Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  .This section is about the evolution of mind.  Topics include: ( ) Animal minds.  ( ) Ancient human minds.  ( ) Modern human minds.  ( ) Future human minds.  ---  1/24/2006

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  (1) How did memory develop in humans?  How well do animals remember?  If they couldn't remember they couldn't be trained.  (2) How did emotion develop in humans?  Do animals have emotion?  Emotion is supposed to be one of the oldest parts of the human brain.  (3) How did reason develop in humans?  One IQ point at a time, I'm sure.  How well can animals think?  ---  12/30/1995

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Ancient human tended to talk about concrete subjects rather than abstract subjects.  What is there to talk about when you don't (can't) talk about abstract ideas?  Basically you can talk about the weather and other people.  That is why gossip was (and is) so prevalent.  For hundreds of thousands of years we had nothing to do but gossip.  We talked about how people looked and what they were wearing.  This is why fashion was (and is) so big.  ---  10/1/2000

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Ancient human's (1 million years ago) mind was very "here and now".  Ancient human's mind was very concrete, more like an animals.  Future man's thinking will span space and time.  That is, in terms of time, it will involve both more future thinking (planning) and more historical thinking (history).  And, in terms of space, it will involve more global world oriented thinking.  Also, future human's thinking will involve more abstract thinking ability in addition to concrete thinking ability.  ---  10/1/2000

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Ancient humans.  (1) To ancient man, the night, the darkness, was another world.  There was the world of day and the world of night.  So there were at least two worlds to ancient man.  (2) And the night was a thing.  The darkness was a thing.  It was alive.  ---  9/21/1999

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Ancient humans.  How could ancient man determine that a tree was not animate in the same way an animal was?  Or that a rock was not animate but a tree was?  Or that an animal was not conscious in the same way a human was?  What then was to stop ancient man from talking to animals, trees and rocks?  If several cavemen were conversing, would not they presume that the trees were listening, and would they perhaps even include the trees as participants in the conversation?  ---  10/25/2001

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal mind.  What does it mean for an animal to recognize the sight of a predator?  Even a hard-wired, instinctual animal must have some kind of memory of a predator in order to recognize a predator.  And any specific predator approaching may be larger or smaller, or any variation in color, or approaching at any angle, so therefore the animal must have an abstract memory of the predator.  Thus, animals have abstract memories.  That is to say, animals have abstract thoughts, and animals have memories of abstract thoughts, that let them discern predators.  Humans are not the only species with abstract memories.  ---  6/8/2005

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  (1) Are dogs conscious?  Do they not see and hear?  (2) Unconscious.  Knocked out and unaware.  (3) Conscious.  Awake.  Aware of the environment.  All animals are conscious in this respect.  (4) Human subconscious can do symbol manipulation, which dogs cannot do.  So dogs are not merely subconscious as some suggest.  (5) Self-consciousness.  Apes can recognize themselves in a mirror.  They have an "I" concept.  Dogs cannot recognize themselves in a mirror?  ---  9/20/1998

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  (1) Do dogs feel emotions?  Yes.  They cry when sad, wag tail when happy, and get angry at enemies.  (2) Do dogs think?  They can learn.  They can be trained or conditioned.  (3) Dogs are social animals and evolved from wolves.  Wolves live in packs and have social rules and hierarchies.  Therefore dogs have a super-ego?  Dogs have an id which is their drives.  Do dogs have an ego?  Do dogs have consciousness?  Do dogs have an unconscious?  Are dogs unconscious (in Freudian sense) all the time?  If you can make a dog neurotic or psychotic then they have an unconscious?  ---  9/20/1998

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  (1) Memory ability of various animals.  (2) Emotional ability of various animals.  (3) Thinking ability of various animals.  (4) Social ability of various animals.  ---  11/20/2001

