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  1. Nov 2021
    1. many of you were brought up with the 00:03:57 idea of Enlightenment reason critical thinking an Enlightenment reason had a number of properties and it turns out that most of them are not true 00:04:10 Enlightenment reason is useful in many situations we'll talk about why it's useful and why it's been popular and so on but it's inadequate grossly inadequate for understanding what hew 00:04:22 means for human beings to understand the world and to think so what we're going to do is talk about real reason which is coming out of the neural and sciences and what the properties are so 00:04:36 there's a certain myth that comes out of enlightenment reason it says you know I think therefore I am says Descartes reason is conscious you know what you think it's just not true for most of 00:04:50 your thought it's unconscious mainly about 98% consciousness is a tip of the iceberg you know how do you get 98% there are two ways one if you look at 00:05:03 what you're conscious of versus what your brain is doing the roll is about fifty to one your brain is doing 50 times as much as you're conscious of and there's another way to look at it if you 00:05:15 take a sentence and you say what can the next sentence be in a paragraph and what do you have to fill in to understand all the possible next sentences the answer is that you need to fill in 50 times as 00:05:29 much as it's in that sentence roughly so it's about 98% unconscious you're not even aware that you're filling this in but you're not moreover consciousness could not in 00:05:42 principle in principle be you know you you couldn't have reason being conscious because most of your reason is done in parallel circuitry but consciousness is 00:05:55 linear so you have massively parallel circuitry but you're tracing out a linear path through it and that is means you can only be aware of a tiny portion of what you're thinking now

      Refuting Descartes and Enlightenment myths. Lakoff justifies how neuroscience findings of the processing of the unconscious mind leads him to the statement that 98% of our thoughts are unconscious.

      What emerges into conscious knowing then is a small percentage of what the rest of the processing brain "knows".

      The conscious mind therefore has no direct access to that 98% of what is going on to surface the 2% it is aware of. If we extend knowledge into processes that are beyond simply neural processes, however, this knowledge gap becomes even more pronounced.

      Since human physiology of modern hominins is the evolutionary terminus point of billions of years of evolution, with at least 3 different prior Major Evolutionary Transitions (MET) embedded within our various body structures, our "conscious mind" is the governor over a thriving, cohesive planetary population of billions of cells and trillions of microbes of whose ongoing metabolic processes we are completely ignorant of.

      Witness the development of disease within our bodies. The con-specific is unaware of it often until late stage symptoms appear and warrants a doctor's visit..

    1. So to sum things up what caused life's major evolutionary transitions the answer is cooperation major transitions begin when a group of organisms join forces to better survive and reproduce if cooperation continues long enough a new super organism may Emerge one that can then go [on] to reproduce and evolve as a whole and 00:07:42 The pathway that led [to] animals along with humankind [at] least three major transitions have been identified resulting in four layers of Life within your own body

      Within this human body, we embed 4 different stages of Major Evolutionary Transitions (MET).

      Our human body is the product of billions of years of evolution, embodying various outputs from each major stage of a Major Evolutionary Transition (MET). We are a multi-cellular being, a colony. Yet,at the same time, we have living elements that at one time in history, were independent living beings which were NOT part of a multi-cellular colony!

      In the deep history of the evolution of the human body, genes, mitochondria, eukaryotes were all once autonomous living entities, each a biological self with its own boundary separating inner from outer. Virus's helped to catalyze their mutualism over deep time.

      Now, over billions of years of evolution, they are all integrated together by the extra-cellular matrix and laminin protein into our multi-cellular human body, replicating as one super, super, super organism.

      Finally, inscribed language has allowed us to undergo another kind of transition, a major system transition (MST) where human beings now dominate the entire biosphere, for better and for worse.

    2. in 00:05:44 1998 researchers set up a mini Ecosystem with small mouths protists and single-celled algae the protists could easily swallow individual algal cells But had trouble eating cells that happen to stick together after reproducing in less than just 20 generations the algae evolved multicellular cooperation they form groups of eight tightly connected cells that could not [be] eaten by the protists [a] 00:06:10 similar experiment on single-celled yeast in 2011 Showed that [just] 32 days after multi-celled colonies evolved clear division of labor also evolved giving rise to unique cell types specializing in different tasks these two experiments show us how multi-celled organisms may have first evolved, but what about mitochondria and their permanent merger with eukaryotes In a long-term study ending in 2008 a protist that normally eats Bacteria was seen swallowing a species of algae 00:06:41 Apparently on accident that it was not able to digest Inside the protists the algae was able to grow and reproduce when the protists reproduced as well both daughter cells contained algae after several years and many many generations researchers found that when Bacteria was scarce Protists containing algae were much more likely to survive than those without They avoided starvation by feeding off the waste products the algae produced This was the start of a [Brand-new] relationship 00:07:14 Strikingly similar to what we find between [our] [cells] and the mitochondria [that] live inside

      Fascinating experiments that support MET.

