Subscribe Researchers at UCLA found that cells in the human anterior cingulate, which normally fire when you poke the patient with a needle "pain neurons"will also fire when the patient watches another patient being poked. The mirror neurons, it would seem, dissolve the barrier between self and others. I wonder how the mirror neurons of a masochist or sadist would respond to another person being poked. Dissolving the "self vs.
Discussing the nature of language and why it is so good at capturing the experience of being alive, he said: Language is an excellent way to understand the Universe, because language springs from the things it describes. Words have soul, he said. They possess a vitality that mirrors the inner life of the world, and this connection is the source of their power.
All forms of language implicitly deploy it. Poets are arguably more alert to it because they consciously seek it out. The English evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar summarises the main two approaches: Language meant that things could be explained and that plans and past experiences could be shared efficiently.
Such metaphors add colour to life but are essentially fanciful and inventive and, further, often lead to erroneous inferences about reality — say, that the wind is a spirit or the mountain a god.
The Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari is a prominent advocate of this view: A Brief History of Humankind It comes out of often misguided human brains. The working hypothesis goes something like this: Suddenly, the brain rewired. It allowed for a shift from the deployment of a few signs to the heady artfulness of speech and grammar.
It facilitated language proper, which could now emerge along with its many solution-solving, survival-aiding, practical advantages. It was like giving the mind a Swiss Army knife, says another champion of these evolutionary explanations, the Canadian-American cognitive scientist Steven Pinker in The Language Instinct Now the developing human brain began to make fanciful leaps from the words it had invented for physical objects.
It began using them to name the less tangible feelings of its mind and, in so doing, to manufacture immaterial, spiritual realities.
The fancifulness of this phase is a key part of the grunt theory, which generally assumes that early humans were wildly superstitious and so made all sorts of mistakes about the nature of reality.
They thought that winds were spirits, or mountains gods, and they are assumed to have been bonded together through these daydreams and delusions, which, often enough, helped them to survive. Finally — the theory continues — came literature, when words were redeployed solely to express the interior worlds of human beings.
This is the most dramatic instance we know of that exceptional phenomenon, consciousness, which somehow emerged out of an otherwise nonconscious cosmos. It should be said that many of the details of the pathway tracked by this kind of evolution of language are contested, with some who work in the area quietly admitting that, in truth, the origins of language remain as mysterious as the origins of life.
The grunt hypothesis, or something like it, rules. The Romantic theory of language suggests an alternative pathway.
Science would thus work not because it is true but because it provides a technological society with a common discourse that facilitates social bonding and survival-aiding byproducts. In short, if language deludes, science would be strewn with delusions, too.
Or to put it another way, the grunt theory saws off the branch it sits on. In his work as a philologist, Barfield discovered that words, so far as they can be traced back, never pointed to physical things alone or acted as arbitrary symbols.
They always seem to have had both physical and inner meanings, and to have had an aboriginal poetic charge. Thinkers as different as the American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson and the British utilitarian Jeremy Bentham took similar note.
Bentham summed it up in this way, in his posthumous Essay on Language Today, it has two distinct meanings. It refers to a physical organ, akin to a pump, housed a little on the left side of the chest cavity.
Only, the evidence points in the opposite direction. The felt meaning is as old as the word itself because, in ancient use, the heart is not regarded as a pump but as the seat of the emotions.
If metaphors were mere fancies of the individual brain, how could they have possibly caught on?
Plenty of evidence, therefore, implies that the evolution of language moves in the opposite direction to the grunt hypothesis. Inner meanings were there from the start. Now, such counterevidence can also be challenged. But a further reason for rejecting the grunt hypothesis can push back further.
It arises from considering the nature of metaphor, and the obvious observation that there is no point in having a simile or metaphor that is suggestive only to you. This is to say that if metaphors were, originally, mere fancies of the individual brain, and therefore chaotic and idiosyncratic, how could they have possibly caught on?One of the great challenges in molecular and evolutionary biology is to explain the link between giant evolutionary leaps, such as the colonization of land by plants or the emergence of vertebrates, and the underlying genetic and genomic changes.
The evolution of human intelligence is closely tied to the evolution of the human brain and to the origin of language. The timeline of human evolution spans approximately 7 million years, The "Great Leap Forward" leading to full behavioral modernity sets in only after this separation.
The Great Leap Forward, starting in , shifted authority toward the provincial- and lower-level territorial CCP bodies. During the Cultural Revolution, starting in , much of the political system became so disrupted that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was called in and assumed control.
The human evolution will become powerful and the process of the human evolution will be successful in future. The main driving force is behind the human evolution is that the evolution will occur while the genetic mutation can be passed throughout the generation of the human being.
Syndicate this Essay. Support Aeon Donate now Then, the hypothesis continues, there was a cognitive revolution or ‘great leap forward’, as the American anthropologist Jared Diamond calls it in Guns, Germs, Cultures & Languages Philosophy of Language Human Evolution.
25 September, Syndicate this Essay. Get Aeon straight to your. One suggests humanity made a great cultural leap forward roughly thousand years ago, during the "revolution" when humans hightailed it out of Africa and into Eurasia.