15 Comments

This understates the case: "Take fire, for instance. … An ever-increasing amount of what makes human beings reproductively successful is external to our physical bodies ... Indeed, our physical bodies can get, in some senses, less fit."

Control of fire allowed humans to pre-digest food externally. As a result, the human intestine shrank. People literally cannot survive without external digestion (either fire or fermentation). The downsizing of the intestine seems to have started with Homo Erectus. If that's true, external digestion is a defining characteristic of being human, as much as language or tool use. (CF Richard Wrangham.)

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Aug 23, 2023Liked by Julian Gough

Well, I’m in! Just subscribed after hanging in the fringe for a while. The de Chardin reference (I was introduced to his existence thru Annie Dillard’s For the Time Being) as well as your patient and honest response to a query I made several weeks ago have sealed the deal. Looking forward to the ride.

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Aug 11, 2023Liked by Julian Gough

Julian, have you read "the evolution of everything" ... it's a great step by step explanation of how we got here, and taking it one step further (backward?) is a natural extension!

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Just like termites are symbiotic with bacteria, or actually archaea, specifically methanogens called Methanobrevibacter

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Aug 11, 2023Liked by Julian Gough

I love this! Thank you! It's totally new to me. Mind Blown!

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The principles of Multi-level selection are also applicable on our own minds. Take the materialist bias, which has resulted in a removal of agency for pretty much all beings (as well as opened for arguments that humans lack free will) and reduced them to automatons. I can see many examples of how that bias, which is programmed into pretty much all westerners due to our cultural history, shows up in higher levels (e.g. the way we perceive women’s and men’s roles in society, or our relationship to animals and nature). I would say that noosphere suffers a bit from this, since it excludes non-human lifeforms and creates a dichotomy akin to medicine’s mind vs body, but on a planetary level.

side note: I believe this is related to entheogens and their facilitation of ego dissolution. It’s also interesting that a meta study shows that entheogens do shift people’s perception towards oneness.

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Hi Julian, I’m quite new to your substack but I’m really enjoying reading your ideas about the evolved universe! The way you can explain the tendency for increased complexity in the universe without the woo-woo, as you say, resonates with me. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more :)

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Aug 16, 2023·edited Aug 16, 2023

Highly reminiscent of Deleuzian / DeLanda Assemblages

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