Curiosity Killed The Cat

in #esteem3 years ago

I propose that organisms that see reality are never more fit than organisms of equal complexity that see none of reality and are just tuned to fitness payoffs. - Donald David Hoffman, Professor in the Department of Cognitive Sciences.

Rihaij, Pixabay

Greetings Steemians,

I hope you're all doing well and the new year is off to a great start.

I enjoy science for a plethora of reasons. One of these reasons being the philosophical insight that comes with the research. After all, we are a curious species, and it is the philosophical questions that mankind proposes which ignites the flame to seek the truth.

A well versed scientist (or philosopher) might say:

"The truth is subjective, and our faculties do not allow us to see even half of the truth."

This would probably be more opinion based than provable fact, but.. It's a sound statement in my opinion, due to how we are able to prove (in one form or fashion) that different organisms have different perceptual abilities, based on their "interface(s)."

Professor Donald D. Hoffman proposes that (from an evolutionary standpoint) seeing the truth in accordance to our objective reality is detrimental to our existence/evolution.

The sole reason being survival and procreation. If we look at our species in a more simplistic form, we can propose the question of:

"Which of the two is more likely to survive and continue their genetic line?"

  • The thinker who spends no time interacting with others, spends no time hunting/gathering/farming, may have above average problem solving abilities but uses none of those abilities for fitness payoffs.


  • A social alpha male who competes for mate(s) and focuses more on fitness payoffs.

From a scientific perspective, the thinker is less likely to reproduce. (Unless he finds a mate who is very similar, but assuming this is a minority in this setting the odds are still in favor of the alpha male.)

It could be that the thinker has a much more sound idea of what reality is. It could be the thinkers intellect far surpasses the alpha males, but none of this matters if the thinker cannot function or procreate.

A great analogy that professor Donald D. Hoffman uses is the graphical user interface of a computer, and specifically a video game.

Imagine you are competing in a GTA game with someone, but for you to compete you must input the associated code into the computer instead of using a simplistic game controller.

Who is more likely to win?

Well that depends on if you know a "cheat code", but assuming the variables are strict and you can only use code for the game engine, good luck..

That is to say complicating the uncomplicated will screw us over!

Sure that game is very complex beneath the surface, in fact the entire graphical user interface is an illusion. What is going on beneath the surface is much more than the pixels your are viewing on the monitor.

I'm gonna go a little deeper, but first, here is the YouTube link where you can watch the professor discuss these concepts.

If it doesn't work, search for:
The Case Against Reality | Prof. Donald Hoffman on Conscious Agent Theory, in YouTube, or go to ZDoggMD's videos (the interviewer) to find it.

Professor Donald D. Hoffman asserts that this is more than just an idea or a theory, and that scientific tests with organisms have been conducted that prove fitness payoff specific organisms have a staggering success rate in comparison to those who saw the "truth". (whatever that truth may be, he did not go into specifics of the experiments.)

This interview was inspired by his book The Case Against Reality, and in all fairness he may discuss the experiments in the book. I don't know yet, but this is now on my reading list.

Now to the point of this entire post.

I like to consider myself a problem solver, and throughout the entirety of my life this has come at a cost. I'm often told that I overthink things, that I pry for answers that are not there or do not matter.

As much as this is cringe worthy to hear people say (because I often interpret it as dismissive and a lazy way to think) I have found that when I question things less, I am far less stressed out (depending on the nature of the "question.") than when I continually search for an unclear answer.

Hearing the professor say this was sort of an "aha" moment for me. I had not watched this to search for philosophical insight into my life stresses, but that statement jumped out and slapped me right in the face. I even stopped the video just to ponder that idea for a little while.

It seriously makes sense to me. I search so hard for answers to things sometimes that it becomes stressful to others. They simply don't want to hear it or talk about it. It can cause others to feel smothered or interrogated, even when my intentions are to "solve" problems, it doesn't always come across that way, and in the end I am even more frustrated because they are not "seeing" where I am coming from.

I can run my own "experiment" on myself for this. A thought experiment, where I make comparisons of different times in my life where I questioned things less or more.

When I was in my late teens and early 20's I didn't question much. I was military enlisted, followed orders without question, frequented social gatherings, went to pool halls and bowling alley's with the boys, and in many respects lived a much less stressful life.

I think back to the analogy I presented. The thinker versus the alpha male. When I was younger I was more the alpha male who really didn't care to question things as long as I had that fitness payoff!

When I started questioning things later in life I encumbered some serious issues. Addiction problems, coping problems, legal problems, ect. Much of this had to do with childhood trauma and healing, but the point is very sound here in my opinion. When I cared less, I benefited more, and not just financially. I genuinely lived a happier and more social life.

The takeaway with this concept might be comparable to mindfulness concepts. Perhaps it is better to question things less sometimes, to just be and accept things as they are. Of course that is not applicable with everything, but sometimes there is no clear answer to certain questions and if you are losing sleep because of the lack of that answer, well your "fitness" might suffer a bit.

This whole concept makes me think of the saying:

"Curiosity Killed The Cat."

For anyone who took the time to read, I really appreciate it! Please feel free to share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below. I hope you're all having a wonderful day!

Much love,

Posted with eSteem Surfer


It could be that we fluctuate between conditions that are best for the thinker, and conditions that are best for the fitness profiteer. It could be there is such a thing as "overthinking" - one misses the boat standing there on the shore pondering the water. And did you ever see curiosity kill a cat?
Anyway, food for thought for sure. Thanks!
Have you had the pleasure of this one? (related musings)

I would go as far as to say we must fluctuate between these conditions, or at the very least there is always a predominance for thinkers in certain respects/aspects. If thinkers didn't have a place on an evolutionary scale where would we be technologically?

