Human unobjectivity

Author: Analgesic.Spectre ,

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  • Analgesic.Spectre
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    Part of the issue of living in this information-centric age, is the default understanding that humans are logical, and given enough explanation, could understand why things need to be done certain ways. This thread exists to demonstrate how woefully illogical, and thus unobjective, humans are.

    The Asch Conformity Experiments (1950s) were conducted to see how humans would yield or defy the majority opinion (using very simple questions, simple enough for a toddler to get correct). When the majority were giving the wrong answers, only 63.2% of the test subjects were able to get the answer right. On all tests, only 5% were always swayed by the crowd, but only 25% constantly defied the majority's wrong opinions. Therefore, the rest were swayed by the majority's wrong opinion some of the time. From these experiments, we can see humans distorting reality to fit in with the majority.

    Cognitive dissonance is another example of human inobjectivity. Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) conducted an experiment to observe how humans deal with cognitive dissonance. The experiment used a Stanford University student (not some random dummy) to complete a boring task. Once the task was completed, the student was then offered a large sum of money to set the experiment up for someone else, provided the student said that the experiment was interesting. Despite the student initially saying that the task was boring, when the student was offered money to say that it was interesting, he suddenly found explanations as to why it was interesting, and the researchers found that the student was starting to believe the experiment was interesting. Cognitive dissonance distorts reality, based on one's own interest.

    The Halo Effect is the idea that a singular positive trait seen in a person will result in other people viewing that person with all their traits as being good. Nisbett & Wilson (1977) found that when two sets of students watched the same lecture, but with the lecturer in different moods. If the students saw the lecturer in a happy mood, they would attribute other positive attributes to the lecturer, and vice-versa. Students stood by these judgements, despite being informed of this bias, and also given opportunities to revoke their judgement. Most people are completely not aware of this Halo Effect, and how irrational they are being when it's in play.

    Perhaps the most fascinating conclusion we can draw from human unobjectivity is that ideas of Democracy are lauded, despite most human's inability to vote with any kind of objectivity (and also the myriad of other problems with Democracy: (https://www.debateart.com/forum/topics/136)). It takes surprisingly little for humans to become unobjective, and thus illogical.
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @Analgesic.Spectre
    One of the most staggeringly false beliefs that any person could possible hold is the one that one's own age has hit on truth, and has an accurate assessment of the world. Most people in every age have thought that (including ours), and they have all been wrong (including ours). We even reinterpret history to suite our distorted perception, as Herbert Butterfield pointed out in his 'The Whig Interpretation of History', and police speech and thought to create conformity. However, reality is much messier. As Butterfield put it:

    "Real historical understanding is not achieved by the subordination of the past to the present, but rather by our making the past our present and attempting to see life with the eyes of another century than our own. It is not reached by assuming that our own age is the absolute to which Luther and Calvin and their generation are only relative; it is only reached by fully accepting the fact that their generation was as valid as our generation, their issues as momentous as our issues and their day as full and vital to them as our day is to us. The twentieth century which has its own hairs to split may have little patience with Arius and Athanasius who burdened the world with a quarrel about a diphthong, but the historian has not achieved historical understanding, has not reached that kind of understanding in which the mind can find rest, until he has seen that that diphthong was bound to be the most urgent matter in the universe to those people. It is when the emphasis is laid in this way upon the historian’s attempt to understand the past that it becomes clear how much he is concerned to elucidate the unlikeness between past and present. Instead of being moved to indignation by something in the past which at first seems alien and perhaps even wicked to our own day, instead of leaving it in the outer darkness, he makes the effort to bring this thing into the context where it is natural, and he elucidates the matter by showing its relation to other things which we do understand...

    But after this attempt to understand the past the historian seeks to study change taking place in the past, to work out the manner in which transitions are made, and to examine the way in which things happen in this world. If we could put all the historians together and look at their total cooperative achievement they are studying all that process of mutation which has turned the past into our present. And from the work of any historian who has concentrated his researches upon any change or transition, there emerges a truth of history which seems to combine with a truth of philosophy. It is nothing less than the whole of the past, with its complexity of movement, its entanglement of issues, and its intricate interactions, which produced the whole of the complex present; and this, which is itself an assumption and not a conclusion of historical study, is the only safe piece of causation that a historian can put his hand upon, the only thing which he can positively assert about the relationship between past and present. When the need arises to sort and disentangle from the present one fact or feature that is required to be traced back into history, the historian is faced with more unravelling than a mind can do, and finds the network of interactions so intricate, that it is impossible to point to any one thing in the sixteenth century as the cause of any one thing in the twentieth. It is as much as the historian can do to trace with some probability the sequence of events from one generation to another, without seeking to draw the incalculably complex diagram of causes and effects for ever interlacing down to the third and fourth generations. Any action which any man has ever taken is part of that whole set of circumstances which at a given moment conditions the whole mass of things that are to happen next. To understand that action is to recover the thousand threads that connect it with other things, to establish it in a system of relations; in other words to place it in its historical context. But it is not easy to work out its consequences, for they are merged in the results of everything else that was conspiring to produce change at that moment. We do not know where Luther would have been if his movement had not chimed with the ambitions of princes. We do not know what would have happened to the princes if Luther had not come to their aid...