    3. Each new layer of Life is the result of what scientists call a major evolutionary transition? What was the cause of these transitions the answer is? Cooperation a Major Transition starts when free living creatures team up to form a cooperative group in the early stages of cooperation Participants are free to come and go as they [please] [if] a group sticks together long enough however 00:04:51 Division of labor will often evolve different participants begin specializing in different tasks as time goes on Individuals may become so specialized that they can no longer survive on their own [if] the entire group becomes locked into cooperation Depending fully on one another to survive and reproduce a new super organism has been forged and they made your evolutionary transition is complete 00:05:16 From this point on the entire group will evolve together as one Models describing natural situations that might promote the evolution of major transitions have been put forth by scientists such as John Maynard Smith [fior] Sonck Mary stuart West and w d hamilton using these models Researchers have been able to Mimic natural scenarios in the lab Allowing us to directly witness the beginnings of major transitions [evolved]

      This is the key to Major Evolutionary Transition - a population of free living individual creatures discover that in teaming up, there is a greater resultant evolutionary fitness, mutualism symbiotic relationship emerges. It becomes so strong over time that the many become a self-replicating one.

      The biological self is always defined by a boundary between inner and outer, but in this act of mutualism, the many biological selves join to form a new higher order biological self.

      In this way, a multi-cellular species like ours is somewhat like one of those nested Russian dolls.

      Indeed, Amanda Robins hypothesizes

      https://hyp.is/NyrixELGEeyYWN_d76UNMg/docdrop.org/video/6J-J72GoqhY/

      that our species has undergone what she and Peter Nonacs calls Major System Transition (MST). The cultural artifact of inscribed language has made possible a superorganism / supraorganism that has spread across the globe.

    4. Today we tend to shrug this off as common knowledge, but think how amazing this is you are a Colony

      This is a great vid for showing how we are a multi-level being. Within this human body, we embed 4 different stages of Major Evolutionary Transitions (MET).

      Our human body is the product of billions of years of evolution, embodying various outputs from each major stage of a Major Evolutionary Transition (MET). We are a multi-cellular being, a colony. Yet,at the same time, we have living elements that at one time in history, were independent living beings which were NOT part of a multi-cellular colony!

      We have genes, that were once autonomous living entities, mitochondria within cells, which at one time were autonomous entities, and cells, which were also once autonomously existent eukaryotes. All three exist in transmuted form that is now integrated into our body.

    1. our fourth point is that for something like eukaryotes and others where there is no immediate major system 00:25:30 transition we're really sort of saying is that they perhaps are critical to such a transition but not at the time necessarily that they have evolved so in essence we want to amp we want to bring in a new 00:25:43 term which we call facilitating evolutionary transition so it makes it is part of a major system transition but it clearly needs other 00:25:55 evolutionary events to go along with it and the final sort of point is that there are perhaps catalysts that are involved in this process and one of the major catalysts that may 00:26:12 have had effects throughout evolutionary history are viruses so viruses may have been key actors to help the transition from 00:26:23 rna to dna they may have uh produced or helped produce the nucleus in eukaryotes and we'll talk about a little bit later about the key role that viral genes play 00:26:36 in making sexual reproduction possible and even in placental mammals the evolution of a placenta so without viral genes being moved across 00:26:47 horizontally species some of these major transitions could never have happened so now we have sort of the complete integrated process of of our diagram and again the question 00:27:02 that we're really focusing on oftentimes is that last one yes when how and why do we get to a major system transition and how do nets mechs uh 00:27:15 fets and catalysts all play a role in these various transitions

      Viruses have played a key role in a number of different METs. This is an important insight that can contextualize the covid-19 pandemic.

    2. you are looking at major 00:12:17 evolutionary transitions so one can start with the idea that initially what has to happen is individuals kind of have to tolerate each other so in other words competitors 00:12:31 have to be willing to form into those simple groups and those groups have to have some kind of benefit for their existence and continuance then berkshire said well the next step 00:12:44 in this transition is what can go from formation to maintenance so if you go from a simple group to society again there are there are rules there are maybe individuals that belong to certain 00:12:56 societies and rather than sort of a fission fusion kind of uh coming together going apart these societies maintain themselves these groups maintain themselves over 00:13:08 longer periods of time and there are more benefits and there may in fact be more conflicts that have to be worked out to keep the societies to maintain the societies 00:13:19 finally there would be the step into this group transformation again what what what kuala and strassmann might have called organismality so now that the groups subsume their kind of 00:13:32 individual goals into a collective goal for all of them and again the idea here is that that that one has to happen is conflict has to be somehow managed and reduced 00:13:44 such that the groups can actually transform into this coherent whole single individual and some of the key points in in in burke's sort of 00:13:55 pathway to to to transformation is that the first two steps are can truly be bidirectional in other words uh societies can go back to being simple groups and simple groups can go 00:14:10 back to being competitive just competitors so in other words those aren't sort of absorbing states but the argument is that once once you sort of get to that group transformation that last blue arrow you 00:14:23 have transformed in a way that it is hard or impossible to really go backwards and what burke argued is that that process those those various steps and 00:14:34 particularly that last transformative step is strongly driven often by inclusive fitness kin selection so in other words going back to that continuum 00:14:46 of the types of groups that they can form fraternal groups are much more likely to to transform into these higher level organisms than 00:14:58 uh egalitarian groups

      The transition from competing individuals to a coherent unity is a fascinating journey.

      Applied to human society at a time of the Anthropocene, these principles of evolutionary biology may be salient to apply to the superorganism/supra-organism of humanity undergoing a process of rapid whole system change.

    3. so what kuller and strasman then basically were trying to kind of in a way define or look at was how you transition from being a group 00:11:28 to an actual individual organism so at what point at what point do the individuals sort of meld into something that you would call just one individual what they call 00:11:41 organismality

      The shift from individual to unified group due to evolutionary fitness bestowed by fitness emerges a new stable replicable unit and marks a Major Evolutionary Transition (MET).

    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.