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Thread: What does the Cheetah and the human have in common?

  1. #1 What does the Cheetah and the human have in common? 
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    What does the Cheetah and the human have in common?

    Quickie from Wiki: “The cheetah is a vulnerable species. Out of all the big cats, it is the least able to adapt to new environments. It has always proved difficult to breed in captivity, although recently a few zoos have managed to succeed at this. Once widely hunted for its fur, the cheetah now suffers more from the loss of both habitat and prey.”

    The cheetah has adapted to its environment by making itself faster and faster. Unfortunately these adaptations have placed it in jeopardy of extinction because in the process of becoming faster it has lost its ability to protect its kill from other animals. The cheetah has become too specialized and thus faces extinction.

    I would say that we humans have a similar problem. We have developed specialization to the extent that we place all of our focus upon technology with little knowledge or appreciation of the human sciences that will make it possible for us to manage this high tech world that we have created.

    Both the cheetah and the human species face the same paradox. They both have so finely tuned their adaption to the world that their specialization will mean their extinction.

    I suspect that within the next 200 years we humans will most likely bring an end to our species and possibly the end to all life on this planet.

    I think that the only way to prevent this is for our species to become much more intellectually sophisticated than it is now; I see little evidence that this will occur. The problems we face today are enormous and while we have the brain power to prevent this we may well not have the necessary character traits to do so. I suspect our species is a dead end species.

    Do you think that the human species might extinguish it self within a few centuries?


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    Forum Ph.D. Darius's Avatar
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    It's unfair to humanity to make a sweeping conclusion based on a comparison. The suggestion that technology will lead us to ruin is absurd, when in fact technology will be the only thing to save us. What will lead us to ruin isn't technology, but rather society.

    Society, as it is now, supports the development of sociopaths. Not the homicidal variety, but the variety that can turn on the charm and lies at will. If you can smile regardless of circumstance, for example, you will be very successful in any job dealing with other people. Honest expression of emotion is prohibited throughout the world, especially the negative forms, whether justified or not. When is the last time you punched someone through (justified) anger? Yeah, exactly. The notion that "It's never justified" is another symptom.

    Our culture has devolved to a point where being "human" takes a back seat to "being a sociopath" that meets the following characteristics:

    * Grandiose sense of self-worth is necessary for any job, as jobs require you to "sell yourself" to your employer.

    * Superficial charm is required for all jobs. You can be fired for "not smiling", and being depressed can cost you that raise/promotion.

    * Reckless disregard for the safety of self or others is often disguised as actual care for safety. All companies go by on the bare minimum safety requirements in order to save money, with many short-cutting anyway. This happens on an individual scale as well.

    * Irresponsibility is so common in society I don't think I need to list examples. A war we can't win? Giving loans/mortgages to people that can't afford them? GETTING a mortgage/loan you can't afford? Need I go on?

    * Pathological lying is a requirement for just about everyone, as telling the truth can have physical, legal, and monetary repercussions, all of them negative. While everyone says "lying is bad", most people have to lie.

    * Lack of empathy would be a requirement in crushing competition. Not caring who gets in your way, and for the ends to always justify the means, means you can act indiscriminately for career advancement. It's also necessary for firing employees that you "care" for, lest you be fired instead.

    * A sense of extreme entitlement is required, for without this you become too content to claw your way higher. "Why settle for this when I am ENTITLED TO..."

    * Poor judgment, failure to learn from experience is, again, painfully obvious. Our economy. QED.

    * Inability to distinguish right from wrong is the most common symptom, as the majority of people believe in "moral relativism", in which objective morality doesn't exist and "right" or "wrong" are simply subjective labels. This means, ultimately, nobody can KNOW what is right or wrong.

    As you can see, from this list of symptoms, the most powerful and successful individuals in our society have them. Many can even be found, to varying degrees, in everyday individuals. Especially in restaurants, where robotic smiling is a job requirement (ever see one of them not smile?). This list isn't conclusive, but it's what I've observed to be common so far.


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  4. #3  
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    It's unfair to humanity to make a sweeping conclusion based on a comparison.
    You'll find this happens a lot in Coberst's essays. Despite the fact that one of his previous posts stressed the importance of context and social environment, he is unable to refrain from using the royal "we," finding it easier to assume the entire human race shares more or less the same social circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coberst
    The cheetah has adapted to its environment by making itself faster and faster. Unfortunately these adaptations have placed it in jeopardy of extinction because in the process of becoming faster it has lost its ability to protect its kill from other animals. The cheetah has become too specialized and thus faces extinction.

