Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What if your Contemplative Faculties were limited

  1. Jul 14, 2013 #1
    Hey there ,
    I Was just developing setting for an alternative history Sci-Fic Novel in which contemplative powers of people are limited (so that there're very few einteins :tongue2: ), and logical brain is more dominative. Imagining yourself in such an environment, Could anyone explain how day to day activities would look like.
    Eg. Scientific Development would slow down coz apart from Logical development of theories, one would also require far reaching hypotheses using imagination.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2013 #2
    If I understand your terms, then both real and fake science would be limited. Less religion and superstition. Probably more worldwide conformity. It could make for a rather boring world.
  4. Jul 14, 2013 #3
    thanks algr,

    yes, i was thinking of a conformist kinda world. first of All, lemme suggest that the unconscious mind is not absent, people are merely having a little less of it. If you look at one example, People today predominantly value jobs that are logical, routine and Conformist. Look for example artists and Scientists. Although these are people of High intellect, they are not jobs that are valued, though reasonably respected. So -not that ours is a boring world.

    Not Quite agreed. If one gives people the Reasons to believe Religion/ Superstition, then it could be possible that all we have is a bunch of Blind Believers-cult Guys kinda Situation, Where Believers and Non Believers Could Have Real "Reasons" to Oppose. :wink:

    Could you detail out what more could be affected other than Religion & Science.
  5. Jul 14, 2013 #4
    The reason I think that there would be less religion and superstition is because you have fewer new ideas, and more objective analysis of the ideas that do exist.

    What is scarce tends to be valuable. So in such a world, the few storytellers and creative types they do have would be held in high esteem, even if their work wasn't that great by our world's standards. If ideas are valuable, their might be a stronger resistance to the spread of science secrets. This would further slow down scientific progress, and create more regression as secrets can be lost.

    Are contemplative powers required for empathy? If so, then social orders would tend to be unstable, as people are less able to "walk in each other's shoes" and foresee how their actions would unintentionally hurt others.

    One problem with alternate histories is the butterfly effect. History seems to be a chaotic system, so a trivial change far enough in the past can render the present unrecognizable. Give Hannibal an idea and Rome never becomes an empire. Calm down some peasants and China colonizes the west coast of America. A quick breath of air in 1000 BC and the paths and dates of storms and hurricanes around the world are totally different - then different ships sink and survive, and suddenly every name in the history books changes.

    So you can't really say "How different would things be?" in those worlds. They would always be utterly different.
  6. Jul 14, 2013 #5
    Thanks a lot once again !

    Could you please elaborate on that. I couldn't Grasp the essence of it. But i do think it's gonna be helpful in my writing.

    Yes, i definitely have to agree. i thought i bit about that. And a Recent Research Also Links contemplative faculties to Empathy. You are right.
  7. Jul 14, 2013 #6
    Yes, i already included an Example in my writing of That. What if Michael Faraday could have done a bit more that Experimentation, Maybe put Forward Something about Electromagnetic Fields. We'd have had Quantum Mechanics much Earlier. (sort of !)
  8. Jul 17, 2013 #7
    Elaborating on the first quote, those are two separate ideas. When you have millions of people living their lives, the chances are high that someone somewhere will experience some really improbable event or string of coincidences. To those nearby, these look like miracles, or acts of god. Throw in some inspiration, or just staying out in the sun too long, and you have the seeds of a religion.

    The second phase of a religion is when you have followers who are two or three generations removed from the original witness described above. Now you have a need for new "miracles" to keep the flock faithful and resistant to other religions. The leaders might pull off some slight of hand or magic tricks to impress viewers.

    Both of these phases of religion require someone to come up with new ideas, and the second requires a form of empathy - "How will this look to someone else who doesn't know what I know." With reduced contemplative powers, you've defined your people as being less capable of this.

    What is scarce tends to be valuable: In the middle ages, knowledge was considered to be valuable and dangerous, and so it's spread was highly limited. By the renaissance, printing and other factors allowed existing knowledge to be spread widely, and this inspired new knowledge to be discovered at a faster rate. IMHO: A less contemplative world would tend to favor the medieval view of knowledge: New ideas tend to cause social disruptions that the powerful don't know how to respond to. Hence a greater resistance to change and progress.
  9. Feb 10, 2014 #8
    Religions tend to provide answers to unanswerable questions (Life after death? Meaning of life?) A world without imagination would not wonder about the wondrous, or try to think about the unthinkable, IMO.
  10. Feb 10, 2014 #9
    Maybe rather a case when instead of paradigm shifts one have terribly tedious incremental growth. By default more ideas would have to be developed as result of a lucky accident. Or maybe long period of stagnancy, but with immediate adoption of new ideas when they are finally created.

    It might lead to a funny paradox:
    -no one can think about a really new idea;
    -everyone sees flaws and inconsistency in the old one.

    Low quality of fiction books or poetry, but instead quite good chronicles.

    Obsession in improving old ideas? (no one can think of a new one, but everyone is desperate in improving the details of the old one, while thinking terribly within box)
    Instead of no religion: religions with multiple deities might be actually worshipped for longer. Making up idea of monotheism, especially in deistic variant would be a bush fire. Then it later would be replaced with some form of atheism.

    (Be careful what's "logic". I had a malicious joy of attacking politically correct, secular humanist using as my weapon positivism, evolutionary biology and game theory)
  11. Feb 11, 2014 #10
    With fewer new ideas, larger groups of adherents would form for longer static periods. That would lead to stronger ideo-territoriality and deeper, more intractable (and very detailed) methodologies. So I'm not sure new ideas would be readily accepted by the establishment, as they would require major retooling. I would expect change to occur as incremental improvements at let's say the mechanical level -- very efficient simple machines. Higher math requires creative thought which is validated by calculations, so I wouldn't expect any quantum theory.

    In fact, uncreative thinking must base its models on familiar analogies, like the villagers who thought a motor must have an animal inside. Superstitions are made of such stuff.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: What if your Contemplative Faculties were limited
  1. Limits of Technology (Replies: 3)