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The inefficiency of the human condition

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libertygrl
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Posted 12/15/11 - 6:06 PM:
Subject: The inefficiency of the human condition
I've shared my observations here before about people's behaviors in elevators - the need for some to control the button panel, the need for others to press a button (sometimes repeatedly, sometimes quite vigorously) after it has already been lit. These are just a couple of examples of what one might call inefficiency in the human condition.

There are other things, of course. Working in a doctor's office, I get exposed to a number of behaviors that seem to come up often. For example, people asking questions that were already answered, but they weren't listening. Or asking questions that they could probably easily figure out the answer to, if they thought about it for a second. People getting angry, defensive, or insulted over something where no harm was intended. People trying to tell you something by repeating the same things over and over. People functioning absent-mindedly on auto-pilot, or like "automatons" as Thinker alluded to on previous occasion.

I've certainly been guilty of these things, I'm not trying to be critical so much, even though they can sometimes be frustrating. The point is that these things are not about cruelty or malice, possibly not about anything, really, except being human.

Will humanity evolve past this degree of inefficiency, do you suppose? Or is it an inescapable fact of our organic nature?
thedoc
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Posted 12/15/11 - 11:48 PM:

Some time ago my 6 year old grandson would respond to everything, a statement or something he saw, with 'Why'. It didn't take long for me to try to cure it, instead of answering straight out, I would try to get him to think the question through for himself and I would also make him ask a more specific question, and not just 'Why'. It seems to be working as he will comment on what appears to be happening but I still need to correct him on occasion.
Thinker13
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Posted 12/16/11 - 3:30 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
I've shared my observations here before about people's behaviors in elevators - the need for some to control the button panel, the need for others to press a button (sometimes repeatedly, sometimes quite vigorously) after it has already been lit. These are just a couple of examples of what one might call inefficiency in the human condition.

There are other things, of course. Working in a doctor's office, I get exposed to a number of behaviors that seem to come up often. For example, people asking questions that were already answered, but they weren't listening. Or asking questions that they could probably easily figure out the answer to, if they thought about it for a second. People getting angry, defensive, or insulted over something where no harm was intended. People trying to tell you something by repeating the same things over and over. People functioning absent-mindedly on auto-pilot, or like "automatons" as Thinker alluded to on previous occasion.

I've certainly been guilty of these things, I'm not trying to be critical so much, even though they can sometimes be frustrating. The point is that these things are not about cruelty or malice, possibly not about anything, really, except being human.

Will humanity evolve past this degree of inefficiency, do you suppose? Or is it an inescapable fact of our organic nature?



Humans will evolve past to this degree of inefficiency. But it does not mean that there is any perfection to be achieved in this regard.
[Which means that it's an ongoing process and would always remain so. Here we are talking mostly about our motor functions--about memory, attention and so on, but once you achieve a very high degree of perfection-there might come up many new dimensions in your purview where you need to improve your efficiency!]
I personally believe that machines and robots which are zillion times more efficient than humans can be developed and they would represent increment in human efficiency ( though not directly).

Again: In my opinion, even when you have explicitly stated about your being perfectly fine with 'inefficiency'; I wonder if it was not a vision, an ideal or an urge to improve which would have triggered these ideas in your mind. This improvement might have been your own self-improvement or that of society as a whole.

What do you think?


libertygrl
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Posted 12/16/11 - 7:30 PM:

thedoc wrote:
Some time ago my 6 year old grandson would respond to everything, a statement or something he saw, with 'Why'. It didn't take long for me to try to cure it, instead of answering straight out, I would try to get him to think the question through for himself and I would also make him ask a more specific question, and not just 'Why'. It seems to be working as he will comment on what appears to be happening but I still need to correct him on occasion.

well it's good to hear that folks are taking the time to encourage critical thinking in young people. it's not common, but i know some people do.
libertygrl
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Posted 12/16/11 - 7:44 PM:

Thinker wrote:
Again: In my opinion, even when you have explicitly stated about your being perfectly fine with 'inefficiency'; I wonder if it was not a vision, an ideal or an urge to improve which would have triggered these ideas in your mind. This improvement might have been your own self-improvement or that of society as a whole.

oh gosh, i don't know if i would say that i'm "perfectly fine" with inefficiency. as i mentioned, i do find it frustrating at times. i think it would be more accurate to say that i've mostly resigned myself to accepting that it's human nature. i'd certainly like to see improvements in that area, both in myself as well as in people in general.

speaking for myself, i feel inefficient when i'm tired or hung over. of course, also when i'm in pain from an injury. i speculate that the popularity of binge drinking (both alcohol and caffeine) in american culture, as well as the prominent use of recreational drugs, contributes to an overall problem of people being dazed, irritable and distracted during the work week (when they're not getting wasted on the weekends). not to mention the problem of mal-nourishment from junk food and food preservatives.

i hope you're right that things will improve. i think the key is good health. i know a fair portion of people care about good health, but i feel like they're in the minority. is it cynical to think so?

robots and machines are incredibly efficient but thus far lack certain insights that our biology has mysteriously blessed us with, which may take the form of instincts or intuitions. intuition is more efficient than any man-made machine, what do you guys think?

Thinker13
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Posted 12/17/11 - 12:25 AM:

libertygrl wrote:

oh gosh, i don't know if i would say that i'm "perfectly fine" with inefficiency. as i mentioned, i do find it frustrating at times. i think it would be more accurate to say that i've mostly resigned myself to accepting that it's human nature. i'd certainly like to see improvements in that area, both in myself as well as in people in general.

speaking for myself, i feel inefficient when i'm tired or hung over. of course, also when i'm in pain from an injury. i speculate that the popularity of binge drinking (both alcohol and caffeine) in american culture, as well as the prominent use of recreational drugs, contributes to an overall problem of people being dazed, irritable and distracted during the work week (when they're not getting wasted on the weekends). not to mention the problem of mal-nourishment from junk food and food preservatives.

i hope you're right that things will improve. i think the key is good health. i know a fair portion of people care about good health, but i feel like they're in the minority. is it cynical to think so?

robots and machines are incredibly efficient but thus far lack certain insights that our biology has mysteriously blessed us with, which may take the form of instincts or intuitions. intuition is more efficient than any man-made machine, what do you guys think?





