as a whole becomes inactive, uncreative, entropic, and eventually extinct. The evolutionary progress of a society depends on ethical action. Inaction is always unethical.
If human evolution is to continue, action must be taken by the society as a whole and by individuals. A society becomes entropic only because individuals become entropic and refuse to take ethical action when they see the leadership violating ethical principles. A society in which even a small minority actively practices the Eight Ethical Principles cannot become entropic. Even if the society is conquered by a more intelligent but less ethical group, ethical action will assure that the most ethical group will survive, and it will transmit its ethics to its conquerors, who will become their allies and not their enemies. We have seen this historically in the two most ancient groups which had been guided by an ethical code which was in substantial harmony with the evolutionary ethic, namely, Confucianist China and the Jews.
These people have been repeatedly conquered, yet they have maintained their basic ethical code and their identity for thousands of years. The Chinese have absorbed every conqueror of the last 2,500 years and eventually made a Confucist out of him. This will probably even happen to the Communists. The Jews have spread the essence of their basic ethical system through personal creative example and through Christianity and Islam, which are mutated versions and psychosocial hybrids of Judaism created by a long series of conquerors of the Jews.
What makes it difficult to conquer, as opposed to defeat by force, a people with an ethical code in harmony with the evolutionary ethic is that each person can take ethical action alone without having to be told what to do by a higher authority. If an ethical person regards any authority as engaged in unethical pursuits, he/she must refuse to cooperate with it even at the cost of his/her own life, since to cooperate in any way with an unethical group or person is to violate the third and fifth Ethical Principles. If an ethical person sees someone's creativity being diminished, he/she will go to the person's aid against his/her unethical oppressor. In everyday actions an ethical person will seek to learn, teach, and create to the best of his/her ability. A tyrannical oppressor cannot control an ethical person but only kill or imprison him/her (e.g., Sakharov & Solzhenitzyn). A highly ethical person will die before being enslaved, and he/she will speak what he/she believes to be true even at the risk of his/her own life. Therefore, a militarily stronger foe can only kill ethical people and not effectively prevent the flow of information and the growth of knowledge among them. Human societies which have ethical bases will, as a consequence, endure when others perish or are absorbed by an unethical civilization.
When the succeeding waves of military invaders found this behavior among Confucist scholars, they killed them in great numbers but eventually succumbed to their ethical power. When Egyptians and then the Babylonians found they could not control their Jewish captives, they eventually gave up trying and let them go their own way. The Romans tried to get rid of their Jewish problem by destroying the Jewish center of worship and scattering them throughout their empire. In the process they became ethically infected by the same people they were trying to destroy when the Roman Empire was in turn conquered by Jewish ethics through Christianity and later through Jewish creative example.
The survival value of Judaism and Confucianism is objective evidence that there must be a correspondence between these ethical systems and the evolutionary ethic. The interactions between the evolutionary ethic and human evolution can be analyzed in terms of those forces producing civilization. But there is another concept related to ethics, which is also important for civilization. This is the concept of "decency."
Decency and ethics are different concepts which tend to be confused by individuals as well as civilizations. Ethics are optimal rules of behavior which maximize creativity. Decency is a type of behavior in which a person (1) does not enhance his/her welfare at the cost of someone else's welfare, and/or (2) may sacrifice some of his/her welfare for someone else's welfare, such that their combined welfare is maximized. The more ethical a person is the more decently he/she will behave. This follows from the third and fifth Ethical Principles in the first case and from the first principle in the second case. However, it is possible for a person to appear highly decent and still be unethical. This occurs when a person regards happiness as being synonymous with human welfare.
Recall that happiness is a state of mind in which we believe that our strongest desires are being fulfilled. The more ethical a person is the stronger is his/her need to maximize creativity so that eventually only activities in harmony with the evolutionary ethic will make him/her happy. For such a person ethics and decency are synonymous, because for him/her "welfare" is synonymous with creativity.
