Chapter 06 – Who Is “Mankind”?

Who is “Mankind”?

The definitional part of the blog will soon be over.  After we agree on the lingo, we will be able to discuss with high precision our claims.  We then can construct mental models that make sense, be thought provoking, and do what most good philosophers do – ask good questions.

If you read the blog this far, you will probably enjoy the rest of it, so welcome again.  Stick around, go make yourself a cup of your favorite warm beverage and come back.

I am waiting… take your time.

<Most of you kept reading, did not go to make a cup of your favorite warm beverage and that is fine.  Nonetheless, by the time you will finish reading the blog, you may think that you have missed an opportunity by not going to get a warm beverage when it was randomly suggested.  But enough about that, it is too early to contemplate it>

So, we are now going to begin describing in broad-brushes the term “Mankind”.

Regardless of my specific line of work, or academic training – suffice it to say that I have worked with and looked at “Big Data” for a considerable amount of time.  If you are into Malcolm Gladwell’s books, I spent over 10,000 hours looking at Internet data.

When you look at a lot of data, something interesting occurs…

Very few things are completely the same and uniform, at large data-sets.  What does that mean?

When analyzing 120MN records of logins to a website, you expect ALL the records would have the basic information that a browser “ought” to send.  For example, the IP Address of the browser should obey the Internet protocols and present itself correctly and truthfully (so that the server would return the page to the user.)

Alas, that is NOT the case.  When you deal with a lot of data, you WILL have outliers.  They come to life through many manifestations:

  • Network “hiccups” that truncate data, parse it wrong, etc.
  • Hacker/Fraudster trying to break the system
  • Quality Assurance (QA) lab tests that verify nothing will break if they send malformed data
  • Other reasons that Nature with Capital N is responsible for (see references below)

How does this relate to Mankind exactly? Well, last I checked – we have over 7BN of us on the planet at the moment.  I don’t know if it is “true” but I read it here so it “must” be true. Wikipedia World Population

World Population

So What?

It means that if we sampled enough people’s thoughts and ideas – we will NOT get 100% agreement on any topic.  The larger the sample size grows, so does the entropy.  Just like with the 120MN logins, some were outliers, with 7.5BN people, some will be outliers.

For example:

The “reasonable person” will answer the following questions with “Yes”

  1. Do you want to live another day?
  2. Do you want to be financially secure?
  3. If I gave you a magical button and by clicking it we will have World Peace – would you click it?
  4. If your life partner offered you an escapade with a celebrity of your choice [enter your desired celebrity here], and they gave you their blessing… and everything would be great afterwards – would you take the offer?
  5. [Find a question that YOU think ALL people will say YES to]

The “reasonable person” will answer the following questions with “No”

  1. Would you like to be tortured to death today?
  2. Would you like to end your life, right about NOW?
  3. Want to be publicly humiliated and a viral video made of it?
  4. Isn’t cool that the funds you donated to the disaster relief fund actually went to a crime ring who pretended to be a charity organization?
  5. Are you OK with your home computer being part a child pornography server farm?

Now, if you are a “reasonable person”, or for you law students the historical “reasonable man”, then you answered five Yes answers and five No answers to the questions above.

Will it shock you to know that if you ask 120MN different people you will NOT get the same results?

Note that there is a random poll on the sidebar of the blog, on every page you read, so you can vote and see what other readers voted on these questions…

My point to all this is to explain that we will not use the term “Mankind” in this blog for a simple reason.  Who is “Mankind”?  Neil Armstrong or the person who never heard of him?

Once our species has gone beyond a certain threshold of size – we lost the ability to communicate and educate directly – we live in the era of probability.  Chances are, that most people want to live another day.  Why? as a living organism you want to live by design, and will fight to take another breath.

Most of us want to live another day, but NOT ALL OF US.

Most of us want world peace, want to do “the right thing” and want to think of ourselves as “reasonable”.  Because there are SO many of us, with such diversity of background, education, opportunities and other classifiers – it is very HARD to say anything that will hold “TRUE” about ALL of “Mankind” or “The Human Race.”

Sure, we can make generalizations, like “we will all die”, or “if you read this, you were born (at least once)” and so on.  But to truly examine our life, the human experience, the human condition – we must agree that because there is such diversity among us, that NO statement will have EVERYONE say “YES” or “NO” to.  There will be outliers.

Take a deep breath, this is another axiom that we need to adopt, as it is not going to change.

Every assertion in this blog, however “crazy” it may sound, may be completely adopted, believed and lived by a group of 1BN humans, and at the very same time, completely rejected, disbelieved and frowned-upon by a different group of 1BN humans.

You, the reader will belong to one of these groups, and perhaps to a third group who will read and not care to care.  You will not belong to a fourth group who will never read this blog 😉

Click here for Chapter 7

 

References and Quotes:

http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017930

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Armstrong

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/23/tech/web/martin-manley-suicide-website

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_condition

Nature with capital N – http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/multimedia/video/2008/wallace/wright_frank_lloyd_t.html

 

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “Chapter 06 – Who Is “Mankind”?”

  1. Gayle Helm said:

    Ok I’m hooked and quite interested.

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