  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    The volume and complexity of historical research are at the same time the result and the demonstration of the fact that the more we examine the way in which things happen, the more we are driven from the simple to the complex. It is only by undertaking an actual piece of research and looking at some point in history through the microscope that we can really visualize the complicated movements that lie behind any historical change. It is only by this method that we can discover the tricks that time plays with the purposes of men, as it turns those purposes to ends not realized; or learn the complex process by which the world comes through a transition that seems a natural and easy step in progress to us when we look back upon it. It is only by this method that we can come to see the curious mediations that circumstances must provide before men can grow out of a complex or open their minds to a new thing. Perhaps the greatest of all the lessons of history is this demonstration of the complexity of human change and the unpredictable character of the ultimate consequences of any given act or decision of men; and on the face of it this is a lesson that can only be learned in detail. It is a lesson that is bound to be lost in abridgement, and that is why abridgements of history are sometimes calculated to propagate the very reverse of the truth of history. The historian seeks to explain how the past came to be turned into the present but there is a very real sense in which the only explanation he can give is to unfold the whole story and reveal the complexity by telling it in detail. In reality the process of mutation which produced the present is as long and complicated as all the most lengthy and complicated works of historical research placed end to end, and knit together and regarded as one whole."



  • Analgesic.Spectre
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    It is not reached by assuming that our own age is the absolute to which Luther and Calvin and their generation are only relative; it is only reached by fully accepting the fact that their generation was as valid as our generation, their issues as momentous as our issues and their day as full and vital to them as our day is to us.
    People aren't ever going to emotionally connect with this, barring extreme reconfiguration of the brain. They can think about the parallels with past civilisations, but they can't emotionally connect with them. For example, when people give to African aid charities, all because they hear it's bad over they, they don't emotionally connect with their charity (it's mostly done as virtue signalling). That's why charities load ads with shocking images -- that's the only way people will emotionally connect.

    People don't care that an entire city was wiped out by a volcano -- that's too abstract and removed. Unless you show people the twisted, volcanic remains of a dog from Pompeii, they won't care about the fallen city.

    The historian seeks to explain how the past came to be turned into the present but there is a very real sense in which the only explanation he can give is to unfold the whole story and reveal the complexity by telling it in detail. In reality the process of mutation which produced the present is as long and complicated as all the most lengthy and complicated works of historical research placed end to end, and knit together and regarded as one whole.
    This is noble and all, but who is going to listen to the historian? Learning the complexities of history, in its non-edutainment, abstract way, isn't sufficiently thrilling for the majority. They'd much rather learn "Orange man bad", rather consider the parallels of moral decay in the current West and Assyrian Empire, because "Orange man bad" is much easier to understand, and it's a concise narrative.

    Butterfield's analysis is super idealistic (if I read it correctly). He's right in that humans, for various reasons, don't understand the past very well. But I think talk of the historian's role is utterly useless, if all he/she's doing is accurately documenting the past. When you seriously think about the monumental effort it would require to capture an accurate version of history (it's a full-time profession), and then consider how lazy (Netflix and Youtube culture) and mentally hampered humans are by default (look at all the psychology experiments I provided in the OP -- they're just the surface), the historian is not only fighting an uphill battle, but a vertically uphill battle.

    If you make history digestible for humans (through edutainment/simplicity/shock etc.), then it's probably rendered inaccurate. If you make the history lessons too accurate, it's probably not digestible.

  • Greyparrot
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    If humans were objective, we would not have laws or government.
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @Analgesic.Spectre
    Yeah, this is why true historians are pretty rare, and accurate historical study only really takes place when there is a stable, well-educated ruling class, because they have a vested interest in a realistic outlook on human nature. Mostly his little book is more of a cautionary tale: most histories, especially abridged ones, don't tell you what happened. They tell you what somebody wants to believe happened.
  • Analgesic.Spectre
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    If humans were objective, we would not have laws or government.
    This seems correct.

  • Analgesic.Spectre
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    Having thought more about this, I'm not even sure these "true historians" can exist. Even if they're attempting to capture objective truth about history, they're still loaded with cognitive biases that cloud their perception, often without them knowing.

    I can agree that their versions are far better than the forgeries of history, though. It's rather saddening that some people aren't capable of agreeing with someone trying to be accurate.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @Analgesic.Spectre
    As long as you don't think yourself to be immune, AS.  You are human too.

16 days later

  • Analgesic.Spectre
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    As long as you don't think yourself to be immune, AS.  You are human too.
    Same applies to you, dickhead.

  • keithprosser
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    You are clearly even more human than i thought!
  • Analgesic.Spectre
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    You have to be more human than me to think that.
  • Polytheist-Witch
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    Emotions are the gum in the works. I would rather be passionate like Kirk then dull like Spock.  In all honesty I would rather do my job, help some people and get drunk now and then like Bones. 
  • mustardness
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    Emotions are the gum in the works.
    Monkey wrench in the machinery.  When I first heard of quantum fluctuations I tried to get a intutitional visual and it was of consciousness {  * * } as a quantum monkey wrench in the system/structure.

    /\/\/\/\/ * * \/\/\/\/ * * \/\/ consciousness { * * } riding the sine-wave of peaks, troughs and inbetweens.

    Of course that visualization was not a serious consideration on my part. For  me I go to what I believe is the root/core of Space and Time { (><)(><) i.e inversions >< from peak of Gravitational Space (> and Dark Energy Space  <).

    Those root/core tori interfere with each other and create more complex geometric patterns fermions and bosons and eventually complex human consciousness with metaphysical-1,  ego (>*<)  i  {>*<)

     I believe the source of big bang { WOW! } is interference where before there was mininmal interference now there was and interference of  two or more toroids.  Maybe it was a syntropic aligning of a multitude of Space - Time tori tfhat had previously reached a point of maximum entropic non interference.

    I would rather be passionate like Kirk then dull like Spock.
    Fortunately those we have more options than just two diametric{?} opposites.

    In all honesty I would rather do my job, help some people and get drunk now and then like Bones.
    .....getting drunk does not seem smart as it is a nervous system depression after the first drink.

    Other substances that create and environment for thinking of a dynamic box/cube ---or tori-- of many varying shapes and then going outside that pattern to look back in upon it.