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Abstract Reasoning is What Makes Us Human

In movies, the good guys are always emotional acting “from their hearts” while the bad guy lives in his mind creating elaborate plans usually losing in the end because of some variation of “he doesn’t understand the power of love.” In the philosophy of movies, emotion and love is what makes us human.
In real life, the capability of abstract reasoning is what sets apart higher from lower humans and humans from other animals. The person who can ponder the root causes of poverty is more effective than someone who from blind compassion for a picture of a starving kid in a magazine donates to charity and helps pay the “non-profit” CEO’s salary.  The price of not having abstract understanding is to be parasitized and preyed upon.

Humans have moved towards abstract concepts for a long time and some breeds are more advanced than others.
Language itself is a system of symbolic abstractions and is part of the human species as swimming is to fish or burrowing to a mole.
But since civilization, levels of abstraction have gone far beyond what most humans are able to handle.
Consider the concept of interest on a loan, for instance.  A considerable percentage of humans max out their credit cards or mortgages and are then taken by surprise when the compound interest spins out of control.  Or let’s look at estimating probability, something people are really bad at.  In a society of rational humans the only gambling would be against other players, never with unfavorable odds against the house.
The difference is who can understand abstractions and who cannot.
In general, peoples who have lived in complex civilizations longer are better at it.  It comes as little surprise that Jews, Syrian Alawis and Christians, Lebanese Maronites, and Armenians do well wherever in the world they go.  They are all mercantile peoples who spent thousands of years living on top of some of the world’s major trade routes.
Meanwhile, peoples new to the abstractions of civilization struggle to deal with laws, commerce, and the concept of the state.  Unable to formulate long term plans and heavily selected for binging in times of plenty, they become impoverished and hopelessly addicted to drugs and junk food.  Whether we’re talking about the Pima, the Pygmies, the Samoans, the Sioux, or the Aborigines, the problems are always the same, the only variation is degree.

Plato grouped humans into three categories.

Bronze – Ordinary workers and merchants engaged in their work with little awareness beyond their own wants. In Enlightenment philosophy, whether by communism, capitalism, or even libertarianism and anarchism, these people are supposed to be the rulers. That’s why these ideas when unalloyed by common sense never work. Mob rule, tragedies of the commons predictably result.

Silver – Those with enough awareness to be granted some measure of power without selfishly abusing it.  They have enough foresight to understand at least part of the big picture and some ability to think of the longer term within the context of their role. They are the middle management of society, the officers of humanity. They don’t take bribes(they can understand how it damages the credibility of the entire system), they keep utilities cheap and reliable, the trains arrive on time.  They make sure things work.

Gold- Those with enough awareness to understand the complexities of the macroscale and reason beyond oneself.  Those who can best do this are those who should be managing societies.

To care about anything that occurs after one’s death, for example, is irrational in the most literal sense. A bronze-soul squeezes the world for all it’s worth as long as they’re alive. What should it matter if the nation were to fall after they’re buried, or the entire human race to meet its demise?
The difference between a higher man and the stampede is to grasp the highly abstract idea of a future beyond oneself in the endurance of one’s work, deeds, ideas, and seed—to perceive beauty in what we will never see, touch, or taste for it’s own sake.
There’s a Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Taking delight in what has not yet happened is pure abstraction, but for those capable of it, it is as real as any present and tangible pleasure. As real as are imaginary numbers and infinity to a mathematician.

People are only equipped so far by nature to deal with groups of up to 150.  Abstraction is the only way for limited human beings to work around the limit set by the Dunbar number and be able to reason out the workings of a mass society of millions of people.
A lower human given charge of a nation handles millions of people with the package of instincts appropriate to a small tribe.
What is a great famine that kills millions so long as you, your family, friends, and closest followers are safe?
It makes no sense to care about people we don’t know so long as it doesn’t affect us. It very much makes sense to sacrifice a million strangers we don’t care about in a war to get what we want. Why not abuse and neglect as it pleases us? They’re all just a statistic. To perceive beyond this, a human must use abstraction and imagination.

