Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

How to Help Humanity

A principle of engineering is that any physical system has a limited bandwidth. If your microscope does not magnify enough then you will see dust, but not the bacteria floating before your eyes. Our ears can only hear certain frequencies and will not even be aware of higher and lower frequencies. The human brain also has a limited bandwidth. To understand anything, we must first convert the sensory inputs to symbols (which become words when we become aware of them), and then we derive meaning from those symbols based on our internal map. Each of us has a slightly different map based on our culture, education, upbringing and personal experiences as well as our mental health. If information or ideas come to us which do not related to anything in our mental map, chances are we will ignore it or feel disturbed by it.

When looking at the inside of a machine, most people simply see a tangled and complicated mess. An engineer sees mechanisms that have functions, a symphony of parts whose music is useful work. That same engineer might experience music as a pleasant (or not) jumble of notes, while a musician hears the beat, the melody, the syncopation, and the musical phrases borrowed from other works. Very few people, arguably none, understand economics. In addition to a limited ability to understand economics, there is also a self serving tendency to view events in a way that vindicated our ego. Thus, we blame the third world for taking our jobs or the politicians for destroying the dollar or whatever the gripe of the day.

My point is this; people cannot understand what is beyond their experience and for the most part, they do not want to get out of their comfort zone unless there is a crisis. Once there is a crisis and people's world views no longer work for them, then they are receptive to new ideas because they are desperate to get back to a functional map. We cannot easily convince anyone to change. The best any of us can do is to prepare more functional alternative ways of living such that, when a crisis arises, some people will be able to make use of the ideas.

by Didier G.
on 11/19/2009

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