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The Sapience theory is to answer this research question:

Why Haven’t We Developed a More Perfect World?

If we are such a clever species, why is the world the way it is, and heading in a bad direction?

Other interesting quotes:

Every problem is composed of a network of sub-problems that all affect one another (see below on Systems Perspective). Yet the conscious mind must focus on one local problem at a time. If all that is brought to bear on decisions regarding that local problem is intelligence (and a smattering of creativity) there will be a tendency to try to find what we call a ‘local optimum’ solution. The reason is that we typically only have local explicit information to use in forming a decision about what to do. That local information will not include the fact that just around the next bend, out of our local (i.e., conscious) view, is an obstacle or a precipice – other related sub-problems that might be made worse by solving the current problem for its optimum… In fact there are many examples of how solving a local sub-problem for an optimum will make the global problem much worse. Tacit knowledge, if it is relatively complete and relatively valid (if our models of the whole is good) can then come into play subconsciously to alter or shape the intelligent decision making to override local optimization if there is a chance of lowering the global optimization of the larger problem.

The more comprehensive a model (tacit knowledge) we have the more likely our decisions will prove adequate. Comprehensive here means covering a larger scope of space and a longer time scale. The more and varied life experiences we have had and the more lessons we have learned about those experiences the more power we bring to bear on the present local situation.

We have the ability to inhibit our tendency to get even with someone who has hurt us. We have the ability to inhibit our tendency to want to bed the first beauty we could otherwise seduce. Higher sapience means that we will exercise this control over our primitive urges. [self-control]

Curiosity and a willingness to probe deeper or outward are necessary ingredients to support increasing one’s tacit knowledge.

The capacity to quickly organize new information on the basis of systemic principles is what allows some people to learn completely new cultures, jobs, or even careers. They can relate the specifics of a newly encountered system to the general principles of systemness and learn to manipulate the new system based on those principles applying.

and also in its Part 5:

… some psychologists have suggested that most people do not participate in self-reflection [characteristic of sapience] very often…

Thus sapience need not have been selected for within groups, but would have had a strong selection advantage between groups. Such selection skew would result in there being fewer individuals with the “right” genetic traits (see below) in larger merged populations…

With the growing of grains and storage in granaries for supplies during the non-growing seasons or in droughts, humans learned to hedge against uncertainty and improved their reproductive fitness tremendously. Under these conditions, the need for really long-term planning was, surprisingly, minimized.

… diminishment of selection for greater sapience in the whole population … has turned out to be a non-optimal situation.

Being the first species of animal to have understood evolution for what it is and how it works, we are in the unique position to engineer an intentional selection pressure that might just help bias future evolution in the direction of greater sapience [recall “rich pay poor for not to give birth” idea].


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