Living Systems in Evolution
copyright © 1999 by Elisabet Sahtouris
If you could look inside your own head, as we looked in on our developing embryos earlier, you would see yet another kind of evolutionary record. The innermost part of a human brain looks much like a reptile's brain, and it seems to be this deep core of the brain that sometimes makes us huff and puff and attack others automatically, as though we have disconnected it from the rest of the brain, which might give thought to what we are doing. Wrapped around this core, is a more recently evolved part of the brain, which, together with the core, looks like a more modern mammal brain, such as that of the horse. This mammalian complication of the brain permits those mammalian feelings we call anger and love, sadness and joy. It also appears to make us playful, curious, and eager to learn.
On the surface of the human brain we find the newest complication -- the neocortex, or `new bark' growth, which ripples and folds itself to look like a great elaborate walnut inside its skull shell. Despite some success in mapping it, the brain is not separable into parts such that we can say that this or that feeling or behavior has its locus in a particular place. Yet we know it is the evolution of the neocortex -- richly interwoven with the inner brain -- that permits the whole brain to demonstrate our special human abilities. We can remember our past in detail, compare it with our present, and, on that basis, make plans for our future. The neocortex is very much involved when we create our ideas of the world, communicate in language, think up our inventions from courts of law to computers, create works of art, research scientific questions, decide what is good and what is bad, learn and think about our relationship to all other creatures of the Earth and even to the whole universe.
There is a great deal that we still don't understand about brains. We can study their evolution and construction, count their cells, record and measure their patterns of chemical and electrical activity, and yet we do not really know how they do what they do. There is a very good chance that our explanations of them will change dramatically in the future. Just for example, if physicists are right in saying that fundamental reality is not material -- that matter arises through a continual transformation of cosmic consciousness -- then brains may be material devices permitting consciousness to operate in, or to interface with, the rest of material reality. This view would see brains as biological devices created and operated by consciousness, rather than seeing them as biological devices which give rise to consciousness, as has been supposed -- a rather complete turnaround!
It is wise to remember how much our western scientific stories have changed in the past century and to realize that they are likely to change even more in the next. The concept of cosmic consciousness is still new in western science, though earlier eastern sciences saw it as fundamental to the universe and were very interested in distinguishing it from the kind of consciousness we are familiar with from our ordinary waking experience. Cosmic consciousness can only be directly experienced through long training in meditative exercises, and is most usually experienced as a blissful unity. Ordinary waking consciousness, on the other hand, is always present, usually complex, and seems to have evolved through the evolutionary experiences of Earthlife. What we call the subconscious seems to exist somewhere between the two, and reveals itself in the dreams we spoke of earlier.
The philosopher Alan Watts suggested the universe might be a great game of hide and seek played by God, who was everything and so had to play the game alone, hiding in rocks and trees and people, waiting for them to discover who they were. We might also see the universe as a vast learning experience, with ourselves currently at its leading edge, trying to figure out how it all works by looking back on it through our unique kind of consciousness. As we evolve and learn, so do our stories change, whether they are religious, scientific or other.
It is as though cosmic consciousness keeps trying out new possibilities through biological and social evolution. When we compare the brains of many species, we can see quite clearly the parallel evolution of ever more complex brains with ever more complex behaviors. Species consciousness, communication, and freedom of choice in behavior seem to have evolved gradually, becoming most complex in the relatively bigger-brained species. In our own species, and perhaps earlier in cetaceans, there has been an unusual explosion of these talents. Like humans, dolphins seem to have ideas, ethics, complex languages, and personal names. While scientists have not succeeded in finding a language bridge between humans and dolphins, there is an increasingly large literature on telepathic communications between people and cetaceans, including repeatable experiments and evidence of dolphins healing people.
Indigenous people share an understanding of nature as a vast and continuing dialogue among all parts and species of Earth -- as one great family -- with humans as the youngest member with the most to learn. Many of them consciously participate in this natural dialogue as co-creators (see Chapter 19) but Earth is now dominated by a branch of humanity which chose to cut itself off from this dialogue. Enamored of our big flexible brains, we of western culture have -- in our minds, if not in physical reality -- disconnected ourselves from the community of life. We study it as though it were separate and work to control it for our own purposes.
