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.
Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!
As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.
- What distinguishes humans is social learning — and teaching.
- Crucial to learning and teaching is the value of free expression.
- And we need political leaders who support environments of social peace and cooperation.
We're talking Ghost in the Shell type of stuff.
Maybe you watched Ghost in the Shell and maybe afterwards you and your friend had a conversation about whether or not you would opt in for some bionic upgrades if that was possible - like a liver that could let you drink unlimitedly or an eye that could give you superhuman vision. And maybe you had differing opinions but you concluded that it's irrelevant because the time to make such choices is far in the future. Well, it turns out, it's two years away.
Tragedy in art, from Ancient Greece to Breaking Bad, resists all our efforts to tie reality up in a neat bow, to draw some edifying lesson from it. Instead it confronts us with our own limitations, leaving us scrabbling in the rubble of certainty to figure out what's next.
- Why democracy has been unpopular with philosophers
- Tragedy's reminder that the past isn't finished with us
- …and why we need art in the first place
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.