Forget “Peak Oil” and “Peak Credit” … Are We On the Downslope of “Peak Intelligence”?

George Washington's picture

Scientists say that we have much smaller brains than our ancestors had 20,000 years ago … and we might have gotten stupider since agriculture became widespread.

Huffington Post reports that we've probably gotten dumber than even our Victorian ancestors:

A provocative new study suggests human intelligence is on the decline. In fact, it indicates that Westerners have lost 14 I.Q. points on average since the Victorian Era.




As for Dr. te Nijenhuis and colleagues, they analyzed the results of 14 intelligence studies conducted between 1884 to 2004, including one by Sir Francis Galton, an English anthropologist and a cousin of Charles Darwin. Each study gauged participants' so-called visual reaction times -- how long it took them to press a button in response to seeing a stimulus. Reaction time reflects a person's mental processing speed, and so is considered an indication of general intelligence.




In the late 19th Century, visual reaction times averaged around 194 milliseconds, the analysis showed. In 2004 that time had grown to 275 milliseconds. Even though the machine gauging reaction time in the late 19th Century was less sophisticated than that used in recent years, Dr. te Nijenhuis told The Huffington Post that the old data is directly comparable to modern data.




This new research was published in the April 13 issue of Intelligence.

The Daily Mail notes that we've gotten dumber since the 1950s:

Richard Lynn, a psychologist at the University of Ulster, calculated the decline in humans’ genetic potential.


He used data on average IQs around the world in 1950 and 2000 to discover that our collective intelligence has dropped by one IQ point.


Dr Lynn predicts that if this trend continues, we could lose another 1.3 IQ points by 2050.

What's Making Us Dumber?

There are several theories for why we are getting dumber, including the following:

(1) Toxic chemicals in the environment can reduce intelligence.

Modern man is surrounded by toxic chemicals which have been shown to reduce intelligence.   Examples include flame retardant, lead (found in many lipsticks), certain pesticides (and see this and this),  fluoride (more).

Radiation can also reduce intelligence.  For example, radiation can reduce brain size.

Brian Moench, MD notes:

Many epidemiologic studies show that extremely low doses of radiation increase the incidence of  ... diminished intelligence.

And a very well-established resource for doctors (the Merck Manuals) state:

The fetus is sensitive to damage from radiation because fetal cells are dividing very quickly and also differentiating from immature into mature cells. In the fetus, exposure in excess of 300 mGy during 8 to 25 weeks after conception may cause reduced intelligence and poor school performance.

(2) Humans evolved to eat a lot of Omega 3s:

Wild game animals have much higher levels of essential Omega 3 fatty acids than domesticated animals. Indeed, leading nutritionists say that humans evolved to consume a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids in the wild game and fish which they ate (more), and that a low Omega 3 diet is a very new trend within the last 100 years or so.


In other words, while omega 3s have just now been discovered by modern science, we evolved to get a lot of omega 3s … and if we just eat a modern, fast food diet without getting enough omega 3s, it can cause all sorts of health problems.


So something just discovered by science can be a central fuel which our bodies evolved to use.

Omega 3s - in turn - boost intelligence and help prevent cognitive decline.

(3) Similarly, Science Daily notes:

Exposure to specific bacteria in the environment, already believed to have antidepressant qualities, could increase learning behavior, according to research presented at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.


"Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breath in when they spend time in nature," says Dorothy Matthews of The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, who conducted the research with her colleague Susan Jenks.




"We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice," says Matthews.


In a second experiment the bacteria were removed from the diet of the experimental mice and they were retested. While the mice ran the maze slower than they did when they were ingesting the bacteria, on average they were still faster than the controls.

Obviously, we don't get in as much soil as our ancestors did.

(In addition, some bacteria in our gut greatly influence brain function. Most native cultures ate fermented foods containing healthy bacteria.)

(4) Exercise boosts intelligence ... and our ancestors got a lot more exercise than we do!

"Even our most highly trained athletes pale in comparison to" farmers  7,000 years ago.

(5) In addition, high levels of cortisol – the chemical released when one is under continuous, unrelenting stress – and poverty can physically impair the brain and people’s ability to learn.

Hunter-gatherers had more leisure time - and a more playful attitude - than we do today.

(6) [For this and the next theory, we quote from HuffPost.] Dr. Jan te Nijenhuis points to the fact that women of high intelligence tend to have fewer children than do women of lower intelligence. This negative association between I.Q. and fertility has been demonstrated time and again in research over the last century.

