Australian researchers studied the learning abilities of human children versus those of chimpanzees. Victoria Horner one of the researchers showed children around the world and a equivalent of chimpanzees a black box and showed them how to get a treat out of the box by using irrelevant an relevant rituals/actions. With a stick they had to tap, push, stir, pull and catch a treat out of the box. Till so far humans and animals had the same behavior. Then Victoria showed them the same exact box, instead this time the box was transparent. The transparent box showed that the first part of the rituals the children had to imitate were useless, since the box was divided in an upper and lower compartment that wasn’t connected. The human children imitated Victoria with the transparent box as they did with the black box, the chimpanzees on the other hand, skipped the irrelevant part and went strait for the treat.
The conclusions of the research about human learning were:
Rituals are learned and subsequently repeated without the necessity to reach a goal. Once the specific actions were engrained in the mind the repeated actions became rituals.
Repeating these actions was not so much done to reach the goal, but the rituals in itself became as important as the goal.
Even when the kids could clearly see that the rituals were useless, they repeated the imitated actions simply because the rituals outran the treat/goal. This is called over-imitation.
Children are imitating and repeating irrelevant human actions, because it’s a cognitive encoding process, which at the same time can rapidly lead to mis-encoding. Due to this encoding way of learning, countervailing task demands, time pressure and direct warning had no effects on the reproducing irrelevant actions.
What does this research actually shows us? It shows us that humans are programmable and we learn through imitation. We are being programmed according to what adults in our environment show us. The learning by imitation overrules common sense of the individual, due to the fact that once the program is installed it runs. It takes re-programming or de-programming to adjust or erase the programming once it’s proven ineffective.
Programming that’s proven ineffective is humans biggest problem. First of all, when nobody questions if the programming is effective or ineffective, the program will keep running and eventually become part of our DNA. This is called epigenetics by researchers. Which explains why certain behavior in certain areas or families keep being present in such a persistent way. Secondly when the effectiveness is questioned there will be a period of re-programming or first de-programming, this could easily take generations before the new behavior is fine tuned.
When this over-imitating results in rituals and traditions in adulthood, it is quite hard to get rid of it, or even get such a human aware of the fact that he probably not knows why he’s acting accordingly to these traditions. Most of them do not reach beyond the point of saying: “but we did it always like this.” When humans hang on to this type of behavior it takes a lot to change the way it always was. As the research showed, warning doesn’t change the programming of what was learned once. It needs a shock to put for a moment the programmed being up side down to see the world for a moment through other eyes, so he knows there is more and different ways to view his world. Natural disasters, sudden death of dear ones and suddenly being ripped off of one’s possessions causes these kind of sudden and temporally moments of “enlightenment”. It might end up as a dead end or challenges the human into change.
That’s what we currently see in our world full of natural disasters, riots, war and financial crisis.There are 3 ways of coping with this, keep holding on to our programmed nature like religion or spiritualism and walk the earth like zombies. Or seeing that the programming isn’t effective and start blaming the world around you for your discomfort and become a conspiracy theorist or you see and understand that your programming has a flaw and you start working on a solution.
Over-imitation will likely let us walk in circles and never evolve to a higher level when it comes to traditions and rituals. Imitation in itself could help humanity to end up in the gutter, although when one imitates all the behavior that has been proven effective and even successful it could pull us also out of the gutter. De-programming and re-programming as in imitation, imitating the most effective behavior. It would of course be of a great plus when people start imitating effective behavior. So they could start asking questions, and investigate for themselves if the behavior to be imitated is also effective for them and their circumstances. A real copycat knows when to and how to imitate in the best interest of all.
Isn’t that what education should be built on, positive and successful imitative behavior? Once we start seeing that we are running on programs and we’re not more than organic robots, then we should no longer fight this fact. Just become the best improved robot model that serves the best interest of all. That’s what education in an Equal Money System will look like, working with the limitations and the nature of the systems we consist of. Reset ourselves and our DNA to become effective and able to see that there is no time to lose ourselves in irrelevant rituals and traditions to get this world on the right track again. Poverty, famine, disease and abuse need to be addressed as soon as possible, therefore no distractions and let us get to the most desirable point right now, where life will be decent and the word choice will have a meaning again.