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  Animals have minds with various abilities.  (1) Animal sensation.  Animals feel physical pain.  (2) Animal instincts.  Animals have instinctual behaviors to varying degrees.  (3) Animal emotions.  Animals feel emotions.  Animals feel simple emotions like fear, anger, sadness and happiness.  Animals feel complex emotions, like social emotions.  Animals feel emotional pain like fear, anger, sadness.  (4) Animal thinking.  Animals can think.  Animals can learn.  Animals can solve problems.  (5) Animal consciousness.  Some animals can recognize themselves in a mirror.  (6) Animal personality.  Its no mistake that people recognize personalities in their pets.  Its not mere anthropomorphizing.  (7) Guess what, based on the above, animals deserve rights.  ---  6/5/2004

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  Animals, either completely or to a degree greater than us, are stuck in the present, without any awareness of the past or future.  ---  10/31/1999

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  Ants are social.  Ants are aggressive, but that does not mean they have emotions.  Do dogs have emotions?  (2) Dogs seem to have personalities.  Personality meaning enduring behavior?  (3) Dog breeds.  Dogs are all the same species.  Breeds are like races.  Is one breed smarter than another?  No.  Ants are of different species.  ---  9/20/1998

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  Do animals have emotions?  If emotion is more basic and primal than thought, as far as the area of the brain in which it occurs, and if animals think (which they do), then animals must have emotions.  We know that animals have drives and memory.  Animals therefore have all the basic mental building blocks (drive, memory, emotion, and thought).  ---  1/20/1999

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  Drive, memory, emotion and thought in insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals.  ---  5/17/2002

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  Is it unethical to keep apes in cages in the zoo?  They are prisoners.  They think and feel.  ---  9/20/1998

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  Levels of animal thinking.  (1) Symbol recognition.  Like in apes.  (2) Conditioning.  "Learn" to perform a behavior on cue to get a reward or to avoid punishment.  Learning is thinking?  (3) Instinct is something you are born with.  Rats are not born "knowing" to press buttons for reward, so it is not an instinctual behavior as some suggest.  (4) Drive is an urge.  ---  9/20/1998

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animal minds.  Thinking in animals.  When does animal mentality go from being hard wired instinct urge (unchangeable) to thinking learning (changeable)?  (2) How do instinct and learned thoughts behaviors mix and influence each other?  (3) What are some basic animal thoughts?  Food.  Sex.  Fight or flight.  ---  12/26/2003

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Animals and man.  What separates man from the animals?  Nothing separates man from the animals.  (1) Technology does not separate man from the animals.  There are animals that use tools.  For example, there are chimps that peel sticks to get termites.  (2) Social organization does not separate man from the animals.  There are many social animals.  For example, the herd animals of the African savanna, such as zebra, wildebeest, etc.  (3) Communication does separate man from the animals.  Many animals communicate with calls of various types.  (4) Symbolic communication does not separate man from the animals.  Dolphins and chimpanzees have been taught to use symbolic communication.  And there have even been cases where chimpanzees have taught this symbolic communication to their young.  (5) Thinking and emotion do not separate man from the animals.  Animal researchers have shown that animals have emotions and animals can think.  (6) Politics does not separate man from the animals.  Animals have power hierarchies.  For example, the wolf pack.  (7) The point being, the differences that separate man from the animals are differences of degree, not differences of kind or type.  ---  5/9/1999

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Before writing, humans thought without letters.  Before language, humans thought without words.  Before language, humans thought with pictures and sounds.  More like a movie without dialogue.  Also, more emotion because less word thought.  Also, more sensation because less word thought.  ---  8/4/2004

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Being subject to old ideas vs. creating new ideas.  There may have been a point in humankind's past (maybe 100,000 years ago) when humans were subject to their own ideas.  Our minds ruled us.  We had no rein on our brains.  We just "followed orders" from our brains.  There was little ability to "see or hear oneself thinking".  There was little ability to criticize one's own thinking.  And most importantly, there was little ability to think creatively.  This mental state may have been what kept human culture static for thousands of years.  At some point in our evolution, humans developed the ability to take control of their own thinking, and at that point humans began to think creatively, with a resulting rapid development of human culture.  ---  12/30/2000