(7) "The reduction in human intelligence ... would have begun at the time that genetic selection became more relaxed," Dr. Gerald Crabtree, professor of pathology and developmental biology at Stanford University, told The Huffington Post in an email. "I projected this occurred as our ancestors began to live in more supportive high density societies (cities) and had access to a steady supply of food. Both of these might have resulted from the invention of agriculture, which occurred about 5,000 to 12,000 years ago."

Postscript:  Relaxing activities like meditation and prayer have been shown to increase brain mass and connectivity in certain areas of the brain.  And sex makes you smarter and causes brain growth.

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IronForge's picture

Immigration Hordes, People.  We don't screen People as they come in.  We expect "Intelligent" immigrants to at least come here LEGALLY and Study, Invest, Start a Business, or Work in an "essential" Capacity. 

Yet, other countries do screen. 

The MSM and TPTB want Sheeple and Drones, especially now that they can ship White Collar AND Blue Collar Jobs to  Countries that host the cheapest Labor Rates for the Month.

ebear's picture

Throughout history, there has always been a very small percentage of the population (call it 2% for argument's sake) that moved things forward.  The rest were either running interference, or just along for the ride.

As civilization advanced (thanks to the 2%) the population increased, which meant that the 2% grew along with it.  Not only did that 2% grow in absolute terms, but it had the work of all the preceeding 2%'s to stand on.

Information retention is now close to 100% and communication is close to instantaneous.

There may be more dummies around and general intelligence may have declined, but the amount of brain power being brought to bear is greater than ever before.

I wouldn't give up hope just yet.


SystemOfaDrown's picture

I strongly object and detest this article's assertion that we Westerns... HEY LOOK A SQUIRREL!!!!!!

eclectic syncretist's picture

Is this the way to the celebrity RACK test?

Salsipuedes's picture

We're goin' downslope alrighty and we're hell bent for leather! 



Bear's picture

Make sense ... any nation electing the Obama/Biden team must have an IQ a little below 100.

NoPension's picture

Buddy of mine is a painting contractor. Shows up at a house to give an estimate. Mr.Homeowner comments on Buddy's truck idling in the driveway. (Buddy lives in that truck, 2013 F150 Platinum) Bud explains, his lunch and icy cold beverage is inside, he doesn't want ice to melt. Homeowner insists he turns it off, goes into a spiel about polluting, blah, blah, and points to his Prius shitbox, with an Obama/ Biden bumper sticker. Shit you not.
Buddy tells him he is only going to be 5 minutes or so, but complies and turns off the truck, after all, he is after the guy's green.
Then the homeowner explains this is vacation house, one of three, as his wife pulls up in a Toyota Sequoia. ( it's a beast of a ride, for those who don't know)
Where do these fucking people come from? Libs, telling others how to live, and don't even see themselves being asses.

Wild Theories's picture

Hmm, exercise, pray, and sex?

Sounds like we need another crusade or religious war.

Let's slaughter the infidels(exercise)

rape their women(sex)

and ask the lord for his blessing(prayer and complete conscience cleansing for the slaugher and rape)

...and all this will makes us smarter to boot.


maybe this why terrorists seems to be getting smarter and smarter and are constantly growing? maybe they are the eventual future of humanity and we are simply due to be culled?

heywood's picture


Well, the advanced nations are suffering population declines, but the Muslims have been breeding like rabbits. Doesn't bode well for global averages of IQ.

Salsipuedes's picture

Hey, aren't you that Merle Heywood who took a ringer to the head in that logging accident up at River Bend? Can't wait to hear you define "IQ"........

xavi1951's picture

If you have to take an IQ test on line then expect to get a good score.  A chimp could get a good score.  They are hooking you to sign up for their brain exercises.  And a one and a two and a three...   IDIOT!

Umh's picture

We are just subsidizing the wrong people.

swmnguy's picture

So yes to exercise, meditation/prayer and sex.  I suppose that means no to X-Box, televangelism and porn?

Salsipuedes's picture

Twenty hours a week of watching football is still O.K. though, right?

Seize Mars's picture

True this.

The Hasbara guys are much less scintillating these days.

Salsipuedes's picture

We came down from the mountain of intelligence, of connection and enlightenment, increasing speed like a snowball and hit sea level with Hiroshima. After that it's a flat line, downwind run off the edge of the known world. Look! The ocean is GLOWING!

Quantum Nucleonics's picture

Here's one that's not on the list... evolution.

Prior to civilization, humans had to rely on their own brains for survival.  Civilization allows individuals that might otherwise have been naturally selected, to survive and pass on their inferior intelligence. Declining brain size isn't some new event, it's been happening for a long time.  Neanderthal had a larger brain than modern humans.  Though, since neanderthal is extinct, brains must not be quite everything.

George Washington's picture

As long as you're happy being part of the Borg ...?

