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« Net Energy and the Economy Biophysical Economics Meeting, 2011 | Main | Two Scenarios »

May 07, 2011


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Matthew Watkinson

Far too much subjective valuation here. 'Better' and 'worse' are not scientific concepts. They are extrinsic emotional assessments that only exist within human brains. You may care about the continued existence of humans, but the 'cosmic universe' couldn't care less. And you may care about knowledge and technology etc, but as all religious people conclusively prove, clinging to fantasy is as good a survival strategy as any other (85% of the world's population believes in divine imaginary friends). Indeed, a lot of 'knowledge' (beyond basic survival stuff) may just be another way of sending handicap signals to fellow humans, similar to those sent by peacock's via their extravagant tails; i.e. "I have lots of time and energy to spend learning stuff over and above that required to survive."

On the subject of progressive evolution, just like in the world economy, economies of scale (limited by the laws of physics) are the inevitable result of competition in a limited environment. Thus, single celled organisms have teamed up to create multicellular organisms to defeat their competitors and, when the laws of physics make further increases in the size of individual multicellular organisms impossible, multicellular organisms have then teamed up with other multicellular organisms to create social multicellular organisms. Relevant to this 'progressive' view of evolution are AJ Lotka's Maximum Power Principle and Lars Witting's work on denisty dependent competitive interactions.

George Mobus

Hi Matthew.

First I am not claiming this to be a scientific treatise. This blog was started for the express purpose of generating questions about subjects that are of importance to humanity, informed, I hope, by science, but not purporting to be science in its pure form.

What I am seeking is understanding, not mere factual knowledge. I am interested in the larger meaning of what the sciences tell us. Perhaps from that comes a more productive framework for thinking about those questions.

But let me ask you this. In characterizing value judgments as subjective, and implying they are no good to science, you have set up the historical straw man argument about the differences between subjective and objective. The former gets denigrated while the latter is elevated. But where do human (and personal) values come from if not arising as a natural process? Even if they arise in the brains of humans, they must have a purpose and cause. Is science forbidden from ever investigating these realms simply because of this ancient false dichotomy between subjective and objective? I should think our program ought to include reconciliation or consiliance of the seemingly different domains. Actually this is already in the program of a number of neuroscientists who recognize that despite the methodological problems, subjective experience needs to be accounted for when observing (objectively) behavior, especially in brain imaging studies.

Not sure what the relevance of your comment on religious people, etc. was.

Am familiar with MPP and competitive interaction theory, mostly through H.T. Odum's work. And my systems science book will go into the differences between cooperative vs. competitive logistics in fairly great detail.



George- this has to be one of your more Speculative and philosophical posts…!
I find it so interesting because I have been thinking along these lines for years and indeed have touched on these themes quite a few times( not always coherently) in my past comments.
Spot on with the evolutionary theory learned 20 years ago- things have moved on with epigenetic HGT adaptive mutation etc if a long way from Dawkinesq (how on earth did that guy become a intellectual giant of this culture?) selfish gene ideology (cultural assumptions projected onto zoological derived genetics)
Life is a chimera, it’s the balance of contained conflicts of competition and co-operation, co-operative gene swapping is ubiquitous in the world of viruses and bacteria.

It is quite possible to entertain teleological ideas without being reduced to the level of creationists, creationist like theologists depend on an external agency to animate, control or ‘wind up’ dead material rather than seeing matter as self complexifing and adaptive without needing supernatural forces to evolve and change. Indeed, after years I’ve found it more liberating and productive to think of ‘end causes’ or reasons, ‘whys’ to stimulate novel routes of inquiry. Remaining in the reductionist- nihilist random/absurd universe frame of mind requires so many convoluted ad-hoc rationalisations that it starts to resemble the very denial ideology they set out to abolish.
Adaptive evolution in humans since the arrival of agriculture is obvious in many studies. I believe western anthropologists (I’ve lost the link) tried living with native aborigine tribes living strictly on their hunter-gather diet and had to give up after 6 months or so because of health problems caused by mineral depletion, not because the aborigine diet lacked them, but because they did not have-or have lost the enzymes to extract them.
Anarchic pritivists like Derrick Jensen and John Zaran never bother to discuss or attempt to state what the social structure will be after the crash/collapse because they say that we will simply be forced to revert back to hunter-gather pre-civilised lifestyle and because we have done it in the past for so many millennia we don’t need to organise a any structure – it will happen naturally. This assumes a lack of biological dietary adoption in the last 10K years..

