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Evolving Systems Course: PGnotes21

Paul Grobstein's picture

Making sense of ourselves in an evolving universe

Paul's notes - Session 21


Course subject: evolution (physical, biological, cultural, individual)

Course method: co-evolution, co-constructive inquiry, evolving by telling/hearing each other's stories, using them to create new ones, individually and collectively = co-constructive dialogue

Course arrangements:

    Thursdays Group A Group B
    9 am Elisa Genesis
    9:30 Aijingwen Julie
    2:30 Ilana Christine
    3:00 Angela  
    3:30 Hillary  
    4:00 Eva Valentina
    4:30 Mattie Kayla
    5:00 Carolina Jordan


Culture as consequence of biological evolution?  Addition to biological evolution?  Differs from biological evolution in what ways?

diversityloopscales biocultdiffs evolfashion
the whole course? evolution biological and cultural: similarities and differences? fashion: a test case of cultural evolution as descent with variation and selection?


Culture and cultural change

  • What similar and different cultural practices have developed in our two esem section meetings?
  • What new cultural practices might evolve from the intersection of the two?

Moving on to individual change

  • Biological change influence cultural change and vice versa
  • So too cultural change influences biological change and vice versa?

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

Despite ongoing cultural change, ongoing individual change, there is only evolution

Individual life begins as babies, what do we start with?  before culture/individual experience?

"Morality" as another aspect of evolution, biological/cultural/individual?  To be continued, after

A look at the brain

  • Phantoms in the brain
  • Ramachandran TED video
  • The Brain - is wider than the Sky -
    For - put them side by side -
    The one the other will contain
    With ease - and You - beside-

    The Brain is deeper than the sea -
    For - hold them - Blue to Bue -
    The one the other will absorb -
    As sponges - Buckets - do

    The Brain is just the weight of God -
    For - Heft them - Pound for Pound -
    And they will differ - if they do -
    As syllable from Sound -

    Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Experience, understanding, morality as construction of brain

Capgras: story that could be otherwise

From the forum

if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound? Sound is something that we perceive and interpret, so if no one is there to perceive it, no sounds is made. However, the waves that we perceive do exist, so something DOES exists and we just perceive it our own way. That being said, how different do other living things perceive sound and everything else? If something exists, but what exists is only what one perceives, then everyone and everything could be in a different reality ... Angela_MCA

I'm very stressed out about some of my classes at the moment and the possibility that they aren't real makes ignoring my homework very tempting. Because what good would it do for any "productive" member of society to believe nothing was what it seemed? I have always been the first person to question reality, but now I wonder what good that really does ... Hillary G

Sometimes a "standard" is necessary, even if it is sort of a falsely constructed reality that we agree upon. I see the merit in denying that any true, universal reality exists but one can usually take that too far ... Imittleman

I believe that there is a "reality," but I also think that is definitely worth noting that we have no way of knowing what it would even mean for that reality to "exist" out side of our own perception of it. And we can never know, by definition, which, while somewhat infuriating, is also kind of cool. Like what Carolina said about always being able to know more but never being able to know everything ... mwechsler

what we talked about on Thursday was a real brain "f*&^" - thinking that everything around you can be a figment of your imagination can really cause problems to your reality ... I think a true reality is the one that most believe in. It might not actually be the absolute reality but it is one. I think whatever reality you think is true should be the one you live by ... CParra

If we superimpose all their pictures together, distill common features and fade out specific detail, we can get a prototype. People various in certain extant from the prototype, but nobody’s mouth would grow above his/her eyes. I feel the prototype theory also works in the way how two kinds of reality work. There is an objective reality, the undeniable truth, just like the distilled common physical appearance of Smith brothers. But people can have their own reality within certain range, just like the variation among how people look like ... elisagogogo

I know most people in my class were getting frustrated talking about how there is no reality… again. At this point I see three views or ideas showing up in class that most people seem to identify with in terms of the reality vs. no reality thing. Some people never want to think about it again. The world is fine how it is, and they are tired of getting their mind effed every week or so. Some people (like me) have come to terms with the fact that there is no reality but your own that is inside your head, end of story. Some people firmly believe that the consensus of reality is in fact reality. I'm sure some people are in between or completely different, but these were the most vocal views I heard in class.    Like I said, I identify with the "there is no reality but your own" stance. I'll explain why to the best of my abilities. This year I coined this phrase for myself: "You are the center of your own universe." ... kbonds

Since I was a child, I have always had trouble coping with my grandfather's death. I felt grief that his presence was erased from the facet of this world. But what gives me some hope is the fact that his presence still resides within me. His memory isn't a construction that only existed in the past, but continues to live in the present with me. That love and courage that he left behind in that third grader's conscious continues to grow, and as long as my brain remains bigger than the will be able to grow. I believe that everyone has the presence of a love one who has passed away, and to this day struggle to keep their presence alive ... genesisbui

 I find it rather comforting to think that we live in a matrix. Not the matrix, just a world that's not the real one. It makes me feel better believing that every big decision I make that changes my life is really as big of a deal as it feels like at the time ... Jordania

I can change them, these neural functions of mine; I can help them learn new things. So I can influence who I am. I can think about how I want my thoughts to be different ... Julie G ... If we could all find a way to acknowledge differences without placing qualitative values on them, then -- theoretically -- we could eradicate racism ... Julie G

The brain as a “site of story construction” is an expected yet perfect loop toward the first week of class all over again .... If biological change influences cultural change and cultural change influences biological change, can environment influence brain and vice versa? ... ecollier

if we really explore the question deep, do you think it is contradictory to study our brain functions using the brain itself? Is it just another story that is constructed by our brain to explain the phenomenons we have observed so far? .... Like what we have discussed in class: there is nothing that accounts for everything. There is indeed no truth and we live in our own brain constructions ... LAJW

Stories evolve, the brain evolves, we evolve ....