The Pinnacle of Intelligence

Humanness is the pinnacle of intelligence. Humanness is often confused with kindness, pity, or the now-fashionable empathy.


Humanness manifests itself in the respectful attention to the individuality in everyone including perfect strangers. The desire to understand a stranger reaches far beyond just being friendly. Danger should also be respected in order to cope with it.


Humanness is also not a social norm. This is an adaptation strategy that arose among the ancestors of modern people at a time when the climate of planet Earth was much harsher and more volatile than it is now. Advanced mastery of new knowledge and skills, which made it possible to quickly adapt to changes, was then the only chance for survival.


Small tribes of people then lived by hunting and gathering. Therefore, they had to move regularly over a large area so as not to deplete food sources. These tribes had to keep their distance from each other for most of the time.


However, their ways frequently intersected, and at some point in some tribes, the desire to learn from strangers outweighed the desire to kill and eat them.


In the computer game Fortnite, popular among teenagers, there is an option to wave a friendly hand at a stranger seen in the distance instead of immediately finishing him off. Those who opt to use it usually receive a bullet in return. But sometimes a friendly contact can take place.


Somehow it so happened that among our ancestors survived mostly those who waved their hand instead of shooting. Atop of surviving they also laid a solid foundation for the subsequent technological progress of mankind because they managed to co-evolve in the mode of winnerless competition.


According to fossil remains and current observations, some troops of chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys know how to use stones as tools and even try to process them for at least two thousand years. However, there is no exchange of technology between different troops, and cultural co-evolution doesn't take off.


Our ancestors were luckier. They managed to establish a process of co-learning together with each other and Nature. And so we got lucky too. 


Modern scientific breakthroughs are also almost always obtained as a result of the joint work of a diverse group of scientists working in the mode of winnerless competition. This mode is achieved by maintaining distance (individuality), respect for oneself and others, as well as the desire to understand oneself and others. This is humanness, the unique adaptational advantage of the human species.


Humans need to stay human to survive as species. The idea that humanness is the pinnacle of intelligence gives us hope that artificial superintelligence if ever created will also opt to friendly wave a hand at us in order to successfully adapt.