Ironically, the lower human ruler also projects his warm instinctual feelings for a small group onto many and preserves a million who are destroying everyone else out of crass sentimentality.
The higher being sees a rook is not worth a pawn and does what must be done.
Where the lower man is ruthless, the higher is merciful
And where the lower is generous, the higher crushes.

The gold soul has the same animal instincts as the bronze but it has the quality of consciousness that allows it to reflect on its nature while the bronze just follows its program like any other animal.
The high human can reflect on its own instinctual drives, figure out the purpose of each, and reason the best course to realize the “intended” goal.
The drive to socialize and observe social norms is there to further our survival in a group and to aid the survival of the group itself against other groups.
So if in charge of millions, we ought to use intellect to further the group as an appropriate instinct would, if it existed.
The drive to breed is there to spread our genes.
So we ought to understand that instinctual gratification with contraceptives is an illusion.
Where instinct is not enough, the greater human formulates strategies.
Faced with relentless change, human animals flounder in aimless despair like pandas with their bamboo forests burnt down.
High Humans change their survival strategy with the times.

IQ Isn’t A Great Predictor Of Presidential Success

IQ is still only a so-so predictor of success for a President, it doesn’t judge a President’s learning method, ability to rigorously fact check sources, fortitude, mental flexibility, leadership, teambuilding skills, bureaucratic support, ect…:
In terms of brute brainpower, the smartest postwar presidents were Richard Nixon, a Duke Law School graduate with a reported IQ of 143; Jimmy Carter, who graduated in the top 10 percent of his Naval Academy class; and Rhodes scholar Bill Clinton, a graduate of Georgetown University and Yale Law School. Deeply flawed presidencies all, despite their potential.

In contrast, take high school graduate Harry Truman — railroad worker, clerk, bookkeeper, farmer, road inspector and small-town postmaster — or Ronald Reagan, sports announcer and B-list actor with mediocre college credentials.

Despite their intellectual limitations, both achieved substantial political success as president. And, to press home the point, there is Franklin D. Roosevelt, a top-tier president in rankings of historical greatness, whom the late Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes branded “a second-rate intellect but a first-class temperament.”

Reversing Trends In Dysgenic Breeding

Awhile back, Giovanni posted the question, what if humans took a much care of their own genetics as they do dogs?

And then recently, Al Fin made yet another post on dysgenic breeding trends and the lowering of global IQ.

So, in the spirit of moving the debate forward I offer solutions for increasing children from more genetically fit parents and decreasing ones from those who aren’t.

To deal with the left half of the bell curve:

  • Create a project prevention on a larger scale. Offering them money, vouchers, or even booze would work effectively. If drugs were legalized, doubly so. People on the left side of the bell curve have extremely low executive function and very short future time orientation. Ultimately, I believe that such a program would have to have global reach. Every antibiotic resistant strain  of disease in Africa, can just as easily pass through the borders of developed countries and infect the local population via immigration. First world nations have tools to detect the existence of these problems, 3rd world ones don’t and won’t for the foreseable future. Africa should be on top of the list, as in some cases they start as epidemics there and move with the migrants.
  • Use TV as a propaganda tool. Excessive TV viewing tends to skew towards those on the left half of the bell curve of IQ and tend to be more violent. Obviously any preventative measure that gets people interested in things other than TV should be encouraged, however we should also coordinate social programs into TV programs. Overall TV has been shown to lower birthrates somewhat on it’s own, but the content method matters. Match the Sabido method, which has had some success in Mexico, and we’ll be off to a good start.
  • The third method involves increasing their per capita income, there is some correlation between more income and less children. It’s going to be extremely difficult to pull 5+ billion people up to our standard of living without them pulling some of the weight. Education programs have been tried with some good results, but large programs have also shown themselves to be open to fraudulent grading to game the system. Decentralized and cheaper education may help this trend somewhat.