Quantum Nucleonics's picture

It would be interesting to do a more detailed analysis.  One could imagine our species eventually diverging into several, a more intelligent, athletic, attractive species and one less so.  Rod Sterling was onto something.

eclectic syncretist's picture

Modern civilization has eradicated much of the evolutionary force of natural selection with medicines and other medical technologies, not to mention the artificial quarantine so many helicopter and snow plow parents keep their kids under.  Without natural selection eliminating the genetically challenged, the collective gene pool will continue to decline until some natural or man-made disaster changes our current civilization.

Quantum Nucleonics's picture

I guess it's always safe to use a star trek reference, but I don't get it.  The Borg share their intelligence with each other.  With homo sapiens, the bargain is that you don't get "selected".

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Let's see:
if a locomotive1 is travelling at 25 miles per hour north, and north east of it a coach is approaching where the tracks cross the road with only 500 feet distance,
how many beers kin ya funnel before the cops showz ups 'n' puts ya in the drunk tank an' will yer ass end up on Cops Gon' Wild on Spike TV?
OH SHIT, I put the funnel in wrong. THIS end goes in yer mouth and THIS end goes in yer...

1whutz a lokermotiv?

TeethVillage88s's picture

"Humans evolved to eat a lot of Omega 3s:"

Okay, I'll look at that. The English have eaten poor diets for hundreds of years too. Even the Irish were sending their crops to the English and starving at several times. If you are a peasant, seems like you learned to eat things we would not eat in the USA.

- Another Point is Corporate Culture. I see this as having come from a military system which went into the Factory and Mines... and which was supported by the Public Education System.

- But many of us don't spend time with our parents. I came from an Educated family, but early on both parents had become part of the "Corporate World". I could have learned a lot from my father about life, decisions, fixing things, relationships, science, history, and work....

- But Corporate Culture, this Work Culture separates us from our families, kids... and now what? We find there are fewer jobs, jobs are displaced by automation, computers, robots, and maybe even automated transportation.

Plus the Fascist Bankers have gotten control of everything from government, laws, justices, stocks, precious metals, LIBOR Rates, Mortgages, Central Banks, and Currency. I guess the Fascist Bankers got my parents TOO.

Salsipuedes's picture

Feel not alone grasshopper. The fathers and the mothers who could have made a difference have been out to a 3 martini lunch since Vietnam. Houses to buy. People to impress. Personal reflection. Europe in 6 days. Take comfort in the fact that your Daddy's the best golfer in Thousand Oaks and yo' mama's still shoppin' child, yo mama's still shoppin'.

alexcojones's picture

I took one of those online IQ tests a few years ago.

Only got 128. Dayum, did I feel Dumb..

Then I added a few years and took it a second time. My new old age was 70. IQ test said I was now 135.

So I took the same test a third time, and had gotten faster. Told them my age was now 7 years old. Turns out My IQ was actually 205.


alexcojones's picture

As we used to say on the grade school bus:

"Boys go to Mars to get candy bars. Girls go to Jupiter to get stupider."

Circa 1958

messymerry's picture

Duh, uh, uh, uh, uh,  um,

I watched Idiocracy the other night and I didn't understand it...

Homer, Homer Simpson is my hero, an the Kardashians are really really, like REALLY SMART.

Ok ZHers, how much of it is Nature, and how much of it is Nurture (by our beloved Statist Education System???)


George Washington's picture

"how much of it is Nature, and how much of it is Nurture (by our beloved Statist Education System???)"

Yup ... The statist public education system intentionally dumbs us down so we can't question authority: Dear Leader said it, so it must be true!

xavi1951's picture

CRAP!  I HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOU ON THAT POINT GW.  Does that mean that I did NOT earn my 182 score by myself?

besnook's picture

for the first thousands of years of homo erectus development the focus of technology was to make it easierr to be close to the food source. since the dawn of the industrial age the focus of technology has been to move people further and further away from their source of food. the industrial model is dependent upon economic and political stability within the distribution zone, in this case global stability. isn't part of the 21 whatever program to develop self sufficient urban economic zones?

the change in focus seems to correlate with the beginning of the dumbitification of the human race.

are we there yet's picture

Smart people go to college and delay marriage and have fewer kids. Stupid people do not. Dumer people have kids without planning. The government with welfare pays for the dummer to reproduce, and taxes the brightest and most productive, forcing brighter and more skilled women to work rather than be a homemaker. Repeat for enough generations and the gene pool gets dumber.

VegasBob's picture

Somebody can't spell dumb and dumber...

Fíréan's picture

Is the collective 'we" in these articles of both the Daily Mail and Huffington Post ( shouldn't that be the Humping'em Post ?) a reference to their readership or incluse of those who are intelligent enough not to read the damn things ?

nmewn's picture

Probably a little of both, kinda like this:

"A group of college students have invented a nail polish that changes color if it comes into contact with date-rape drugs. Many see it as a useful invention because it might help women protect themselves, but, of course, some say anything that might help women protect themselves is actually offensive to women because that promotes rape culture.

“Women are already expected to work hard to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of sexual assault,” an article in ThinkProgress argues. “Now, remembering to put on anti-rape nail polish and discretely slip a finger into each drink might be added to that ever-growing checklist — something that actually reinforces a pervasive rape culture in our society.”

Everyone got that?

Yes, you see, inventing something as innocuous as nail polish that detects roofies secretly dumped into a ladies drink by someone with bad intentions has indeed offended the 300lb, flannel wearing crowd who never has to worry about it and promotes and/or reinforces the "pervasive rape culture" sweeping across our society.

I swear I can't even speak to these idiots anymore, they're too far gone.


Itelligence testing came out of the eugenics movement and Galton

was considered to be the grandfather of the eugenics movement along with Lombroso et cetera. Intelligence testing today is also part of a modern eugenics movement that is riddled with as many holes in the arguments as Lombroso and Galton had way back when. Intelligence testing systematically discriminates against the 99% in favour of the ruling elites and the 1% progeny that always go to 'the best schools' while the 99% attend degree mills that are also systematically discriminated against when it comes time to seek employment.


FUCK EUGENICS & Eugenicists the world over.

Radical Marijuana's picture

The "eugenics" movement demonstrates the problem with language having its meanings inverted by abuse. What was actually developed was militarism, promoting dysgenics, which was deceitfully presented as "eugenics."  It is practically impossible to deal with these sorts of contradictions unless one recognizes that militarism is the supreme ideology, and that every decision is actually being made inside of the context of military ethics.

As my comment above outlines, there MUST necessarily be some form of artificial selection, because natural selection EXISTS. The better solutions to bad artificial selection must be better death controls. Most of "eugenics" was developed inside of the erroneous language that regarded what we call "birth control" in a backwards way, since everything that we called "birth controls" were actually forms of death controls.

I think it is mistaken to bastardize the language, by accepting that backwards eugenics means there is something wrong with the basic concept of eugenics. Of course, that is merely a special case of the general problem that the biggest bullies' bullshit language dominates everything, and therefore, almost all of the ways that we think are backwards. (In my view, most of the people who believe they are opposing the bullies are still mostly taking the bullies' bullshit world view for granted, in ways that they continue to be unaware of.)

We should appreciate how and why militarism is the supreme ideology and embrace the necessity for better death controls. We should move beyond the false fundamental dichotomies and related impossible ideals promoted by the controlled opposition groups, through their sorts of old-fashioned religions and ideologies which actually caused the opposite things to happen in the real world, due to them promoting impossible ideals, that always necessarily backfired badly.

There is nothing that might work than better death controls, at the core of better systems of artificial selection, that are operated in ways which are consistent with the infinitely greater powers of natural selection pressures. The difficulty with that is that the most successful death controls were always operated through the maximum possible deceits about themselves, and that included the ways that the controlled opposition groups continued to operate within the same deceitful frame of reference.

I always find it BIZARRE the ways that various people BLAME some intellectuals for discovering and demonstrating some basic facts of life (although, of course, from with their own cultural context.) That BIZARRE trend is to blame the intellectuals, due to their associations with the ruling classes, or the dominate empires of their day, for merely being relatively more scientific about the basic facts of life. The ruling classes did NOT create the chronic political problems, they merely developed expedient sets of solutions for those problems which benefited them. The intellectuals who operated within their own social context tended to be discovering and demonstrating some more radical truths, albeit from their perspectives, within their own culture.

Actually, it would be absolutely vital for better artificial selection to operate better eugenics. However, it is not possible to say "yes" unless one can also say "no." Therefore, any actual expression of eugenics necessarily ends up based on death controls, and thus, is an expression of militarism, and military ethics.

In my view, the expedient sets of solutions to the chronic political problems inherent in the nature of life have become paradoxically self-destructive, due to the paradox of final failure from too much success at controlling society with enforced frauds. However, that should not be regarded as arising from false fundamental dichotomies, because that is not the case, and therefore, "solutions" based upon those false fundamental dichotomies are impossible ideals, which always necessarily backfire and actually cause the opposite to happen in the real world.

Various intellectuals, who were living inside of the dominate empires or cultures of their day, provided some steps of scientific progress, by discovering and demonstrating more of the facts about how and why the natural world works, and how and why that then manifested through human beings. It is "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" to deny the science, due to the ways that those intellectuals were actually contexted inside of their culture, which was the dominant empire of their day.

