Controlling instinct by rational thought is what makes us human

The ability to transcend 'instinct' as the driver of our actions and replace, or at least guide that instinct by rational thought that takes account of the 'outcomes' is what lifts us above the animal. That is, we can now see our actions as not just 'good' (it worked and I got what I wanted), or bad (didn't work and I didn't get what I wanted), but as also 'good' (morally correct, in line with societal norms etc), or bad (criminal, dangerous, immoral etc). Of course some would say (Nietzsche please stand) that this is a degenerative step, but not many could say that seriously. When man began to use rationality to temper instictive reaction he became human. Prior to such a momentous step murder, theft, rape, incest etc. did not exist as they were but consequences of instinctive action that sustained personal survival. Such concepts/labels only came about when instinct began to be tempered by rationality and (importantly) that rationality was also itself subject to a 'history of rational action'. So then a 'society' was born that had a history, both physical and moral. Society did not exist in an age where all actions were instinctive.

Archaeologists unearth dozens of mummified cats in Egypt

Dozens of mummified cats were dug up this week. This isn't as shocking as you might think.

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Culture & Religion
  • Archaeologists in Egypt have found dozens of mummified cats in the tomb of a royal offical.
  • The cats will join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of previously discovered ancient kitties.
  • While the cats are nothing special, the tomb also held well preserved beetles.
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Men obsessed with building muscle mass have higher mental health risks

They're at a higher risk for depression, weekend binge drinking, and unnecessary dieting.

Palestinian participants flex their muscles during a bodybuilding competition in Gaza city on October 28, 2016. / AFP / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
Mind & Brain
  • Body dysmorphia is not limited to women, a new study from Norway and Cambridge shows.
  • Young men that focus on building muscle are at risk for a host of mental and physical health problems.
  • Selfie culture is not helping the growing number of teens that are anxious and depressed.
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A.I. turns 57 million crop fields into stunning abstract art

Detailed (and beautiful) information on 57 million crop fields across the U.S. and Europe are now available online.

Image: OneSoil
Strange Maps
  • Using satellite images and artificial intelligence, OneSoil wants to make 'precision farming' available to the world.
  • The start-up from Belarus has already processed the U.S. and Europe, and aims for global coverage by 2020.
  • The map is practical, and more — browse 'Random Beautiful Fields' at the touch of a button.
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