Tuesday, March 01, 2005

E.O. Wilson on human adaptation

"The noble savage, a biological impossibility, never existed. The human relation to nature is vastly more subtle and ambivalent, probably for this reason. Over thousands of generations the mind evolved within a ripening culture, creating itself out of symbols and tools, and genetic advantage accrued from planned modifications of the environment. The unique operations of the brain are the result of natural selection operating through the filter of culture. They have suspended us between two antipodal ideals of nature and machine, forest and city, the natural and the artifactual, relentlessly seeking, in the words of geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, an equilibrium not of this world."
This text is excerpted from Wilson's 1984 book, "Biophilia."

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