ernst_p_ppel's picture
Head of Research Group Systems, Neuroscience and Cognitive Research, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany; Guest Professor, Peking University, China

When time came to an end, the gods decided to run a final experiment. They wanted to be prepared after the big crunch for potential trajectories of life after the next big bang. For their experiment they choose two planets in the universe where evolution had resulted in similar developments of life. For planet ONEthey decided to interfer with evolution by allowing only ONE species to develop their brain to a high level of complexity. This species referred to itself as being „intelligent“; members of this species were very proud about their achievements in science, technology, the arts or philosophy.

For planet TWO the gods altered just one variable. For this planet they allowed that TWO species with high intelligence would develop. The two species shared the same environment, but—and this was crucial for the divine experiment—they did not communicate directly with each other. Direct communication was limited to their own species only. Thus, one species could not inform directly the other one about future plans; each species could only register what has happened to their common environment.

The question was how life would be managed on planet ONE and on planet TWO. As for any organism, the goal was on both planets to maintain an internal balance or homeostasis by using optimally the available resources. As long as the members of the different samples were not too intelligent stability was maintained. However, when they became more intelligent and according to their own view really smart, and when the frame of judgment changed, i.e. individual interests became dominant, trouble was preprogrammed. Being driven by uncontrolled personal greed, more resources were drawn form the environment than could be replaced. Which planet would do better with such species of too much intelligence to maintain the conditions of life?

Data analysis after the experimental period of 200 years showed that planetTWO did much better to maintain stability of the environment. Why this? The species on planet TWO had to monitor always the consequences of actions of the other species. If one would take too many resources for individual satisfaction, sanctions by the other species would be the consequence. Thus, drawing resources from the environment was controlled by the other species in a bi-directional way resulting in a dynamic equilibrium.

When the gods published their results, they drew the following conclusions: Long-term stability in complex systems like in social systems with members of too much intelligence can be maintained if two complementary systems interact with each other. In case only one system like on planet ONE has been developed it is recommended to adopt for regulative purposes a second system. For social systems it should be the next generation. Their future environment should be made present both conceptually and emotionally. By doing so long-term stabillity is guaranteed.

Being good brain scientists the gods knew that making the future present is not only a matter of abstract or explicit knowledge. This is necessary but not sufficient for action resulting in a long-term equilibrium. Decisions have to be anchored in the emotional systems as well, i.e. an empathic relationship between the members of the two systems ha