TECHNOCRATIC MONOCULTURALISM - EVOLUTIONARY FORCE

Dedicated to my wife Marija

Bozidar Bruce YERkOVICH

Some of you are probably wondering what a biologist is doing among such distinguished anthropologists and cultural historians, scientists going deep down into human history?! Well, biologists go even further down memory lane, long before Homo sp. existed. Some of us are making the journey to the beginning of time. My interests are in understanding how evolution as a whole shaped our species. Furthermore how mythology acts as an evolutionary force (Groves 2005) and how technological explosion that human species experienced during the last 150 years is directing our biological evolution (Smil 2005). To put things into the context of time, let us look at figure 1. It represents human evolution during the last 1.5 million years. The left side of the figure marks the time of the rise of Homo erectus and the right side of the time line represents the present time. You will also notice the year 1850. marked, which roughly represents the time 50 years after the use of steam engines took hold and 50 years before wide spread usage of the internal combustion engines. Also that year, the first inexpensive industrial process for mass-production of steel from the molten pig iron was inFig. 1: Timeline troduced and therefore that year is often recognized as the representing beginning of the rapid technological development of the huhuman evolution man species (Smil 2005). After our species started successsince the advent fully molding iron it became able to rapidly create tools and of Homo erectus. machines that in return powered fast technological development of our civilization. If we look at time from 1850. until today, we see it spans roughly 150 years. If we look at time from the beginning of our diagram until today, it spans 1.5 million years. The ratio between those two timeframes is 1 in 10,000. This means that humans as a species spent 10,000 times more time walking the Earth, than driving the Earth. If we take Fig. 2: that time and project it on a 24-hour clock (figure 2), where Evolutionary 1.5 million years represent 24 hours, it turns out that 150 timeline of years represent only last 8 seconds of the human history. Homo spapiens This means that we have been subject to technological revorepresented lution for 8 seconds, while human species have developed as a 24-hour clock. See text under the influence of Mother Nature alone for the rest of for detailed time, since its inception. Eight seconds is the time it takes explanation. to inhale and exhale once. Speaking from an evolutionary stand-point, the technological revolution we are witnessing 151

At contrary. In most parts of the world. This behavior is not exclusive to birds only. burping of children is considered a necessary sign that food has been received well by the stomach. Yet in private we often rely on it. especially in formal situations. traits and knowledge. In western society intuition is publicly not accepted: it is not considered valid until it is augmented with material evidence. To illustrate the effects of technological revolution on the biological evolution of human species. Babies are particularly subject to accumulation of gas in the stomach while feeding. let me tell you a story about birds and earthquakes. healers and spiritual leaders. ructus. it is a necessary trait. In indigenous cultures children who demonstrate strong intuitive abilities are at an early stage often raised to be shamans. Thompson 2003). it has been the subject of study in psychology. You have probably heard how birds can sense an incoming earthquake (Sheldrake 2009). which is often roughly translated as meaning to look inside or to contemplate. In that situation burping is not considered impolite. Yet belching plays important part in healthy digestive process as removal of the excess gas eases digestion and absorption of the food in stomach and subsequently in intestines. Now. birds evacuate the area. yet some others it suppresses and denies. for whatever reasons. which technological revolution supports and utilizes. except in the court of law. as we all burp in private and encourage our small children in such behavior. The word ‘intuition’ comes from the Latin word intueri. other animals. Using that compass. Some other cultures also consider burping in adults sign of compliment to the host or the cook. Yet. Hence we can also predict with high probability incoming earthquakes. technological revolution means civilization values that we have instituted in western society from the times that coincide with first settlements in the Fertile Crescent (Diamond 1997). Scientists were puzzled by such behavior for many years. Elkana 1997). Intuition is sometimes called “a hunch” and many discoveries or remarkable business deals were done based on the „hunch“. Belching (also known as burping. The “right brain” is popularly associated with intuitive processes such as aesthetic abilities (Toga. even in public. 1999). let’s look at two examples when biological evolution and technological revolution do not complement each other. wisdom if you wish. including reptiles and mammals behave in a similar way. Examples refer to two biological traits: intuition (sixth sense) and belching. at times. But in our western society burping is unwelcomed evolutionary trait. Intuition or a sixth sense is another trait we have developed over the course of our biological evolution. Why all this matter matters? Because throughout the biological evolution we have gathered certain skills. even going as far as ridiculing members who practice them. as well as a topic of interest in the supernatural (Kerr 2009). 2004).today is an unproven achievement. A few hours to a few days before the earthquake strikes. as distortion of earth’s magnetic field begins to occur in the area about to experience an earthquake (Orey 2006). or eructation) involves the release of gas from the digestive tract (mainly esophagus and stomach) through the mouth. Humans do not have built in compasses. The term intuition is used to describe “thoughts and preferences that come to mind quickly and without much reflection” (Kahneman 2003). but as a result of our technological revolution we have invented a mechanical compass and seismograph. an odor. It is impossible to tell if such recent developments in the history of human kind are sustainable in a biological sense. as it is unlikely that we would internally develop these traits through biological evolution in any foreseeable future. Here we have two examples which technological society does not look favorably upon. It would be safe to say if our current civilization 152 . Some scientists have contended that intuition is associated with innovation in scientific discovery (Holton. At which point it is proven as valid as any other piece of information. audible burping is considered impolite. In these examples. For this reason. and is trying to suppress them. Belching in front of people in public places tends to be received in a manner similar to flatulence. Those times are connected with inception of intensive agriculture and first permanent settlements (Beck et al. It is usually accompanied with a typical sound and. and this can cause considerable agitation and/or discomfort unless the child is burped. birds can sense disturbance in the magnetic field prior to earthquake (Mora et al. Intuition provides us with beliefs that we cannot necessarily justify. Then they discovered that birds have a natural compass that relies on earth’s magnetic field to help them orientate themselves during the flight (Cressey 2008). our technological revolution complements our biological evolution. In this example.

