Homo Sapians: Part of Nature or Above it

Makalakumu

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heretic888 said:
Unlike our less-aware brethren species, we can to a very substantial degree detach ourselves from biological drives, instincts, and impulses.

I'm not so sure about this. There are rules and then there are rules. The rules of nature always apply. The real world exists regardless of any post-modern convolutions. Primate society is filled with tons of ideosyncratic details. The reason that a bunch of horney dudes can resists the delectable bared flesh of beautiful females in their midsts is because we evolved a breeding strategy that is interlaced with behavioral restraints. This happened because controls on the populations of humans needed to be established in order to meet the competition conditions I posted above.

Heretic888, I'm not sure if there is any situation in the human experience that you couldn't link back to nature. This conversation could require a thread of its own...

So here is that thread. Feel free to jump in and offer your viewpoints.

upnorthkyosa

ps - Is it a sign that I started this thread on my 666 post?
 

heretic888

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Depends on what you mean by "nature".

You will notice I did not use the word 'nature' in my original post --- I only referred to biological drives and instincts.

In any event, I feel humans are capable of "transcending" their 'lower impulses' --- at least to a degree. Now, this doesn't mean all humans are completely free of them, or that every human even does this. Its more of a existent potential than anything else.

Laterz.
 
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heretic888 said:
In any event, I feel humans are capable of "transcending" their 'lower impulses' --- at least to a degree. Now, this doesn't mean all humans are completely free of them, or that every human even does this. Its more of a existent potential than anything else.

How is this done? What does this look like? Could you give an example of a human transcending their lower impulses? This discussion has many parellels between Frank Herberts "Dune" series and the concept of becoming Human rather then being born human. In actuality, judging this is going to sit on very shifty sands...
 

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upnorthkyosa said:
How is this done? What does this look like? Could you give an example of a human transcending their lower impulses? This discussion has many parellels between Frank Herberts "Dune" series and the concept of becoming Human rather then being born human. In actuality, judging this is going to sit on very shifty sands...


By not attacking another male who has made a move on the female you are after.

By not killing all the politicians for wasting our money and time ? Yes, this is a little sarcastic, yet, it is an instinct, or base impulse, that many people control. Some people never feel these, or so they say.

I am not putting words into the Heretic's mouth, I am only replying.

:asian:
 

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upnorthkyosa said:
How is this done? What does this look like? Could you give an example of a human transcending their lower impulses? This discussion has many parellels between Frank Herberts "Dune" series and the concept of becoming Human rather then being born human. In actuality, judging this is going to sit on very shifty sands...

We are all victims of society. Society dictates our behavior or else we are subject to whatever punishments society (again) dictates for violating the rules set down by them... jails, fines, whatever.
Here in the States having sex with a minor is illegal (thank goodness), but in Taiwan it's legal. U.S. society says that it is wrong, Taiwan (or is it Thialand?)says it's okay.
Put in the right circumstances and situations and without restraints... sure an individual may just "degress" to our "lower impulses" like kicking the *** of the guy who moves in on that gorgeous blonde you had your eye on first.
Knowledge and understanding of ourselves and our surroundings and fighting to overcome these "lower-impulses" helped us (in part) to rise above the animal within.
Frank Herbert's Dune is a good example by his thesis of the rise of the Human animal. The entire novel is replete with examples of how certian groups (Bene Gesserit) studied and watched for any degression of the human being reverting back to animalism.
Religion plays also a huge part in our learning to resist our base natures. The dogma of various religions which promised punishment (present and/or eternal) to those violating the principals (commandments, etc.) of the particular sect/faith. By and large it governs our societies to this day, though it is subtler now than it was before.
Look around and you can see it. Murder, assault, rape, theft, purgery, etc. are generally forbidden by almost every country, look at the base religion or dominate religon and you'll see it's forbidden there as well.
Thus it could be said that anyone violating the laws of society is an example of a human (not) transcending their lower impulses.
 
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Ya, it does got to do with religions in many cases. Many religions consider humans to be above nature.

In actuality, we are kinda above nature. I mean, right now we can manipulate nature and as are technology gets better we will be able to control nature I believe. Not only that, if we were apart nature we would shouldn't be accountable for "destroying" ecosytems. Another reason we shouldn't be considered nature, it wouldn't matter if our love ones die, right? I mean animals die everyday in the wild and no one really cares. They call it nature. I don't think when we die it shouldn't be considered "apart of nature".
 

