Unreal Nature

April 4, 2015

The Naked Eye

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:49 am

This is from Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution by Lynn Margulis (1998):

… “convention” penetrates more deeply than we tend to admit. Even if we lack a proper name for and knowledge of the history of any specific philosophy or thought style, all of us are embedded in our own safe “reality.” Our outlooks shape what we see and how we know. Any idea we conceive as fact or truth is integrated into an entire style of thought, of which we are usually unaware. Call the cultural constraints “trained incapacities,” “thought collectives,” “social constructions of reality.” Call the dominating inhibitions that determine our point of view whatever you wish. They affect all of us, including scientists. All are saddled with heavy linguistic, national, regional, and generational impediments to perception. Like those of everyone else, the scientist’s hidden assumptions affect his or her behavior, unwittingly directing thought.

… All beings alive today are equally evolved. All have survived over three thousand million years of evolution from common bacterial ancestors.

… Yes, humans have indeed evolved, but not just from apes or even from other mammals. We evolved from a long line of progenitors, ultimately from the first bacteria.

Most evolution occurred in those beings we dismiss as “microbes.” All life, we now know, evolved from the smallest life-forms of all, bacteria. We need not welcome this fact. Microbes, especially bacteria, are touted as enemies and denigrated as germs. Microbes, in fact, are any live beings — algae, bacteria, yeast, and so forth — seen more accurately with a microscope than as smudges or scum with the naked eye.

“… [T]he scientist’s hidden assumptions affect his or her behavior” — this applies to Margulis as much as everybody else.

-Julie

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