autonomy v. automaticity (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 21:30 (284 days ago) @ dhw

Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, is one of the most original thinkers in neuroscience today. Recently, he sat down with The WorldPost to discuss his new book, “The Strange Order of Things.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2018/02/28/culture/?utm_term=.f3860...

An excerpt from the interview:

"..... the imperative of homeostasis that was already hard at work in creatures without nervous systems, minds, consciousness or feelings. Bacteria are a good example of such simple creatures. In violation of what could be logically expected, those creatures already exhibited social strategies that were laying the groundwork for what became feelings and cultures in the proper sense.

***

"WorldPost: Do creatures such as bacteria know what they are doing or why?
Damasio: No, they do not. They do what they do because they are made to, imperiously, by nature, under the mandate of their homeostasis.

***

"WorldPost: But isn’t the fact that all living creatures share the same biological roots a way of denying human exceptionalism?
Damasio: Not at all. It is a fact that we share homeostatic regulation and genetic systems with all other living creatures. Still, there are many reasons to consider humans exceptional. For example, we experience pain, suffering or pleasure to a degree that has been amplified and deepened by memories of our individual past and by memories of what we anticipate for the future. That particular capacity to feel in the context of individual, acquired experience, along with our unique capacity to invent, sets us apart from all other living creatures."

Comment: My point of view, exactly.


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