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Change and development.  Evolution, stagnation and devolution.  (1) Speed, rate, and degree of change.  (2) Cause and effects of change.  (3) Short term vs. long term: speed to enact change.  (4) Temporary vs. permanent: how long change lasts.  (5) Natural changes vs. manmade changes.  (6) Self creation vs. self destruction.  (7) Total, and parts.  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Consciousness.  Learned consciousness.  Hundreds of thousands of years ago there may have been humans who gained consciousness who then literally helped other people gain consciousness.  That is, there may have been cases where consciousness was learned.  Sort of like the case of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller, except without the blindness and deafness.  (2) These cases of learned consciousness may have started quite early in modern human history, perhaps as early as five hundred thousand years ago.  These cases of learned consciousness may have continued quite late in human history, perhaps as late as a thousand years ago. (3) For example, Plato may have been speaking about achieving consciousness when he proposed the cave analogy  There may have been cases of members of a tribe "waking up" or making conscious other members of a tribe. (4) Any development of our mental abilities is an increase in consciousness, or a "consciousness raising".  We tend to think of the evolution of human mental abilities as a slow, gradual process.  But there may have been some situations where it was like turning on a light switch.  ---  11/18/2004

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Development of human mind (individual and humankind).  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Development of human species (see here).  Development of specific individuals (see psychology, physical, age)  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Development of humans mind and behavior by functional elements.  Memory, thinking, speaking, which came first and when?  How did they affect each other?  What was the rate of development?  Where are we going?  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Dreams and the evolution of the human mind.  (1) At what point in human evolution did humans begin to understand that dreams are "not real" and that time spent awake was "real".  The distinction between "dreams" and "reality" may not have been as obvious to early humans as it is to humans today.  (2) How did dreams contribute to the development of human thinking?  After all, the big question is, "Was it real or was it a dream?"  At what point in human evolution did humans question their memory as to whether what they remember is a dream or not?  (3) What role did dreams play in the development of human imagination?  ---  10/18/2004

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Evolution of the mental.  (1) The first animal nerves.  (2) The first animal sense organs (specialized nerves).  (3) What can insects do?  How do we know?  (4) What can mammals do?  How do we know.  How well can dogs think?  What can chimps do?  How do we know?  What can dolphins do?  How do we know.  (5) What can humans do?  How do we know?  When did we develop the capacity?  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Evolution.  Is human evolution proceeding at the same rate as animal evolution always had (slow)?  Is a human being today essentially the same as a human being 10,000 years ago?  (1) No.  Because humans can consciously pick mates based on intelligence, mental health, etc.  Animals are not as picky.  (2) Humans alter (improve) their environment.  Humans are able to create a more challenging environment where the smarter thrive and get selected.  Animals do not create a more challenging environment.  (3) So the hope for faster evolution of humans exist.  Thus the hope for more ethical humans exists.  ---  3/30/1998

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  First naming.  First question.  First lie.  First statement (simple, complex).  First induction, and first deduction.  By subject areas.  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  From bone, muscle and skin ancient man got the notions of structure, mechanism and surface appearance.  ---  3/1/2001

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Future man is similar to healthy human, mature human, and genius human.  ---  10/1/2000

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  How did human social development (political development, work organization.) affect human psychological development, and visa versa?  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  How we evolved as information gathering beings.  If something is happening then I better pay attention to it (ex. friend or foe person approaching, predator or prey animal approaching).  Especially if something new and different is happening that we have never seen before and that we cannot use standard operating procedures for.  This is the basis of curiosity.  ---  5/29/2001

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Human abilities:  Consciousness.  Self-conscious.  Intention.  Free will.  Aware of past, present and future: memory, and hypothetical thinking.  Use of language.  Emotion.  Ethical sense.  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Human evolution.  Why camp fires smell good to us.  Over a hundred thousand years of evolution, those people who hated the smell of campfires stayed away from campfires and froze to death.  Those people who liked the smell of campfires huddled close to them and survived from the warmth.  ---  9/15/1999