No other species has been in a position to do this, for none is so free to choose its behavior and thoughts at every turn. None is so clever in inventing and producing technology, so powerful in its ability to kill or protect other species, to destroy or preserve whole ecosystems worldwide, or to pretend it is separate from the rest. Truly we are a Gaian or universal experiment in freedom, and a risky one at that.
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Most animals, as we saw earlier, do most of what they do as innate behaviors -- that is, without having to learn by trial and error. There is little you can teach an ant or a lizard, as virtually all the ways such a creature responds to its environment seem to have been built into it by its evolution in community. Their behavior is carried out by their nervous system and the rest of their physiology in response to their changing environments -- the things and events they encounter. In the last chapter we saw that the larger, more complex brains of mammals freed them from some of their rigid innate behaviors and let them learn new behaviors through feelings and experience. In mammals, innate behavior is still apparent, but feelings and learning and voice communication add variety and richness to behavior.
There are a few things we humans do automatically, as we say `by instinct,' such as running from danger or attacking when we feel threatened, seeking mates, feeling love for our babies, and seeking food or a place to lie down when we are hungry or tired. We don't have to think about such things. But we have no innate programs for painting pictures or digging up fossils or building airplanes or philosophizing or designing hospitals or doing the millions of other things we do.
Our behavior is guided partly by basic needs, a great deal by what our society has taught us, and somewhat by personal choice. What we do by our own choice usually depends on feelings and experience with our past choices, some of which become habit. What we learn from our society depends on how other people's feelings and experience with past choices have been turned into customs or social habits and rules. It is our society, for instance, that sends us to school and tries to keep us out of trouble with others.
Let's consider for a moment this matter of staying out of trouble with other members of our species. In most other social species, built-in behavior patterns keep individuals out of serious trouble with others of their kind. Many species of reptiles, birds, fish, and mammals, for example, make their homes in places or territories they have claimed as their own. When other members of their species come into this home space, the resident inhabitants warn them with species-specific dances or songs. Usually the intruders back off and leave. Even if it does come to a fight, the intruders know innately to give up before being seriously hurt or killed. You may have noticed that the loser in a dog or cat fight turns up his or her throat to the winner, a behavior kittens and puppies show even in early play. At this "I give up" signal, the winner's attack stops as if suddenly switched off.
Animals use ritual dances and fights to win and protect their homes and mates as well as to raise their young in safety, providing they have adequate territory. The rituals work like a system of rules for living together in reasonable peace -- rules of behavior drawn up in evolution as much as was the structure of their bodies. These rules help them balance their lives by spreading each species out over an area of land or sea without crowding, so that all have an adequate chance of getting enough food. In this way, what we call innate territoriality and aggression work for the good of the individual as well as for the good of the whole species, with relatively little aggression compared with our human use of it.
Just as animals know innately how to share land without killing one another over it, they know innately when they have enough land and food for their needs. An animal may hoard just enough food to get itself through a hard winter, but no animal except the human one piles up food or takes land beyond its need.
The price of our freedom to decide our own behavior is the loss of such innate rules to limit our own aggression and greed. Like other animals, we have an innate urge to supply ourselves with the necessities of life, to win mates, to make a home for our family, and to protect ourselves and our family against intruders. But, unlike other animals, which know innately just how to act on these urges, we are free to act on them in countless different ways. We must make our own rules for sharing or not sharing the Earth's resources with one another and with other species. If we share resources fairly by common agreement, there should be no reason to use aggression. Aggression is not something piling up in us that demands an outlet, as some psychologists and sociobiologists have suggested -- rather, it is a reserve capacity available in situations of real need. Whether such need arises is almost entirely up to us.
As we big-brained mammals lost the rigidity of innate behavior and gained freedom of choice, we also gained our unique kind of consciousness -- our reflective awareness of what we are doing, our memory of what we have done, and our projected mages of what we might do with our awareness of choice. This conscious awareness that we live in a linear past, present, and future, in which there is cause and effect, makes it possible for us to predict on the basis of past experience what the effects of our behavior will be. Even though physicists now tell us -- as eastern philosophies did earlier -- that cause-and-effect spacetime is an illusion, this kind of perception of our reality serves as our guide to behavioral choice.