Thinking out loud teleologically one may be tempted to ask a few pertinent questions about this universes evolution…. The most obvious one is how and why a universe full of nothing but homogenous hydrogen plasma managed to converted itself in 13.7 billion years into a living planetary ecosystem complete with brains of sufficiently complexity to begin comprehend itself- self awareness. Is it really nothing more than the inevitable outcome of natural laws of physics, a random fluke which in a re-run could never be repeated. The problem with the million-monkeys-on-typewriters argument is explaining why they do not relapse into gibberish…the complexity meshes together too neatly to be random. If the rise of civilisation was a accident then why did it occur simultaneously and independently in geographically far apart locations?
Could it be that civilisation was a evolutionary necessary development to further emergent self awareness and complexity of the universe via humanity? Is it mere co-incident that all the raw materials necessary to power an industrial civilisation were ready waiting for the right species?
Look at the coincidences : millions of years Carboniferous Age to lay down oil and coal deposits, enormous fossil fuel deposits, metals that were so abundant near the earth's surface, that domesticable animals and plants suitable for agriculture were so accessible even that genes expressed only in higher animals were present in the genome hundreds of millions of years before they were ever needed and are still present in the form of junk DNA- maybe for future specisiation?
Is it possible to have the instruments of modern science which have expanded our consciousness of the universe, the telescopes satellites, the electron microscopes and gene sequencers the silicon chips without a huge global industrial machine to support it?
Of course there has been the terrible curses of civilization as well as the gifts, millions of exploited victims and perpetrators have paid the physical and psychological cost. Technology is not a justification to ignore these facts. For what purpose? Perhaps Self awareness is a cosmic imperative and Nature, the universe, even mathematical systems tendency toward increasingly complex order and, more significantly, organisation, could only be fulfilled by a differentiation of roles, of specialisation, within a complex industrial society?
Art and culture have expanded the consciousness within and through civilisation, the complexity of orchestral music and cinematic representation, the mass communication of artistic experiences have been enhanced by the technology of recording and mass media. This is a increase of emotional/cultural awareness of the universe via humanity.
But something has gone drastically wrong in the last 40 years or so, all the utopian technological dreams of the 50’s and 60’s have crumbled apart. The programme of control and domination of nature has hit the buffers..the world and nature are far more complex than those dreamers supposed. We now have crisis in multiple areas of civilization, environment resources and climate change, finance and money, medicine and new autoimmune diseases, society and globalization, education and culture ….everything gives a very good impression of falling apart at the seams.
Is this an accident or has this some environmental purpose?
Or could it be envisioned as humanities next evolutionary step in a collective transition to a higher level of organization? We all grasp that the old ways of thinking have reached their limits and that convergence of crises is the result of this wrong or inappropriate thinking. The old ways are so powerful and built into our whole system and money culture that perhaps only the destruction, the collapse or the enforced contraction is the only thing that could make us change our mode of living and thinking?
Like a drug addict who has to experience rock bottom to bring home the futility of their lives, before they can change.

The idea that the universe, and Earth, was pregnant with life, with intelligence, with civilisation, with the entire course of separation and reunion, from the very beginning is something I find fascinating..
I find it entertaining and illuminating to speculate that that the primordial planet was a fertile womb seeded by genetic material from space, this material encodes a program for the eventual rise of technological civilisation, the present crisis is a necessary and painful development to the next phase transition to a higher level of consciousness and life.

John D

As a layman with a mutual concern about mankind's future I find your articles fascinating. I like how you mix the scientific with philosophical musings.
It certainly is chilling to have the unique honor of being the first species to be able to matter-of-factly discuss our potential impending extinction.

Dean Robertson


I have a simple question.

Are Ants and Bees Intelligent, or just Humans that think they might be ?

What do you think ?


George Mobus


You've said it better than I could have! Bravo.

I just got through ordering "Principles of Social Evolution" by Andrew Bourke after reading a favorable review (by Stuart West) in Science, 25 Mar. 2011. From the review it sounds like he, you, and I are all on a similar wavelength. I hope to obtain more information on the 'science' behind some of these speculations that might satisfy Matthew's concerns!

Hi John D.

Thank you. As for our ability to discuss our own extinction, is this not somewhat similar to our ability to consider and think about our own personal demise? We don't like to talk about it, except that we make out wills because we recognize the inevitability of it.

