Are we the ghost or the machine?
Thursday, February 07, 2008
We are conscious beings. We are at a point in history where the secrets of the universe and life itself are within our reach. So rethinking our place in geo-history is part of the curious few.
To put humanity in a new perspective (new, if you are unfamiliar with Richard Dawkins works), read the following paragraph and think of what
is in control of what
(Dawkins, 1986, pp. 126-127):
...DNA molecules are at the center of a spectacular information technology. They are capable of packing an immense amount of precise, digital information into a very small space...with astonishingly few errors...for a very long time, measured in millions of years.
The lifetimes of DNA messages (give or take a few mutations) are measured in units ranging from millions of years to hundreds of millions of years...Each individual organism should be seen as a temporary vehicle, in which DNA messages spend a tiny fraction of their geological lifetimes.
I ask again, are we the ghost or the shell?
I find little comfort in the concept of humanity being a virus-carrier, where the payload is this DNA thing that seems to be indestructible thus far; so it seems that we study 2000 years of written history to make ourselves the center of the whole Universe.
It's humbling to think of Homo sapiens as the culmination of millions of years of evolution, when in fact we share a large portion of our DNA with your local swamp mosquito
. Sure we have the internets and all, but the purpose of both species seems to be the same--at least from DNA's perspective. Or is it?References
Dawkins, R. (1986). The Blind Watchmaker
. London, England: Penguin Books Ltd.