Friday, May 19, 2006

we humans...

What it is about humans, that lets us understand other minds, do math and science, cheat evolution by changing our environment, and speculate about itself in philosophy.

Philosophers debate about the limits of understanding. for example, how could we know either that there are or that there are not things for ever beyond our grasp? But it is easier to be amazed at its scope.

Why should an average mammal on a peripheral planet be able to understand the nature of preceding creatures millions of years back, the interior of stars, the laws of nature, the early moments of the whole universe?

That is far in excess of what we need in order to get by, as the other animals (who do not reciprocate our interest in them) get by.

The most astounding thing in the world, it may seem, is that we can understand it and the creatures within it. So much understood so recently. Yet the brains of Stone Age people were as capacious as ours. I wonder if they felt the same way.