Many humans find that with spiritual practices such as meditation and contemplative prayer, they can directly perceive cosmic love and unity through inner senses. This adds a very important extra dimension to their behavioral guidance system, because they perceive all things -- including people -- as One. The great teachers of our world, such as Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha, gave us ethical systems based on this kind of perception -- ethical systems showing such universal interconnectedness that what is done to others is done to yourself. Now western physicists showing us non-timespace and non-locality begin to teach the same thing!
The problem in our dominant human culture is that we are using only a linear perspective to predict only the very short-term consequences of our behavior, while failing to consider the broader and the long-range results. Most of us know by now how some so-called `uncivilized' native cultures taught their people to think of the consequences of their choices for seven generations ahead, but we have not yet adopted the practice. In other words, we have not yet learned to use our conscious freedom of choice for the good of our whole species over time. Rather, our so-called `civilized' history -- at least the most recent five thousand or so years of it -- shows that humans have used opportunity and power again and again to take much more than they need, usually by taking it away from other humans and killing them if they resist.
Western society, priding itself on its enlightenment, has continued this grim record, prompting Gandhi to respond to the question: "What do you think of western civilization?" by saying he thought it would be a good idea! Clearly, we lack the built-in limits of other species and must choose to limit our aggressiveness for the health of our species, if not for our spiritual development.
There is now good evidence that many early agricultural societies were indeed peaceful, sharing land and other resources, not making war on other societies. Eventually they seem to have been taken over by certain unsettled nomadic peoples who had become aggressive, perhaps for lack of adequate resources. Since that time, there have always been some people who have far more than they need and others who have far less. We simply do not share resources as well as most other species do. But, then, we are still very new, and as we will soon see, there are signs that we may be working this problem out.
Our need to live in societies is as much our natures as our territoriality and aggression. But here, too, we are very free to decide just how to act on it -- what kinds of societies to create for ourselves. Insects such as bees, ants, and termites evolved highly organized societies, as had earlier bacteria and protists. We do not know whether they evolved as societies, similar to cell colonies, or whether they evolved first as individuals and later assembled into societies. In any case, social insects build whole cities, make farms to raise plants and other insects for food, have queens, soldiers and workers who tell one another what to do by chemical messages, make wars, and capture slaves.
We are astonished to see the social insects doing so many things that seem so human to us. But actually they could hardly be more unlike humans. Social insects have been living these complicated social lives for millions of years in the same old way, for their hard, external skeletons kept their brains very tiny and unable to evolve. The things they do all their lives, generation after generation, are innately determined. A worker ant cannot change its mind and become a soldier; a queen bee cannot change her mind and run things differently.
To compensate for the smallness of their brains, these insects specialized their functions in such a way that the different specialists together form one social body. Social insects need one another and cannot survive as individuals alone. It's no use trying to keep a single ant as a pet, for it will lose its appetite, get sick, and die. In a way, it is not a whole creature in itself, but an organ in, or a part of, its social body -- its anthill society. In a way, an ant is to its society as a mitochondrian is to its cell.
Mammal species, such as our peaceful gorilla cousins, have much less rigid social behaviors than ants, and yet they, too, have innate behavior patterns that preserve the societies they are born into -- social structures that have been tested in evolution and have proved healthful for the species. It is interesting to observe that very aggressive species, such as certain baboons of North Africa, have a very rigid social dominance system, while peaceful species, such as the Bonobo chimpanzees, show greater equality and opportunity to change roles.
As we will see later, we humans are free to form and test and change our own social structures, and indeed we have tried many different kinds of societies in the course of our history. Yet, for all our experiments, hardly any humans except a few vanishing indigenous peoples today live in a social structure that is truly healthful for all the people living in it as well as for the other species among and around them. But again, we are still very young, and there is every indication that we could solve this problem by understanding our living planet, our indigenous survivors, and by looking to our remote but peaceful past and truly desiring a peaceful future.
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Our big free brains and our clever hands have permitted us to make dramatic and sudden changes in ourselves and in our world during the past few thousand years. While this is merely the blink of an eye on the time scale of Gaian evolution, it is long enough for our chosen ways of life and our inventions to have become at once a threat and a promise to our whole planet. We may now have become as dangerous an experiment in life forms as were the bluegreen bacteria -- recall that they learned to make energy from sunlight and eventually covered the world with poisonous oxygen, killing off countless other bacteria. Still, we humans could prove to be as much a step to healthy new Gaian developments as were the breather bacteria that found a way to use the poisonous oxygen in the most efficient energy-making process ever invented -- the breathing process that permitted us to evolve.