to cultural evolution. the question can be rephrased as to which vehicle will propel this technological civilization on the new journey and uplift it above the materialistic one-dimensional mentality? How to free up and re-instate creative forces in people that will result in opening new. as we do not have material evidence and because their culture was a subject of the great forgetting. in itself that is not enough.continues like this for some time. it is applying evolutionary pressure on traits created as a result of cultural evolution. We have shown in these examples above how technological revolution is exercising evolutionary pressure on certain biological traits. Hence in that same analogy. yet unknown dimensions of human existence? The world lost its religious and civic homogeneity a long time ago. burping and intuition as biological evolutionary traits will get lost and removed from our species. It is like having a driver’s license without a car. In a similar fashion. the license in itself is useless. creating what Daniel Quinn calls “The Great Forgetting”. Let us now make a lateral shift from evolution responsible for our biological survival. Why therefore are we trying to resurrect the spirit of old Slavic mythology. without fully (or even partially) understanding the function and purpose of those customs of original indigenous people. We are witnessing it here today: we are guessing how old Slavs lived. as we may be simply putting new function into old robes. how they built. We have to exercise due diligence before doing that. how they worshiped. Nowadays in our culture is very popular to revive old customs and rituals. We are trying to reconstruct their lives based on circumstantial evidence. responsible for our physiological survival. A highly preposterous act and one insulting to the indigenous cultures as well. Is our need to understand lost civilizations a search for the missing “link” (both in a physical and cultural sense)? What is the mechanism to transform heterogeneous consumer society of the 20th century into homogenous tribe(s) for the 21st century? 153 . what is our need in that and whom do we serve? Even if old gods of Slavic mythology are calling to us.

za razliku od biološke (zadužene sa naše fizičko preživljavanje) odgovorna za psihološku stabilnost društva. U ovom tekstu razmatramo nekoliko primjera kako ovaj prominentni evolucijski čimbenik utječe na biološku i kulturnu evoluciju čovjeka. Na kraju. umjetno stvorene. Iako površinski. nesrazmjerno trajanju u kojem djeluje. Taj čimbenik je prisutan u biološkoj evoluciji čovjeka samo jednu desetinu tisućinke ukupnog evolucijskog vremena biološke vrste Homo. preispitujemo motive naše zainteresiranosti za staroslavensku mitologiju u kontekstu kulturne evolucije i traženja novog identiteta ljudskog roda na pragu 21. a toliko snažno obilježava i usmjeruje njegovu sveukupnu evoluciju. evolucijske sile . Njegovo postojanje kroz to razdoblje je proizvod planete Zemlje i njezinih mehanizama evolucijskog pritiska. u zadnjih 150 godina ljudska vrsta ima iskustvo još jedne.tehnološke revolucije. Navodimo nekoliko primjera koji pokazuju kako tehnološka revolucija djeluje pozitivno na čovjekovu sposobnost opstanka na Zemlji. obaziremo se i na kulturnu evoluciju koja je.TEHNOkRATSkI MONOkULTURALIZAM – EVOLUCIJSkA SNAGA Bozidar Bruce YerkovicH Moderni čovjek postoji oko 1. 154 . Međutim. Isto tako objašnjavamo uz pomoć nekoliko primjera kako ta ista evolucijska sila direktno potiskuje određena biološka svojstva koja je ljudska vrsta razvila tijekom svoje predtehnološke evolucije.5 milijuna godina. stoljeća.

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