Human Potential & Achievement

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Human Potential & Achievement

Unread postby Oracle » 17th March, 2017, 5:00 am

I just wanted to make a thread dedicated to human potential, achievement, and the mind in general.

What do you think are the limits of the human mind?
What do you think we will end up creating? A cure to cancer? Building a tower to the moon? Leaving Earth for other planets, solar systems, or galaxies? Eventually becoming much more accepting and peaceful, or rendering the Earth incapable of sustaining life ever again?
What do you think humanities greatest achievements are so far?
When do you think we will reach our potential?
Do you believe that there are really stupid people? Do you believe that most stupid people just don't have the curiosity, the ambition, passion, or will to think and learn?

I'm just curious to hear your opinions.

I think that some minds are only limited by the will of the person, the information they are capable of achieving, and the limitations of reality. I believe other minds can only stretch so far or for so long before they have to move things out. I don't believe anyone's mind is limitless, but I think some people are much closer than others. There are also people who are definitely STUPID.

I am rather pessimistic, I think humanity has so much potential and there is almost nothing that is physically possible that we can't do. I don't believe we WILL end up achieving it though. We have weapons of mass destruction, and humanity will likely cause its own extinction.

I think one of humanities greatest achievements would probably have to be language and writing. I think it is crazy that even two individuals can agree on what 10% of things are called, let alone millions of people all agreeing on what 97-98% of things are called. It is just crazy that we are capable of communicating, and that I can create a series of symbols together and it has the same affect! Language is one of our greatest achievements in my opinion.

I don't think we will ever reach our potential, I think there will always be room for improvement, and life would be meaningless if there weren't. This is assuming we don't cause our own extinction first.

Okay, that's all I have to say. What are your thoughts?
I am going to be miserable if no one replies...
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Re: Human Potential & Achievement

Unread postby Mawd » 17th March, 2017, 11:18 am

Some people are stupid. Yet there are many ways they can be stupid. So many in fact that some very stupid people can be very clever at other things. I think most people are rather diverse in that respect and the ways we've come to currently measure intelligence is limited to a particular set of fashionable values.

Some of your ideas of human achievements don't account for raw physics or stand the test of practicality. A tower to the moon would be extremely unfeasible even after anyone thought of a good reason why they should try it.
Humans are currently limited in their capacity to store short term memories and access long term memories. This might be seen as a disadvantage but it's an important part of our mental filter. Obviously there are times when it would come in handy to not forget something yet other times it could be rather debilitating.
Every time your accesses a memory your perception of that memory is changed; new parts are added, forgotten, or accepted. Imagine if something horrible happened to you and you always felt the full emotional weight of that memory at all times, because you couldn't forget?

It's a good thing that some people are dreamers and some people are doers, it's certainly a fantastic thing that not everyone is both. Although looking at current world politics it'd be nice if a certain proportion of dreamers were doers.

Cancer is pretty damn complicated, we're talking about hundreds, maybe thousands of different things all commonly called cancer and what it takes to change one series in one type of body environment is vastly different from others. I suspect there will always be some forms of cancer. We'll just get better at managing some of them.

We certainly have the capacity to leave earth for other far distant places, Galaxies is a bit of a long reach given the speed our current craft travel and how many things can go wrong during a journey that could last hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Humans going to a planetary system that is 40 light years away could happen one day but a lot of people have to suddenly start throwing resources at the problem of how to do it.

Humanity is a cycle of peace and strife , part of me thinks it will always swing between the two, I just hope the pendulum swings more tightly between either. It'd be great if we didn't cycle between reactionary periods of war and peace but as a species we're very new to the idea of global politics that isn't run for the interests of singular colonial empires, we're very new to the idea that nationalism isn't the highest ideal a citizen can have.

Human potential is a series of scales. Human potential was probably proven when we made the graduation into sentient co-operation with each other. At the time it would have probably been beyond the scope of imagination for an outside viewer (unless of course they thought all species capable of sentience eventually).
Though now that we have, we're constantly breaking the limits of what we judge our human potential.

I think progress isn't a linear curve of advancement it's a series of iterations and set backs.
Picture a line that keeps forming looping circles but every time it completes a loop its slightly higher along its Y axis.
I've never seen the graph outside of this one uni lecture I took but it's always stuck with me as a good way to visualise advancement, scientific or otherwise. People try new things, suffer setbacks, and build upon solutions to those setbacks. It's still a very general model that doesn't show how people can also think laterally about problems and make intuitive leaps but still.

I think our greatest singular achievement is the way we form and run our societies. Society is the very bedrock that allows people to meet their basic and complex needs. It feeds our education, our delight and wonder, it allows us each in our own way to contribute to a common goal. I think one of our greater failures is that we still let people believe that they achieve greatness solely through their own efforts and not through the support of a community. I think it's too easy to forget how people directly or indirectly help each other.

Edit: Oh yeah I forgot to say the most important thing about a tower to the moon. You'd fuck up the tidal cycle and cause an extinction event that surpasses the death of the dinosaurs.
Last edited by Mawd on 18th March, 2017, 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Human Potential & Achievement

Unread postby Kaspar » 17th March, 2017, 11:21 am

Oracle wrote:Do you believe that there are really stupid people? Do you believe that most stupid people just don't have the curiosity, the ambition, passion, or will to think and learn?

For this part, I believe that some people are just ignorant, either by their own choice or they were simply taught to be ignorant. I don't want to bash any religions, but the truth is that in some specific cults/beliefs you are very strictly told not to question the nature, not to question the universe, not to question the things around you, but simply believe that its all god's job. This kind of thinking stops innovation and new thoughts' development. This is why many (and yet again this is an awful generalisation, but often than not true) highly religious or fanatically devoted people are often ignorant and/or uneducated.

As for the future development of human civilization I look pretty optimistically on it. The rate of growth has been non-stop increasing since the industrialization. If you asked an ordinary person from the middle ages how do they see their great grandkids live, they would say: "Same as me, my parents and my grand parents.". This is not the case anymore as the scientific and cultural progress is speeding up. It is hard to even predict what stuff will be invented in 5 or 10 years from now. We are fortunate enough to sit and watch it though.
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Re: Human Potential & Achievement

Unread postby Oracle » 21st March, 2017, 6:05 pm

Mawd wrote:Some of your ideas of human achievements don't account for raw physics or stand the test of practicality.

It was just hyperbole, I wasn't suggesting they were possible or practical.
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Re: Human Potential & Achievement

Unread postby nickdesenlis » 26th March, 2017, 10:40 pm

I'm not even sure there are other mind's existent beyond my own subjective conscious experience. So I can't really speak of humanity outside that which I see of it through my perception, which is ultimately subjective (in so far as perception is existentially dependent on the subject).
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