We are not actors learning our parts in our sleep and playing out our lives unaware. We are awake and free to learn what the play in which we are players is all about, and we are free to change the play by our own choice. We live right now at the most exciting time in our history. It is a time in which we can see ourselves as never before and understand who we are through knowledge of our own history, our evolution, our universe. Perhaps most importantly, we can see what children we still are as a species and what opportunities there are for us to grow up.
If we evolved by refusing to grow up as apes, then sooner or later we will have to grow up as humans. And to grow up as humans we will have to take the responsibility for using our freedom in healthful ways, to help rebalance the great ongoing dance of Gaian creation and to develop harmonious new patterns within it. But to understand just how we might go about this, we need to look at human history not as something separate and different from biological evolution, but as a continuing part of it -- as the social evolution of one species within the Gaian life system.
What, then, has been the historical evolution of roving human hunters and settled human planters in the period of known civilization, which now extends back some thirty thousand to forty thousand years?
Some surviving groups of indigenous peoples living their traditional lifestyles demonstrate the kind of ecological harmony we see among other species in mature ecosystems. But, as we said, the rest of us diverged from this path thousands of years ago. People in settled agricultural societies, despite generally favorable climates and ways of providing for themselves, surely faced hardships such as floods and droughts or epidemics of disease. Such challenges made humans ever more inventive in their lifestyles, just as similar challenges had made ancient bacteria inventive in theirs.
People learned to store food against times of need, to make rules for sharing land and working it, to make medicines from plants, to make canals to bring water from rivers to fields, and to build boats to carry things up and down rivers and coasts for trading with other peoples. Archaeologists, in studying early human civilizations, are now finding more and more evidence that early agricultural societies everywhere worshiped a Mother Goddess as the giver of life and regarded men and women as equal partners, though the actual management of these ancient economies may have been, on the whole, the responsibility of women. Such civilizations developed agricultural techniques, other arts, law, and trade over as many as forty thousand years of peaceful evolution -- by far the longest part of known human history. We shall return to them in chapters to come.
Four or five thousand years after the last ice age ended and about the same number of years before Christ, the goddess-worshiping cultures, especially in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean, began to be conquered one by one. Armed tribes of unsettled nomads and hunters on horseback came in waves from less plentiful colder or desert climates, searching for a better living. Ruled by men and worshiping Father Gods, these tribes broke into the more peaceful agricultural settlements, conquered them and, in many instances, stayed to form new more complex social orders, which eventually grew into warlike kingdoms or empires. Until recently these kingdoms were considered the cradles of civilization, as we did not know of the earlier peaceful civilizations.
Again we are reminded of the primeval Gaian world, where hungry monera forced their way inside other monera to get at their rich supplies, then stayed and multiplied, eventually shifting from competition to cooperation as they formed the much larger and more complicated protists. Perhaps without the invaders, the settled human cultures would have remained like bacteria cloning themselves -- producing the same peaceful offspring cultures over and over. Instead, the conquering tribes came in like the invading monera eons before, taking over their hosts to pursue their competitive interests, staying to build their own empires. If this pattern among humans follows the pattern of the ancient bacteria -- and we will see more signs that it does -- then we, too, will work out peaceful cooperation to replace our competition with a healthier life for all.
In Gaian evolution the cloning monera took billions of years to change themselves and their environment in ways that permitted the much faster evolution of oxygen-breathing protists and larger sexually-reproducing creatures. In human social evolution the goddess-worshiping cultures took tens of thousands of years to develop agricultural ways of changing their environment to support themselves, while the later god-worshiping cultures have changed themselves and their environments tremendously in only five thousand to six thousand years.
Clearly human social evolution sped up and created more varied and complicated patterns from the time of these invasions. Unfortunately, however, the competitive, exploitative situation that went on inside large bacteria before they became nucleated protists is still going on in the human world. The male-ruled conquering tribes took almost all women's social power and status from them, declaring them inferior and setting up other inequalities in society. The records of these invasions are the first clear indication of large-scale violence among humans.
