I’ve read the “The Independent” article and one of the things that without a doubt troubled me is that there’s still a white mans misconception of the world. The XVI century vision that Europe was the most developed region in the world still prevails in some contemporaneous minds. Like jesuit missionaries in Brazil in the XVII century, today we still behave as as if white man ways had to be imposed because of our superiority. The superiority that we so much believe on. How could we not believe it? We’ve been around for ages, we were never taught another way.
Let me tell you a short story: I was doing a research in pattern matching and communication networks, and at a certain point I had to study 2 species of cicadas that live in the south of Portugal. They live in the same geographical region and males sing to attract females for matting purposes. The question was “how do these cicadas manage to recognize their own species?” After some field research and some computer simulation we’ve found out that there are two factors that influence identification, the spectrum pattern and the time pattern of the singing. Cicadas that have a song with a broader spectrum don’t need to use time patterns, and cicadas that use a time pattern don’t need to use a broader spectrum. On mechanism compensates the lack of the other.
(The full paper can be found online at Calling Barbara if you are interested in knowing a bit more about Cicadas.)
The reason for telling you this example is that from the point of view of each species, the other might seam lazy (or if we want to rephrase it: “less intelligent”)… because they didn’t developed specialized frequencies or because they didn’t even considered singing in short pulses instead of a continuous song. The truth is that we can’t say one species is more intelligent that the other. They adapted and it was this difference that allow them to coexist.
As in your reply to Dr. Watson, there’s that little aspect in this example. I also have two species.
As you, I believe that we are the product of our genes and the product of our ways, but to say this is like saying that a rock will fall back to earth if thrown up into the sky.
What I can’t cope with is the egocentric view of the world and the attempt to impose those ways to others. And this imposing can be something as subtle as defining what intelligence is in each persons mind. (Obviously that I’ll consider myself, and those that in my model of perception are like me, the “Best”, the “Righteous” or the “Justus”. I’m not going to talk about models here as it would lead me to Robert Rosen work… ). The problem with the white mans view is that it’s based on the belief on its own superiority. Therefor the acceptance of diversity as an engine drive and not as an obstacle is something that this man can’t do.
Haply, for the human species, we are evolving in different ways. That will allow this specie to survive longer (we hope), but our genetic differences are not responsible for macroscopic level concepts like intelligence. Believing in that is to give voice to 500 years of prejudice and xenophobia. It’s like returning to the medieval dark ages all over again.
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