Sunday, October 01, 2006

Survival of the Losers


In Neandertal, a small village near Bonn, Germany, bones were found, bones of a strong man. Fortunately, time was ripe for science to overcome ancient religious frameworks of ideas – Charles Darwin published his famous book “The Origin of Species” (1859).

At that time, Germany was “divided by Christ” – as America is today. While an unknown teacher (Johann Carl Fuhlrott) realized the true nature of the bones, the “powerful pundits”, the careerists of science defended the old-fashioned way of thinking. Looking at the “recipe for success” of careerists they couldn’t do much else – no one makes career out of swimming against the stream.

Theories like “Intelligent Design” prevented the German scientists from what the British were able to do – to see how Mother Nature works. Poor Johann Fuhlrott died before he was proven right – proven by Darwin, proven by the bones of Spy or Cova Negra or Salzgitter or La-Chapelle-Aux-Saints or Engis or Krapina or....

Past and gone.

Now, everyone with eyes – and a at least a rudimentary education in technology – can SEE how knee joints developed to enable the upright walk as you can see the development of cars or planes, everyone with eye can SEE now how the skulls grew to provide more room for brain. You just have to look at it.

But there is a second lesson to learn from Neandertal and Cro-Magnon: a hidden lesson for many people “thinking in the old-fashioned way” of our modern life.

You can see the work of a true artist: Information, holding the Scale of Fate, balancing time and space.

On the one side time prevails, on the other space dominates. Sometimes the scale tends to the left and sometimes to the right – and for both cases Nature provides a strategy to survive, active and passive information processing. For the stable environments passive processing, the easy, quick, body-based knowledge, “the way of the plants” is appropriate, which allows fast reactions, but slow learning, while in varying environments fast learning is much more important than a single fast reaction.

When climate jumps like a Yo-Yo, as it did since the last 3 million years, creating “cycles of glaciation with ice sheets advancing and retreating on 40,000 and 100,000 year time scales. The last glacial period ended about 10,000 years ago.” – it creates species and it eliminates species.

Since about that time many human species had come and go – often divided in two branches: strong and weak. The strong adapted physically to their environment, the “weak” mentally: passive and active.

In the end, all were dead – except for Homo Sapiens, the weakest of all. If humans work with chimpanzees, they have to be protected, because a chimp can easily break the bones of the strongest man when he just wants “to play”.

It’s said that the Neandertal people died out because of a new Ice Age – they died out at the time, Homo Sapiens created the first symbols of stone. They died out “despite” the fact, that they were stronger. Sometimes the scientists can’t tell you, if the bones they found were bones of a Neandertal woman or a strong Homo Sapiens man. They died out “despite” the fact, that their brains were bigger – but it seems they weren’t as efficient as the “weaker” brains of our species.

In evolution, it’s all about costs and gains, effectivity and efficiency – of information processing. There are times, when rituals, fixed, body-based knowledge is the better strategy and times, when it kills you.

The Neandertal people were intelligent and strong and flexible – they buried their dead and helped each other, they scratched lines in bones and (naturally) could speak. (Why naturally? Because apes don’t bury their dead.)

For a long time they even managed to live together with the Homo Sapiens, so they must have been able to learn from the new species – but in the end, when climate changed again...

the loser was the one who survived. The weak, feminine species inventing symbols and (my bet) storytelling to protect knowledge about medicine, plants and animals survived, not the strong hunter.

“If you think it's smart to be brainy there are two things you should know: a limited intellect is usually beneficial; and creativity is often the last resort for losers.” – Simon M. Reader

But limited intellect, passive information processing is not always beneficial – when times change, creativity is the only strategy to survive. When times change, rites and experience of the generations doesn’t work any more and individual learning and skills are the only strategy to survive.

Global Warming.

Wings of Change.

Sorting out the strong from the intelligent – the ones adapted for the presence and the ones adapted for the future...

the Strong and the Intelligent - and while the stable Space loves the Strong, the neverending Time is always on the side of the Intelligent.

And Time is stronger...


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