The global Idiocracy is growing and expanding rapidly. First, within the same nation, women with high intelligence are not breeding as fast as women with lower intelligence. Further, people in nations with low average intelligence are breeding much more quickly than people in countries with high average intelligence. On another front, national populations with high average intelligence are being inundated by immigrants with both lower average intelligence, and higher fertility. More
At the same time that the Idiocracy is expanding, the human brain seems to be shrinking, over time:
… over the recent 10,000 yrs, our brains have lost a volume about the size of a tennis ball. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” [John Hawks @ U. Wisc.] says.
“This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look. If our brain keeps dwindling at that rate over the next 20,000 years, it will start to approach the size of that found in Homo erectus, a relative that lived half a million years ago.”
Image Source: Fourmilab
The recent arrival of universal automation may be adding to this process of brain shrinkage:
As software has become capable of analysis and decision-making, automation has leapt out of the factory and into the white-collar world. Computers are taking over the kinds of knowledge work long considered the preserve of well-educated, well-trained professionals: Pilots rely on computers to fly planes; doctors consult them in diagnosing ailments; architects use them to design buildings. Automation’s new wave is hitting just about everyone.
… computers are changing the way the work gets done. And the evidence is mounting that the same de-skilling effect that ate into the talents of factory workers last century is starting to gnaw away at professional skills, even highly specialized ones. Yesterday’s machine operators are today’s computer operators.
… “Flying skills decay quite rapidly towards the fringes of ‘tolerable’ performance without relatively frequent practice,” Mr. Ebbatson concluded. But computers now handle most flight operations between takeoff and touchdown—so “frequent practice” is exactly what pilots are not getting.
… Harvard Medical School professor Beth Lown, in a 2012 journal article written with her student Dayron Rodriquez, warned that when doctors become “screen-driven,” following a computer’s prompts rather than “the patient’s narrative thread,” their thinking can become constricted. In the worst cases, they may miss important diagnostic signals.
… “These highly constrained tools,” the researchers write, “are optimized for data capture but at the expense of sacrificing their utility for appropriate triage and diagnosis, leading users to miss the forest for the trees.” Medical software, they write, is no “replacement for basic history-taking, examination skills, and critical thinking.”
Even creative trades are increasingly suffering from automation’s de-skilling effects. Computer-aided design has helped architects to construct buildings with unusual shapes and materials, but when computers are brought into the design process too early, they can deaden the aesthetic sensitivity and conceptual insight that come from sketching and model-building.
… If we let our own skills fade by relying too much on automation, we are going to render ourselves less capable, less resilient and more subservient to our machines. We will create a world more fit for robots than for us.
__Nicholas Carr in: http://online.wsj.com/articles/automation-makes-us-dumb-1416589342
Parenthetically, this “dumbing-down by reliance on computers” may be partially responsible for the ongoing climate apocalypse debacle. Climate “scientists” have come to rely too much on faulty computer models — to the point that the models have become more real and important to the “scientists” than actual conditions in the real world.
But human brains were shrinking long before computers came along. Civilisation itself has tamed the wild human beast, much as wolves were tamed and shaped into specialised dog breeds. Human specialisation and division of labour within civilisations can make broader human problem-solving skills seem unnecessary. Humans have learned to fit themselves into narrow occupational “slots”, much like breeds of dogs are bred for specific, narrow purposes.
Even for the brightest, the human occupational focus is narrowing to a “point and click” motif. Similarly, the ways that humans spend their spare time is also becoming “dumbed down.” Mass culture is geared to lower and lower levels of comprehension. Mind altering chemicals become more and more important both as ways of “killing time,” and to help workers “tolerate” being on the job.
The human brain was already shrinking, but it is getting a lot of help in that regard from modern humans themselves.
What can we do to fight this tide of Idiocracy? First, it is clear that most humans truly want to live in The Matrix. A life of ease, free from care, is what the masses of humans are pushing for. There is virtually nothing that you or I can do to mitigate that current of mass human desire.
But thinking humans can still make choices, even in the most oppressive societies. If their children are raised within sufficiently enriched and varied environments, some human populations can be “re-skilled” and made more competent to solve wide ranges of problems, both concrete and abstract.
This is what the Dangerous Child movement in conjunction with Resilient & Dangerous Communities (R&D Communities) is about. Limited in scope, but in deadly earnest.
Dangerous Children are raised in an environment that is broadly enriched in order to empower early development of the rational and creative mind, a large repertoire of body skills, the ongoing balancing of emotions, and sufficient social skills to allow lifelong sharing and cooperation.
Young minds are highly adaptive and resilient. To a point, they are like sponges that are eager to soak up large amounts of knowledge, of practical, didactic, and theoretical /experimental nature.
Parents, coaches, and educational guides can access a large amount of helpful material from the internet. Some of this material must be searched for, and some of it has been brought together and made freely available. For example, the classical and intellectual part of a young person’s education can be enriched by materials such as these:
Many other types of useful information are likewise freely available online. In fact, massive amounts of information of practical, theoretical, and experimental nature can be downloaded onto portable media, such as flash drives, multi-terabyte portable hard drives, optical disc archives, and many other types.
Rich, priceless information can be freely downloaded as e-books, videos, audio-files, image files, tutorials, etc. Once the child reaches the stage of seeking out increasingly challenging material on his own, only minimal guidance and progress checks will be necessary, for the most part, for each area of learning and training.
Dangerous Children must also “do chores,” for skill development, self-discipline, and to reach a better understanding of the types of things that must be done so that other, more important things can be learned and accomplished.
Parents, grandparents, and potential parents and coaches should prepare themselves as well as possible to teach practical skills to children, beginning as early as possible. Intellectual training is not enough. Dangerous Children are expected to master at least three different ways of earning their own way by their 18th birthday.
It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood. Nor too early.
A few broad online information sources: