36 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. while I was listening to all of you and to our wonderful scientists 00:57:28 I thought of something that the distinguished physicist Freeman Dyson wrote shortly before he died he said he believed that 00:57:40 the speed of cultural Evolution the speed of cultural evolution is now faster than the speed of biological evolution so 00:57:53 what does that mean to me it's something very simple it means that we now hold our destiny in our hands and that's what you're all talking about

      !- quotable : Freeman Dyson - the speed of cultural evolution is now faster than the speed of biological evolution - references on the speed of cultural evolution: https://jonudell.info/h/facet/?user=stopresetgo&max=50&any=Cultural+evolution - Freeman Dyson essay on biological and cultural evolution: https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fviahtml.hypothes.is%2Fconversation%2Ffreeman_dyson-biological-and-cultural-evolution&group=world

    1. Our double task is now to preserve and foster both biological evolution as Nature designed it and cultural evolution as we invented it, trying to achieve the benefits of both, and exercising a wise restraint to limit the damage when they come into conflict. With biological evolution, we should continue playing the risky game that nature taught us to play. With cultural evolution, we should use our unique gifts of language and art and science to understand each other, and finally achieve a human society that is manageable if not always peaceful, with wildlife that is endlessly creative if not always permanent.

      !- Dual task: wrt biological and cultural evolution

    2. The discoveries of Svante Pääbo show that as early as fifty thousand years ago the transition from biological to cultural evolution was already far advanced. Biological evolution, as demonstrated by Kimura and Goodenough, accelerated the birth of new species by favoring the genetic isolation of small populations. Cultural evolution had the opposite effect, erasing differences between related species and bringing them together. Cultural evolution happens when cousins learn each other's languages and share stories around the cave-fire. As a consequence of cultural evolution, biological differences become less important and cousins learn to live together in peace. Sharing of memes brings species together and sharing of genes is the unintended consequence.

      !- The story of human evolution : is the story of hybrid biological and cultural evolution - Svante Paabo shows that 50,000 years ago biological evolution was already deeply affected by human cultural evolution - biological evolution favoured genetic isolation of small populations, like cave dwellers during the ice age - when cultural evolution took over between Neanderthal, Denisovan and Early ancestors of modern humans and memes drove inter species socialisation, crossbreeding LED to mixing and sharing of genes as an unintended consequences

    3. the cultural evolution of creative new societies requires more elbow-room than a single planet can provide. Creative new societies need room to take risks and make mistakes, far enough away to be effectively isolated from their neighbors. Life must spread far afield to continue the processes of genetic drift and diversification of species that drove evolution in the past. The restless wandering that pulled our species out of Africa to explore the Earth will continue to pull us beyond the Earth, as far as our technology can reach.

      !- expansion into outer space : natural consequence of evolution itself to continue genetic drift

      !- comment : Dyson Extrapolates that expansion into outer space is a logical next step for evolution

    4. In each case, a small population produced a star-burst of pioneers who permanently changed our way of thinking. Genius erupted in groups as well as in individuals. It seems likely that these bursts of creative change were driven by a combination of cultural with biological evolution. Cultural evolution was constantly spreading ideas and skills from one community to another, stirring up conservative societies with imported novelties. At the same time, biological evolution acting on small genetically isolated populations was causing genetic drift, so that the average intellectual endowment of isolated communities was rising and falling by random chance. Over the last few thousand years, genetic drift caused occasional star-bursts to occur, when small populations rose to outstandingly high levels of average ability. The combination of imported new ideas with peaks of genetic drift would enable local communities to change the world.

      !- explaining human history : combination of cultural and biological evolution

    5. The contribution of genetic drift to cultural evolution remains a speculative hypothesis.

      !- connection : genetic drift and cultural evolution - still no compelling evidence

    6. As a result of cultural evolution, a single species now dominates the ecology of our planet, and cultural evolution will dominate the future of life so long as any species with a living culture survives. When we look ahead to imagine possible futures for our descendants, cultural evolution must be our dominant concern. But biological evolution has not stopped and will not stop. As cultural evolution races ahead like a hare, biological evolution will continue its slow tortoise crawl to shape our destiny.

      !- quotable : Cultural Evolution

    7. Wells's biggest work is Outline of History, published in 1920, a picture of cultural evolution as the main theme of history since the emergence of our species.

      !- H.G. Wells : Outline of history - cultural evolution as the main theme

    8. Cultural evolution had its beginnings as soon as animals with brains evolved, using their brains to store information and using patterns of behavior to share information with their offspring. Social species of insects and mammals were molded by cultural as well as biological evolution. But cultural evolution only became dominant when a single species invented spoken language. Spoken language is incomparably nimbler than the language of the genes.

      !- Herbert Wells : Cultural Evolution

    9. Wells saw that we happen to live soon after a massive shift in the history of the planet, caused by the emergence of our own species. The shift was completed about ten thousand years ago, when we invented agriculture and started to domesticate animals. Before the shift, evolution was mostly biological. After the shift, evolution was mostly cultural. Biological evolution is usually slow, when big populations endure for thousands or millions of generations before changes become noticeable. Cultural evolution can be a thousand times faster, with major changes occurring in two or three generations. It has taken about two hundred thousand years for our species to evolve biologically from its or

      !- modern humans : unique species adept at cultural evolution

    10. In the near future, we will be in possession of genetic engineering technology which allows us to move genes precisely and massively from one species to another. Careless or commercially driven use of this technology could make the concept of species meaningless, mixing up populations and mating systems so that much of the individuality of species would be lost. Cultural evolution gave us the power to do this. To preserve our wildlife as nature evolved it, the machinery of biological evolution must be protected from the homogenizing effects of cultural evolution.

      !- genetic engineering : risk - cultural evolution via genetic engineering could make the concept of species meaningless - it is a significant b potential progress traps

    11. Biological and Cultural Evolution Six Characters in Search of an Author

      !- Title : Biological and Cultural Evolution Six Characters in Search of an Author !- Author : Freeman Dyson !- Date : 2019

  2. Jan 2023
    1. Symbiocene

      !- symbiocene :key attribute - understanding the dangers of cultural evolution to the degree that we can mitigate the dangers emergent from progress traps

  3. Dec 2022
    1. he concept of cultural evolution began with the father of evolution himself, Waring said. Charles Darwin understood that behaviors could evolve and be passed to offspring just as physical traits are

      !- Charles Darwin : cultural evolution - Darwin understood that behavior could evolve and be passed on to offsprings

    2. cultural evolution can lead to genetic evolution. "The classic example is lactose tolerance," Waring told Live Science. "Drinking cow's milk began as a cultural trait that then drove the [genetic] evolution of a group of humans." In that case, cultural change preceded genetic change, not the other way around. 

      !- example of : cultural evolution leading to genetic evolution - lactose intolerance

    3. But nowadays, humans mostly don't need to adapt to such threats genetically. Instead, we adapt by developing vaccines and other medical interventions, which are not the results of one person's work but rather of many people building on the accumulated "mutations" of cultural knowledge. By developing vaccines, human culture improves its collective "immune system,"

      !- in other words : cumulative cultural evolution

    1. The longer it prevails, the more likely we will suffer catastrophic failure as a species here on earth. While this would be a tragedy of huge proportion for humans, we will take thousands, perhaps millions, of other species down with us.

      !- equivalent to : cumulative cultural evolution (CCE) - the cultural activity of our species will determine not only or species fate, but that of all other species in the biosphere through the complex webs of entangled life or collective human behaviour will impact

    1. So to the people listening or watching this, what kind of closing thoughts do you have to summarize what we just talked about and to leave them to think about or apply to their own lives? 01:17:49 Simon Michaux: So I would say to them that they're in better shape than anyone before, even as scary as it is and the unknown we're walking into. And there is no one plan. So like diversity of species in a jungle environment is a strength for the long-term survival of that jungle, diversity of ideas have the same strengths. 01:18:13 So we need them all for our long-term survival. We can't face one consensus, it's just like a broad brush direction. So we've got to put these ideas out there and discuss amongst ourselves. And understand that this is very, very challenging, and none of us actually know what we need to do. 01:18:37 Even though our skills are not necessarily what we need. We're almost like a blank canvas in terms of skills. But in terms of our self knowledge and our ability to think, our opinions mean something. We believe in human rights. We have education. Men and women are educated now. So we are in better shape now than we've ever been. 01:19:04 Instead of banging on about the problems and our past failings, we should probably try to face the future with open hearts, and actually think positive with the understanding that this is going to be rough.

      !- Futures Thinking : summary - our generation has the most wisdom to deal with the problem, even though it is an unprecedented problem - We need diversity of opinions and perspectives. Like in evolution, that diversity will emerge an optimal solution - To consciously culturally evolve, we need to put all ideas on the table and discuss openly - An open, interpersonal, people-centered knowledge ecosystem such as Indyweb is suitable for such a process

    2. what our work is showing is very soon it can't. And so it's going to go through a death throws and any organism it will fight to survive. And so yes, there will be pushback and resistance. And so what I'm proposing is a plan, whether that plan gets carried out or whether it's 00:37:22 allowed to be carried out, that's a different matter.