In my view, the only possible progress is for there to continue to be a series of profound paradigm shifts, in the form of a series of intellectual scientific revolutions, which apply to politics, and therefore, apply to the combined money/murder systems. What that does is attempt to embrace militarism and military ethics, as the core of the death controls systems that must operate through artificial selection, because natural selection does and must exist.

Not only do we tend to use language that has been abused to become backwards, inside of a Bizarro Mirror World, where everything is perceived backwards, (BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS DOMINATED BY THE BIGGEST BULLIES' BULLSHIT SOCIAL STORIES, INCLUDING THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE) we also tend to think in perfectly backwards ways about the "solutions" to our problems. That is, we need better death controls, not none. We should be making a greater use of information, that enables a higher consciousness, in order to operate better systems of artificial selection. Real death controls that can say "no" and enforce that would then enable true birth controls, that could say "yes" and encourage that.

Basically, what we need is a revolution in the ways that we think about eugenics. Of course, that necessarily must be done within the context of the ideology of militarism, and military ethics, which to be done more scientifically has to deal more forthrightly with its own paradoxes. In that context, falsely labeling dysgenics as having been "eugenics" mangles language to the point where it becomes useless. The intellectuals who advanced our understanding of natural selection should have their contributions filtered, so that those distortions due to the cultural bias, as the things they took for granted, since they living within the dominate empire, were strained out of the insights the discovered and developed which were still correct and useful.

To say "FUCK EUGENICS" is what I regard as the typical statement of a reactionary revolutionary, who continues to understand things in ways which are relatively superficial and backwards. Without genuine eugenics, then the actual systems of artificial selection will continue to drive what is happening now, which is the perverse set of incentives for the overall average level of human intelligence to decease. However, any genuine eugenics is necessarily operating inside of militarism, and its decisions must be ones of military ethics.


Eugenicists are psychopathologically and sociopathologically twisted

to a point where I just can't agree with that philosophy whatsoever.

The human population shares more genes in common than we have differences.

The idea that one genotype or phenotype is somehow to be viewed as superior to another is not borne out in the data. Human genetics and evolution are entirely seperate sciences apart from the religious dogma

espoused by non-scientists in fields of dogma surrounding the eugenicists and their respective movements. I, for one, support

theories and theorizing but when it comes to population 'control'

I say to myself, MASTER OF UNIVERSE you can find more cool stuff to read. Moreover, in my line of science I have to stay away from fringe science or ideas that are considered to be fringe. My road in life is pretty mainstream to safeguard on the employment prospects. If an employer ever checked my stuff on Internet I would not get into trouble for having strange views apart from my middle of the road stance. Eugenics is definately fringe stuff so I stay away. And militarism is just plain stupid so I can't get into that either. Frankly, I always think of John Lennon when it comes to war

and I stay away from that too. I more old hippie than authoritarian

but I do appreciate Theory and theorizing. Empiricism is my philosophy IMHO.

btw...thanks for the lecture on militarism being a form of eugenics.

I agree with what you wrote in terms of the tautology of systematized recursive circuits of 'death' controls built into the present systems we like to refer to collectively as 'the MIC'.

Actually, just thinking about Ebola and how it could be weaponized Ebola put out by the MIC in their class 4 Bioterrorism lab in Sierra Leone. I read one article that stated it was funded by the Gates Foundation et al. If this is indeed a case of weaponized Ebola coming out of a USA class 4 bioterrorism lab and goes exponential

as some are claiming it is, then, we are talking about genocide and not eugenics.


Radical Marijuana's picture

"then, we are talking about genocide and not eugenics"


It is so perversely tangled up!

In general, the biological understanding that we all share the same DNA language of life has been actually employed to patent genetically modified foods, and so on and so forth. Almost NONE of the deeper understanding of the science behind the technologies appears to be appreciated. Instead, most of science and technology actually gets employed to become better at dishonesty and violence, which is the way that evil "eugenics" actually ended up becoming more like genocide!

Ideally, we should be looking at evolutionary ecology for ehtical parables, and appreciating how and why natural selection tended to develop beautifully balanced living systems, sustaining the maximum possible diversity. Instead, we are watching runaway mad monopolies destroy diversity, and thereby foreclose on our own longer term options for adapting to survive.

There is no doubt in my mind that almost all of the actual "eugenics" was dysgenics, because it was deceitful death controls, pretending to be something else. However, there is also no doubt that there MUST be some systems of artificial selection, because human beings can NOT stop natural selection from happening!

ebear's picture

"However, there is also no doubt that there MUST be some systems of artificial selection, because human beings can NOT stop natural selection from happening!"

