First draft synopsis of the future Textbook of Being Human

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Instruction manual on how to survive in the information jungle and travel to the stars.

We love other people because we think in the same way with them, and not because we want to have sex with them or pity them. The way of thinking, which I call “primary,” allows us to understand the other person, put ourselves in another’s place, and predict other’s actions. Primary thinking, which Einstein called the foundation of everything in real science and art, is now again becoming a condition for the survival of all people, as has already happened tens and hundreds of thousands years ago.

Humanity evolved when the world around our ancestors, still very poorly studied by them, began to change especially rapidly. People were forced to quickly learn the world and exchange knowledge with strangers in order to adapt. It was precisely humanity that allowed to see a source of knowledge, not just a threat, in a stranger. In order to understand and appreciate strangers, people used primary intelligence.

Unexpected uncertainty teaches. Expected is aversive. The ability to learn from unexpected uncertainty mysterious, as Einstein put it) is the foundation of any true creativity. Expected uncertainty is the basis of the exploitation of knowledge. You can exploit knowledge without understanding. You can’t increase knowledge without it.

Any understanding is a creative process. Primary thinking is the process of understanding the world around us, including the people living in it. One can understand what is created by someone only by repeating the act of creation. We do this in everyday life without even noticing.

We learn to understand the world around us by observing it. We classify everything that we observe. We memorise connections between different things and phenomena. Unexpected uncertainty arises only there, where there is expectation. Observation helps to create expectations.

We were thrown into the information space, which is not much different from the jungle, in which our ancestors used humanity to survive and succeed. In the industrial era, we almost lost humanity because we did not need it. It will be possible to survive and succeed in the new reality only by remembering what it means to be human. We will survive and prosper only by having mastered again primary thinking, which feeds on uncertainty instead of running away from it.

Humanity and primary thinking that is responsible for it again become the adaptive advantage of people in the information jungle. If in the industrial era to be a man was unprofitable and meant a challenge to the established order of things, then in the information jungle humanity ceases to be a feat of strays and becomes a condition for the survival of the majority.

The basis of primary thinking is the animation of the world. Man himself is the animated reflection of this world. Curiosity is impossible without love. And without curiosity there is no understanding. Self-attention means attention to everything that surrounds us. The world is wonderful and the art of primary thinking means the ability to notice it. Wonderful people are not those who are noticed, but those who are able to notice.

A man cannot love if he only speaks or only listens. Attention to surrounding people and phenomena allows people to engage in dialogue with the world. Ask questions and listen to the answer. We shut up enchanted by mystery and only then the mystery is revealed to us. And we reveal our secrets to others. Our desire to just speak is suppressed not by external constraints, but by an internal interest in the answer. Complexity is complex until we parse it into a binary question-answer code.

This chapter is a continuation of the topic of winnerless competition with an explanation of why it is necessary to diverge and again converge, storing a mystery in oneself, so that later there is something to reveal.

This chapter contains a brief description of the theory of Piaget and Brunner about three layers of thinking: sensory-motor, imaginary and symbolic. The first two layers represent primary thinking. All living things have primary thinking. Humans just simply have a more powerful processor and more memory than all others. Confirmations of that theory come from Pavlov and Einstein.

Microbes, worms and cockroaches think. Mushrooms and trees think. There are more and more examples of that. Observing them, understanding how they think, we understand ourselves and our place in the world. Microbes are not enemies. If they were enemies, then they could have long ago killed us all.

Here comes the description of the theory of spatial thinking by Tolman and others. We think in images, placing them in space, so that it is easier to maintain and see the connections between them. The space of thought is multidimensional, but our mind works with it, using only two dimensions, because only in this way can it make unambiguous decisions in a world where only probability exists.

Here comes the theory of episodic memory by Tulving. We record personal memory as a film consisting of frames and scenes. And we inhabit it with images from the space of thought.

Memory allows us to travel backward in time, that is, derive the cause from the effect. In addition to living organisms, only models of quantum systems (Crutchfield and Singaporeans) can do this.

Inverted inference is a fundamental property of primary thinking. We see the effect and try to guess the cause. There are no causeless events for us. It’s better to have a false cause than no cause at all.

According to Crutchfield’s causal equivalence theory all causes are equivalent if they lead to the same future. Different pasts are equivalent if they lead to the same present. At the point now, many threads from the past are converging. Which one to pick up to go back in time? Therefore, traveling in time backwards should be much more difficult than just forward. But our thinking somehow solves this problem. We do not know how yet but mental time travel works in reverse.

A simple game creates chaos if only two players play it for a long time. Once the great mathematician Henri Poincare decided to calculate the orbits of the Sun, Earth and the Moon relative to each other. This should not have been much more complicated than calculating the Earth’s orbit relative to the Sun and the moon’s orbit relative to the Earth. But it turned out to be different. Decades and hundreds of pages of formulas later, Poincare admitted a defeat. Chaos arises from simplicity, but it cannot be easily simplified back.

If two players sit down to play Rock-Paper-Scissors as a zero-sum game: if one wins, the other loses, they will create chaos indistinguishable from real random. But if they play not a zero sum game: each player counts only wins, but doesn’t count losses, then winnerless competition will emerge, and as we have seen, it can decipher chaos into a binary code.

Aristotle’s categorical syllogism, on which all formal logic rests, is invariant — its conclusion is unambiguous. In Bayes’ probabilistic syllogism in the interpretation of Nalimov, the set is invariant — all the strings from the past that converge into a bundle in the present.

Metaphors are an easy way to express probabilistic syllogism without resorting to scientific words. Our primary thinking reveals the meaning of one image through another image. The hierarchy of metaphors goes from the concrete to the general along the path of increasing abstraction. Primary thinking does the reverse — explains the general through the concrete — abstraction through images.

The Bayesian syllogism inversion proposed by Nalimov corresponds to how children and savages explore the world around them. They go from bottom to top. From what is given in sensations to an explanation of why, it happens. They use their little baggage of experience and knowledge as a filter to reflect on what is happening. Modern people start from their baggage of knowledge and beliefs and try to fit everything that happens into this baggage. Quotes from Planck and Einstein confirm this view.

Humans will reach the stars only after they not only learns how to survive in the information jungle, but also gather enough knowledge in them to better understand themselves in this world and the world in themselves. There is no other way. We must go this way lightly, peering intently into the present in order to recognize in it the contours of the future. And build (create, invent) that future, which is worthy of the name Human.



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