      !- Social Superorganism : Biological Survival metaphor - the current social superorganism is fighting to survive as it's life is threatened by the transformation - the metamorphosis will transform it to group 4, if successful

  4. Sep 2022
    1. Far beyond simply altering human evolution, this evidence suggests that human cultural inheritance is of global evolutionary significance.

      !- impact : human cultural evolution - is of global evolutionary significance

    2. human long-term GCC is characterized by an evolutionary transition in inheritance (from genes to culture) which entails a transition in individuality (from genetic individual to cultural group).

      !- for : Cultural Evolution - the findings of this paper point to culture is displacing genetic adaptive potential as the main driver of evolution. This is a very profound finding!

    1. Describing himself as a “messenger from the past”, Berger says that this discovery destroyed the preconceptions of a progressive, linear development of humans from apelike ancestors to what we are now. H. naledi is now dated at between 236,000 and 335,000 years old and was, therefore, a contemporary of Homo sapiens at that stage, which proves that a small-brained hominid was living side by side with its large-brained cousin, who is supposed to represent the apotheosis of sentient beings.

      !- for : Deep Humanity - intriguing result with important implications on cultural evolution

  5. Aug 2022
  6. Jul 2022
    1. The lesson of fallen societies is that civilization is a vulnerable organism, especially when it seems almighty. We are the world’s top predator, and predators crash suddenly when they outgrow their prey. If the resulting chaos unleashes nuclear war, it could bring mass extinction in a heartbeat, with Homo sapiens among the noted dead.

      The maladaptive cultural evolution of our species has led us to the height of human technological and economic prowess as well as the height of ecological disaster. This can be interpreted as the result of linear vs nonlinear thinking, simplistic modeling vs complex modeling and reductionistic approach vs a systems approach. An attitude of separation engenders a controlling attitude of nature based on hubris, instead of humbling ourselves at the vast ignorance each of us and also collectively we have about nature. Design based on a consistent attitude of willful ignorance is sure to fail. Then Ascent of Humanity will lead to a trajectory of its own downfall as long as that ascent depends on the cannibalization of its own life support system based on ignorance of our deep entanglement with nature. http://ascentofhumanity.com/text/

  7. Jun 2022
    1. evolution works on a much longer time scale right than than 00:35:09 any given life and so we need to we rely pretty heavily on helpful social norms right these cultural norms that actually teach us the right way to engage with each other and that can transcend any 00:35:22 one generation um and you know we worked really hard um in the west you know not just i mean this has happened everywhere but it you know we're where we're from um to acquire norms from from that we would 00:35:35 have called you know liberal democracy right that tolerance and respect and and these things and individual rights and you know it you see those things start to erode now and you start to see some of that base 00:35:48 nature taking back over the tribalism and the seeing the other as the enemy um the outgrouping of people and it we know from history it doesn't end well there right like the erosion of these norms 00:36:02 not only will continue to exacerbate collective illusions they i i think they're the biggest threat to free society that we face in a very long time yeah yeah you made a very convincing case for that

      Biological evolution works on relatively long time scales. Cultural evolution works on very short time scales. If we do not seriously listen to the lessons of history that teach valuable social norms, then we don't learn from history and history repeats.

