CONCLUDING REMARKS: AFTER AND BEYOND THE GREAT MOSAIC EYE
1. In the Descent of Man Darwin explained everything (or nearly everything) except the central question, why and how did man, humanity, become man with the astonishing powers and accomplishments that we have seen, in evolutionary terms, over a remarkably short period? Why did man not remain a rather second-class ape, like his cousins, the gorilla and the chimpanzee? 2. Beyond the Great Mosaic Eye, the creation and preservation of all history and culture through language, we are now advancing, have advanced, to the Great Mosaic Mind, the great extended brain of humanity in a quite different sense from the massive computer brain expected by Olaf Stapledon. The great mind of humanity is more like Amiel’s expectation: “On finira par tâter le pouls à l’espéce et au globe aussi facilement qu’à un malade. L’activité sera convertie en conscience; Gée s’apercevra elle-même.” “We shall come to feel the beating of the heart of the species and of the world as a whole as easily as we can that of an invalid. Activity will transformed into consciousness and the World will perceive itself”. We are evolving, have evolved, to impose our own form of Intelligent Design on evolution, replacing or incorporating natural selection as part of the design. Humanity collectively is gaining possession of the logos. 3. The Ascent of Intelligence has resulted, in large part, from the interplay between language, an individual and collective social faculty, and the world. From the fabric and the processes of the material world we weave the fabric and processes of our minds; we structure - restructure our brains, as children’s brains are restructured to accord with the world in which they find themselves. Language is our external brain, mirroring the world, patterned in time and space. Language gives us something like a Universal Machine, a machine which can do, can tell us how to do, anything we choose. 4. The present generation is at one of the climactic points in human and world evolutionary history. Other climactic events, many linked to language, have been bipedalism, the oncoming of speech, early writing, printing, telecommunication, the computer, the internet, satellite vision, even the incessant conversation of the world with instruments such as twittering, facebook and so on. We can look back billions of years before the advent of life and of humanity; we can look forward billions of years to the end, no doubt, of life and the end of humanity. What is already here is the world mind. 5. Shakespeare in one of his plays (Measure for Measure) referred to the Glassy Essence, the human mind as feeling and reason, memory and prediction. We look in our glassy essence almost as though we are looking at a television screen or at a film but the screen is shaken by the emotions of the body (cf. William James), We see as in a mirror, somewhat darkly, against the background structure of the brain, against our internal structures of memory and expectation, the mirroring by the brain of the external world. 6. The brain is a network of neurons, a network of synapses, an intranet. What is happening, has happened, is that our individual intranet is linked with a massive extranet, not only the computer internet but the internet of human minds, of human brains. The characteristics of the individual human mind and brain have been enlarged, extended, not only symbolically or figuratively but in reality to the whole human mass, the whole human aggregation of neurons, of brain cells. With this comes not only the sharing of knowledge, of thought, but the sharing of feeling, the sharing of the responses of others, of the predicaments of others, of the life of others. There is my feeling now and all others’ feeling now. Feeling is life. 7. Put almost as a slogan, there is an advance in progress from the (existing) United Nations to the developing United Humanity. Not only do we share across the world our perception of events, our interests in athletics, football, baseball or cricket, in music or films, in ‘celebrities’, but the motivations, the sentiments of right and wrong, of the rest of the world. We are oppressed by cruelty and suffering, by the catastrophes and calamities of others, by concern for the physical and animate world we live in. Empathy is part of the human system. 8. We are all part of the common fate of the planet we live on, its future in the cosmic system. Humanity collectively can now be seen as a new Noah’s Ark, travelling across the unimaginable extents of space and time, maybe through the emptiness of existence, as a firework display in eternity (if one accepts eternity). We can cast our seeds in all possible forms into the future. The whitewater torrent of evolution, global and cosmic. is carrying us onward as it has carried us in the past. The self-complexification of matter continues along with the complexification of the individual mind and of the world mind in parallel. At the same time we recognise that each of us as an individual is no more than a point in time and space but perhaps an observing point, a feeling point each a point of view among billions of other points of view, looking out into existence and inward, into our own mind and feeling. All this despite the reality that we are temporary patterns, turbulences of electrons and protons, soon to disappear like ripples on a pool, dissipating but perhaps not finally extinguishing, leaving something behind in the great pattern of time and space, in Minkowski’s continuum. Nothing of what has been can change into Nothing as Parmenides declared over two thousand years ago. You cannot say you never were.
9. And there is much else, some in presentations that cannot be repeated in this book:
Time and Consciousness, La Mettrie and Man as Machine Language as a Mirror of the World,
The Scientific Mind, The Power of Poetry, The Stuff of Thought, Brain Lexicon and Syntax
(all accessible via the url:percepp.com).
There are two other special topics to be pursued in greater depth: A. the significance of affordances in the functioning of the brain, that is the almost automatic relation between the perception or naming of an object and the action triggered by it B. how if any individual or all individuals make the effort (it is explained how, elsewhere) to experience the motor relation between each word and the action or sound associated with it, it can give them a totally new and exciting relation to their own language and their contact with the real world.