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My cat was looking at my food not to long ago and decided not to go for it. He could have gotten to my food and gotten a couple of good bits in before I could have stopped him. I'm sure he knew that. Animals can also get past their desires. We are not above them in that sense. Really in the end we are just the mightiest of worms.
 

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Cobra said:
Ya, it does got to do with religions in many cases. Many religions consider humans to be above nature.

In actuality, we are kinda above nature. I mean, right now we can manipulate nature and as are technology gets better we will be able to control nature I believe. Not only that, if we were apart nature we would shouldn't be accountable for "destroying" ecosytems. Another reason we shouldn't be considered nature, it wouldn't matter if our love ones die, right? I mean animals die everyday in the wild and no one really cares. They call it nature. I don't think when we die it shouldn't be considered "apart of nature".

It is interesting to think that... one wonders if animals do "mourn for their dead" ? Elephants in Africa (and India) have been observed standing around the bodies/bones of dead elephants moving the bones around, sniffing at the bodies, making sounds and all that. Are they mourning the loss or just doing something animalistic that we don't comprehend?
I recall one time enroute to work I saw a dead duck off the side of the street, a drake was standing by closely quacking incessantly. His mate was obviously dead (smashed and eww), but he didn't leave...even when I got off work 8 hours later he was still there. Was he mourning? Or was he just too stupid to realize that she was dead and squished?
It would be noble to apply "human" emotions/reactions to animals. We read about people dying all over the world everyday... do we mourn them? Do we even feel the loss? Or is it just a fact of life, a part of nature? We'll mourn the loss of a loved one or a close friend but isn't that a fact of life, a part of nature?
 
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Rich Parsons said:
By not attacking another male who has made a move on the female you are after.

By not killing all the politicians for wasting our money and time ? Yes, this is a little sarcastic, yet, it is an instinct, or base impulse, that many people control. Some people never feel these, or so they say.

I am not putting words into the Heretic's mouth, I am only replying.

:asian:

You forget that our society is based off of rules and that those rules evolved from our biology also. How successful would our species be if our interactions in groups were so lax that they allowed rampant violence?
 
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MACaver said:
Look around and you can see it. Murder, assault, rape, theft, purgery, etc. are generally forbidden by almost every country, look at the base religion or dominate religon and you'll see it's forbidden there as well. Thus it could be said that anyone violating the laws of society is an example of a human (not) transcending their lower impulses.

When applying biology to human behavior, one doesn't want to look at what people aren't doing. One must look at what people ARE doing. Most people follow the laws. When the laws are broken, punishments are meted out to correct aberent behavior and teach others the penelty for breaking the law. Laws set the limits on acceptable behavior and they don't just spring out of the vacuum. Laws are made in response to socio-environmental situations where group interactions are threatened. Our biology mimics that of primates in this way. We have two driving influences that dictate our behavior in large groups. Cooperation and xenophobia.
 
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someguy said:
My cat was looking at my food not to long ago and decided not to go for it. He could have gotten to my food and gotten a couple of good bits in before I could have stopped him. I'm sure he knew that. Animals can also get past their desires. We are not above them in that sense. Really in the end we are just the mightiest of worms.

Putting off desires is not the same as denying them. If an animal can forgo their desire to eat, so can a human animal.
 
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Cobra said:
Ya, it does got to do with religions in many cases. Many religions consider humans to be above nature.

In actuality, we are kinda above nature. I mean, right now we can manipulate nature and as are technology gets better we will be able to control nature I believe. Not only that, if we were apart nature we would shouldn't be accountable for "destroying" ecosytems. Another reason we shouldn't be considered nature, it wouldn't matter if our love ones die, right? I mean animals die everyday in the wild and no one really cares. They call it nature. I don't think when we die it shouldn't be considered "apart of nature".

Can we halt the expansion of the universe? Could we stop a supernova? If an asteroid plummeted toward the earth tomorrow, could we do anything to stop it? Other species can control/shape their environments. Ants, for instance, even control the climate inside their homes. The things that humans do are only on a larger scale. Furthermore, you can expect ET life to control things on even larger scales.

Hey, I still don't see any transcendence going on...
 
