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  • Writer's pictureKlaus Luehning

#35 | BEYOND INSTINCT: Traversing Self-Preservation, Historical Wisdom, and AI


  1. Self-Preservation's Dynamic Nature: Klaus portrays self-preservation as not just a survival instinct but also a means to impart wisdom across generations. Despite facing challenges, it uniquely adapts through curiosity and the quest for clarity, especially in uncertain times.

  2. Awareness and Learning from History: Klaus emphasizes the intellectual side of self-preservation, involving alertness to life's scenarios and making informed decisions based on historical lessons. He underscores the importance of memory and conscious choice-making in shaping our future, drawing from his personal experiences.

  3. AI's Role vs. Human Uniqueness: Klaus reflects on AI's limitations in capturing the full spectrum of human experience and decision-making, questioning its ability to fully understand or replicate human intuition and unique abilities. He ponders whether AI will serve as a data-driven playbook for life or merely complement the diverse and individual journeys that constitute human legacy and innovation.

From birth, self-preservation is a fundamental aspect that plays a crucial role. It's not just about survival; it's about ensuring that we function effectively enough to raise the next generation, imparting our knowledge so that the species continues to thrive. However, self-preservation is not infallible. It faces constant challenges from various dangers, traps, coincidences, and even the anger and carelessness of others.

Despite these challenges, self-preservation has a redeeming quality: it responds well to curiosity, especially in moments of doubt. When faced with uncertainty, the instinct to seek clarity and understanding becomes a vital tool for survival. This drive to clear the fog of doubt helps us avoid harm or potential death. This survival instinct is particularly potent in parents, especially mothers. It's widely recognized that mothers can exhibit extraordinary willpower to protect their children, sometimes even sacrificing themselves to ensure their child's survival.

In addition to the instinct for physical survival, there's an intellectual aspect of self-preservation that involves an alertness to the circumstances of our lives. This alertness fosters a forward-looking mindset, driving us to make informed decisions to preserve the legacy of our past. This echoes the wisdom that failing to learn from history may lead us to repeat its mistakes.

As a recovering alcoholic with over 50 years of sobriety, I can attest to the importance of this forward-looking aspect. In Alcoholics Anonymous, we're reminded to "Keep your memory green," a saying that emphasizes the need to remember the past to avoid relapsing. It's a scary thought, but it underlines the importance of making conscious choices about our future based on the lessons we've learned.

Choosing the next best action involves sifting through numerous alternatives and learning which options will best help us move forward with positive expectations. It's about the maturation of our emotional responses to mental challenges and recognizing that change is constant, whether naturally occurring or human-induced.

In this context, Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to rely heavily on the past, using historical data as an anchor while potentially overlooking present and future possibilities. If something has yet to be recorded in AI's vast library of information, it can't be used as a guide for current or future decisions. This raises questions about the completeness and quality of the information available to AI and the potential gaps in its knowledge base.

Moreover, will AI ever be capable of capturing the extraordinary abilities of exceptional individuals, like those with hyperacusis who can detect a wrong note that might trigger a catastrophic event? If experiences or sensitivities beyond the human norm aren't recorded or considered, they might be lost entirely. These considerations are likely being studied and may lead to updates in current algorithms. However, this raises a fundamental question: will AI eventually become the playbook that each person relies on to live their life to its fullest potential, based solely on the quality and quantity of data it has? Or is it the unique journey of each individual, navigating through their own experiences and creating their legacy, that brings about the diversity and innovation that inspires us all?



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