  8. Feb 2022
  9. Nov 2021
    1. Professional musicians, concert pianists get to know this instrument deeply, intimately. And through it, they're able to create with sound in a way that just dazzles us, and challenges us, and deepens us. But if you were to look into the mind of a concert pianist, and you used all the modern ways of imaging it, an interesting thing that you would see 00:11:27 is how much of their brain is actually dedicated to this instrument. The ability to coordinate ten fingers. The ability to work the pedal. The feeling of the sound. The understanding of music theory. All these things are represented as different patterns and structures in the brain. And now that you have that thought in your mind, recognize that this beautiful pattern and structure of thought in the brain 00:11:52 was not possible even just a couple hundred years ago. Because the piano was not invented until the year 1700. This beautiful pattern of thought in the brain didn't exist 5,000 years ago. And in this way, the skill of the piano, the relationship to the piano, the beauty that comes from it was not a thinkable thought until very, very recently in human history. 00:12:17 And the invention of the piano itself was not an independent thought. It required a depth of mechanical engineering. It required the history of stringed instruments. It required so many patterns and structures of thought that led to the possibility of its invention and then the possibility of the mastery of its play. And it leads me to a concept I'd like to share with you guys, which I call "The Palette of Being." 00:12:44 Because all of us are born into this life having available to us the experiences of humanity that has come so far. We typically are only able to paint with the patterns of thoughts and the ways of being that existed before. So if the piano and the way of playing it is a way of being, this is a way of being that didn't exist for people 5,000 years ago. 00:13:10 It was a color in the Palette of Being that you couldn't paint with. Nowadays if you are born, you can actually learn the skill; you can learn to be a computer scientist, another color that was not available just a couple hundred years ago. And our lives are really beautiful for the following reason. We're born into this life. We have the ability to go make this unique painting with the colors of being that are around us at the point of our birth. 00:13:36 But in the process of life, we also have the unique opportunity to create a new color. And that might come from the invention of a new thing. A self-driving car. A piano. A computer. It might come from the way that you express yourself as a human being. It might come from a piece of artwork that you create. Each one of these ways of being, these things that we put out into the world 00:14:01 through the creative process of mixing together all the other things that existed at the point that we were born, allow us to expand the Palette of Being for all of society after us. And this leads me to a very simple way to go frame everything that we've talked about today. Because I think a lot of us understand that we exist in this kind of the marvelous universe, 00:14:30 but we think about this universe as we're this tiny, unimportant thing, there's this massive physical universe, and inside of it, there's the biosphere, and inside of that, that's society, and inside of us, we're just one person out of seven billion people, and how can we matter? And we think about this as like a container relationship, where all the goodness comes from the outside to the inside, and there's nothing really special about us. 00:14:56 But the Palette of Being says the opposite. It says that the way that we are in our lives, the way that we affect our friends and our family, begin to change the way that they are able to paint in the future, begins to change the way that communities then affect society, the way that society could then affect its relationship to the biosphere, and the way that the biosphere could then affect the physical planet 00:15:21 and the universe itself. And if it's a possible thing for cyanobacteria to completely transform the physical environment of our planet, it is absolutely a possible thing for us to do the same thing. And it leads to a really important question for the way that we're going to do that, the manner in which we're going to do that. Because we've been given this amazing gift of consciousness.

      The Palette of Being is a very useful idea that is related to Cumulative Cultural Evolution (CCE) and autopoiesis. From CCE, humans are able to pass on new ideas from one generation to the next, made possible by the tool of inscribed language.

      Peter Nonacs group at UCLA as well as Stuart West at Oxford research Major Evolutionary Transitions (MET) West elucidates that modern hominids integrate the remnants of four major stages of MET that have occurred over deep time. Amanda Robins, a researcher in Nonacs group posits the idea that our species of modern hominids are undergoing a Major Systems Transition (MST), due specifically to our development of inscribed language.

      CCE emerges new technologies that shape our human environments in time frames far faster than biological evolutionary timeframes. New human experiences are created which have never been exposed to human brains before, which feedback to affect our biological evolution as well in the process of gene-culture coevolution (GCC), also known as Dual Inheritance theory. In this way, CCE and GCC are entangled. "Gene–culture coevolution is the application of niche-construction reasoning to the human species, recognizing that both genes and culture are subject to similar dynamics, and human society is a cultural construction that provides the environment for fitness-enhancing genetic changes in individuals. The resulting social system is a complex dynamic nonlinear system. " (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048999/)

      This metaphor of experiences constituting different colors on a Palette of Being is a powerful one that can contextualize human experiences from a deep time framework. One could argue that language usage automatically forces us into an anthropomorphic lens, for sophisticated language usage at the level of humans appears to be unique amongst our species. Within that constraint, the Palette of Being still provides us with a less myopic, less immediate and arguably less anthropomorphic view of human experience. It is philosophically problematic, however, in the sense that we can speculate about nonhuman modalities of being but never truly experience them. Philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote his classic paper "What it's like to be a bat" to illustrate this problem of experiencing the other. (https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/study/ugmodules/humananimalstudies/lectures/32/nagel_bat.pdf)

      We can also leverage the Palette of Being in education. Deep Humanity (DH) BEing Journeys are a new kind of experiential, participatory contemplative practice and teaching tool designed to deepen our appreciation of what it is to be human. The polycrisis of the Anthropocene, especially the self-induced climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic have precipitated the erosion of stable social norms and reference frames, inducing another crisis, a meaning crisis. In this context, a re-education of embodied philosophy is seen as urgent to make sense of a radically shifting human reality.

