We Are Not Wired Like This

We evolved, coming from the savanna of Africa.

When our ancestors were trying to survive what did it matter what was happening on the far side of the globe? It didn’t.there was no advantage in the Darwinian race. The survival of the fittest required us to focus on dangers that are near. Local.

We are also wired to think linear.

We can solve a differential equation when we catch a ball. Our amigdala can make fight or flight decisions quickly. When we see a l running towards us we can calculate where we will be by the time it arrives.

We rarely need to deal with exponential growth in nature.

Is that actually true? Searching for applications of exponential function in physics brings up the radio active decay, the capacitor discharge and dated oscillators... certainly not something our ancestors would have had to worry about.

This all has changed. The world is not local and linear anymore.

The world is no longer local and linear; only our thinking is. True transcendence means overcoming the evolved limitations of our brain - a bit like Nash did it in A Beautiful Mind. We need to develop skills to think global and exponential.

We need cognitive tools to deal with it.

Three cases where people do meet exponential functions

  • viruses

  • credit card debt

Light attenuation in fog

Light attenuation refers to the gradual decrease in the intensity of light as it travels through a medium. In clean air, light attenuation follows the inverse square law, which means the intensity of light decreases with the square of the distance from the source.

In fog, light attenuation is different due to the presence of tiny water droplets. These droplets scatter and absorb the light more effectively than air molecules in clean air. As a result, the intensity of light decreases at a faster rate, following an exponential pattern, as it travels through the fog.

Fog makes it hard for drivers to see taillights clearly because light fades faster in fog than in clear air. Our minds aren't used to this fast fading, so we might think the car in front is farther away than it really is. This can lead to accidents.

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