Have Humans Reached a Limit?


“A man may postpone his own enlightenment, but only for a limited period of time. And to give up enlightenment altogether, either for oneself or one’s descendants, is to violate and to trample upon the sacred rights of man.”

~ Immanuel Kant, “Critique of Pure Reason” (1781)

I saw the headline of the linked article proposing human intelligence has reached its limit, that our brains “were designed to solve practical problems impinging on our survival and reproduction, not to unravel the fabric of the universe.”

Finally read it.

There is some basis to think this way (ignoring, of course, the paradox of intellectually contemplating our own ignorance) but, as the article proposes, if human brains have evolved without the need to understand the cosmos, then would we even have the tools to attempt the understanding?

I’m not sure I agree – because the speed of innovation over the past century has been nothing short of miraculous . Humans have gone from believing the moon is made of cheese to landing a man on it and science fiction has become science fact.

I do; however, see some evidence that there is a sort of willful rejection of knowledge which I think can be traced to the rise of the internet.

Of course, the internet has placed the world’s discovered knowledge at our fingertips – but I think this has resulted in the creation of less intelligence and has just been a massive deluge of sensory overload. Like an overloaded electrical circuit, the breaker has tripped in many minds.

If you view intelligence and knowledge as generally linear progression, running from less knowledge to more in a vertical line, it seems that when that breaker trips, rather than resetting it, knowledge is replaced with information and intelligence stops its linear progression and spreads out horizontally.

Resetting the breaker is hard, it requires an analysis of why the circuit was overloaded and then a decision made to upgrade the wiring to handle the additional information pulsing through it. It may mean that the existing wiring needs to be ripped out and replaced with heavier gauge wire and a higher capacity breaker.

That’s difficult – perhaps too difficult for many.

That means they reduce the rush of factual inputs and simply take some of the equipment or appliances – the ones responsible for the energy draw that tripped the breaker – off the circuit. It’s easier to believe an untruth that requires little thought than it is to tackle a tough physical, intellectual or philosophical problem. It’s easier, for example, to believe gender fluidity exists and is a reality than it is to tackle why, in direct contradiction to biological reality, such a condition exists.

It’s just easier to believe in emotional reasoning, that contradictory to all evidence, the stronger my feelings are about something, the more validation there is in what I believe.

I think that is where all these absurd and frivolous ideas originate – these are the low draw replacements for the high power, high draw intellectual propositions and associated inquiries that are the basis for real knowledge.

I don’t think that human intelligence is limited, but I do think there are many who have decided it is just too hard to try to increase it. Too many people have abandoned the concept that increasing knowledge is an individual responsibility and better left to the “smart people”.


One thought on “Have Humans Reached a Limit?

  1. As parents and grandparents we share our intense interest in knowing what and why. The growth of human intellect must be nurtured and we believe our example is what they emulate. Sure hope there are others who do the same.

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