I have an outline for a blog series, or possibly a book, tentatively titled: The Last Will and Testament of Homo sapiens. You can guess the theme and message!


Ant and bees are as intelligent as their econiches require. Since their adaptation as colony eusocial animals allows them to use collective intelligence to very great effect, each individual doesn't need to have much higher level intelligence that simple reactive response with short-term memory-based anticipation. See my research work on what I called a moronic snail, an "intelligent" robot called MAVRIC.



George; that looks like a very interesting book will have to place on my wish list.
Although I criticised Jensen and Zeran there are radical environmental writers who are thinking well in advance of the rest of us-they are visionaries who can articulate far better than I can the poetic depths of the crisis. Ran Prieur, Charles Eisenstein and, in England, Paul Kingsnorth.
Like a lot of people I become jaded with the incessant dismal failures of this insane society and cut myself off for a while but always return invigorated, after reading inspired words such as these:
Quote from Charles Eisenstein:
We have grown accustomed to enormously impoverished lives. Yet a buried memory remains of what life can and should be, a memory sometimes brought to the surface in those lucid moments of joy and connection. I speak to this memory and this knowing. I wish to remind myself and everyone that a far more beautiful world and life is possible, and that this possibility demands a revolution in human beingness.

My other interest (shared with Ran Prieur) is in finding how to create (or rather nurture the conditions which lead to) a society which mimics natural ecosystems in being decentralised with bottom-up adaptive connections, with no central controlling centre and loaded with redundancy to skirt around losses/adaptations.
All historic attempts to control society by top-down hierarchical structures have been dismal failures-as I’m sure you are aware.
This kind of society would be as different as the present one as an action man doll is to a human being. Our present globalised civilization has the lethal combination of low ecological complexity (monocrop agribusiness, Americanised cultural homogeneity etc) with high technological complexity which is prone to diminishing returns and an ever escalating regime of techncal fixes.
We should be aiming for high ecological complexity (diversity of small scale organic agriculture) with less technological complexity- or machines which again mimic natural cyclic modes of operation.

In this society there is no centralized organisation, each part is dependent on all the others, the most successful are those who best fulfill their function in meeting the needs of the whole. There are people with greater physical and mental powers naturally, but there is no hierarchical mechanism to leverage these internal powers into external powers written into the system.
The only ‘authority’ is when someone is respected for understanding something better than others.

Are we dreamers or visionaries?

Dean Robertson


So, Ants & Bees have their econiches, does Man have an econiche ? What is his/her intelligent purpose ?


Robin Datta

Experiencer, experiencing and experience are all predicated upon conscious awareness. That awareness, with accoutrements of experiencer, experiencing and experience is the one root of all individual sentiences and any universe(s) that they perceive in all complexity.

Every universe is predicated upon that awareness.


I like your musings and feel that you have woven a wonderful tapestry of the highest levels of thought.

I read Why Some Like it Hot on the coevolution of genes and human food culture. I have read much by Gary Paul Nabhan as I enjoy economic botany

I am not sure however once the fossil fuels are gone and the uranium and thorium that we will ever have the energy to visit other planets never mind other solar systems, If we can develop net energy fusion that could be a game changer.

We could then possibly explore emergent properties on other worlds!


@ larryshultz

Peak oil is not about fossil fuels being 'gone' - as far as petroleum geologists can tell, we've still got about half of them left, and it's likely that most of that will remain where it is for at least the next few centuries, if not millennia. The issue is that it's the half which is harder (more energy intensive) to extract.

The point is that, given the much lower population conditions Prof Mobus outlines in a possible sustainable 'ecotechnic future' (nod to John Michael Greer), it may well be possible at some point in the future to extract sufficient fossil fuels to kick start some sort of space program. At the least, perhaps a space elevator, and from there, space-based energy sources could take over.

In fact, this seems like a promising premise for a hard sci-fi novel, beginning with the cultural debate that such a society might undertake when it realizes that such a thing was possible - while at the same time *seeming* to violate the fundamental principles - sustainability - of the society. Hmmm....

George Mobus


I generally agree with your observations. Top-down structuring of hierarchies for management are not terribly successful. However that doesn't mean that hierarchical management structures are inappropriate. Natural complex adaptive systems need strategic, tactical, logistical, and operational subsystems in order to survive in complex, dynamic, and non-stationary environments. The difference between a top-down (engineered) structure and an evolved system is not that there are no hierarchies, but rather the bottom-up evolved hierarchies are organized by what works rather than what some one person thinks should work.