'Good health' is a key, would surely save you a lot of frustration, but, the things towards which you point as indicators of human 'inefficiency', are, in my opinion inherent in human mechanism and it might not be possible to remove these inefficiencies directly.

I think human evolution is more or less bent on increasing efficiency by designing super robots and computers. Human bodies are not becoming more stronger or robust than they already were. As you saw in WALL-E movie, our planet is tending to become an 'Obesity ridden' planet as a whole.

So yes, intuition can be developed and if that is what you are concerned about that might become improved a lot if sustained effort is given, but, physical efficiency is something I doubt about; because we have invented shortcuts for everything and we are hell bent on finding shortcuts inside shortcuts and so on.


smokinpristiformis
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Posted 12/23/11 - 4:11 AM:

At the factory I work in, I can almost literally see the money tick away due to human inefficiency - our contractors usually have to wait for hours before they can actually start working (until all the paperwork has come through, everyone has had his say, everyone agrees on the methods, all misunderstandings are cleared out, ...). The thing is that there's no valid alternative. It's a bit like democracy: there's nothing worse, except for all the rest.
libertygrl
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Posted 12/23/11 - 12:56 PM:

Thinker wrote:
Good health' is a key, would surely save you a lot of frustration, but, the things towards which you point as indicators of human 'inefficiency', are, in my opinion inherent in human mechanism and it might not be possible to remove these inefficiencies directly.

that's what i'm thinking as well.

smoki wrote:
At the factory I work in, I can almost literally see the money tick away due to human inefficiency - our contractors usually have to wait for hours before they can actually start working (until all the paperwork has come through, everyone has had his say, everyone agrees on the methods, all misunderstandings are cleared out, ...). The thing is that there's no valid alternative. It's a bit like democracy: there's nothing worse, except for all the rest.

good point about democracy. everyone has a need to express their own particular idiosyncrasies to some extent, it's an extension of having free will. any attempts at collectivity have to integrate some level of forebearance for that fact.
kowalskil
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Posted 12/29/11 - 4:37 PM:

smokinpristiformis wrote:
At the factory I work in, I can almost literally see the money tick away due to human inefficiency - our contractors usually have to wait for hours before they can actually start working (until all the paperwork has come through, everyone has had his say, everyone agrees on the methods, all misunderstandings are cleared out, ...). The thing is that there's no valid alternative. ...


Such factories will disappear, due to competition.

-----------------------------

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia), author of “Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.”

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html

This free on-line autobiography is based on a diary kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).

libertygrl
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Posted 12/29/11 - 9:30 PM:

hi ludwik, welcome to the couch.
Thinker13
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Posted 12/29/11 - 11:27 PM:

Welcome Ludwik!

Here:http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/02_chap2.html: The English translation's photo is given on your website. Was it done by your wife or by you and when?

Lib: A sample for graphology! nod
Thinker13
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Posted 12/29/11 - 11:35 PM:

"Writing comments for oneself is useful. Marx also had some kind of a diary. Both Marx and Lenin wrote summaries of books they were studying. Stalin examines about 500 pages of text daily. My learning is mostly superficial; it must be supplemented later by more penetrating studies. I am only 20 now. First I will learn more mathematics, then I will learn English. One day quantity of knowledge will be transformed into quality. [...]"


Quite early in life ( compared to majority of population!) you discovered that scribbling leads to genius or is an outcome of genius! How consistent with studies of so many later researchers. In her book, 300 geniuses from history: Genetic Study of Geniuses; Catheriene M Cox wrote something very similar. I am finding your book a very interesting read, Ludwik!
Thinker13
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Posted 12/29/11 - 11:47 PM:

Ludwik wrote:

I really appreciate these honest statements. But am I able to accomplish what they suggested? A book organized chronologically and a book organized thematically are two very different things. To write about political disappointments of communists in general one has to be a sociologist and a historian. The only thing I can do is to provide an illustration. I believe that the value of my book is its authenticity. Let more knowledgeable people make their own generalizations. I do not think that rewriting the book will make it more attractive to people whose interests are not connected with my story.



And you're so right in thinking so in my humble opinion! Unless I am in dire need of money and publicity, I would not, under any circumstances prefer changing the chronological narrations the diary format presents. Apart from removing the authenticity from the narrations, by arranging them thematically, you are forced to involve with your current mindset, which in turn makes it so difficult to invoke a witness sense for the thought stream which was there behind the very first generation of the scribblings.In the long run, I am convinced that such authentic pieces are most valuable contributions for future generations because they help in learning about psyche, culture and history, whereas other arrangements might well earn you couple of bucks but are devoid of quintessential 'Drashta Effect'.




What are you now, Polish or Jewish?

*** A5: I am essentially Jewish. It feels good to be what one really is. In saying this I am thinking about the ancient roots mentioned by Tunia's friend Susan. That was on my third day in Paris. My ancestors were Egyptian slaves. Did my father think about this when he was a slave in the first country of proletarian dictatorship? He died as a Gulag slave, somewhere near Magadan. A friend who visited that Siberian town, several years ago, brought me some small stones. I scattered them around our Jewish cemetery.



What is it to be a 'Jew' or a 'Christian' or a 'Hindu', in your opinion?

Edited by Thinker13 on 12/30/11 - 12:28 AM
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