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Evolution feeds on itself

In The Red Queen Matt Ridley[43] gives a fascinating example of the evolution creating capabilities to deal with other products of evolution. He describes the evidence that sex evolved to deal with pathogens. The value of quickly spreading a gene that confers immunity justifies the many disadvantages of having to find a mate to reproduce. The extraordinary long term advantages to evolution are irrelevant in the short term. The evidence suggests that in the absence of pathogens asexual reproduction always wins out in the short run eliminating those individuals that need to find a partner to reproduce.

Most of the environment that we interact with to survive is created by evolution. The capacity for language is one example. It has become increasingly clear that we are primed to learn language at a particular age. If a child is not exposed to language at this time it becomes impossible to lean language later. Language is useful only for dealing with people who share a common language.

Evolution seems to boot strap itself to higher levels of creativity. With sufficient diversity it creates environments in which complex structures evolve that have no meaning outside of the environment populated by highly evolved beings. There is no way to extrapolate from any stage of evolution to what may be meaningful and important at much later stages.

It is inevitable that evolutionary structures have evolved to facilitate the creative nature of evolution. Perhaps the most obvious is human culture. By creating beings capable of both cooperation and competition evolution has tapped into an enormous creative force that may completely transform evolution itself. It is this fundamentally creative aspect of evolution that suggest the possible importance of all levels in the hierarchy of mathematical truth. Carl Jung had an intuitive sense of the connection between the creative forces of the psyche that he called archetypes and mathematics.


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Next: Number and Archetype Up: Applying mathematics to consciousness Previous: Levels of structure and   Contents


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