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MACaver said:
It is interesting to think that... one wonders if animals do "mourn for their dead" ? Elephants in Africa (and India) have been observed standing around the bodies/bones of dead elephants moving the bones around, sniffing at the bodies, making sounds and all that. Are they mourning the loss or just doing something animalistic that we don't comprehend?
I recall one time enroute to work I saw a dead duck off the side of the street, a drake was standing by closely quacking incessantly. His mate was obviously dead (smashed and eww), but he didn't leave...even when I got off work 8 hours later he was still there. Was he mourning? Or was he just too stupid to realize that she was dead and squished?
It would be noble to apply "human" emotions/reactions to animals. We read about people dying all over the world everyday... do we mourn them? Do we even feel the loss? Or is it just a fact of life, a part of nature? We'll mourn the loss of a loved one or a close friend but isn't that a fact of life, a part of nature?

We mourn those close to us because they are valued members of our groups. Mourning (and religion) evolved because death weakened (in many cases) the dynamics of a group, its ability to succeed. By placing value on life, we strengthen our resolve to protect it, strengthening the group.
 

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upnorthkyosa said:
You forget that our society is based off of rules and that those rules evolved from our biology also. How successful would our species be if our interactions in groups were so lax that they allowed rampant violence?

You see those rules and the understanding of the ramifications of breaking them is what I am making my point on. Otherwise, it would be the strongest male only would mate, and only the strongest would make the rules.

:asian:

As to the cat not going after a person's food. Animals make decisions on the amount of energy requried to be abel to hunt. Yes, animals can be trained to avoid food on tables based upon previous responses.

:asian:
 
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Rich Parsons said:
You see those rules and the understanding of the ramifications of breaking them is what I am making my point on. Otherwise, it would be the strongest male only would mate, and only the strongest would make the rules.

One must take into account the many ways populations deal with mating. There are many strategies that species use. Your example outlines the herd strategy where males fight among themselves to determine fitness to mate. The herd strategy contains the (morality) of eurosociality where the group is more important then the individual. This is also called the hive mentality. This is how the herd/hive's collective genes are maintained in order to remain competitive with other herd/hives.

Humans have not evolved this way. Our societies are collections of individuals who work cooperatively. Among these groups, mating takes place quite freely, except one deals with something called the desireability factor. Those who are MOST fit among the males and females gravitate toward each other and tend to mate most frequently. One can see this pattern splayed out over our societies wherever we look. A good example is the TV show "Average Joe". Who have the hot chicks picked? It is also displayed by the selection of mates by undesireable (not necessarily ugly) males. There chances of landing the hot chicks is quite diminished.

:asian:

Rich Parsons said:
As to the cat not going after a person's food. Animals make decisions on the amount of energy requried to be abel to hunt. Yes, animals can be trained to avoid food on tables based upon previous responses.

Humans also make decisions on the amount of energy available. The only difference is that we have replaced physical energy with currency. Look at how this concept evolved. At first food was traded back and forth - which is nothing but an exchange of energy. Then food was traded for tools (in which some human expended energy to make) still an exchange of energy. Then tools were exchanged for tools. And finally a proxy system of value was established which quantified units of energy (value) into currency.

:asian:
 

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upnorthkyosa said:
One must take into account the many ways populations deal with mating. There are many strategies that species use. Your example outlines the herd strategy where males fight among themselves to determine fitness to mate. The herd strategy contains the (morality) of eurosociality where the group is more important then the individual. This is also called the hive mentality. This is how the herd/hive's collective genes are maintained in order to remain competitive with other herd/hives.

Humans have not evolved this way. Our societies are collections of individuals who work cooperatively. Among these groups, mating takes place quite freely, except one deals with something called the desireability factor. Those who are MOST fit among the males and females gravitate toward each other and tend to mate most frequently. One can see this pattern splayed out over our societies wherever we look. A good example is the TV show "Average Joe". Who have the hot chicks picked? It is also displayed by the selection of mates by undesireable (not necessarily ugly) males. There chances of landing the hot chicks is quite diminished.

:asian:



Humans also make decisions on the amount of energy available. The only difference is that we have replaced physical energy with currency. Look at how this concept evolved. At first food was traded back and forth - which is nothing but an exchange of energy. Then food was traded for tools (in which some human expended energy to make) still an exchange of energy. Then tools were exchanged for tools. And finally a proxy system of value was established which quantified units of energy (value) into currency.

:asian:

Does herd also reference the pack, or the primate tribe?
 
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Rich Parsons said:
Does herd also reference the pack, or the primate tribe?

