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Self delusional or self aware? Discuss

“We think we know what we are doing. We have always thought so. We never seem to acknowledge that we have been wrong in the past, and so might be wrong in the future. Instead, each generation writes off earlier errors as the result of bad thinking by less able minds- and then confidently embarks on fresh errors of its own. We are one of only three species on our planet that can claim to be self-aware, yet self-delusion may be a more significant characteristic of our kind. “


Michael Crichton
Prey


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Nein MC

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I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand I unironically love this bit from Starship Troopers 2 (a truly horrible movie, but I'm glad I watched it anyway just for this quote)

"Order is the tide of creation, but yours is a species that worships the one over the many. You glorify your intelligence because it allows you to believe anything. That you have a destiny. That you have a right. That you have a cause. That you are special. That you are great. But in truth... you are born insane."


I think there is something to that. On the other hand, I think there can be a sort of pride and joy of life that doesn't have to be at the cost of valuing other life less, it doesn't have to be chauvinistic. I'm great, you're great, a tiny insect is great, too! Nevermind sentience, that's just some derpy bonus stuff that indeed might be overrated. Life itself is great.

I have expressed my strong interest in the mass of the people; and this is founded, not on their usefulness to the community, so much as on what they are in themselves. Indeed every man, in every condition, is great. It is only our own diseased sight which makes him little. A man is great as a man, be he where or what he may. The grandeur of his nature turns to insignificance all outward distinctions.

-- William Ellery Channing


Replace "man" by any living being, and that's kinda what I'm trying to say. Of course, when I'm in a really foul mood, I tend more towards the Starship Troopers 2 view of things, but I think that's just my own sight being "diseased" temporarily, you know?


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Tracy

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Prey was written 20 years ago so I think there have been advances in the study since then but I think he was talking about chimpanzees and dolphins. Now there are mice, robots and I guess even a fish scientists are pondering self awareness about. The main consideration of being self aware is can you separate basically your imagination from memory and make a decision for self preservation. But some of the studies consider recognizing yourself in a mirror and if there is a change in your appearance to qualify. I am still reading this one and I am sure that he will reveal more in the coming chapters. It’s pretty good so far.


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alex

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Do you know what other 2 species he's referring to?


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