An unethical person may, however, seek happiness in ways which do not increase creativity at all and may in fact decrease it, e.g., a drug user, an opportunistic murderer, or a rapist. The last two examples are indecent, unethical persons. An unethical, decent person is one who sees "welfare" as being synonymous with "happiness." He/she is perfectly willing to sacrifice creativity for himself/herself or others in order to make persons happy. This may be done by self-deception, by telling persons comforting lies, or by avoiding telling them unpleasant truths. It may involve sacrificing his/her own creativity in order to support a parasite with irreversible entropy, e.g., blind loyalty to a destructive leader or authority figure. (A human parasite is one who during his lifetime consumes more than he creates.) These types of behavior, particularly the latter, are often regarded as decent and indeed ethical by many persons and societies, but they violate the evolutionary ethic, since they do not maximize ethical intelligence and may in fact decrease it. This is clearly the case for any type of lying, since the incorporation of false information will decrease a person's ability to predict and control. By avoiding telling a person an unpleasant truth, we are not doing our best to increase his ability to predict and control. By supporting a parasite with irreversible entropy, we are at best wasting resources on trivial activities. These resources should be used to learn, teach, and create as best as we can (e.g., in better providing for young children) if we are to maximize ethical intelligence.
Traditionally societies have refused to support useless parasites with no evolutionary potential. This was so even with such highly civilized societies as classical Greece and China, where it was a parent's civic duty not to nurture highly defective children. It is only in very recent times, when the materialistic ethic and the Christian ethic encouraged the equal distribution of all wealth independently of merit, that large numbers of parasites began to be nurtured and, indeed, subsidized in their reproduction.
We may summarize the nature of decency as follows:
Unethical decency is a process for making others happy by denying them negative feedback; creativity is increased if and only if it does not cause unhappiness.
Ethical decency is a process for maximizing creativity independently of who is made happy or unhappy by our actions.
NOTE:Because negative feedback makes everyone except highly ethical persons unhappy, and human beings have a strong, innate need to be happy, every human society in history has eventually destroyed, or is in the process of destroying, itself by eliminating essential negative feedback. We will go deeper into this subject in Part II. The question that comes to mind now is, Why should anyone bother to be ethical or decent if he/she can otherwise be happy?
All Moral Persons are always decent.
All Ethical Persons are predominantly decent.
All Indecent Persons are unethical.
Not all Decent Persons are ethical.
The Game of Life
Happiness is clearly a fundamental value. It is almost axiomatic to many persons that being happy is the only purpose of life. Indeed some persons will say that it is impossible for human beings to choose anything except that which will make them most happy now or in the future. The most that we can hope for is that persons will engage in delayed gratification and recognize that ethical action is what makes us happiest in the long run.
These are not easy arguments to counter. We begin by first noting that happiness and creativity are not mutually exclusive, although neither are they the same thing. Happiness is a subjective state of mind - an experience. Creativity is an objective action which changes ourselves and/or others and makes us collectively more intelligent. If we value creativity, being creative will, by definition, make us happy. However, it is possible to be happy without in any way being creative, in fact by being destructive through, for example, drugs, self-delusion, and for some through sadomasochism. We choose consciously or unconsciously the values by which we organize our life. If we choose happiness, we may be happy for a time, but ultimately it will lead to an empty, meaningless existence in which we constantly search for new ways to be happy as we satisfy all our desires. Ultimately the desire for desire becomes our overwhelming need and we end up frustrated and unhappy. The pursuit of happiness as an end in itself leads to unhappiness. Happiness is a self-contradictory goal.
Ironically the only persons who are never unhappy are those who are fully committed to maximizing creativity, because this is an infinite desire which we can always be in the process of satisfying and which will always make us happy. To choose to maximize creativity will maximize both creativity and happiness. However, if we have truly made this choice, the happiness that results is merely a trivial side effect which we do not value. To choose to maximize creativity is an ethical choice which changes us forever. We then consider less and less our or anyone else's happiness in every choice we make.
