Ants are People Too!

[cite] Carl:[/cite]Certainly, we agree that "want" precedes "belief". However, you imply that we, the believers, have enough free will to "hide from ourselves that we made it up". If anything, resulting "beliefs" feed back on the causative "wants" (often in a vicious circle) deepening self ignorance. How much 'outside his box' awareness can a 'believer' experience? Belief's obsession (the little Hitler in us all) is utterly ignorant. Being so, how can 'he' know anything? Sure, our little 'Hitler' thinks that he knows, but in the end, ignorant is ignorant.

If you think of "hide" as a process that happens without oversight, then it isn't much different that the rest of what you said.

I don't know the whole truth, if any at all.


  • edited December 1969
    More hints that we are like other animals great and small, despite the elitist view we have of ourselves. These excerpts below are from research investigating swarming behavior in animals.

    * * * Reaching a consensus (from "The Mind of the Swarm", Science News -11/25/06; p.347)
    "We're not assuming anything about what these animals know—they don't know if anyone agrees with them, and they can't tell anyone, 'Follow me,' " Couzin says.

    The researchers assumed, simply, that the experts' choice of direction at any given moment is balanced between their desire to move in the correct direction and their desire to align with their neighbors; by contrast, ignorant animals simply do the latter.

    These alignment rules create a positive-feedback effect: The more animals are already turned in the correct direction, the more animals are likely to turn that way in the future. As long as the number of expert animals is big enough for the correct direction to get a toehold, positive feedback amplifies the experts' influence.

    The team found that the larger the group, the smaller the proportion of experts needed to get the group moving in the correct direction. In the researchers' simulations, for example, a group of 30 ants needed four or five experts to get the group moving in the right direction, while a group of 200 could also be led accurately by just five of its members.

    The researchers also studied what happens if the experts disagree. They found that the group will quickly reach a consensus and move in the direction preferred by a slight majority of the experts—although no individual knows how the experts' preferences stack up or even who the experts are. Once again, positive feedback amplifies the majority's tiny edge into a commanding lead.

    "For humans, to reach consensus is very complicated—it requires language and recognition capabilities," Couzin says. "But animals can do it using very simple behavioral rules."

    This simplicity has important implications. Couzin says, "It means natural selection is much more likely to find this kind of consensus behavior" than it would if consensus building required fancy cognitive skills.
    * * *

    Naturally the researchers see the human situation somewhat differently, i.e., "... requires language and recognition capabilities...". Isn't this a bit short sighted? After all animals must also "recognize" (be aware) of the "expert". Language is a emergent property of awareness, not awareness itself despite our feelings to the contrary. As I ponder all this, I suspect that we also use the same "very simple behavioral rules".

    So what? I find that the more I can verify that I am just another animal, the easier it is to [chref=28]keep to the role of the disgraced[/chref] and thereby [chref=61]take the lower position[/chref]. The following excerpt gives some insight into some deeper reasons why civilizations behave differently that small groups of hunter-gathers.

    * * * Locusts of control (from "The Mind of the Swarm", Science News -11/25/06; p.347)
    Their simulations suggested that as a locust population grows denser, its swarming behavior changes from chaos to order. When the researchers tracked locusts in a small area and gradually increased the insects' number, the small group's behavior mirrored the model's predictions. When there were just a few locusts, they wandered randomly, interacting only occasionally. Once the population reached 10 locusts, the insects formed small bands that changed direction frequently. At 30 locusts, the insects suddenly started marching as one.
    * * *

    And people "start marching as one" also. Take Hitler, KKK, religion and politics, mobs behavior, and so on. These, are all manifestations of deep seated strong forces pulling people to "march as one". The similarities, both [chref=56]mysterious[/chref] and obvious, that we share with other animals are worth pondering deeply. Otherwise we remain in the shallow waters of awareness seeing only the apparent differences.

    Naturally, if is difficult to accept that this research might apply to us. That would be yet more evidence invalidating our cherished belief in free will.

    Finally, I marvel at the efficiency of Nature. Here it uses its social insect 'tools' in other species including us - ah, [chref=56]mysterious sameness[/chref]. The more aware I become of the various ways Nature goes about its business of 'creation', the more I feel included in the whole process.
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