False dichotomy.  

Nature produced a species capable of self-reflection and creative mentation, the products of which are entirely natural.

There is no separation, other than what we create in our minds.  Everything that humans produce is natural.

Start there, and try to see how these concerns that have you so worked up are nothing more than the process of natural selection speeded up.

Competition between and within species is what drives evolution, not what stands in its way.  It is that competition that is responsible for our intelligence, which is increasing with each new technological extension of our awareness.  

I have no idea who you are - we've never met - and yet we're engaged, almost instantly, in a hopefully fruitful exchange.

That never happened before, but now it's commonplace - an embedded feature of our collective intelligence.

In evolutionary terms, this occurred almost overnight.  Printing press, telegraph, radio, TV and now this?  Already you have people living who know no other way.  For them it's a completely natural process that bypasses the old hierarchal systems of control.  Distributed Mass Intelligence.

This is absolutely the most exciting time to be alive, and yet you're here glooming on about how civilization is all doomed and stuff, without even noticing how you're doing that, and what the implications are.

Hilarious actually.

Radical Marijuana's picture

The deeper problems are the PARADOXICAL results of the development of human intelligence, as the internalization of natural selection, in the context where other human groups were usually the greatest threat to survival, above and beyond all other natural factors. After human beings evolved enough intelligence to become the top carnivores, their worst enemies became other groups of human beings. That drove the history of warfare, in which success was based on backing up deceits with destruction, which then became the foundation for political economy based on enforced frauds.

The PARADOXES with respect to attempting to understand how human energy systems fit into natural energy systems raises the basic questions about how human energy systems actually work, which is that they operate according to the methods and principles of organized crime, with the history of warfare being organized crime on larger and larger scales, creating the countries with sovereign powers, which had those powers captured by the best organized gangsters, the banksters. Our society is already terminally screwed up, sick and insane, due to the ways that it is controlled by lies backed by violence, which constantly amplified the situation that the violence can never make those lies become true, but nevertheless, effectively continued to work to develop systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, which drive runaway social polarization and destruction of the natural world.

The GREAT IRONY of human intelligence is that it was the internalization of natural selection, into cultural forms of artificial selection, which tends to deal with the most serious factor, namely the threat to survival of some groups of human beings by other groups of human beings. That ended up producing the kind of social pyramid system civilization that we are living in at the present time, whereby things are controlled by the maximum possible deceits and frauds. Inside of that context, for human beings to come to terms with relatively more objective facts regarding the natural environment ends up totally entangled within the ways that the cultural artificial selection systems have primarily developed the abilities of some groups of human beings to control others by being dishonest, and backing that up with violence. HENCE, th basic problem is the relationship between natural selection and artificial selection.

Since the current systems of artificial selection were developed by the history of warfare whose success was based on deceits, which then became the foundation for an economic system whose success was based on frauds, wherein the primary applications of science and technology actually became ways that some human beings could become even more successfully dishonest and violent towards other human beings (while, of course, those social facts are deliberately ignored and denied), the resulting effects of irreconcilable social polarization are being trumped by irreparable destruction of the natural world.

The great challenge that the human species faces is whether we can find any ways for our relative successes at internalizing natural selection into the form of human intelligence may come to better terms with the chronic political problems inherent in the nature of life, which drove some human beings to become the worst enemies of other human beings. The paradoxical ways that social sciences emerged in the context of warfare and economics, whereby systems of organized lies operating robberies were rationalized and justified by the biggest bullies' bullshit social stories, become more and more intense, the larger their Grand Canyon Contradictions develop.

In the end, militarism is the supreme ideology, despite that being the most extremely paradoxical ideology, because that ideology of the human murder system was based on the history of success through backing up deceits with destruction, and that success itself selected for those systems to end up surrounded by other kinds of religions and ideologies, which were forms of controlled opposition, that were co-opted and compromised to continue to operate within the same frame of reference as the biggest bullies, and their bullshit world view, which, of course, also had profound historical effects upon the history of the philosophy of science itself!

Given that the vast majority of people act like political idiots, or Zombie Sheeple, (and the ruling classses worked hard to make sure that those they ruled over became like that) there appears to be no other practically possible political ways to respond to the issues of intensified natural selection, because our basic society operates its artificial selection systems through the maximum possible deceits, and frauds. Inside of the ALREADY established global civilization, it is practically impossible to better bridge the growing gap between natural selection factors and artificial selection factors. Instead, we are watching the runaway contradictions there get crazier and crazier, due to the PARADOXICAL WAYS THAT ARTIFICIAL SELECTION BECAME BASED ON BACKING UP LIES WITH VIOLENCE, WHOSE SUCCESS DRIVES PEOPLE TO BECOME STUPIDER, AND SO, DEAL WITH THEIR REAL PROBLEMS MORE AND MORE INSANELY!