      Different human experiences presented as different colors of the Palette of Being situate our crisis in a larger context. One important Deep Humanity BEing journey that can help contextualize and make sense of our experiences is language. Once upon a time, language did not exist. As it gradually emerged, this color came to be added to our Palette of Being, and shaped the normative experiences of humanity in profound ways. It is the case that such profound shifts, lost over deep time come to be taken for granted by modern conspecifics. When such particular colors of the Palette of Being are not situated in deep time, and crisis ensues, that loss of contextualizing and situatedness can be quite disruptive, de-centering, confusing and alienating.

      Being aware of the colors in the Palette can help us shed light on the amazing aspects that culture has invisibly transmitted to us, helping us not take them for granted, and re-establish a sense of awe about our lives as human beings.

  10. Oct 2021
    1. White finds reason for optimism: the end of protest inaugurates a new era of social change.

      Beginning, Middle, End

      Micah White wrote of the end: The End of Protest.

      Micah White is the award-winning activist who co-created Occupy Wall Street, a global social movement, while an editor of Adbusters magazine.

      Occupy Wall Street was a constructive failure but not a total failure. Occupy demonstrated the efficacy of using social memes to quickly spread a movement, shifted the political debate on the fair distribution of wealth, trained a new generation of activists who went on to be the base for movements ranging from campus fossil fuel divestment to Black Lives Matter protests. Occupy launched many local projects that will have lasting small-scale impact. Occupy buoyed many institutional activist organizations that were able to materially profit from the renewed interest in protest. All of these are signs that our movement was culturally influential. It may be comforting to believe that Occupy splintered into a thousand shards of light. However, an honest assessment reveals that Occupy Wall Street failed to live up to its revolutionary potential: we did not bring an end to the influence of money on democracy, overthrow the corporatocracy of the 1 percent or solve income inequality. If our movement did achieve successes, they were not the ones we’d intended. When victory eluded Occupy, a world of activist certainties fell apart.

      I call Occupy Wall Street a constructive failure because the movement revealed underlying flaws in dominant, and still prevalent, theories of how to achieve social change through collective action. Occupy set out to “get money out of politics,” and we succeeded in catalyzing a global social movement that tested all of our hypotheses. The failure of our efforts reveals a truth that will hasten the next successful revolution: the assumptions underlying contemporary protest are false. Change won’t happen through the old models of activism. Western democracies will not be swayed by public spectacles and mast frenzy. Protests have become an accepted, and therefore ignored, by-product of politics-as-usual. Western governments are not susceptible to international pressure to heed the protests of their citizens. Occupy’s failure was constructive because it demonstrated the limitations of contemporary ideas of Protest. I capitalize p to emphasize that the limitation was not in a particular tactic but ratter in our concept of Protest, or our theory of social change, which determined the overall script. Occupy revealed that activists need to revolutionize their approach to revolution.

      Failure can be liberating. Defeat detaches us from a theory of revolution that is no longer effective, reopening the possibility of true change. “For a revolutionary,” writes Régis Debray, professor of philosophy and associate of Che Guevara, “failure is a springboard. As a course of theory it is richer than victory: it accumulates experience and knowledge.”

      (Pages 26-27)

    1. social evolution

      A Theory of Change

      How did we get here?

      Yesterday (October 26, 2021), I picked up David Graeber’s book, The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity, written with David Wengrow, at Coles in Abbotsford.

      It is interesting to note that David Graeber was interested in the origins, the beginnings.

      Renowned for his biting and incisive writing about bureaucracy, politics and capitalism, Graeber was a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement and professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics (LSE) at the time of his death.

      https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/03/david-graeber-anthropologist-and-author-of-bullshit-jobs-dies-aged-59

    1. The spiritual vision of the Bauhaus was a faith in people’s ability to transform society for good by breaking down divisions and working together toward a common purpose.

      Originally published on Medium on August 29, 2019.

    1. Cultural Evolution

      Sallie McFague, in The Meaning of Life in the World Religions, writes an article entitled, “The World as God’s Body.”

      Evolution is not only or solely biological; it is also historical and cultural. Once evolutionary history reaches the human, self-conscious stage, natural selection is not the only operative principle, for natural selection can be countered with the principle of solidarity.

      (Page 297)

  11. Feb 2021
  12. Sep 2020
  13. Jun 2020
  14. May 2020