by Alex Vikoulov
"This deep power in which we exist, and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Over-Soul" (1841)
I'm always leery when some neuroscientist comes along and says: “We are the brain. There’s nothing besides it. If something is wrong, it’s physical.” No, you are not a "brain in a vat", and if we are to deconstruct human intelligence, it would make sense to apply the so-called top-down “holistic” analysis — when we work from the general to the specific — the big picture to the smaller details, from the superset to the subset. So, in this type of analysis we should not start with the brain. Instead, if viewed collectively, human intelligence is a networking phenomenon based on technology and culture that we call civilization; individually, it's an operating system of the person's mind. The Darwinian model of evolution has assumed that life advances thanks to mutations in the genetic code, and that errors in copying genetic code inadvertently lead to adaptations that get passed down generations. But that traditional mutation-based model of evolution has transformed as of late, due to what geneticists are learning about DNA replication process. Evolution is not as random, or solely mutation-caused, as we previously thought but rather epigenetic, or environmentally responsive, and in case of our species, it is an emergent networking process we can call 'civilizational development'. In short, biological evolution of our species has been overtaken by techno-cultural, ‘epigenetic’ evolution ever since the invention of language.