All complex human societies have been a mix of evolved structures and intentionally designed ones. As a species, our organizational tendencies are still evolving. We haven't quite figured it out. That compounded with the continued emphasis on political power, self-aggrandizement, etc., the current species' subconscious drives, causes the dysfunctions we see in hierarchical governance.

I suspect human society is on track to evolve to greater cooperation and much less competition and that we would see more natural and workable management/governance structures based on sapient cooperation. That is, after the bottleneck!

Visionary, I hope!


Certainly we have an econiche! It just happens to be extraordinarily broad in scope. As extreme omnivores with the ability to construct technology to protect ourselves from the elements we can invade nearly every kind of ecosystem. But that is our econiche.

I don't quite understand what you are asking about intelligent purpose.


Very Vedic!


I don't expect US (that is Homo sapiens to visit other worlds, or even have enough energy to leave this one for space. I could see a distant progeny, the eusapient, eventually finding sources of energy necessary to have a comfortable civilization for a reasonably small population.

I still hold out for cold or warm fusion (maybe the Bussard Polywell)! But I also think it would be best for Earth if the development (if possible) should wait until humans are much wiser than they are now.


What is going to change about the thermodynamics of extracting fossil fuels in the future that would allow future generations to extract some of the remaining resources? If our current technology cannot do it at sufficiently high EROI, what kind of future technology could be developed (especially given that our current ability to invent depends greatly on fossil fuels!) that would make future extraction practical?

Greer and I have a few things in common regarding the fits-and-starts undulating down side of peak. Where we differ is in the assumptions made about the rate of decline. I suspect Greer's assumptions were based on Hubbert's curve which shows a negative logistic that is really just a reflection of the shape of the up side. Hubbert had no real theory to support this and more recently the curve is coming under increasing criticism. My own theoretical (physics-based) model suggests a much steeper down side which, at some point, will likely trigger a financial meltdown re: continuing investments in low EROI oil. We could see a complete shut down of the tap as the wide-boundary EROI of the average barrel of oil gets below four or five.

Greer may also be assuming there will be a significant contribution from alternatives that will keep the total net energy curve from crashing. I have also modeled the addition of (probably unrealistic) alternatives assuming a WWII crash program and assuming very favorable EROIs (e.g. some of the claims made for wind). Even with this addition and aggressive growth rates for conversion, the starting base is simply too small to make any real effective change in the down slope of net energy over the next 100 years. Greer bases a lot of his assumptions on historical precedents for declines in other civilizations. But there is no precedent for global decline based on such radical diminishment of net energy.

OTH: I applaud Greer's attempts at getting people to think about relocalization, etc.



@ George

First, thanks as always for such an incisive and insightful post! I don't comment often, but I read each post, and deeply appreciate your views and intelligent and passionate explorations in so many diverse areas!

Regarding space flight in the future: it was mostly whimsy, my idea about future gens kick starting a space program.

But in response to your valid question, I would simply note that the looming inability to continue the fossil fuel extraction process has many fathers. It's not simply an ERoEI which is 'too high' in absolute terms. It is a function of the overall complexity in our society which sets that threshold (Tainter's diminishing returns at play).

For example, looking at the Limits to Growth system models, there are several factors interacting which render the diminishing ERoEI a problem. To take one example, the 'pollution' factor in that model will presumably diminish over time as GHGs slowly dissipate/are absorbed, such that this constraint in the model will change, thus changing the output curves (though feedback loops responding to those forcings may of course result in permanent shifts which render that assumption invalid). I can't but wonder what might happen if we played with that model in such a way as to figure out if we could jigger the constraints to attain some state where a one-shot attempt to bootstrap access to space might not become feasible. I'm not a systems guy (yet), so I don't know.

I'm imagining a concerted effort, undertaken by a future society (hundreds of millennia, or even millions of years from now?), to avoid a buildup in overall societal complexity, and focus solely upon building specific technologies needed to achieve that one goal. A sort of selective complexity, if you will, aligned with how that gets expressed in the systems models.