Another article which recently summarized how that works was:

Why Artifice Rules The World: We Have No Choice

"deeply entrenched vested interests that profit from the dysfunctional Status Quo -- interests who will devote every resource in their command to water down, co-opt, divert or defeat any reforms that lessen their share of the national income or their political power"

That summarizes WHY there are no feasible solutions!

The only issues are how bad are the real problems???

I find that the more one learns, the worse that gets!

Pretty well every effort to predict the future 20 or more years from now runs into the problem that the following charts are probably too optimistic:

Almost every issue one considers, from water resources to autism rates, follows basically similar patterns, where attempting to extrapolate a few decades LINEARLY results in rampant absurdities. For instance, although water is a renewable resource, the rates of use have been exponentially increasing, while our kind of civilization has no rational ways to cope with running into the real limits of being able to continue to do that, especially since our political processes are dominated by those with the most money, who were able to systematically distort everything in order to privatized the profits, while socializing the losses. Anything that actually causes harm to some human beings will tend to be deliberately ignored by the political systems in which those who profit from that activity are able to dominate those political systems, so that those harmful effects will be deliberately ignored and denied, as much as possible, for a long as possible. In other words, human intelligence actually ends up being applied to sustain the maximum possible stupidity.

In that context, every kind of pollution tends to be systematically discounted, because those making the money from the processes which cause that pollution are able to then dominate the funding of the politics, in order to continue to allow them to behave in ways which are overall insane for everyone, even themselves too in the longer term, since their children are also vulnerable to the systematic accumulation of every kind of pollution, which can result in organic damage to the developing brains.


Every social institution has been systematically corrupted, and driven crazy, by them all operating through fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems, whose most important vicious feedback loops were through the funding of the politics. Since the basic system of being able to make "money" out of nothing flows through the nexus of the funding of the political processes, to become the worst manifestation of privatizing the profits, while socializing the losses, being able to make "money" out of nothing drives social polarization, which then perversely enables even more social polarization, since the people privatizing the profits from the activities "paid" for with "money" made out of nothing can dominate the funding of the political processes, in order to insure that even more legalized lies are backed up with more legalized violence.

Meanwhile that social polarization driven by a political economy in which "money" is made out of nothing is trumped by the destruction of the natural world, which results from that "money" made out of nothing being able to "pay" for strip-mining the planet's natural resources. In that sense, I see the links between the limits to the rates of renewability of water, and every other different way in which attitudes of evil deliberate ignorance operate with respect to the longer term consequences of pollution. However, I am not able to imagine any practical way to fix that problem caused by the vicious spirals of the profits from frauds being able to be reinvested in more frauds, through the funding of the political processes.

The central social fact is that our political economy is based on making "money" out of nothing to "pay" for everything, in ways which result in people disregarding the reality of natural world, in which nothing can be made out of nothing, and everything produced ends up as some form of pollution, which should not be ignored, but tends to be as deliberately ignored as it is human possible to do ... since the privatization of profits, and socialization of losses, is the crucial feature of our current economic system, which is stuck in vicious deepening ruts due to the funding of the political processes.

After facing that central social fact that our financial accounting system is fundamentally fraudulent, the next set of questions are the degrees of malice behind having made and maintained that system. These days, my answers tend to be that that the established systems have become such runaway vicious spirals of the "success" of backing up lies with violence that the accumulating levels of malice are practically demonic!

More than anything else, we are approaching times of Peak Insanities, to match the times of Peak Everything Else. The basic reasons are the paradoxical ways that human intelligence evolved, and then devolved, in the first place. For amusement, since it otherwise has no practical value, I have outlined above what are think are the factors driving us towards Peak Insanities, that human intelligence ended up primarily being applied to become better at being dishonest, and backing that up with violence, which resulted in society as a whole developing attitudes of evil deliberate ignorance, that end up eventually being carved into the flesh and brains.


Since I can perceive no practical political ways to prevent the paradoxes of human Peak Insanities from destroying our civilization, and thus, there is no practical reason to bother to try to apply more human intelligence to write better articles, or post comments on those articles, since the realities are that society IS controlled by lies backed by violence, which do NOT care about better rational evidence nor logical arguments, but rather will surely continue to deliberately ignore all of that as much as possible, while only being interested in backing up bigger lies with more violence ... here is some macabre comedy relief:


Radical Marijuana, we all are interested in solutions to the myriad

problems but the systems of lies backed by violence is going to crash along with the economy. One will have to back the lies with physical gold instead of fiat lies in the near future. Yes, man was too stupid to see it coming but I was not and neither were half the people we talk to on Z/H. Many saw the mathematical imposibility of ever increasing housing prices and foretold the bubble bursting before it actually did.

