2023-06-19 i might be wrong

Today on the OGM Google group email list Peter Kaminski posted a ChatGPT analysis of a commencement address given recently by J. B. Pritzger, Govenor of Illinois. The transcript and analysis is here: https://wiki.openglobalmind.com/literary_and_media_references/the_kindest_person_in_the_room_is_often_the_smartest

The address is generative in many ways. The ChatGPT rhetorical analysis is, also in many ways, amazing.

But one thing in the address sparked an inquiry for me. Governor Pritzger says:

... The best way to spot an idiot: look for the person who is cruel.
Let me explain. When we see someone who doesn't look like us, or sound like us, or act like us, or love like us, or live like us, the first thought that crosses almost everyone's brain is rooted in either fear or judgment, or both.
That's evolution.
We survived as a species by being suspicious of things that we aren't familiar with.
In order to be kind, we have to shut down that animal instinct, and force our brain to travel a different pathway. Empathy and compassion are evolved states of being.
They require the mental capacity to step past our most primal urges.

I have heard this story many times;-- and I believe it. Or so I thought earlier today. But now I have this question: What if this simple view is wrong? I do not have any idea how early homo sapiens responded to unfamiliar things. Maybe our stories about fight and flight over-simplify. Maybe we moderns have taught ourselves, and continue to teach ourselves, that we are primal and primitive, and need to learn to keep ourselves in check .... Maybe, as part of our basic functioning as an organism, our first thoughts are not "rooted in either fear or judgement, or both." Maybe, sometimes, our first thoughts arise from curiosity and wonder.

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