Oct 3, 2010

Game Theory or Are People Simply Biological Machines?

I stumbled upon this documentary tonight and decided to take a look at it, the title seemed kind of curious. It discusses psychiatry, as scientific methodology of assessing and curing human mental deviations, behaviorism and exotic mathematical theories that examine and treat humans as sort of automated units, whose behavior can be calculated with such a precision, that you can rather have super computers for social counseling roles instead of psychologists.

The "Game Theory" mentioned in the title refers to a mathematical model of human behavior, a very bleak and grim one, born out of corresponding mind, that looks at humans as intrinsically selfish beings, whose sole motivation is always driven by self-interest and imminent desire to cheat and betray on others, always suspicious of others and untrusting. Sounds like a hard paranoia case to me.
Anywaway, so long as all this is true for human nature in general, the roots have to be searched in our hardwired instincts. After all, the most basic frame of human psychology is rooted in our instincts, isn't it?

Selfishness, as a most common behavioral trait in humans, it is a derivative of our self-preservation instinct. Even though self-preservation is an absolute necessity in nature in order for life to survive, selfishness, on many occasions, is not necessary in the majority of social situations it is used in. However, in my opinion, it is not something that cannot be modified, just as about everything else in a personality.
For instance, one kid adores chocolate so much, that it won't share it with another that also likes chocolate, but say, has no money to buy one. However, the first kid cannot overcome the strength of its chocolate indulgence and would rather eat it all up in front of the other kid's wide open eyes. Of course, the first kid may be told by her/his parents to share the chocolate, which he/she may reluctantly do and later on when the kid grows up this early-life education that it's a humane thing to share may become an integral part of the young adult's social values. Thus, selfishness, as intrinsic as it may seem to be, is, in the end, a matter of social education and values.

It's about how the young generation is educated, this is a conviction I strongly advocate. Since, the young of humans and other mammals alike, learn their social skills from their parents and acquire their social values from the predominant such in the society they live in.
Family and social environments are the major contributors to people's mindset, life views, character and so on.
This is valid as long as the individual more or less goes with the flow without taking much mental effort to think on him/her self, that is. As important as early education is, it is another unpopular fact, that people can actually build themselves as personalities and as character, with the power of their conscious will, self-critisism and determination.

Of course, this ability of humans is much less popular than our qualities like selfishness, greed and so on, because it takes a human one step further in evolution. Having said that, if selfishness is an instrinsic, instinctive part of human behavior, then altruists can be refered to as a step above the majority of the population, since they have gone beyond their primal instinctivity.

Right. What about greed? Greed is a derivative of selfishness, a rather active derivative, if we consider the act of selfishness as being passive. A more twisted procurtion of the self-preservation instinct, that in many cases goes well beyond any rational and meaningful alike.

Actually, talking about instinctively-derived behavioral frames, if one observes the way people generally behave it becomes so obvious what a great part of everything people do, individually and collectively, is based on instinctive motivation, instinctively-derived psychological patterns and frames of perception and reaction.
Sometimes I think that, despite all the philosophy, all the heightened accomplishments of human spirit and mind, we are just sophisticated animals.

It's also perplexing just how insulting labeling a human as "animal" can be perceived as. Well, yeah, it is not a lie, we are all mammals on the least. Not to mention our mindless, brutal, inhumane behavior with abundant examples throughout history. Still abundant in the modern world as well. I feel like putting "modern" in quotes or even brackets, can't even dare to think of replacing it with "advanced".
We think of our civilization as advanced, filled with war for profit, greed, exploitation, ignorance and religious fanatism. Hello, wrong categorization we have, very wrong criteria indeed.

As i have said before, the vision of Star Wars is not applicable to evolution. If advancement was to be judged only by technology and advanced weaponry, then evolution wouldn't have bothered burdening us with self-consciousness, consiense and other scarcely distributed virtues of humanity.
We have observed that the process of evolution is an extremely pragmatic one, it doesn't produce things without amplication, especially persistently evolving ones, like human consciousness and all the staggering enlightment it can bring about in one's mind.
This makes me think that this is the next level in the grand course of evolution and this level completely excludes the domination of instincts, in their primal and unconscious manifestation in behavior. Which in turn excludes war and aggression.

Thus, in truly advanced, culturally and mentally, civilizations, war is a thing of their primitive past.