I don't maintain this is likely - I don't even know if it's possible (even if so, we'd need to have a helluva lot more sapience than we exhibit now! maybe the dolphins would help...) - which is why I characterized it as whimsical and cited it as a premise for a sci-fi novel! :)

If this notion is completely implausible, feel free to tell me so and in so doing crush my boyhood dreams of astronauts and space opera. ;-)

Regarding Greer: my sense is that he has often been misinterpreted - not to put words in his mouth, but I think his 'long descent' is really the idea that collapses of civilizations takes decades to play out, but he has advanced several times that the serial crises that comprise such a collapse can be swift, abrupt, and of severe magnitude. That is, it may be a matter of semantics.

I rather see this as similar to Horowicz's notion of catastrophic bifurcation, only iterative. To those of us living through it, such crises will be collapses. But from the macro-viewpoint of the human species that Greer takes, these will unfold over a long period of time.

On his blog this week, he actually responded specifically to a comment that expressed this same confusion (his recent posts indicate he thinks collapse is very near now - which seems to contradict the 'long descent' hypothesis) - unfortunately, the blog platform ate that comment and Greer's clarifying response. :( I probably did a miserable job trying to remember what he said.

I also think Greer's focus on the immediate need for cultural conservation (esp. of appropriate tech toolkit) implies a rejection of the linear decline' case.

I think that you and he are much closer on this than you may think. It would be interesting for the two of you to put your heads together and find the points of similarity and departure, and to understand the factors which underlie the latter. I for one would welcome the insights that might spring from such a meeting of two brilliant and thoughtful minds.


Should have noted: Horowicz explains catastrophic bifurcation in his FEASTA paper entitled 'Tipping Point", located here:


What if the Anglo-American Power Elite had determined as long as 30-40 years ago that 80-90% of the human ape population are not worthy of the next evolutionary step forward (or backward), and that their self-selected academic, scientific, corporate, political, and mass-media elite influentials have been preparing the mass mind for one or more events that would result in the culling of the world human ape population by 80-90% over a generation or less?

What would be the most efficient methods for permanently ridding the planet (and the Power Elite) of 8-9 out of 10 of us in a relatively short period of time?

A series of worldwide nuclear detonations disguised as asteroid strikes?

A global false flag operation in which hostile "extraterrestrials" from the Rings of Uranus detonate neutron bombs or use millions of alien-shaped drones and alien-like fighter ships to take out billions of people in a War of the Worlds-like attack? The survivors would be left to die from their injuries, disease, and starvation?

And after the population is so thoroughly terrorized, the remnant unnecessary population is offered free passage on spacecraft to escape or into underground shelters that are processing centers where they are herded into death chambers and exterminated. Possible?

A highly virulent pathogen is released in the air and water supplies over large metropolitan centers? Those who survive are deemed too contagious to live and are killed on sight, burned in mass graves, or allowed to die from disease and starvation?

What kind of global economic, political, and social conditions would be required for the Power Elite to be compelled to carry out such actions on a regional or global scale?

Would people be allowed to volunteer to be exterminated in a humane way?

While this sounds like some nightmarish sci-fi movie plot, at 7 billion people and counting, Peak Oil, peak oil exports, and food insecurity rising dramatically, I'm not so sure that this would not be a practical solution, and I might even consider volunteering to do my part to avoid living the nightmare.


I keep forgetting to ask your opinion of the 'Left in the dark' theory of brain development.

Briefly this states that humanity is suffering from a progressive neurodegenerative condition that has distorted our perception and altered our sense of self.

Apparantly this is gaining increasing acceptance- many scientists are intrigued and there is considerable anacdodal evidence to back this radical idea; there have also been a few articles for the layman in Psychology today etc.

George Mobus

Hi Oz.

I've sent Greer messages on several occasions, as I do get down to Ashland from time to time and thought it would be nice to chat. He has never responded so my guess is he is not interested since I have suggested a much faster and steeper decline than I thought he was describing.

I'm always open to discussion though!

Thanks for the link. I will try to get to checking out Horowicz soon.


How would this "power elite" function or continue to live high on the hog without a slave class to produce the wealth they consume? Would they actually want to eliminate the workers knowing that that would be like killing the goose that lays the golden egg? Of course, if they are stupid enough to have let the world get into this condition in the first place they would be stupid enough to cut off their own noses despite their faces!


I will need to read more. At first glance, however, it seems the rhetoric being used is a bit sensationalistic, which tends to excite my QE senses! I will pursue it and try to get back to you.

