In this paper, we’ll examine engrained thinking habits in even the most powerful human intellects that contributed to existential risks now confronting life on Earth. They also relate to limitations of mathematical logic and algorithmic computation. Finally, we’ll consider unfreezing deeper natural abilities to help avert the danger.
In my scientific writing, I usually minimize the use of personal pronouns. Although a bit awkward, it seems consistent with attempts to convey at least an impression of sober impersonal‘objectivity’. After all, isn’t science about ‘objective knowledge’ uncontaminated by personal‘subjectivity’? I’m comfortable with an impersonal style because it reads as less egoistic – less‘me’ as the story, directing attention toward the content. But this paper applies a more personal style, for a reason. Part of the reason is a trend to ‘real world’ narratives away from impersonal‘just the facts’ styles. Though this may seem superficial, it reflects major developments toward anew science of mind – recognized, for example, in physicist Bernard Kastrup’s recent article in Scientific American, “Physics is Inexorably Pointing to Mind.” I mention this not just to explain the more personal style of this paper, but for the reason that it is the key issue: the overlooked direct experience of ‘I’.
This key issue also relates to long-time frustrations I’ve had communicating with mathematicians. I honor the contributions of mathematicians and consider them to have the most powerful intellects. But as we’ll consider, the need is to gain more practical knowledge – an issue reverberating through the history of philosophy, science, and mathematics. Things have gotten so far out of hand in applications of mathematical science, due to engrained thinking habits, that ominous existential risks to human life on Earth are immediately at hand – such as chemical and electromagnetic pollution of our external and internal environments; nuclear, bio, and cyber weaponry; and potentially uncontrollable genetic re-engineering and AI robots. Though ‘hard science’ has contributed to many practical solutions, it also has led to even harder problems now imminent. This is the consequence of not utilizing all the natural levels of our minds as human beings