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    Thread: Peace and Progress

    1. #1
      Expert LDer Affirmation! DeeryTheDeer's Avatar
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      Peace and Progress

      I had an interesting philosophical dream last night (one of many strange, vivid dreams). I dreamt that I was reading a science/history magazine, and reading it seemed to mix with video or being in the room with a guy who lectured that in the cosmic scheme of things, the only reason why we've developed so far into such complex, intelligent, cultured, reflective human beings is because our planet is far more docile and peaceful than any other planets surrounding us. Then he emphasized that it became docile AFTER a great many storms and other events rocked the planet, and Greece developed, along with its enlightened culture, right after that (I know, very historically accurate ). I made an analogy to myself personally, that I can only become more enlightened and intelligent as a person after I stop the storms of emotion and anger inside of me.

      In my waking mind, I think that this concept could be somewhat true in one way, and in other ways utterly false. Perhaps progress only happens within chaos. Or somewhere inbetween. I'm not sure what to think about the connection between the world and my self.

      Thoughts?
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    2. #2
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      I think chaos is a crucial component to progress. Without adversity comes complacency. If people are always complacent with the status quo, progress tends to die out. This is likely the same both in the larger and smaller scheme of things (socially and individually). As they say: "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." It's true. When we overcome adversity (or chaos), we usually come out of the situation as better (or more experienced) than we were when we went into it.
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      I don't think chaos is really needed at all. I agree with Oneironaut, but I wouldn't call that chaos. Instead I would call that competition. It is competition that drove evolution, and caused humans to compete with each and drive forward progress.

      There might be times where chaos could cause betterment but usually it just destroys stuff and causes havoc. Random adversity are like natural disasters, they don't really make people stronger, they just kill a bunch of people and destroy the local area and more often than not they set back advancement and force people to rebuild.

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      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      Interesting dream, thanks for sharing. Steven Pinker's recent book kind of corroborates the vision you saw of us tending towards peace in modern times.

      Depending on how you define your terms, I see some circular reasoning here. If you take "peace" as something desirable, "chaos" as something undesirable, and "progress" as moving from undesirable to desirable... what you're saying is that chaos is required to motivate progress towards peace. So, without chaos (lack of peace) we won't strive for peace. If we don't lack peace, we won't long for peace. If there's too much peace we won't get any peace...

      Maybe you don't define "chaos" as altogether undesirable, though. Probably most people agree with this, and it makes the logic work by fueling the still-circular process. But with this alteration, we have to alter our definition of "progress" because it's no longer clear that we're moving form undesirable to desirable. Even evolution isn't progressive in "undesirable to desirable" sense, or in any "better to worse" sense. Evolution is only progressive in the sense that it tends to accumulate complexity.
      Last edited by IndieAnthias; 12-31-2011 at 02:08 PM.

    5. #5
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      My sig says it all. Balance.

      But I don't think I agree with your dream. I think becoming more docile in an evolutionary inevitability, not an accident caused by aggressive people getting removed. It's like how docile chickens do better together than aggressive chickens. This doesn't mean being docile is superior to being aggressive. Otherwise the Tibetans would have stood a chance against China. The more aggressive individual wins, but the larger collective beats the smaller collective and being peaceful with each other, following the rules of game theory, one can form a collective capable of beating all the aggressive people.

      There's also different kinds of peace an d aggression. For instance the Greeks beat the Persians despite having a smaller army because they used better tactics which the Persians, being more purposefully minded individuals, could not compete with. In this case, you can form a collective of aggressive individuals but they can't act with the coordination as a collective of more cooperative individuals.

      Growth comes from balance between embracing chaos and sustaining knowledge. If one sustains knowledge but never embraces chaos they become like some of the zombies on this forum, full of obtuse remarks without an original idea to offer. Or culturally speaking, as O put it they become complacent. I like to say they become weak but that's a washy word (some cultures guilty of this polarity have very strong arms but weak minds). Embracing chaos without preserving knowledge or respecting the process leads to mutation, defect and cancer. Being a little weird means you're probably smarter than all the rest of the clones in your school, but if you're too weird you risk being ostracized. When an individual of a species mutates, these mutations will mostly be useless qualities of diversity and many are detrimental to their survival. The mutation that makes an individual superior to the rest in its species is a lot more rare than the mutation that does nothing or is harmful. Embracing chaos without caution or respect for the knowledge your species preserved (in either DNA or tradition) is just as dangerous as becoming complacent.
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      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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