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  I believe that humans, through natural evolution and cultural evolution, are becoming more ethical, more intelligent and more sensitive.  I believe it is a race to see if this progress will occur at a rate fast enough to prevent us from destroying ourselves through overpopulation, environmental destruction, warfare, etc.  ---  1/19/1999

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Let's talk hypothetically about the psychological traits of ancient primitive humans (say 1 million years ago), and compare them to modern humans, and then extrapolate to imagine what future man may be like.  And let me be clear that in this discussion I am making no remarks about supposed variations within the human species, because I believe all modern humans have roughly the same potential.     (1) I am going to hypothesize that ancient humans had certain psychological traits.  In general, there was not as much going on mentally in ancient humans as there is in modern humans.  And if there was something going on in it was most likely a loop (get food...get food...get food...) or some type of auto-pilot mode (see notes on auto-pilot mind).     (A) Memory.  Ancient humans (1 million years ago) had poor memory ability compared to modern humans.  Ancient humans were more animal-like than modern humans.  And although animals have memory, we can argue that animals tend to "live in the moment" more so than humans, and thus have less memory ability than humans.  I also hypothesize that ancient humans had an especially poor memory for abstract ideas as compared to modern humans.     (B) Emotions.  I hypothesize that ancient humans were less emotionally sophisticated and less emotionally complex than modern humans.  This emotional simplicity resulted in an ethical simplicity (e.g. more savagery than today).  Even though it is generally agreed that all animals have emotions, I hypothesize that because there was less going on mentally in general in ancient humans there must have been less going on emotionally in ancient humans as compared to modern humans.     (C) Thinking.  I hypothesize that ancient man had relatively few ideas compared to modern humans.  These ideas repeated to himself over and over, with little variety, little change, and little growth.  This would help explain the stasis of human culture over tens of thousands of years.  Even though I do believe that animals think on some level, let us look at an animal like a cow or a dog, essentially food and sex are the only thoughts on their minds.     (2) Now lets try to imagine the traits of future humans (1 million years from now, should we not destroy the earth or each other in the mean time).  Some scientists say that humans are no longer evolving biologically.  However, humans may evolve on a cultural level, or humans may evolve with the aid of technology.  When we talk about the possible psychological traits of future humans we may gain insight by looking at the positive psychological traits that we work toward acquiring in our lifetime and then imagining that perhaps in the future humans may indeed reach these ideals.     (A) Memory.  Future humans will have greater memory capacity and faster memory recall, especially for abstract ideas.  These greater memory abilities will allow for greater powers of thinking and greater speed of thinking, in a situation analogous to the way that more memory makes a computer faster and more powerful.     (B) Emotions.  Future humans will have a more complex, sophisticated and subtle emotional life than modern humans.  Their emotional sophistication will result in a greater ethical sophistication, since ethics has strong roots in emotional states such as empathy.  Emotional sophistication will also result in greater thinking ability, since the brain works as a whole with greater powers in one are (like emotion) can lead to greater powers in other areas (like thinking).     (C) Thinking.  Future man will have a huge number of ideas over the course of a lifetime.  The ideas will start at an early age and will not stop till death.  The ideas will be organized logically, that is, future man will possess a very logical, very organized body of knowledge.  We will see more ten year old children with Ph.D. level knowledge in many areas, not just in one or two areas like some adult PhD's have today.  These kids will do their notes in half the time and at half the age.  These kids will know more than us and they will figure out most of it themselves rather than finding out form the media.     (D) In general, future humans will have more active and more varied mental lives than humans of today have.  Future humans will make us look like bumps on logs.     (3) I may be totally wrong about all of this.  It may be that ancient humans (1 million years ago) had rich, varied, active mental lives just like we do today.  It may be that future humans (1 million years hence) will have no greater mental abilities than modern humans or ancient humans.  It is difficult to know with certainty.  ---  9/28/2000