After the invaders conquered these very differently organized societies, they imposed their own social structures and customs upon them, though some of the old ways no doubt persisted in the new hybrid cultures. We humans are creatures of strong habit; our cultural rules, beliefs, and rituals are the glue of our societies. Our very ability to function has always been heavily dependent on our social ideas and structures, and we have therefore fought to preserve them.
As the new larger cultures fought wars with one another, the losers were absorbed into the winners' empires and forced to abide by their customs, though some always persisted and modified the dominant culture. Thus empires grew ever larger. Great empires were formed by Sumerians, Assyrians, Etruscans, Babylonians, Chinese, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans in South America; Kush, Nok, and Axum in Africa.
Within each empire, people were kept organized by rulers who laid down laws and kept guards and armies to enforce order and fight wars. Wars brought captured slaves, or brought whole cultures into the empire, though some cultures were absorbed peacefully. Recall how bacteria and larger creatures ate other bacteria or creatures who became parts of themselves.
Often such rulers maintained their power by claiming to have been chosen by the gods; some even said they were gods themselves. Some were benign, others less so. Most of the ordinary people in these societies were workers who grew crops and husbanded animals, hauled or channeled water, mined metals and precious stones, made pottery, tools, and weapons, built cities with huge, beautifully decorated palaces and temples for their rulers, and otherwise transformed the natural environment to human use.
Empire building by male-ruled class-structured societies became the main process and pattern of human social organization, and in one form or another it has continued right up to our present time. In ancient Greece a brief experiment in limited democracy was made as collective rule by all non-slave male citizens. Truly inclusive democracy -- from demos, which means people or community, and kratos, meaning government -- is something we are still working to achieve. Later we will look more closely at this experimental male democracy and why it did not last, though it powerfully influenced our whole modern world. For now let us move quickly through history to see its main pattern, to see how we humans used our big brains to continue the task of empire building.
The Roman Empire conquered Greece and later evolved into the Holy Roman Empire, which ruled Europe. The Byzantine, Chinese, and Ottoman empires were formed in the East; each of them falling in its turn, and eventually the human world divided itself into countries, or nations, as we know them today. But very soon the most powerful of these countries began building their own empires by conquering new territories far from home.
Two human inventions -- the compass and the printing press -- helped to expand empires across oceans all over the planet and to spread the knowledge and culture of empires over almost all of humanity. Soon more machines were invented to make things other than books in large numbers -- the age of mechanical industry had begun. The word manufactured, which literally meant made by hand, soon came to mean machine-made.
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The making of things by machine transformed the whole human way of life, bringing about a new kind of empire and building a new road to riches. The biggest empires at the beginning of the industrial era belonged to the kings and queens of seafaring European countries such as England, Holland and Spain. With ships and weapons they conquered peoples in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, carrying off riches and rich natural resources, making the people slaves wherever possible, and taking over their lands as colonies. The Europeans used these riches to develop their new industrial way of life. Native peoples in Europe's colonies were forced to mine iron, copper, and other metal ores needed by the conquerors to build machines, weapons and transportation systems. They were also forced to give over their agricultural diversity to grow large single species monocultures -- food crops, as well as rubber, tobacco, cotton, and wool. These were then exported to Europe, where other poor, landless people worked at the machines that turned the crops and raw materials into products for sale and who mined the coal that fueled the machines.
In time the colonies began fighting for and winning their independence, thus breaking up the empires. The North American colonies were first to win their independence, and they quickly developed their own machine technology and industry to compete with European empires. The success of the United States, after it won its independence, however, was not typical. In most other colonies, the best land and resources had been taken over by European settlers who had gotten rich by shipping raw materials to the mother countries. After independence was won, these countries continued the colonial way of life, exporting raw materials and food crops to industrial countries and importing machine-made products.
Many peoples who had once cared for themselves independently by hunting for or growing everything they needed to live on their own land are worse off in their now independent countries than they were before the colonial empires were formed. While they are regarded as backward by Western standards, they have actually been systematically underdeveloped -- prevented from proceeding with their own natural development in order to support already wealthy countries. Even after they win their independence, the people are forced to continue working the land for others, as they did in colonial times, often farming a monoculture crop or mining a single metal ore or fuel for export. They must buy their food, clothes, and housing with what little money they are paid, so they cannot escape poverty and often suffer hunger and illness.
