Reality Blind - Vol. 1

just happened to develop large brains and self-awareness — an evolutionary rarity not seen before — seemingly within just the last 10 million years or less. 8 TaaL: To the degree there’s a human story to be told, it makes sense only as a deep-time story. Your minds would not have their current shape without mind development having taken a perilous journey over many millions of years and reaching their current status roughly 50,000 years ago. Yet so few humans have embraced this wonderful story! And that’s a shame, because living only “in the moment” risks the existence of a human deep-time future. While past and future deep time is in some ways remote, it is also immediate. The reality you experience in this moment was contingent upon countless tiny preceding actions. If that particular wasp in the photo above had not blundered into that tree sap 92 million years ago, your species would almost certainly not exist, because that event irreversibly altered the subsequent propagation of events on Earth. I realize that’s a counter - intuitive way of thinking for a human, but it’s quite true due to the contingent nature of chaotic systems (that every event has subsequent impact on future events — the so- called “butterfly effect” realized several decades ago by human mathematicians in chaos theory). Their infinite sensitivity to initial conditions isn’t just a mathematical curiosity: it’s the law. The “frozen accidents” of history shape what is, just as every small thing which happens now will shape the future. Any particular far-future outcome is immensely fragile, which is why the far larger changes you each introduce into the timeline each day of your lives cannot but have immense consequences. Yet unlike your “lucky wasp” above, you have the mental ability to understand the nature and scope of the changes you make, and how they might propagate. Look deep into the eye of that wasp, which has stared out of the amber since mammals were tiny insectivores digging into mounds of triceratops dung, and primates were a preposterous contingent possibility. That’s the tangible gaze of deep time’s reality, as is your own. You’re looking a highly successful, extinct organism in the eye. Its species came and went while this particular wasp hung in stasis. Good thing humans aren’t trapped by an ancient oily plant byproduct, because... Oh, wait... Deep time is, paradoxically, the stage upon which faulty genetic replication produces evolution by attrition, but which is inherently beyond the scope of evolution to anticipate. Evolved urges and desires are necessary for the creation of complex life, yet those urges and desires are forever attuned to the immediate. Deep time as a concept is the domain of the conscious


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