Brain implants & intellectual inertia

Brain implants & intellectual inertia

How we interpret and value things depends on the perspective from which we are looking at them – and there are always higher perspectives.

Not striving for higher perspectives results in intellectual inertia – a phenomenon that is wide spread not only among the “majority” but ironically in academia and in the executive suites as well.

When it comes to world-views (a higher perspective for a general judgment of phenomena we should not ignore), the category that gives itself satisfied with the absolute lowest perspective is called naive realism, which some call the “philosophy of those who lack the intellectual capacity for wisdom”.

Stereotypical representatives of naive realism from the business celebrity circus is Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk, the latter of which recently launched a new initiative to develop technology connecting the brain to computers, aiming among other things at increasing our “intelligence”. We must note here, that naive realism confuses intelligence with rational faculties and assumes that these depend exclusively on the brain.

The spread of such initiatives (and there is no doubt that such implants will be delivered to willing and paying customers sooner, rather than later) has symbolic value in that they depict an internal contradiction, in other words an absurdity: one must be intellectually inert to accept that a brain implant will make him more intelligent. Obvious analogies are for example a crane operator who thinks that it is him who has the power to lift a tank or the 70 year old playboy with 20+ plastic surgeries who thinks that he really is 40 and last but not least the consumer who thinks that using an iPhone makes him smarter than using a Blackberry.

When it comes to people at work we can already observe a high degree of mechanization whereby people are evaluated only on performance and the so called talent that’s needed to deliver KPIs while many other factors that have a lot to do with actual intelligence are discarded as worthless.

If we consider fear, which is one of the side effects of so called “performance cultures” (itself an absurdity) where people are constantly in an irrational race against each other it is quite likely that brain implants will be first considered desirable by the victims themselves and later it would be a requirement to even get certain jobs. The pragmatism that makes somebody accept the irrational for practical benefits is one of the style elements of naive realism, besides irrational enthusiasm for absolutely anything that’s new and some other things I won’t list here.

There is a heuristic for those destined to create meaning or at least to act authentically: avoid the mass by all means when it comes to taste and the intellect. I should add for clarity: the mass in their enthusiasm and of course in their action.

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Note: I am of course aware of other application of brain implants in the medical field, for example to treat various disabilities, but this is a different story.

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Laszlo Kovari is a writer and the founder of Prakhsis, an organizational development company that has been a pioneer in the concept of organic organizations. As a "consigliere" he has worked with founders, managers, CEOs and board members at startups, mid-sized companies and some of the Fortune 500 across North America and Europe. Laszlo is based in Prague, Czech Republic, supporting clients across Europe.

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