A herd is different then a pack because there are more rules and roles in the society. There is also an interchange of individuals through this structure. (switching roles) Primates have a different sociality then this.
 

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upnorthkyosa said:
A herd is different then a pack because there are more rules and roles in the society. There is also an interchange of individuals through this structure. (switching roles) Primates have a different sociality then this.

I thought

The Alpha Male and Female of the wolf pack are the major breeders.

The Alpha Male in the Primate tribes, has first choice of females.

Am I wrong?
 
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It depends on the species. Those closest to us have a more open system with more rules. Those further away have specific breeding pairs and less rules. If one looks at brain size and compares it to breeding strategies, one finds that primates with larger brains follow a more open system. This is because the rules of such a system are more complex - with the rules governing human breeding, being the most complex among primates.

There is a distinct advantage to allowing more individuals to mate in a group. The gene pool of the population has more variation and new traits tend to come to the surface more often under those circumstances. Basically evolution occurs at a faster rate.
 
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rmcrobertson said:
Nothing, "pseudo-spiritual," about it at all. Human beings have language, culture, history, art, marriage, etc. These are not biological categories.

Are these so unique? According to the Drake Equation there are at least 10,000 other intelligent civilizations in this galaxy alone. I'm sure all of those civilizations have language, culture, history, art, marriage, ect...

Could you explain how these things are NOT biological? Especially since they are originated by a biologic organism.

rmcrobertson said:
If you're alive, you've probably already transcended biology: in a, "state of nature," (and we have no record at all of human beings' life in any such state), you'd probably be dead by now. I'd probably have died several years ago, of old age. There wouldn't be farms in the Imperial Valley out here in California....

If anything connects homo sapians to nature it is technology. The evolution of technology directly parallels the evolution of the human brain. There is nothing transcendant about technology. The universe is a large place, considering this, are our creations so unique?

rmcrobertson said:
However, you are collapsing categories together, and the Drake equation (as Sagan and Shklovskii pointed out, it's all in how you set the values) isn't going to help that. Nor do I see how, "the evolution of technology directly parallels the evolution of the human brain," except in the most trivial sense that the human brain evolved to a certain point, then we started using tools and fire. Correlation doesn't imply causation, and all that...

Unless you have data to back the assertion up... Take a look at the progression of morphologic characteristics stretching back to homo ergaster and you'll see that as soon as tools pop into the picture, brain size explodes. As social organization becomes more advanced, there is an even larger explosion. The step from technology to biology cannot be made in one giant leap. There are little steps that happen along the way. For instance, everytime we learn something, we build connections in the gray matter in our skulls. The more gray matter, the more connections, the more we can learn, the more complex our behavior becomes. Assumption, yes, but not blind.

The Drake equation is an estimation. There could be more and their could be less. With billions and billions of galaxies in our visible universe alone, it doesn't matter much. My usage of it only illustrates the point that none of the things we do are not unique. Surely there is some bug eyed monster out there how just might have evolved a complex way of communication...like pheremone poetry...

rmcrobertson said:
And anyways, the human brain doesn't seem to have evolved much over the last twenty millenia--and our culture, technology, language, etc., all sure have.

Yes it has. Homo Sapians is the species that arose about 60,000 years ago. Homo Sapians Sapians is the species that evolved about 10,000 years ago. The sub-species taxon was added to reflect changes in brain volume. From then on not enough time has passed to see any more morphologic changes though. Changes inside the brain have been recorded, though. New connections can be observed in todays children that would not be seen in a scan our mine or your brain. As soon as the gray matter that exists in skulls reaches is maximum connection density then we will see another explosion in brain size.

How long will this take? I don't know. I would say that our current expansion of technology creates a short time table. For instance, in Newton's day it was possible to have a working knowledge that spanned the bredth of human understanding. These days, that goal would be impossible. How many of you out there know how to do Tensor Calculus?

rmcrobertson said:
What's the reason for making it all a matter of biology, anyway?

Biology, more then anything else, truly explains who we are. One of the reasons there is no coherent theory that ties social sciences together is because of the insertion of these pseudo-religious principals into their postulations. As long as people cling to this position that "we are more then what we are made of" nothing but confusion will follow. No one will ever be able to put their finger on the more and agree on what they see. Where as we can see a strand of DNA and analyze it (and maybe argue for a while) and eventually see what it says about who we are.

Hopefully you'll join in on this discussion. I've appreciated your insight thus far...
 
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