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I see people doing a lot really foolish things and there must be an answer to why there is so much of that apparent stupidity. If we start with the premise that individual humans are not very smart, that they are not very observant and not very able to link cause and probable effects consistently, it would make sense. 

The counter-argument to that idea would be the challenge to look around and observe the wonderful things that we humans have created. It is obvious that we humans have collectively made many wonderful things, but as a challenge could you create this computer you are using, or even the data on this amazing screen you are looking at, or even the glass that supports the glowing field of information, or even a single glowing pixel of the millions you are looking at, or even have a clue as to how to make that tiny speck of the pixel glow? Can you do any of that, or even any part of any of it? As I look around my desk I can make that same challenge about everything I can touch or see or hear or smell. Yes, even smell. I have a collection of about thirty bottles of aromatic essential oils here, and of all of this stuff I only have an idea of how to create peppermint oil because I ran a peppermint still back in 1962, but even that was only a tiny part of the whole process of creating the smell.

My point is that we as individual humans are not very smart and we appear to be super capable because we have access to the combined experience, learning and skills and products of billions of not very smart people. In this moment I have only to reach over and pick up a small glass bottle, twist a plastic cap and sniff peppermint, or musk, or wintergreen or grapefruit or many other bottled odors. It’s amazing because my great-grandmother, whom I knew quite well, would have almost witnessed the first twist top jars, and that cap is a trivial thing compared to this computer and yet it is essential to the convenience of modern living.

It is more difficult to compare social things, like being responsible and cautious about random events and careful about the operation of everyday things like cars or bicycles  or walking on the streets. But all of these marvelous things require their special awareness and an appropriate caution by each of us in their usage. The problem arises because our modern devices have built-in safety features to prevent injury, but that very feature means that people don’t get feedback from minor pains and injuries. When what are now common things fail in even a tiny way the whole complex structure becomes useless. When we fail in a tiny way we sometimes become useless.

What we need is immediate feedback to our actions and our thoughts too. We learn from doing things and seeing what happens, and as we acquire experience with cause and effect we grow in knowledge, and with feedback to our knowledge, some of which isn’t very effective, we hone in to what works best. If we are paying attention and pondering over what we see and do, the cause and effect of our actions become obvious and we are able to project into the future the probable effects of the potential actions that we might perform.

We need positive feedback to see cause and effect to become responsible people.

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