Such peoples have lost not only their land and natural food supplies but their whole way of life as well -- their tribal organization, their nature religions, their arts, and often even their languages. Progress, they were told, meant learning the ways of Europeans and Americans. But though they gave up their old cultures to adopt these new ones, progress for them only meant getting poorer in every way while those who owned their land got ever richer. Later, the richer countries, through international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, lent these struggling countries money for development. Most of this development served the lending countries more than the developing countries themselves, yet it put them ever deeper into debt, creating a huge problem of global inequity we call `haves and have-nots.' Imagine such a problem among the cells of your body.
Industry changed the way of life in powerful countries as much as in poor ones. The rich were no longer those who owned big portions of undeveloped land, but those who owned machines and bought up land, stripped it, and put it to use in producing raw materials for industry. More and more people were forced to give up subsistence farming and go to work in factories, swelling cities around the factories as the urban way of life became the social standard and the symbol of progress.
Before the Industrial Revolution all humanity lived off agriculture, and few people were rich enough not to have to produce their own food, clothing, and shelter. In today's world, most of us buy almost everything we consume, which has been made, often far away, by others. Even when products are made in our own country, the raw materials in them very likely came from another. The whole world is now tied together by its economy -- a word coming from oikos, meaning household, and nomos, meaning law or management. The human household, once a local family or tribal unit, now encompasses the whole world. A vast web of transportation and communications lines has been spun around our planet to move about raw materials and finished products and people to manage the global household.
In just a few hundred years, then -- much less than the blink of an eye by Gaian standards -- our brash young human species with its big brain and clever hands razed vast natural ecosystems to transform them into a single economic empire covering the whole planet and ruled by the rich industrial countries. Yet during two World Wars and the long Cold War following them, both the rulers and the ruled of this empire were politically split into blocs of countries with conflicting, competing schemes for managing this worldwide globalizing economy and its people.
Now, all of this is changing dramatically again. The Industrial Era has given way to the Information Age in the evolution of globalization, and its most important invention -- the Internet -- is forcing us to understand ourselves as a single living system, a body of humanity. We will see this in greater detail in Chapter 16.
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Our modern world, with all its successes and problems, seems easier to understand if we look back again and again to the ancient bacterial monera in the process of evolving protists. The exploitation of host bacteria by hungry invading bacteria that needed their resources reminds us of the God cultures invading the Goddess cultures. It also reminds us of our more recent imperialism, in which some countries invaded others and made them colonies. But using up the host, or colony, bacteria's resources killed the host, and so this process could not meet the long-term interest of the exploiters.
This is the lesson we are learning after thousands of years of exploiting one another in our struggle to become a mature species -- thousands of years, which are as nothing for such a big evolutionary change. The healthy cooperative system that began evolving when invading bacteria produced energy for the host in return for raw materials is paralleled today as developed countries help their former colonies develop industrial energy. The problem is that we have not yet worked out fair exchanges. The powerful countries still demand more political and material concessions from the so-called developing nations than they would in a truly cooperative system. But then, the ancient bacteria did not evolve into protists so quickly, either. Only when many bacteria of various kinds had become involved with one another inside the same walls did a cooperative system, including a common nucleus, begin to evolve for the benefit of all.
Human countries have only recently found themselves inseparably linked inside the boundaries of our planet, and we are just beginning to understand what this means. If exploitation and hostile rivalry continue at the expense of cooperation among countries, the new body of humanity may not survive much longer. Evolution takes time, but when a natural system has pushed itself or been pushed to certain limits, it can reorganize itself with incredible speed, as the great extinctions teach us. Humanity has now reached such a critical limit. It has also invented everything it needs in order to accomplish a dramatic reorganization into a healthy cooperative body.
Particularly interesting is the fact that bacteria invented communications systems prior to organizing themselves into nucleated cells, and that nucleated cells invented intercellular communications systems before organizing themselves into multicelled creatures. This is how the Internet will play out its enormous role.
Communications systems, which we humans now have worldwide, are prerequisites to the organization of larger living systems. Transport systems for moving about supplies also play a critical role in the actual organization and function of such larger systems, and here, too, we are well prepared in our transport capability. If the big brain experiment is to be a success -- if humanity is to survive as a healthy body, as a holon in the Gaian holarchy -- we must use our communications, our information exchange, and our transport as parts of a cooperatively organized body. The sooner we recognize that this is our only viable direction, the sooner we will get on with the task.