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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Potential revisited

The difference between a 3-month old human and ‘little apes’ is ‘potential’—what baby humans possess and what the little apes don’t. Leaving university vocabulary behind, I would say baby humans have a very advanced CPU, not simply ‘hardwired’ —- for the human brain isn’t hardwired, it is ‘fluid-wired’ with the potential to grow evermore complex, not only from generation to generation, but within the lifespan of each human brain. But that very advanced CPU has little potential without the software to drive it. As research on feral children have shown, the potential of the human brain is wasted, the ‘wild child’ advances very little beyond a very clever ‘little ape’ … alas, given a mother, that baby immediately begins to ‘download’ software to drive that CPU/brain. And a father and immediate family adds more software for the tiny brain to process and adapt to, and the neighborhood provides even more variety of ‘programming’ to the CPU to work with, yet the fledgling CPU in a baby's skull haven’t even begun to reach its potential. Ever more circles of community input more software into the tiny brain, software that becomes ‘fluidware’ that interacts with itself. Slowly from potential springs forth a mind, and even yet more potential is ever present and awaits that which will feed it. And what became of our dear ‘little apes’? I would say that they have not the ‘image of God’ as we humans have. The image of God? For those who view everything in evolutionary terms, perhaps you can think of this as that point in human evolution when humans first became self aware, when they first could think of themselves as apart from their surroundings, and therefore could make decisions for themselves, that first dawning of freewill. The Biblical genesis story paints this picture as Adam and Eve and a fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Or perhaps you could call it the tree of loss of innocence? Evolution or Biblical story, humans crossed over from being unaware of selfness to self awareness, from union with nature to apartness from nature. So, it is we humans who are created in God’s image and thereby have the potential to act like God, in that potential brings the gift of creativity, and with creativity we can experience on a minuscule scale the joy of creation.

1 comment:

Communion of Glitches said...

I've read interpretations of the Genesis creation story that linked the events in Adam and Eve's lives to the maturation of a human being. Adam names all the creatures like a child calls the name of everything s/he sees. Adam and Eve go through a teenage-like stage of rebellion followed by the mature adult task of work and family. Your post made me think of this metaphor.