The question then becomes, Can we really make choices? Are we not bound in fact by deterministic laws? Is free will not, in fact, an illusion? Schopenhauer said: "We can always do as we will but we can never will as we will." Each of us is born to parents we did not choose in an environment we did not make. Every action we take, every choice we make, seems to be determined by the circumstances of our heredity and our environment. Therefore, free will may be an illusion. In the fifth chapter, "The New Synthesis," we will examine quantum mechanical reasons why free will may not be an illusion. There is, however, another way of looking at life which enables us not only to surmount the pessimism and fatalism of determinism but also to act creatively and purposefully in our life. This is by looking at life as a game.
Life is a game in which we are both the pieces and the players. As pieces we are subjected to the determinism of the laws of nature as they alter our structure and impinge upon our body, brain, and mind. As pieces our actions are determined by events outside of ourselves. As players we partially determine our actions and modulate through our intelligence all the forces that act upon us. Through our creativity we alter the environment to suit our purposes. Whenever we are creative we are a player and not a piece in the Game of Life. Furthermore, the more we play the Game of Life the more we become players and the less we remain pieces. Eventually all players of the Game of Life begin to interact and to jointly maximize their intelligence and knowledge so that the universe is ever more under their control instead of it controlling them. Asymptotically, if we play the Game of Life, we become purely players and no longer pieces. Therefore, the Game of Life is a process that makes us ever freer as it makes us ever more creative. But we are never completely free, any more so than we are ever infinitely creative or infinitely knowledgeable. To grow forever in freedom and creativity as a species and to live on in the creativity we engender in others is enough to make some of us want to play the Game of Life. From these considerations, the evolutionary ethic, and the patterns of evolution we can derive the rules of the Game of Life.
Remember, this is a game which anyone may choose to play or not to play. That is the ultimate freedom we have - to choose to play or not to play the Game of Life.
Human progress is engendered entirely by persons who play the Game of Life, although some play it better than others. Our Game-of-Life proficiency depends not so much on our intelligence as on our ability to overcome our natural desire for happiness and replace it by our just-as-natural desire for creativity, which in fact maximizes our happiness. Most of us can never completely give up our desire for happiness. This is what makes us unhappy as we play the Game of Life. Ultimately we achieve happiness by not pursuing it. We win the Game of Life by playing it as best we can, not by being perfect at it. Only total refusal to play the Game can defeat us.RULES OF THE GAME OF LIFE
1. Each player must assume that he or she always has free will and is totally responsible for all of his or her acts and whatever happens to him or her.
2. Each player must do his or her best to make those choices and take those actions which will maximize creativity within the universe and to ignore all other considerations.
3. Each player must start the maximization of creativity with himself or herself.
4. Each player must eventually begin to think less about himself or herself and to seek to help maximize the creativity of others - this will in fact maximize his or her own creativity.
5. Each player must always remain open to the possibility that there are always an infinite number of alternatives by which he or she could have increased creativity more and that the universe may be structured very differently than he or she perceives it.
6. Each player should expect no other reward from playing the Game of Life than to have increased the creativity of others who play the Game of Life; this is what we win.
7. Everyone who plays the Game of Life wins.
8. Everyone who refuses to play the Game of Life loses.
No one plays the Game of Life without choosing to do so. Those who choose to do so live on in the creativity they engender in others. Those who refuse to play the Game of Life become extinct.
The Game of Life is the collective implementation of the evolutionary ethic which makes us ever freer and in control of the future. Civilizations are collective attempts to get others to play the Game of Life and to have a vision of the future that is not determined by the past. When we play the Game of Life each ethical action determines a new future. Each creative action is an unpredictable, nonpredetermined, quantum event that is a result of a choice freely taken. The ultimate choice we have in life is whether to play or not play the Game of Life. No one can prevent us from playing or defeat us in the Game of Life. We can only prevent and defeat ourselves.
ę John David Garcia, 1991, All rights Reserved.