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Allan's Philosophy Podcast

Sunday, January 3, 2010


We all passed Biology (hopefully). We learned about Darwinian evolution and how organisms are always becoming more complex and advanced (although I don't 100% agree with Darwinian evolution, but that's a different topic for a different note). If humans are the most complex and advanced organisms on Earth, why is that so? What is it about us that makes us so much more advanced compared to other organisms? I've thought about this for a while and decided that it's our ability to communicate that separates us from other organisms. No other organism has developed a language as complex and intricate as ours, our potential for being literate and being able to communicate both orally and through written works is undeniably far more advanced than any other organisms form of communication. It's our ability to communicate that makes us the species most capable of surviving.

Keeping in mind that our ability to communicate is what separates us from other organisms, we need to look at how other organisms operate. Basic organisms, such as cells and bacteria, communicate using chemical reactions and electrical currents. Cells release certain chemicals and hormones in the body to send messages, and nerves use electrical currents to relay information from the brain to other cells. Bacteria, once again, release chemicals to communicate with other bacteria. Then we have more sophisticated organisms, like dogs and other animals. These more sophisticated and more advanced organisms have a more advanced way of communicating. Dogs use verbal communication of barking pitch and nonverbal communication of body language to communicate with other dogs. A dog that wants to tell another dog that he is ready for a fight will use a deep, harsh bark and aggressive body language, while a dog who wants to tell another dog not to hurt him will use a soft bark or whimper and retreat into a submissive position. The same is true for most other animals. They have a very limited verbal communication ability and utilize nonverbal body language to make up for it. Humans on the other hand, have a good grasp on both verbal and nonverbal communication. Our verbal languages are complex and intricate, and our body language can also be utilized to reinforce our points. We also use written language to convey messages and meanings. Under Darwinian evolution, all these organisms will gradually develop more complex ways of communicating. Dogs and animals will develop better verbal communication skills under Darwinian evolution and cells and bacteria will find a more complex way than chemical reactions to send messages. How will humans continue to evolve and develop better communication ability then?

In order to answer that last question, we have to look at the shortcomings of our current form of communication. The most glaring problem with our current communication as a species is miscommunication. One person will mean to say one thing and the other person will see it as something totally different. This is not just in verbal communication. We cannot read eachothers body languages perfectly either. How many times has someone come up to you and told you you look depressed when nothing's wrong? That's a form of miscommunication. Our next form of communication we develop through Darwinian evolution would help to eliminate this problem. That form of communication would be a communal conscience. Think of it as mind-reading, but not so personally invasive. A communal conscience would allow us, as people, to understand what each other are thinking. We would all completely understand how the other person is thinking. I don't know if that would be psychically or telepathically or how it would be done, but to me, that's the next logical step that will be made. A communal conscience that allows us to understand how the people around us are thinking. Not what they are thinking, but how they are thinking. It would cut down intolerance and misunderstandings. Think of it this way. The chemical reactions of the bacteria limit what the bacteria are able to say. The nonverbal communication of the animals limit how they can express themselves in precise langauge. They can only give the other dog an idea of what they are thinking or feeling. Our verbal, written, and nonverbal language allow us to express ourselves fully, but not in a way that everyone else understands. A communal conscience would help solve that last problem. I am convinced that one day, humans will develop a way to understand how one another think. Not what someone is thinking, but how they are thinking.

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