I would love to hear the professors thoughts on that. My guess is there must be a deviation (or middle grounds) where seeing/seeking does not interfere with "fitness payoffs".

If trials were run with different types of people, my guess is there is somewhat of a sliding scale between functional and non-functional. Look at someone like Kim Peek, a mega savant with a memory capacity that was purely mind blowing, but needed to be cared for with things that many of us consider simple basic functions.

I guess some missing info here might be the fact that organisms with a high fitness capability are (in general terms) going to capitalize on the deviations of organisms with low fitness capabilities.

What a thought provoking topic!

I've never personally seen a cat die from its own curiosity. Great point lol. 😂

Thank you for pushing my brain a little further on this concept! 🙂 And for the (related musings) link, I will definitely check that out!

What a society considers "normal" has to be somewhere on your spectrum. I wonder where it is now? It seems to me that thinker:liberal::fitness:conservative. Since liberals control all thought now (or are sure trying to), "normal" is now on the thinker's end. I'm thinking out loud. Forgive me. And thank you.
But allow me one more specific illustration, one that I argue with my overly woke daughter ad nauseum.
Conservatives regard sex as a function of our need to procreate, so are fitness profiteers sexually. Liberals try to elevate sex to a high art, an anything goes kind of over thinking that does nothing to preserve the species. As the overthinking crowd gains dominance, sexual activity increases and for some (conservatives), it is a debased sexual activity. So right now, with anything goes for sexuality, we are in a thinker dominant end of the spectrum. It's funny because I just wrote a freewrite addressing this. I guess I can't get off it.


From a scientific perspective, the thinker is less likely to reproduce.

It could be that the thinker has a much more sound idea of what reality is. It could be the thinkers intellect far surpasses the alpha males, but none of this matters if the thinker cannot function or procreate.

Uhm, the truth is I am not really so sure that that may be true. I have the hunch that thinkers don't need to develop abilities for fitness payoffs because nowadays through Mainstream or Social Media they procreate and they reproduce themselves by binary fission like bacteria most of the time. LoL

When I cared less, I benefited more, and not just financially. I genuinely lived a happier and more social life.

And that's The End Of The Story!! };)

This whole concept makes me think of the saying:
"Curiosity Killed The Cat."

Never forget cats have nine lives. :)

I knew this thought experiment was missing some crucial information. Mainstream social media you say?

I guess life finds a way no matter what..

Thank you for the enjoyable music share. I will try to also share something. YouTube enjoys fiddling with my fitness payoffs. There is a chance this may not work. If it does not work and you desire to hear it, you will be reduced to the manual labor of inputting Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd - Instrumental Harp Guitar/Electric (end solo) - Jamie Dupuis into YouTube's search.

Thanks for stopping by! 😃

Yep! "the chicken or the 'chicken’s egg'" is a much more assertive question indeed. :)

Oh yeah! Jamie Dupuis always is in my search list to enjoy his classy updates very often.

Thank you for the enjoyable music share.

Right On mate! And if you feel like in the mood to listen a bunch of oldies with which I started this New Year 2020, just click here and enjoy how to skin a cat for a real fitness payoff! ;)



This quote came to mind when reading your post. I guess we are all different. And much as we meant well and wish others could see what we see, sometimes, to them, we are a pain. 😊 We have to understand that and accept that.

Hi Vince,

Thank you for the nice quote.

I think I am mostly just a pain to others. I try my best not to be, but the evidence suggests otherwise. I either change the patterns, or I come to accept the life of a hermit. I really don't know which way that will go, but I am doing my best either way.

Thank you as always my friend, I hope your new year is off to a great start! 😃

Hi Jake. The new year - so far so good. Thanks. 😊 Hope all is well with you too.

I wouldn't bother trying to change anybody. I have learn that it is impossible to do so. I will also not bother talking about things that people are not receptive to. It is a waste of saliva and time, at best. At worse, there will be fights and quarrels. It is just not worth it.
There is a time and place for everything. It is better to let nature takes its course.

Thanks Vince,
The new year is off to a decent start. Staying positive and maintaining gratitude.

I don't desire to change anyone. Positive personal growth is my aim. Last year had its rough spots, but that's life right.

Plenty of gardening and music this year! :)

Hi Jake. I think you are on the right path - staying positive and maintaining gratitude, personal growth... gardening and music. Keep at it. Have a great weekend!. 😊

I stopped at

A social alpha male who competes for mate(s) and focuses more on fitness payoffs.

For a moment I read that as "a male that compete for mating purpose are the result of fitness affixation"

And suddenly a Calvin Klein underwear male model with six packs abs appeared in my mind. Are they selling underwear or the male model with six packs abs? And decided,I'm the curious bunch that can kill myself for the purpose of mating 😂 !tip

Posted using Partiko Android

Are they selling underwear or the male model with six packs abs?

They are definitely utilizing subliminal programming to their advantage, a programming that plays on the psyche of our most basic intrinsic functions. The same applies for Victoria Secret models. Sex sells because it's an ingrained part of being human, couple that with our competitive nature and you will get six packs and curvaceous ads.

The mere fact that your brain deviated to a visual representation of an alpha male is a fine example of what we're talking about here to begin with.

In terms of how the professor describes this theory, you've just exhibited fitness payoff identifiers.

Thank you for the tip! :)

Now that I took the time to carry on and finishes the rest, you really got me think 🤔 it really got me think, do men really think about sex every 7 seconds? Or do I think about 7 seconds and then it reminds me of sex. Shit!

Posted using Partiko Android

I think you are overthinking.

It could be true that men think about sex every 7 seconds. It could also be true that it never actually leaves our mind due to the fact that our subliminal mind accounts for 95% of our thinking processes, and these are thoughts that are not even in our present awareness.🤯

@tipu curate

Posted using Partiko Android

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