decide our future and fate.
The basic laws of our universe are described by quantum theory and relativity, from which more specialized scientific disciplines progressively expand: physics, chemistry, biology, evolutionary biology, paleontology, anthropology, psychology, neurology, etc. The most basic levels are where one usually finds the limits to what is possible in this reality. It is not necessary to do an exhaustive description of all the sciences to get a good grip on the rules governing our physical reality, because the biggest constraints pop right out from the basics. Since our minds can imagine far more scenarios than are physically valid, understanding the physical world is about whittling down those scenarios by seeing which ones conflict with the “rules of reality.” One suggested filter is whether a proposition conflicts with basic physical sciences like physics and chemistry. If it does, it is almost certainly wrong. Another filter is whether that proposition conflicts with the laws of thermodynamics. If it does, it is wrong. The confabulated, myth-based and systematically incorrect storylines and feelings generated by our brains to navigate our social situations require a long list of filters to work in the physical world. As a result, we trust in breakthroughs to fix our predicament – breakthroughs that are not scientifically possible. Cars will not run on water instead of gasoline. Mars is not inhabitable. The danger of nuclear war is not trivial. Future planning requires that we be literate (understand the vocabulary of the sciences), numerate (understand the statistics and graphs), but also “ ecolate ” (ecologically competent), which always has us asking the question, “...and then what ?” regarding possible broader consequences and implications 5 . TaaL: The most useful mental tool a young 21 st century human could develop would be to open their mind to the possibility that a lot of the stuff much of your species believes is not real, but that physical reality (subject to firm rules) is absolutely real. Yo u don’t have to be trained to learn these rules of reality, simply to realize and accept that they exist. I cannot remotely work quantum mechanical calculations and have never sought to learn how. Yet I understand the domain of QM, when it applies, where it fits relative to other predictors of reality, and that it has never made the tiniest error in predicting physical world behavior. So, knowing how to use it isn’t necessary for me.
Being aware that much of what they know is wrong opens the door to
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