27/01/2021{20:42}

#Culture Given Minds

The above video is an interview between two famous men. An American philosopher Daniel Dennett and an English Scientist Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is well known for his work as a scientific educator and his early academic work in Biology. His book ‘The Selfish Gene’ (1966) is considered as a potential origin for the notion of memes. Dennett is best known for his work in the pondering the mind and consciousness. I am impressed with this conversation and the reason I am posting it is because of something Dennett mentioned. The general discussion focuses on how Darwin’s ‘theory of Evolution’ is supposedly the most radical and genius idea ever conceived (Various reasons are offered: added authority to science, it’s omnipresent, brings us closer to our material reality). Yet, the idea that caught my attention was that culture evolved our minds. It made me think about the ramifications of this and indeed how our understanding of this is going through some seismic changes. Maybe, technology, A.I, and politics; or humanity in general is not progressing and the weakening of culture is evolving our minds in a direction we would not consciously wish to move in. Also, this reminds me of the alternative usage of the word in biology and the study of ecosystems. Here “culture” can mean ‘In microbiology, the propagation of microorganisms in a growth medium. Any body tissue or fluid can be evaluated in the laboratory by using culture techniques to detect and identify infectious processes. Culture techniques can be used to determine sensitivity to antibiotics. Cells may also be grown in culture.’ {https://www.medicinenet.com/culture/definition.htm#}. Culture seems to be an inescapable word (the culture wars, the George Price equation) an ever-present source of inspiration.

I’ve been having a good time here in Taiwan I have been extremely lucky to find paid work and be able to spend time with a much loved one. However, I do find myself worrying about my friends and family and how they are collectively dealing with these vast changes. For the time being what one can do is move forward and seek to learn and encourage others to do so also. I will be writing about what I have been learning in more detail soon because I have been doing a lot of reading and wish to express this to others. This will be an interesting read because I want to discuss and think through recent changes in my perception of money ( I used to have a very immature and dismissive mindset regarding it). I desire to write posts on the Culture Wars and some artists/writers I have been looking at. Oh, and most importantly I want to express my gratitude to have been trusted by so many families here in Taiwan with tutoring there little ones. There are two words for child in Mandarin 孩子 hái zi or, 小朋友 Xiǎopéngyǒu (little friend (Literal translation). I’m deeply lucky to be able to spread some happiness in these truly horrific and bleak times. Next to some of the gratitude these little people have shown me is some poetic Latin from Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ.

qui melius scit pati, majorem tenebit pacem [he who knows how to suffer well shall find the most peace], Nolle consolari ab aliqua creatura magnae puritatis signum est [to refuse comfort from any creature is a sign of great faith], per viam pacis, ad patriam perpetuae claritatis [by the way of peace to the country of everlasting clearness]

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