1. PastPresentNFuture
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    PastPresentNFuture Senior Member

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    Are there natural intellectual limits?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by PastPresentNFuture, Aug 19, 2011.

    I have always wondered if humans can really accomplish anything they set their mind to. Or are there things that are just impossible. Can we travel to the other side of the universe (I've tinkered around with that question a lot, when i watch stuff like Star Wars)? Can we predict what will happen 10,000 years in the future? Evolution is a constant concept, so maybe we can in 1,000,000 years as a more powerful species, although such distances in the future are mind wracking indeed. Do you think we will be as powerful as demigods in due time? Can we truly figure out what happened in our past to an almost exact degree? I don't know guys what do you think? When I read I read about how much we have accomplished as a species, and yet I read about how there is more we can accomplish. It just makes me wonder.
     
  2. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    Have responded to your updated post on page 2, so please ignore the below. :)

    ---

    I must confess to being slightly disappointed, having read the title to this thread and started imagining tackling a deep philosophical question about the limits of Human cognition.

    Instead it's a quick-fix self-help plea.

    No disrespect meant, but I might pop back into the thread at a later time if the afore-metnioned philosophical question is mooted.
     
  3. Clumsywordsmith
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    Clumsywordsmith Active Member

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    I think you answered the question yourself. If you can reach the mid-eighties with minimum effort, then I see no reason to believe that you couldn't reach the mid-nineties with maximum effort. And yes, we all have our limits. Some are higher than others. But many people have a far greater potential than they are either taught or choose to realise.

    And yeah, Tobias... I pictured the same to myself. But I posted anyway.
     
  4. PastPresentNFuture
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    PastPresentNFuture Senior Member

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    I'm so sorry about that, I will edit my note.
     
  5. Radrook
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    Radrook Contributing Member

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  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The human mind is finite. It makes no sense to think it is "unlimited" in potential.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    There's no such thing as an intellectual limit. Learning, memorization, creativity etc are all areas where the more you do it, the better you get at it. It's not possible to memorize too much stuff and "fill your brain up," for example. It's like art, or a sport: if you're new to it, you won't be capable of as much, but after you keep at it, you will be capable of longer duration and better quality.
     
  8. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    *can't wait for cybernetic enhancements*... :p
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The universe is finite, despite its vastness. So everything has a limit.

    The existence of a theoretical limit is not that interesting. Practical limits are quite flexible and far more interesting.

    From a writing perspective, a practical limit is a challenge, an obstacle, and the beating heart of a plot.
     
  10. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Generally I agree with the thought, you can do anything you put your mind to. However I've met a few people who are so far out in left field they may never make it back in the game.
    Are there natural intellectual limits? Yes, most are self-imposed but if you've ever read any of the Darwin Awards you have to know some people just aren't all there.
     
  11. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    There is a limit to the human intellect and to technology, as far as practicality goes. For a while, technological advancements and advancements in thought can be seen as innovative, smart, and helpful. However, once you reach a certain point, when technological and intellectual advancements start becoming pointless, redundant, or more hindering than helpful.
     
  12. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    it depends -

    whose intellect are we talking about? And how are we defining 'intellect'?

    But in general, I honestly don't know.
    Existence is very much a mystery to me.
     
  13. Snoopingaround
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    Snoopingaround Banned

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    There actually are no limits to the intellect, and what it is capable of. The only possible limit are the laws of Nature, and even those may be subject to bending and manipulations by future generations.
     
  14. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    There is documented evidence of people achieving superhuman feats in extreme circumstances.

    For example, circa 2000 a man in Birmingham was running for his life from armed muggers and came to a busy road. He was so frenzied with adrenaline he leapt over two lanes of traffic in order to escape.

    Similarly, people have claimed that when they have been in life-threatening circumstances (e.g. trapped underneath rubble with an approaching tornado) they have lifted blocks of concrete that must have weighed in excess of a tonne in order to save themselves.

    In relation to the Human brain, people have shown that it is possible to train the brain to a level whereby they can calculate complex mathematical sums in a matter of seconds, or recite entire Shakespeare scripts from memory, or read computer code as easily as you or I would read a book.

    Those with severe autism have been known to demonstrate astonishing feats of cognition and memory, photographic memory being an example.

    In short, I believe that the average Human body and brain has far, far more potential than is currently being utilised. Some scientists say that we use less than 5% of our brain for most everyday activities. Just imagine what the Human race would be capable of if we evolved methods of teaching and learning to be able to use 80% - 90% of our brain for an activity.

    There must be a finite limit on Human cognition, but I believe it is far, far greater than the average person is capable of in 2011.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I beg to differ, good sir! The human mind is bounded by finite space. There is no reason to think it is unlimited, and every reason to think otherwise. All of the brains of other animals are seen to be limited by us. We just happen to be at the top of the food chain, and given natural human tendencies toward arrogance with regard to our place in the universe, we think our food chain is all there is.

    The problem, of course, is that the very organ we are using to assess our limitations is the one that is limited. So we have a hard time conceiving of things that are beyond our comprehension (you can see that if we can conceive of them, then they are within our comprehension). There is no reason whatsoever to believe the human brain is unlimited, but it remains clear that to us it seems to be so.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There's an interesting article in the July 2011 issue of Scientific American called "The Limits of Intelligence". The gist of it is that human intelligence may be close to its evolutionary limit. We're running into limits set by the laws of physics.

    Go read the issue! SciAm is a great magazine!
     
  17. Snoopingaround
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    The brain may be limited in size, of course, but the mind is not. In the sense that we can think of ideas and put them into reality, there is an infinite capacity for the mind which has not been fully tapped. We can imagine the very concept of infinity, for example, and theoretically an immortal human could spend his or her days counting towards infinity. This single fact implies very strongly that the imagination is unlimited and unbounded, so therefore anything that one can imagine or conceive of can be mainfested into existence. The only boundaries are the absolutes of Nature, the speed of light, gravity, entropy, etc. So long as one is not attempting to transgress the ultimate natural laws, anything allowed by Nature is possible. In fact, logically it must be possible, because those very same laws of Nature that limit us also gives us guarantees of all that which is possible too. And that is a heckuva lot. Spaceships the size of Texas traveling around the solar system, super speed and super strength by biological manipulations, delicious instant noodles by microwave oven, etc., etc., is all completely possible. Anything you can imagine, really. So I would ask you, what is the limit then? How much more would anyone need anyway, beyond superpowers, immortality, interstellar travel, and instant ramen noodles?
     

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