So, the real historic period we live in today is not, whatever we designate it as, post-industrial. But, merely the end of the Medieval, at best. So sad. Oh, well, imagine the suffering of those poor, enlightened souls before us. Shiverring.
Selfishness may not be necessary for modern humans' survival, but humor is absolutely essential, I have to say. Without it, we are lost.

In summary, the truly advanced mind goes beyond its instinctual frames. Everything else is nothing more than a smart animal. An intelligent biological calculation.
Sometimes this behavior kind of resembles that of viruses indeed. I also hold the opinion that humanity is overpopulated and that, to evolution's horror, as a rule the dumbest part of global population reproduces the most. I am far from fanatic racist of any sort and try to speak at my best, so that not to sound rude and politically uncorrect, but the bare truth sometimes is pretty tough and ugly too. Most of the times.
However, it is hard to designate some of the very intelligent people in this world, like big gamers bankers and ruling elites, as culturally/mentally advanced, or even sane, either. So, it's a great controversy. The dumbset are not really meaningful, the intelligent not really sane.. tough situation. I say, just destroy them all! Give Evolution a second chance.

Humans at some point really do seem like biological machines, not much more than intelligent animals, so long as self-consciousness is inactive. Active consciousness goes beyond calculations and predictability. However, it's fundamentally wrong to treat people mathematically anyway, namely because we have self-cosciousness, it's wrong to try to narrow it down, when evolution made it as wide as the cosmos. We only retard our mental advancement - such a far away utopian dream on the collective scale.

lol. Oh, yes. Speaking of psychiatry as a scientific methodology that works in close partnership with pharmaceutical producers, I am not a fan of it either. I think psychiatry is a barbaric, medieval method of assessing human sanity by dubtful and highly ignorant criteria, whose main purpose is to drive people to drug stores in order to create armies of customers for the multibillion pharmaceutical industry. Suggestion is a powerful tool and this is how the majority of psychiatry customers get convinced they actually are sick, not fitting into the stereotype of normality. What about psychiatrists themselves, aren't they sick too? lol

Psychiatry, is in essense, the marketing department of pharmaceutical industries.
And Anti-depressants come really close to what Aldous Huxley envisioned as the "Soma" of the future world. There are all sorts of ridiculous diagnoses that psychiatry attributes to healthy people, who don't need chemistry, but guidance on how to self-regulate and manage themselves, emotionally and mentally.

This is where psychology and psychoanalisys and the new ways yet to come, come in. Unless, the goal is to create a world of mindless drones with happy emptiness behind their eyes. (lol)

The documentary explores the cold philosophy of cold war scientists, that simplified humans to calculations and argued that the fight for a greater good is always a pure hipocricy. So grim. This is true for a large part of politicians though, they mostly greed for profits and lust for power. True, true. Bad calculations those politicians.

Here are links to the documentary, in three episodes of about an hour each. It's interesting, has a good music background too, here and there. Worth taking the time. The quality is poor, if you can find it somewhere else. Episode 3 is on Youtube, couldn't find the previous two there, however. 
"A strange kind of freedom.."

Title: The Trap (released 2007)

One group that behaves as per the mathematical model are economists and the other are psychopats, lol, this was funny. Right, well incorrect interpretation leads to incorrect knowledge, you know.

By the way, they fail to note that the fall of the Shah in Iran in 1979 was sponsored by US organizations, just as US and Brittish services helped him to step in power a few decades earlier. I mean, do the producers of this documentary really believe that wars were led out of moral values, like spreading freedom in the world, instead of for big, huge profits of the industry and gaining resources? 
Nope, it's Perception Management, otherwise known as Propaganda, making people believe that things aren't the way they really are. War is Freedom.

On the whole, all documentaries seem to have a degree of subjectivity and one-sidedness of looking at events they speak of. The producers of this video talk in theory, but I notice how much this theory does not apply to what really happened in practice. In the part with the Russian economic developments after 1989, you can tell that the documentary producers have not witnessed these developments from within and thus their theoretical interpretation is not quite true really. Here, in Bulgaria, we went through the same. Almost all national assests were privatized and people were really left to starve. Strange interpretation of freedom, hm. 

There is no true Democracy in the world today. Whatever that is. Nor there is true collective Freedom. Whatever that is. 

Now, take your Soma pill and don't be anxious about anything.

Evil is Good
True is False
Propaganda is Truth
Sadness is Depression
War is Patriotism
Politically Correct is Sincere
SSRI is Cure
Ignorance is Bliss