On the other side of the bell curve, here are some suggestions for increasing the innovators:

  • Keep running with the decentralized/cheaper/free education trend. Education costs a lot, and it’s return on investment seems to be falling while it’s cost has been rising. It also somewhat inefficient, and therefore eats up extra early productive years. It acts as a safe haven where people can be sheltered from real life while appearing productive.
  • Right now families have a hard time getting enough money together to raise a family. I am hesitant to suggest a government program for (smaller) young families, but in this political/economic climate it might be the only way of getting it to work.
  • Most women put off having a family so that they can climb corporate/government ladders into a large corporate/government job. This is partially because these large structures must comply with affirmative action/discrimination laws. They usually end up in bureaucratic middle-management/support jobs, the types of training they get skew heavily towards these occupations. They tend to favor Public Administration, Education, Psychology and Health Services over STEM. The business degrees hasn’t changed their representation in the business world very much, many of those degrees are closer to secretarial/assistant positions.
  • If the economy dips into a deeper depression, it’s likely that many of these non-essential rolls that women fill will be cut. Employment is becoming much harder to hold on to, most jobs are being redefined so much that it’s very concept is mercurial. Men tend to be better at working with a large, shallow network of relations, whereas women work good with smaller, more intensive ones. If the trend towards technological decentralization and economic virtualization continues apace, women will likely find themselves working in smaller groups. This may provide them with a more stable, meaningful support network for raising children.
  • The economic depression, if it occurs, will provide many meaningful challenges that women in our culture have thus far lacked. It may be a good time to get rid of the dysfunctional attitudes of political correctness and start building a value system that works.

Reconciling Jared Diamond With HBD

In his book, Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond comes up with a multitude of convincing explanations as to why some human populations ended up creating civilizations and others did not.
Among critical factors he identifies:
-Availability of large domesticable animals for riding, carrying, ploughing.
-Availability of promising wild cereals.
-New crops shareable from East-West (same seasons) as opposed to the considerable seasonal obstacles of sharing from North-South.

Diamond has some fascinating insights but from page 1 his mission is to argue that all human populations are fundamentally the same. Despite doing much to create good discussion, he’s more interested in upholding his personal ideology rather than searching for a whole truth that may not fit his desired specifications.

This seems to come in part from the erroneous but entrenched assumption that major change in human populations takes tens of thousands of years.
This notion is nonsense of course. The nature of the human race shifts every single generation. As societies change the rates of success of different survival strategies must change with it.

I’ve seen that Human Biodiversity adherents tend to deride Diamond for his simplistic views on human genetic differences.
However, I see no need for this.

Diamond for the most part seems to have everything pretty much right but screws it up with his wishful thinking.

The horse and wheat make huge differences in making one society more complex than another.

But we can just as easily note that a more complex society selects for people who think more abstractly and on a larger scale.

If we want to reconcile Diamond with HBDsphere, why not just formulate it like this:

Wheat, the horse, or an East-West continent resulted in more complex societies. In more complex societies, higher reasoning ability increased the odds of reproducing. Today, we predictably see some major differences in reasoning ability between historically isolated populations. Overall, higher reasoning ability tends to correspond with societies that have had more complex systems of organization, for longer.

Why smart people defend bad ideas

We all know someone who’s intelligent, but who occasionally defends obviously bad ideas. Why does this happen? Link

British Pakistanis constitute 1.5 per cent of the population, yet a third of all children born in this country with rare recessive genetic diseases come from this community.

In the UK more than 50 per cent of British Pakistanis marry their cousins – in Bradford that figure is 75 per cent – and across the country the practice is on the rise and also common among East African, Middle-Eastern  and Bangladeshi communities.

We know British Pakistanis constitute 1.5 per cent of the population, yet a third of all children born in this country with rare recessive genetic diseases come from this community.

Despite overwhelming evidence, in the time I spent filming Dispatches: When Cousins Marry, I felt as if I was breaking a taboo rather than addressing a reality. Pakistanis have been marrying cousins for generations.

She relented and lives in a deeply unhappy marriage. But others told me of the great benefits of first cousin marriage – love, support and understanding. To them, questioning it is an attack on the community or, worse, Islam.

On average, a children’s hospital will see 20 to 30 recessive gene disorders a decade, but one hospital in Bradford has seen 165, while British Pakistani children are three times more likely to have learning difficulties, with care costing about £75,000 a year per child. Link

Increased group cohesiveness at the cost of intelligence. In the modern economy this means you guarantee that your children are unable to compete, being entirely at the mercy of handouts. Fixing this will do a lot more for counter-terror operations than blowing up goat herders in Yemen.

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