That there are anomalies in our psychological models is now well understood. The Heuristics and Biases program (Kahneman & Tversky) that is uncovering many previously overlooked failings in our so-called rational selves demonstrates that the human brain is much less able than many had previously thought.

There is also some growing evidence that we have been evolving toward a more collective/cooperative-based perception of ourselves and the world (similar to the Asian world view of the role of the individual in the collective). We seem to be headed toward needing multiple minds working on problems that might have required only one mind a hundred generations ago, or so. That is intriguing as well.

The idea that neurodegeneration is somehow at play seems to imply an excuse that we are getting 'worse' in some sense, as if we were once 'better' in that same sense. My own thoughts tend toward the idea that we were headed in the 'right' direction (more sapience) but got side railed by our inventiveness and since the advent of agriculture, have not had strong selection forces pushing us further in that direction.

Degeneration, on the other hand, seems to require some negative selection or poisons! I'll have to read more, though.


Matthew Watkinson

Dear George,

You have successfully confused me by claiming a genuine, non-sophistic and non-semantic difference between 'understanding' and 'knowledge'. And indeed by claiming that the existence of subjective feelings might mean they define the subjects to which they are applied in some way. I do not doubt that subjective feelings exist and can be studied (it was extremely disingenuous of you to suggest that because they are extrinsic to their subjects I don’t think they can be studied as natural processes that are intrinsic to themselves, perhaps even in a straw-man argument type of way), and that objective valuations are no better than subjective valuations in the great scheme of things (objective values are only important if you’re trying to reach objective conclusions, which I mistakenly assumed you were trying to do: “question everything – particularly those things for which there is no answer”), but I also do not doubt that the cause or purpose of a subjective feeling does not change the objective value of the creator or subject. You are clearly very attached to the “blazing star” of humanity for example, but who or what exactly would miss this “blazing star” if the species became extinct (beyond our parasites and viruses of course, which would also then be extinct probably)? My suggestion is that nothing would miss it and that the only way humans, like yourself, can suggest that our extinction would be “cosmically tragic” because we’re a “blazing star” (self-declared) is because of self-importance generated by circular logic (“I think humans are important because they can make spaceships so we are important because we make spaceships.”). Yes, it may be perfectly natural and biologically rational for humans, and indeed all other sentient entities, to inflate their own importance, but that doesn’t mean any of us actually are all that important.
In summary, I really thought “question everything” might also refer to you questioning your own beliefs. Thus I erroneously waded into a subjective debate that you don’t particularly want to solve. Now I know, I will leave you to lament the possibility that planet earth will one day be full of life that doesn’t contain Homo sapiens, safe in the knowledge that we won’t succeed (whether we “have to” or not) and that planet earth will still be absolutely amazing anyway (the planet will still be of life for goodness sake (for a while anyway)! How will that ever be diminished by anything, never mind the loss of the most narcissistic species ever to walk upon its surface?!).

Question nothing that you already believe peeps. It’s much easier that way.

Kind regards,


George Mobus



...never mind the loss of the most narcissistic species ever to walk upon its surface?!

Now tell me again about beliefs that don't get questioned. Truly(?) narcissism or simply lack of something else (my candidate remains sufficient sapience, but to each their own)?

Since I don't think I said or implied that there would be anyONE to miss us if we departed, I think you have mischaracterized my meaning. The reason I labeled it a tragedy is that it would go against the larger scale pattern of evolution. I understand your proclivity to be satisfied with the animals that will be left behind having then a more "natural" condition without man around to force select them to man's desires. I would like to suggest that this insight of yours may or may not hold a great deal of validity, but you certainly hold it to be truth and that motivates comments like the above. In other words look into a mirror before projecting onto others.

Having said that I will still maintain my link to Fishsnorkle's plug for critical thinking, which I have on my academic home page. It is one of the best treatments of the subject I've seen and I recommend it to all of my students.


[EDIT: I got to thinking more about the "most narcissistic species" line. That would imply there are less narcissistic species than humans. I wonder which ones. Is there a minimal level of narcissism for species. And, finally, what does it mean for a species (as opposed to an individual) to be narcissistic? Is there a gene for it that has spread throughout the gene pool? Just saying...]


Projecting an individual personality trait on to whole species smacks of scale chauvanism...:-)

Matthew; I would suggest it is the universes emergent self comprehension through the human brain (the only known site) which confers significance on humanity not above other life forms, but unique nevertheless.

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