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  One could argue that in human history the development of mental concepts came before the development of words.  Thus, the development of concepts is perhaps more useful and interesting to study than the development of words.  Here is a list of concepts and their possible associated physical gestures.  (1) Concept: Me.  Gesture: Hand points to self.  (2) Concept: You.  Gesture: Hand points to other person.  (3) Concept: World.  Gesture: Hand sweeps toward "everything out there".  (4) Concept: Mind, thought or emotion.  Gesture: Hand points to head or heart to refer to "me, inside".  (5) Concept: Body.  Gesture: Hand sweeps over body to refer to "me, outside".  (6) Concept: Slavery.  Gesture: Pantomime being caught or trapped.  (7) Concept: Freedom.  Gesture: Pantomime breaking free of a trap.  (8) Concept: Equality.  Gesture: Balances hands.  (9) Concept: Good or right.  Gesture: Happy face.  (10) Concept: Bad or wrong.  Gesture: Sad or angry face.  (11) Or, Concept: Good.  Gesture: flexing muscles to show strength, vitality and health.  (11) Or, Concept: Bad.  Gesture: Nauseous face and a weak shaky walk in order to show sickness or poor health.  (12) Or, Concept: Good.  Gesture: Kind, caring, gentle stroking.  (13) Or, Concept: Bad.  Gesture: Mean, aggressive, nasty face and lashing out motions.  (14) Many animals recognize the above concepts and gestures.  The above concepts and gestures are an early form of animal thought, emotion and communication.  Human thought, emotion and communication developed out of animal thought, emotion and communication.  ---  5/11/1999

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Small, bright shiny objects capture our attention and the attention of many animals because small bright shiny objects are like eyes.  Small bright shiny objects are like small bright shiny irises.  They signal the approach of another animals, either friend or foe, either predator or prey.  In the natural world there are not many small bright shiny objects other than eyes, and the approach of another animal is very important, so we have a fascination with small shiny objects to this day, although today humans are able to manufacture small bright shiny objects like jewelry, trinkets and baubles.  ---  4/19/2000

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  The "Future man" view hypothesizes that there must have been a time in the past when adults acted like teens and teens acted like children.  The 1950's?  ---  10/1/2000

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  The brain was not designed in one clean sweep.  The brain evolved slowly.  The brain is a kludge, an assemblage, a mishmash.  The brain is a group of separate module patched together.  The brain is a group of layers pasted on top of each other.  ---  5/12/2007

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  The mind is the brain.  The most important idea about the brain is that it evolved.  The brain evolved.  The best way to understand the brain is by understanding the evolution of the brain.  The best way to understand the evolution of the brain is by understanding animal psychology.  ---  3/27/2007

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  The order of the evolution of mind in humans (sense, drive, emotion, thought) is also the order in which we experience the world as individuals.  ---  4/21/2000

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  There may be animals that only have the mental abilities of memory and emotion.  These animals have only emotions, and memories of emotions.  They have simple emotions.  Memories of pleasure and pain.  Memories of likes and dislikes.  No thought.  ---  3/11/2007

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  To understand how the mind is built and how the mind works you should understand how it evolved and what it was built to do.  Understand eating, sleeping, and sex.  Understand the senses.  ---  12/2/2001

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  When we talk about ancient man (150,000 years ago), modern man (today) and future man (150,000 years hence), we can hypothesize that ancient man, modern children and modern adult neurotics are all at about the same mental level.  And to live one's entire life in this state is an incredible waste of human potential.  (2) Modern healthy mature humans are at another level.  (3) Future healthy mature humans will be at yet another level.  Genius traits (like those of Einstein, Ghandi, MLK Jr., Da Vinci and Aretha Franklin) will occur at much higher rates in the future population.  Genius as we know it today will be more common in the future.  And there will be the appearance of a few new supergeniuses with even greater abilities.  There will be much less wasted lives, which is a good thing.  ---  10/1/2000

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Where are we headed.  What will humans be like in another 10,000 years, or 100,000 years?  ---  12/30/1992

Psychology, mind, evolution.  ---  Why is gambling popular?  It is not because humans find gambling to be exciting.  Rather, it is because humans are hardwired to find situations of uncertainty, risk and odds calculating to be interesting.  We are hardwired to find risk analysis interesting because it keeps us alive when we calculate the odds.  ---  10/16/2001

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.