Jul 14, 2012

Jesse Bering Wrote an important Article in July’s Scientific American (“The Rat that Laughed”)

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

In it he reports on a gorilla in a cage who could be brought to phrenetic laughter by his human friend’s pretending to bite him into his toe. Quote: “If you have never seen a gorilla in a fit of laughter, I recommend searching out such a sight before you pass from this world.”

This is absolutely human behavior. If you know about the cross-caring theory, which explains how a young child interacting with his bonding partner is getting “moved” into suspecting benevolence shown towards him, then you realize that the same thing can be accomplished with a caged or non-caged gorilla.

I recently mentioned Margaret Howe, a pupil of my late friend Gregory Bateson’s. There are important insights about the mission of humankind on our planet and beyond (“galactic export”) that would make it a great pity if this “second level of human social evolution on earth and in the solar system” was going to be clipped.

I know I am being impossible, but finding outrageous things that tickle everyone in her or his heart so as to be moved is the real mission of science. I fantasize talking with a gorilla – or orangutan – about the long-stretched “toe” of the visualized Schwarzschild metric of a black hole, both of us laughing.

If you think dolphins are preferable, I shall not object. I found a proof recently, though, that orangutans have the most highly developed brain identified so far. The fact that the latter is lightweight owing to its carrier’s arboreal existence, does not detract from its functional superiority. The proof is based on the mathematics of the traveling salesman problem (second version).

Ray Kurzweil hopes we can build artificial brains of matching caliber soon – via the brain equation, I would add. But it would be fun to first make friends with our hardware-wise stronger natural relatives. Including – perhaps – giant octopuses and mantis shrimps ( ).

Could CERN not make a tiny little break to admit a “safety-regained discussion” as it could be called in anticipation?

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