How does one prove that an act is the result of intellect and not the result of random chance? It might seem somewhat straightforward to determine this matter, but there is little in this life that is entirely straightforward once human beings get involved in it. And the proof of intellect is certainly one of those areas that sounds a lot simpler in theory than it ends up turning out to be in practice. As so much of life is that way, I suppose we cannot blame the mind for thinking up many reasons where the mind is not involved. Our minds do tend to be a bit overactive sometimes, and so much of what they think about is similarly diverse and full of complications. Of course, one would think that given we are beings with a mind, and with a fair degree of confidence in the competence of our own minds, that we would be equally quick to recognize the work of mind in others, that does not appear to easily be the case. How this is so is itself an interesting sort of tale.
I often find it curious just how often the rationality of human beings is questioned in very unusual ways. For example, there are some elements of society that wish to make people responsible earlier and earlier for their deeds. Indeed, in many parts of the world the fate of a person regarding job and place in society can occur at a very young age as people are put on different tracks for their life, making it hard to make up for lost years of one’s youth. In other places, there is a wide gap between when someone is considered an adult for some purposes and for others. For example, according to the Jews, one is considered an adult at 13. Yet certain aspects of the Bible are considered inappropriate for those below 25, and one is not considered a full adult in terms of responsibility until about 30 or so. In some respects, this wide gap symbolizes the different stages of some kinds of maturity over the course of a long period of time. We tend to want to find a point where we are mature but find that some aspects of our lives go faster than others. We may be intellectually mature very early, but other parts of our existence may catch up much slower, if at all. Life is more complicated than we figure it would be.
Ironically enough, this differential maturity is part of what makes proving mind such a difficult matter. There are times and situations in our lives, after all, when it is hard to prove by our actions that we are possessed of a rational mind. Whether it is because action that may seem reasonable to us but not be reasonable at all from any remotely rational view of the situation, or because we as people tend to get caught up in things very easily and at some point we often stop thinking, which tends to make it hard to prove that we can think. We do not always tend to make it easy on ourselves when it comes to proving our rationality. Perhaps we ought to be more kind on others seeing as we need some generosity and graciousness for ourselves? Sadly, it is much easier to see how we need special consideration and not always as easy to recognize that we need to treat others the way that we wish to be treated for ourselves, for we are all subject to the same forces and we all have weak spots in our reasoning.
The issue of proving mind, of course, has a great deal of relevance to do in other aspects of life as well, particularly in the case of forensics. If we find a dead body, for example, it is important to know if that person died by exposure as a result of getting lost in the wilderness or if they were mauled by animals or if they were killed by someone else. This is not always easy to figure out, but finding clues can help determine whether there was a mind involved in the death or not. Obviously, bite marks or bullet wounds would make matters easier, or the absence of any of these things. The same is true when it comes to science and technology, like trying to figure out the mind behind biological machines or ancient structures or phenomena like the Nazca trace, in many of which cases we seem to greatly underestimate the quality of mind. If we were more understanding of our own minds, one would think we would be generous about the possibility of minds elsewhere, right? Surely we cannot be the only ones blessed with wisdom and sagacity, after all?