Small in a big place or big in a small place? We are both.
Michael Shermer, a renowned author and Presidential Fellow at Chapman University gave valuable comments to one of the most disturbing questions regarding the significance and meaning of our life: do we and our actions matter in the universe? The question seems valid. Compared to cosmic scales (to the Milky Way, let alone to the observable universe), not just we, humans, but Earth itself is insignificant, less than a grain of sand on the seashore. We are so proud of our achievements, but we can hardly leave our own planet. We say that we rule the Earth, but we are more like ants on its surface, more depending on nature than ruling it.
Michael Shermer, however, shows that our actions do matter, if we make the analysis at a proper level. We shall assess our actions at the human size and timescale, at where we actually are. Our actions do matter to our friends, enemies and also to our society. See the article below. We can add only one thought to this. If we are diligent, lucky and if we are very smart, making the right decisions, we may even reach a level of development and may live long enough to have some effect on systems beyond the Earth and the solar system. Our current actions do matter to our own future and potentials as well.
The School of Life is a global organisation dedicated to developing emotional intelligence and also an internet site, a kind of self-help community. It has announced its new 2018 Curriculum to be published soon. Once it is available, you may look at and use it if you like and can, or you can form your own judgment about the initiative.
Your ability to know what you know or don’t know — and how confident you are in what you think you know — is called metacognition. It seems that only we, humans have such a sophisticated understanding of our own knowledge.
Metacognitive Illusions In Monkeys
However, it may not be true, according to an interesting study. Monkeys had higher confidence in their ability to remember an image when the visual contrast was high. These kinds of metacognitive illusions — false beliefs about how we learn or remember best — are shared by humans, leading brain and cognitive scientists to believe that metacognition could have an evolutionary basis, so we may share with some animals.
We can also add that it somehow shakes our confidence in the uniqueness of our intelligence. How does this affect our conclusions regarding the meaning of life? It may be worth further investigation.
You must be perfect to have a meaning of life – or must we just accept our flaws? All people harbor general biases — beliefs and attitudes about groups of people that are based on race or ethnicity, gender, body weight or other traits. Most biases “develop over the course of one’s lifetime through exposure to messages,” notes Cheryl Staats of Ohio State University in Columbus. Those messages may come from hearing a sexist comment during a family dinner or banter from TV shows, movies or other media. People may not even be aware that such implicit biases influence their decisions. Yet they will. The good news is that people can learn to recognize implicit biases by taking simple online tests. And there are steps we all can take to overcome such unfounded attitudes.