Some are smart enough to filter through the lies and deceits but

on a collective basis we are not smart and that is what prompts

the Hegelian Spirals into the abyss. My view is that we have not maintained our democracy properly and we need to collectively

bring back our democratic voice against the lies and frauds. Glass-Steagall did prevent mass insanity through investment banking lies and deceits but was revoked in favour of more lies and deceits backed by the violence of wars in the middle East and the Greenspan put. Eventually, Janet Yellen will no longer be able to dance on the head of a pin and the system will come down like a house of cards. Wholesale economic crashing of these systems is about to manifest sooner rather than later.

Zadok's picture

I was wondering if you could just post your whole book.
This is definitely the right place for it.

Radical Marijuana's picture

At the present time, there is no better edited "whole book" because there is no practical point to doing that! I am merely attempting to understand things, for the sake of doing that, since I enjoy attempting to understand things, and writing is a tool to help thinking. However, I am CONVINCED that the degree to which the real world is controlled by lies backed by violence means that writing anything based on better presentations of more rational evidence or logical arguments is practically useless.

IF there was anything that I could think of doing that was better than my idle amusement of reading Zero Hedge, and being provoked to post comments on the basis of what I read, then I would surely do that. However, I cannot think of anything that works, since the real world is already overwhelmingly dominated by systems in which the ruling classes are as dishonest and violent as they can possibly be, while those they rule over have been reduced to incompetent political idiots, that would never bother to learn about their predicament by reading any books, because they have been conditioned to not want to do that.

At least, I believe, on Zero Hedge, there is a tiny minority of a tiny minority, that will commiserate with me when I describe the dilemma that we find ourselves in, that the social world surrounding us IS getting stupider and stupider! Of course, one may endeavour to try to figure out why that is happening, and articulate that understanding. However, in my view, there is no practical point to doing that, because better understanding of that situation is NOT going to make any significant difference. Rather, it is like diagnosis of a terminal illness, that is going to kill one, but nevertheless might be understood better regarding the way that one is being killed.

We are being collectively destroyed by systems of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, such as financial frauds that automatically get worse everyday, driving social polarization and destruction of the natural world. One may try to understand that, and articulate that understanding, but doing so makes no material difference to that continuing to happen anyway. No better book about that could change anything that mattered!

Zadok's picture

Radical Marijuana - well, well, then pardon my snarky reply.  Good thoughts.  It appears from your discourse that we have some things in common.  

Sorry for the slow reply.  Sometimes there are long periods where I am not able to access ZH, too many good things to do.  

I really dont know how to phrase the developing process but your utterances look a lot like my early thought processes.  It has been a difficult transition but some wonderful revelations and changes in my life have been the ourcome.  

I wish you well and want to encourage intellectual exploration whenever there is any interest.  It is SO worth it!

hedgiex's picture

RM - Yours is the right pessimism of the intellect that however has to be balanced by the irrational optimism of the spirit in keep going to expose the deceits until you collapse. Unless we abidicate to be just animals.

Radical Marijuana's picture

I agree hedgiex.

I do my best to maintain irrational hope for some series of technological miracles, and even greater political miracles, and I work towards making those happen as best I can!

Furthermore, I indulge in philosophical consolations, that come from attempts to do a creative synthesis of post-modernizing science with ancient mysticism, that allows me to generate a kind of transcendental poetry that soothes my soul somewhat. Thereby, I think that Energy is Spirit and I BELIEVE THAT!

conscious being's picture

Radical - you are correct as of a point in time, but big systems are about to break. Probably a perfect globe will not emerge from the ashes. But we all live locally. When PTB systems break down, local systems can benefit.

Yes you are right about all the fraud and murder, but these things are cyclical. Take Bankers for instance. Not long ago, being a top Bankster was seen as being an admired, honest, success. Soon they'll be back to being seen as evil sociopaths hustling for their pound of flesh.

You can't save everybody. You never could. My advice is find a local space that works and try to make it better. Maybe the local space inside all of us. Read Jung for example.

nickt1y's picture

Those smart people from long ago had short brutish lives. Death from famine and infections killed many of them as children. I think losing a few IQ points is a fair trade for our modern life.

This is just anothe GW scare de jour.

daemon's picture

" Those smart people from long ago had short brutish lives. Death from famine and infections killed many of them as children. "

That may be more complicated than that . Take a look at this:

There seem to be a lot of other links about the subject.

logicalman's picture

Intelligent people tend to have fewer kids.

Evolution does the rest.