Story of Evolution/Evolution of Stories
Bryn Mawr College
April 10, 2007

Two Stories ... and Evolution?

Rather than catalog its successes, denounce its detractors or in any way present evolutionary theory as the province of expert tacticians like himself, Wilson invites readers inside and shows them how Darwinism is done, and at lesson's end urges us to go ahead, feel free to try it at home. The result is a sprightly, absorbing and charmingly earnest book that manages a minor miracle, the near-complete emulsifying of science and the "real world," ingredients too often kept stubbornly, senselessly apart ... Natalie Angier, on David Sloan Wilson, Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin's Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives

the study shows the sort of findings researchers expect - glitches in the biology of producing and interpreting language ... Peter Kramer, on Daniel B. Smith, Muses, Madmen, and Prophets: Rethinking the History, Science, and Meaning of Auditory Hallucination


What is consciousness/story telling, a product of evolution, for?

From the Forum

I feel that there is nothing rewarding about reading a novel based on another novel because all you can do is anticipate what's going to happen next in the novel ... evantiegel

I am definitely a fan of originality, and when I read the first line of On Beauty, I knew I was not going to enjoy it because of its obviously familiar tone ... I believe a book can spawn from another, but that second book does not need to closely copy the plot and have similar characters ... Shannon

the beauty of both a literary and filmic adaptation is that they provide an interpretation of the book, they add to it, if you want you could say "they are evolved." ... the end [of Smth] is not at all a mimicking of forster, and is, in a sense, the opposite of his ... marquisedemerteuil

What's important about different stories is ... that they are different, which in turn provides the grist from which new questions can be posed and new stories created. Science is as much about creating as about discovering; literature is as much about discovering as creating? The are both as much about what might be as what has been/is? ... Paul Grobstein

Carlene put her feelings "out there" when she left a painting to Kiki that meant a lot to her ... Is only connecting enough? Or is there something more needed? ... Hayley Reed

I would say that Forster, in his metaphor of the seed, does not believe in a change of mentality ... I think Smith is telling us that we are who we are and that change is not an option when we cant even define why it is "we want". Essentially, without an answer to the why there is no way to understand or even change our mentality ... ekorn

I got the sense from Howards End that Forster had mixed feelings about change. He seemed to favor intellectual and political growth, but at the same time highlighted the disastrous consequences of "progress" through industrialization and class interaction. Smith appears to be making the opposite claim about intellectuals. They are stuck in a pretense of progression that is in reality no longer evolving ... Elise Niemeyer

On the one hand, we have Forster who is a true narrative writer, trying to reach an actual end in time, the permanent calm of the storm. However, Smith is a lyricist, capturing the staticness, fleeting momentary events and building on them ... Beauty ... is a lyric moment of joy, a non-changing and unconscious decision the mind makes to accept a thing ... or any other infinite substance in this universe as beautiful ... this unconscious and clearly involuntary response ... is a non-narrative story ... it will not change, will not evolve, and will not be a conscious decision ... it is the work of intellectuals in insisting on making a narrative of beauty ... and so I will have to continue reflecting until I make up my mind ... RebeccaFarber

Onward to An Invitation into the Unconscious

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