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Is the pursuit of more intelligence sustainable?

Odd question? Of course more intelligence means more solutions to our problems, right?

What if I presented an alternative case, suggesting all our modern, existential and extinction problems arise from our human intelligence. Or at least what we regard intelligence as. Think of all our problems, what those are and see if we truly are the intelligent species to present solutions to them?

One might argue, modern medicine, development in living standards, faster commute, easier communication are some of the gains of intelligence, of human ingenuity. But in hindsight, all the above have generated the modern problems which have driven us and most other species to extinction.

Our excess use of medicine is now polluting the natural waterways wherein our bio-waste is eventually discarded. Development happens at the cost of the natural habitat, wherein trees are chopped down to generate space, land is cemented to kill the biospheres that exist beneath the surface. Both faster communication and commuting are extremely heavy on energy, the same energy which is drilled out of the earth or generated by highly volatile fuel’s which have a capacity to cause long term extreme damage. If your argument supports wind and solar energy, think about the life and afterlife of the materials that are used to make those energy producing machines and the land required to establish those farms.

So are humans really intelligent? Shouldn’t true intelligence understand that most of our modern practices are leading us to complete annihilation? Wouldn’t a wise specie really figure out ways to sustain with the world around them?

What about other species, are they intelligent? Maybe not in the perspective in which human intelligence is measured. But I would differ if your opinion suggests that humans are more intelligent than most or almost all other species.

I truly hope that you still stick around reading this, and not exit the page you are reading this on. All other species, correction, all other wild species are commanded by their instincts. They eat when they are hungry, they drink when they are thirsty, they migrate when weather changes, and they mate when their inner self commands them.

Not that they aren’t using intelligence in any of the above acts. If instinct is commanding them, intelligence is working in making things attainable for them. Let’s study an example of an ape, instinct demands hunger and the need for food, then intelligence will help the ape climb the tree, to choose the right branches to stand on until they can grab their fruit. But once they do satisfy their basal need, they need not keep using intelligence to keep grabbing more. Instinct commands them to the next task of living or surviving the wild.

Instinct supersedes their intelligence. And if you come to think of it, instinct is nothing but millions and millions of data points hard embedded in species to better their survival chances.

Instinct is evolutionary intelligence in the true sense. Instinct is embedded in our DNA, they still form the basal message for all our needs. Just like apes, we too are driven by instinct, but post satisfying instinct, we as humans have mastered to exploit it. We take the intelligence and keep applying till we create abundances which aren’t natural. Every time we take more than what we as a self are required, we are depriving someone else from satisfying their instinct.

As humans we have given too much precedence to intelligence or to our brain, we have seen it as a virtue even when it is exploitative. Even when intelligence is hindering the natural course of life for everyone around. Intelligence and its abuse is truly unsustainable.

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Varun Shah
Varun Shah

I totally agree with your view. We consider ourselves so superior that we think we can control and manipulate nature. I don't think anything is going to change till the time the current economic system which only prioritizes economic growth exists.


Absolutely Varun, change is required at deep root levels, the superficial changes that we keep accepting arent enough.

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