The Extinction of Intractable Learning

p.(x) = Big Data Determinism (2020) by planksip® Philosopher Daniel Sanderson

Robert Sapolsky finishes Chapter two of his (destined to be a classic) book Behave (2017) with an apologetic allusion to the Bible, specifically Micah 4:4. Essentially, he (Sapolsky) decouples the necessity of fear with violence yet acknowledging it's correlation within nature. Fig trees and peace on earth represents a "learned fear", of which the extinction is the perfect storm of frontal cortical nudgery and an idealized environment. It's a nice place to visit but I don't know how to get there!


"In a world in which no amygdaloid neuron need be afraid and instead can sit under its vine and fig tree, the world is very likely to be a more peaceful place." - Robert Sapolsky


The pathway to prosperity is what I would like to explore. Starting with a functional layman definition as provided by Sapolsky himself, "the frontal cortex makes you do the harder thing when it’s the right thing to do." This dichotomy between impulsivity and front cortex function is a false comparison, reminiscent of Descartes' Error (1994) by Antonio Damasio (1994) yet the categorical thinking is helpful in understanding the bigger picture. Elements of "doing" imply action motivated by ethics (ie. the "right" thing to do). Philosophy couldn't be more relevant.

Keystone Ethics Courtesy of planksip® and the Value Chain

The following six (6) sub-categories of the frontal cortex (Sapolsky 2017) will be expanded on from an "ethical" perspective. As in all my ethical pensées, the watch-word for ethics is "should". Gratification postponement surfaces as the primary evolutionary driver with working memory, executive function, emotional regulation, and impulsivity control as tools for the autonomous-like driver. Long term planning develops in responsion to delayed gratification success (ie. grooming specificity and eventual gene propagation). And the rest is history!

Gratification Postponement (AN OUTCOME IN ITSELF)

Maybe baby! The power of maybe is ubiquitous and redundantly everywhere. Reinforcing outcomes accompanies this explanatory gap. Consciousness aside, the philosophical claim is delayed gratification as the catalyst towards the human condition and not necessarily the humane condition. Anthropomorphizing kindness is also off limits so let me digress to the mean and focus on the statistics of it all. "Doing the harder thing", evokes either imprint-ish behaviour or social mimicry or some combination of both, o sepi to poli. The advantage is clearly amongst us. Just as Beatrice was the fictionalized ideal of Dante's ideal, this double ideal is far from negative. Two positives are additive, whereas double negatives negate. These hermeneutics are dizzying. Gratification lies, outcomes decide.

Executive Function (organizing knowledge strategically, and then initiating an action based on an executive decision) (SOCIAL UPGRADE)

At first glance, the doubtful thinking thinker could postulate an incipit position of origin for executive function in the strategy of it all, however, genes don't spread with strategy alone. The act is sexual in nature. Mimesis, the act of mimicry is social and optimal in troops with an abundant food source. (chimps in the garbage).

Working Memory (TOOL)

The research on working memory is extensive. Summarized, it's subordinate but necessary to the gratification postponement animated by Sapolsky atop his Range Rover on the Serengeti. Developing into long term memories is a result of the social upgrade; executive function.

Ask the following questions...
Is there virtue here? Is there a utilitarian perspective at play here? Deontology in its rule-based formes persist. Notice any patterns?

Emotional Regulation (TOOL)

Nothing surprising here. It's worth pointing out that the interaction between the emotional pathways converging on the hypothalamus is tridirectional (assuming MacLean's metaphorical Triune model).

Can the cortex bypass the hypothalamus and send excitatory and inhibitory signals directly to the autonomic system? I don't know.
{insert picture of psychologist's couch, "so how does that make you feel?"}

Impulsivity Control (TOOL)

Chasing shiny objects. Impulsive yet easily isolatable, the primate with excessive impulsivity is negatively correlated with the ethics of doing the right thing. This doesn't mean that a broken clock can't be right twice a day! Attribution errors persist, yet causal explanations begin and end with delayed gratification.  

Long-term Planning (SOCIAL UPGRADE)

Sui generis with executive function as it relates to the ethical claim of, "doing the right thing". Which of the frontal cortex functions (ie. working memory, executive function, gratification postponement, long-term planning, emotional regulation, and impulsivity control) came first? My guess is that they emerged from a pre-existing condition of mammalian asociality, yet the evolutionary catalyst was sexual selection as described below in Sapolsky's .... making gratification postponement the key to technologically tethered human complexity. Point-given to the Calvinists for their work ethic. Two points taken away, just cuz.

PFC Airlines are Plain to See and What Dreams are Made Of - A planksip® Pun
The Free Will Debate (2020) by Daniel Sanderson - #Googleplanksip

If, as George W. Bush correctly suggests, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the "decider", then free will (or the illusion thereof) lives there. My position is epiphenomenal yet the discussion persists.

Heraclitus should agree…

“There is a foul stench, a four letter word for futurity, a future speech act. Fouls a foot and hope remains.” - Dr. Cory Elliot, (fictional phenomenon)
Do Do sounds like Poo - Another planksip® Möbius

The double "do" in do-do is the prompt to foul footedness. Executive function and strategic thinking presuppose the narrative action potentials dispatched to the PFC. I liken the do-do of the "decider" to the forward speech act of the language and the mentalese (Steven Pinker) it presupposes. What is the biological equivalent to mentalese in executive decision making? For this we need to, once again, return to Sapolsky and study all the proximal and distal factors influencing our best and worst behaviours.

Buy these books...

Embody the knowledge if you must. Learning is intractable. What's your excuse?

Conclusion
The only presuppositional statement that I wish to defend here is a biological predisposition of a male orienting towards a higher ranking female. When realized by others in the tribe, this "throwness" (Heideggerian term) is thrust upon the less-fit (in an alpha raking) majority as a pathway to prosperity. The action of this potential starts from one chimp to another and bifurcates in möbius, generations and genes. Long live the delay and the female that gratifies! The extinction of learning happens at a species level, the climate is my polemic and all other species on this planet are our shared responsibility. Will we delay gratification long enough to survive?


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