Friday, October 16, 2009

The Other Side Of The Coin

I keep ranting about Science with the focus on the physical sciences. Of course there is another side to our existence not explained by the physical sciences. Branches of some fields like Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, & History apply scientific techniques to help understand the inner aspects of our minds and culture.

Science is important because it helps reveal the physical framework that supports and constrains what is possible. Your inner world is completely created by your mind. The problem comes about when people assume that everything that seems real in their head is also real in the outside world and for others.

Your mind is constrained by its history. First there are the physical limitations which are exposed by studying physics, chemistry, biology etc. The biggest constraint that is exposed by studying biology is the legacy of natural evolution. The physical aspects of your brain are mainly determined by whatever allowed your ancestors to live long enough to produce offspring. There is also the physical aspects of what your life has done to your brain, like nutrition, drugs, & injuries.

Then comes the constraints determined by your culture, education, & personal thinking. Much of what you take as being self evident are often not self evident to others because their particular history of how they have been programed by culture, education, & personal exploration is unique. This is also where you can apply your mind to adjusting these constraints.

Our evolutionary history is important because it helps explain things like why we distrust strangers. Aspects of our culture also contribute to this distrust of strangers. The higher functions in our brain are capable of inhibiting decisions made by more primitive aspects of our brain, so our biological & cultural programming can be overcome.

My challenge to you and to myself is to understand our own inner programming and also to give others some understanding by not automatically rejecting everything that contradicts your own worldview. You do this by constantly asking yourself questions like, "why did I do that" & "why do I think that", and by talking to other people.

Use twitter, facebook, second life, & other social media to extend the reach of who you talk to.

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