    I would say that we humans have a similar problem.
    Have you actually consulted any zoological data on this matter? Do you really believe recent statistical trends in the human population are similar to those of the cheetah population? Or, as I have a suspicion is the case, did you come up with these "facts" for entirely rhetorical effect?
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    The human population explosion as well as inhabiting every corner of the world almost sounds like an adaptation in itself. In case of global catastrophe some will survive. In a similar vein I don't think the cheetah will be quite as lucky.
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    Humans are heavily reliant on technology, but unlike the cheetah, we can modify the technology to suit our needs, so we're actually still highly adaptable in that sense.
    The wise man believes half of what he reads. If he knew which half to believe, he'd be a much wiser man.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Incoming Dessert
    Humans are heavily reliant on technology, but unlike the cheetah, we can modify the technology to suit our needs, so we're actually still highly adaptable in that sense.
    We design technology because we can make money from doing so. No one knows where this technology will lead us. Our technology will destroy us unless be quickly become more sophisticated.
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    What everyone has been trying to tell you is that technology has made us more fit to survive, not less. Does your latest evasive comment mean you are abandoning your cheetah analogy?
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    “So an attitude is caused when we think about something the same way over and over until it becomes automatic. The resulting actions in response to the thought also become automatic. Change the habit of thought and you change the attitude. Change the attitude and you change the resulting action.”

    “The Medium is The Message” is the phrase that made Marshall McLuhan famous. It is a phrase most of us, young and old, have heard. Until a few weeks ago it was a phrase that confounded me.

    Let’s get very fundamental here and go back to the invention of the alphabet to understand what McLuhan is talking about and why it is important.

    “The Greek myth about the alphabet was that Cadmus, reputedly the king who introduced the phonetic letters into Greece, sowed dragoon’s teeth, and they sprang up armed men. Like any other myth, this one capsulates a prolonged process into a flashing insight. The alphabet meant power and authority and control of military structures at a distance. When combined with papyrus, the alphabet spelled the end of the stationary temple bureaucracies and the priestly monopolies of knowledge and power.”

    “The phonetic alphabet is a unique technology…This stark division and parallelism between a visual and an auditory world was both crude and ruthless, culturally speaking. The phonetically written sacrifices worlds of meaning and perception that were secured by forms like the hieroglyphs and the Chinese ideogram. These culturally richer forms of writing, however, offered men no means of sudden transfer from the magically discontinuous and traditional world of the tribal word into the cool and uniform visual medium.”

    “All of these forms [pictographic and hieroglyphic] give pictorial expression to oral meanings. As such, they approximate the animated cartoon and are extremely unwieldy, requiring many signs for the infinity of data operations of social action. In contrast, the phonetic alphabet, by a few letters only, was able to encompass all languages.”

    Consider the invention of the printing press and the introduction of books to the society. A book communicates a message. Many books communicate many messages. ‘The book’ communicates the same message to everyone who comes into contact with a book. The book transmits the same message to everyone while many books transmit many different messages to many different people.

    Evolution moves very slowly. We adapt to our environment very slowly. We survive because we do adapt. When we change more quickly than we can adapt we face problems that we have not had the time to make the kind of adjustments necessary.

    The habits we acquire determine our state of mind. Our changing habits are part of this process of adaptation to our environment. Do not think of environment, as being just the quality of our air or water but it is a broad term signifying the world we live in.

    The point to be recognized is--the medium is what is important and not the content being carried by the medium. The medium is form and its ubiquity (presence everywhere) changes us dramatically. The change is sudden and how we respond to the new medium changes us to the core. Since we do not consider anything but that the new technology can be accomplished and will serve some desirable purpose we are constantly setting ourselves up for unknown problems.

    The quotes are from “Understanding the Media” by Marshall McLuhan.
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  10. #9 Re: What does the Cheetah and the human have in common? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    We have developed specialization to the extent that we place all of our focus upon technology with little knowledge or appreciation of the human sciences that will make it possible for us to manage this high tech world that we have created.
    What you mean "we"?

    We include many nations. Not all forsake our basic humanity to pursue technology or ...industrial... specialties. So there's a trade between nations. The products of advanced technology flow to nations who have not those things. In exchange the world of glass and steel immigrates warm bodies, who fill the voids in child care, nursing, etc. its people can no longer perform well.

    In Japan though, Honda is working on a personal assistance robot (Asimo). It's supposed to reach production in time for the Boomers, so they needn't rely on... well, Filipinos.

    The cross-cultural exchange is working, though ethically it bothers me. Kinda like money for sex. Or the feminist view of traditional marriage. Also troubling is what this does to the nations. What happens when you brain-drain a country for nurses, so they keep training 'em and graduates just keep leaving? And does importing domestics & service workers constitute positive feedback?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  11. #10 Re: What does the Cheetah and the human have in common? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    [
    What you mean "we"?

    ?
    I mean Americans because I do not know what other nations do.
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  12. #11  
    Lyn
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Evolution moves very slowly. We adapt to our environment very slowly. We survive because we do adapt. When we change more quickly than we can adapt we face problems that we have not had the time to make the kind of adjustments necessary.

    The habits we acquire determine our state of mind. Our changing habits are part of this process of adaptation to our environment. Do not think of environment, as being just the quality of our air or water but it is a broad term signifying the world we live in.

    The point to be recognized is--the medium is what is important and not the content being carried by the medium. The medium is form and its ubiquity (presence everywhere) changes us dramatically. The change is sudden and how we respond to the new medium changes us to the core. Since we do not consider anything but that the new technology can be accomplished and will serve some desirable purpose we are constantly setting ourselves up for unknown problems.
    Um, was that a yes or no to my question?


    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I mean Americans because I do not know what other nations do.
    Which Americans do you mean? Do you know what all Americans do?
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