“Without the seizures, you might not have had these abilities”

So…

Those of you who have told me that “they don’t agree with me” in response to my book “We need to talk about this” (without specifying which one, specifically, of the many ideas I discuss in the book you don’t agree with, but I’ll assume that you mean that you’d rather not allow the wonderful diversity that makes up the human race but would like to see versions produced according to an ISO standard, with a reasonable margin of tolerance)… how would you “edit” this man?

I suspect that we humans still know extremely little about how brains work, and not just human brains. What we mostly see as the brain, that is probably something that psychologists called the ego, or the Ich or whatever. But our brains – well, some brains, as they’re simply IS an enormous amount of diversity in life, but probably still many more brains than we think – they can function on their own. They can do their stuff all by themselves, independent of that psychological entity that we think that we are. But you have to have the right circumstances to enable that. Like for example what Daniel says about the lights etc at the casino, at first. The brain gets all that input and at first doesn’t know what to do with it. It has to realize that it should discard all of that, and then slowly focus on what – okay – the psychological entity wants it to focus on, but again, the process of the communication between the eyes and the brain, unless we close our eyes, we as psychological entity have no control over it. And this is also a big part of why we still don’t understand animal intelligence. Our human egos get in the way.

But you probably have to be willing to trust your brain, and give up control, acknowledge that the brain knows much more than you do. What do I mean by that? Well, I have a silly example. Once upon a time, a professor asked “what is the volume of a mole of gas at ambient temperature and pressure?” and I didn’t know the answer, but my brain popped up the number 22.4, without any labels. You have to allow your brain to do your thinking for you and trust its process. (I suck at numbers, by the way. My brain probably is pretty good at them. I don’t know.) The kind of education that we have does not seem to allow this kind of brain use, and the silly daily 9-to-5 dance that is still imposed on most people probably is not very conducive to it either. It depends.

My main point, however? DIVERSITY IS GOOD, IS GREAT, IS WONDERFUL.

Not something to be eradicated.

However, this is not the same as refusing to cure conditions that cause tremendous undeniable suffering. To the contrary, I believe that we have a duty to cure those first. I think that the ability to do certain things comes with the duty to apply those things for good – in which “good” does not mean “money” or “status” but to make other people’s lives better in the view of those people.

There is increased awareness of this “do no harm” principle in science and technology, fortunately, and growing awareness that “good” and “bad” – harm – should be seen in a much broader context than only one’s own views.

Only a very short while ago, there was no such thing as for example geo-ethics. Nobody cared about potential harmful effects of mining activities and people who pointed them out were seen as geitewollensokkentypes (wearers of goats’ woollen socks – as if!) and tree huggers. Annoying hurdles to get around.

If the mining industry can reinvent and adapt itself this way, become more open to listening what other people are saying, then so can other disciplines and industries.

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