The Evolution of Change
수정일 2017년 06월 22일 목요일
등록일 2018년 12월 31일 월요일

Change has been around since the beginning of time.

The discomforts of change have plagued the human species for thousands upon thousands of years.

In 1981 David H.Hubel  (February 27, 1926 – September 22, 2013-was a Canadian neurophysiologist noted for his studies of the structure and function of the visual cortex.) and Torsten N.Wiesel a Swedish neurophysiologist, were each awarded a ¼ share of the Nobel Prize.

*The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1981 was divided, one-half awarded to Roger W.Sperry "for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres", the other half jointly to David H.Hubel and Torsten N.Wiesel "for their discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system".

What Hubel and Wiesel did was demonstrate to what degree the structure and function of the mammalian brain is shaped after birth by stimulation from the environment.  Several decades of others' research have confirmed this as well, showing how when visual data come in through the eyes and surgically rerouted to the auditory cortex in newborn ferrets, the animals are able to see what is basically the brain's listening part.  What happens is the auditory receiving cells rearrange themselves completely so they will look like a normal visual cortex, rather than maintain the natural tonotopic organization.  Also, some recent study research has shown the eyes are not even fully necessary to see.  A camera can be used to send electrical impulse patterns to through the tongue creating a picture much like light patterns do for a television screen.

There are two differences between humans and animals here when it comes to post-natal neuroplasticity.  Humans' brains are more immature when they are born and therefore more susceptible to being shaped by environment and for longer periods of time.  The second difference is that humans are the only mammals which continue to shape and reshape their environments that in turn shape its brain.  These two powerful differences in tandem are the base of cultural evolution as well as most features of human brains, behavior, and communities.

The first tool set went unmodified for 1.8 million years.

Hominid's tamed fire turning cold to warm and dark to light.  The also created some stone tools that helped them feed themselves as well as do the required labor just to survive.  Neanderthals and Homo sapiens (modern humans) both have evidenced a complex mental life with imagination and abstraction.  These two are the last hominids to evolve.  However with these capabilities innovation was still extremely slow compared to nowadays.  Cave paintings detailing the history of devices and tools hominids used went 26,000 years without significantly changing.

Ten to twelve thousand years ago the invention of animal husbandry and farming began the beginning to show an accelerated innovation process freeing up more time from working on food production to be able to learn special skills that allowed for a general acceleration in innovative techniques.

Human-made worlds shape our brains.The highly plastic human brain and the mind of children are shaped by the prominent features of the man-made rearing environment.   What this does is work to create a match between our external world and our internal neuropsychological structure.  We feel much more comfortable and harmonious when this is maintained according to decades of research.  This explains why we tend toward behaviors that make our internal worlds as consistent with our external worlds as much as possible.  Ignoring or not remembering information with which we disagree, or spending time around like minded people are examples of this.  But as innovation starting accelerating a new dimension came to the table.  The altering of the rearing environment, which means the brains of babies now slightly differed from that of their parents for the first time and thus began a new cycle.  As an elderly midwife from the Ariaals, nomadic cow herders from the Ndoto Mountains in Kenya told a National Geographic reporter, "We send our children to school and they forgot everything.It is the worst thing that ever happened to our people." This is the way of human beings.

Giselle Rances 기자
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