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  • Writer's pictureArnold Schroder

#64.1-3: Metamorphosis pt. 3: Your Body Is a Map of the Sky

(06/21/2023) #64.1: The Rupture in the Fabric of Reality Model of Human Cognition. We continue to assess our future evolutionary prospects, this time picking up the story of the human journey where Homo sapiens emerges. Anatomically modern humans have existed for ~300 thousand years, but modern behavior is only evident starting ~100 thousand years ago. We examine this evolutionary process by describing humanity's unique capacities as an intensification of traits we share with other animals. We look at the ritual behavior of chimpanzees, the symbolic world of Neanderthals, and the increasingly elaborate sequences of abstraction that characterize human thought. We examine how for millennia human societies developed and lost traits repeatedly, in regional cycles of cultural growth and collapse, until 100 thousand years ago ... something happened.

#64.2: Integration across Landscapes and Brain Regions. We continue the story of humanity's journey to modern thought and behavior, examining how a mosaic of both cultural and anatomical traits existed throughout Africa for ~200 thousand years. Then, this patchwork of cultures and anatomies fused, a process of integration that is also reflected in increasing brain connectivity. We see how isolated populations lose traits, but connected ones generate feedback loops of characteristically human tendencies: tolerance, social comprehension, communication, behavioral flexibility, and mobility all encourage one another. We also introduce the notion of the vocabulary of temperaments, the features such as neurotransmitters and brain regions shared by complex animal life, giving us a common language of rapid, novel responsiveness to environmental conditions, henceforth official Fight Like An Animal nomenclature.

#64.3: Your Body Is a Map of the Sky. We examine the neurobiological changes that brought archaic Homo sapiens into behavioral modernity, despite negligible changes in brain size. We see how complex symbolic capacities are embedded in anatomy and behavior, and describe the human brain's progressive change to a more globular shape, the increase in our neural density, and the expansion of the parietal lobe, a part of the brain relentlessly dedicated to integration. We see how we conceptualize social interactions, tools, and environments by projecting our own bodies externally, blurring the ostensible boundary between world and self. Finally, we examine the putative mythologies and rituals of ancient African peoples, reconstructed from contemporary hunter-gatherers, with their emphasis on fusions of identity and flows of power between social categories.

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