Listening to music. Humans. Apes.

Advertisements
Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

In the eternal search for understanding what makes us human, scientists found that our brains are more sensitive to pitch, the harmonic sounds we hear when listening to music, than our evolutionary relative the macaque monkey. The study, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, highlights the promise of Sound Health, a joint project between the NIH and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that aims to understand the role of music in health.

“We found that a certain region of our brains has a stronger preference for sounds with pitch than macaque monkey brains,” said Bevil Conway, Ph.D., investigator in the NIH’s Intramural Research Program and a senior author of the study published in Nature Neuroscience. “The results raise the possibility that these sounds, which are embedded in speech and music, may have shaped the basic organization of the human brain.” (1)

Yes, we are the only ones listening to music.

Because our mind is never here.

We love traveling to the stars.

Only because we detest the Earth on which we were born.

We will learn one day.

When we reach the stars.

That those bright small dots we will see.

Is our home.

Which we have left a long time ago…

The evolution of… evolution.

Advertisements
Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

New research identifies a previously overlooked global event which changed the course of the evolution of life in the oceans. It coincided with a rise in calcium carbonate-secreting plankton and their subsequent deposition on the ocean floor.

The ocean as we understand it today was shaped by a global evolutionary regime shift around 170 million years ago, according to new research.

Until that point, the success of organisms living within the marine environment had been strongly controlled by non-biological factors, including ocean chemistry and climate. However, from the middle of the Jurassic period onwards (some 170 million years ago), biological factors such as predator-prey relationships became increasingly important.

Writing in Nature Geoscience, scientists say this change coincided with the proliferation of calcium carbonate-secreting plankton and their subsequent deposition on the ocean floor.

They believe the rise of this plankton stabilised the chemical composition of the ocean and provided the conditions for one of the most prominent diversifications of marine life in Earth’s history. (1)

Evolution evolves.

And through the ages of existence.

Even Being redefines itself.

Eternal change.

Towards a goal which keeps shifting.

Everlasting life.

Walking a road that keeps going.

Poor man.

How much do you really need to walk into the clearing?

Before you realize you shouldn’t have left the clearing?

Look up.

You haven’t walked a single step.

Asteroids. Death. Opportunities.

Advertisements
Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

When the asteroid hit, dinosaurs weren’t the only ones that suffered. Clouds of ash blocked the sun and cooled the planet’s temperature, devastating plant life. But fungi, which decompose dead stuff, did well. So what happened to the lichens, which are made of a plant and fungus living together as one organism?

“We thought that lichens would be affected negatively, but in the three groups we looked at, they seized the chance and diversified rapidly,” says Jen-Pang Huang, the paper’s first author, a former postdoctoral researcher at the Field Museum now at Academia Sinica in Taipei. “Some lichens grow sophisticated 3D structures like plant leaves, and these ones filled the niches of plants that died out.” (1)

Some die. Some live.

Should the first worry about living?

Should the latter worry about dying?

You are what you are.

You do what you do.

In the cosmos chess of existence, every move is valid.

For the game is fixed. And at the end, we will all go back to the beginning.

How can we do something we have not done already?

Dying. Only because we have lived.

Living. Only because we have died.

The chessboard. Look at the chessboard! This is the game!

Open-ending algorithms… The end as the beginning…

Advertisements
Photo by Enric Cruz López from Pexels

Evolution allows life to explore almost limitless diversity and complexity. Scientists hope to recreate such open-endedness in the laboratory or in computer simulations, but even sophisticated computational techniques like machine learning and artificial intelligence can’t provide the open-ended tinkering associated with evolution. Here, common barriers to open-endedness in computation and biology were compared, to see how the two realms might inform each other, and ultimately enable machine learning to design and create open-ended evolvable systems. (1)

Looking for an end.

By accepting that there is none.

How could there be one?

The end is defined by the beginning.

And this definition is also the end.

One can never pass through the walls he raised.

Achilles will never reach the turtle.

Mathematicians will never prove everything.

Humans will never find the meaning of life.

Unless they stop looking for meaning.

Unless mathematicians stop trying to prove things.

Unless Achilles stops trying to pass the turtle and just runs.

No, there is no end. There are just beginnings…

Be careful with that first step…

No, it is not just a first step.

It is also your last…

There is no Death! There is no Life either! (A child, a brain map and a coincidence? – Part II)

Advertisements
Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

Some days ago Harmonia Philosophica posted an article about how a Truth Puzzle filled in by a child was amazingly enough indicating something that could be of importance for philosophy (check the “There is no Death! (A child, a brain map and a coincidence?) article”).

Now a new twist was added to the plot.

Some days after the Truth Puzzle was filled in the way it was (missing ‘Death’ as one can read in the above-mentioned article) the same child struck again.

During a discussion about life and what life means, the child simply asked the obvious…

‘How do you know you are alive?’

(silence)

‘But I can eat!’ I answered back.

‘So? You are not alive!” said the child and giggled.

(laughter)

To cut the long story short, to whatever I said the child continued to answer back that there is no proof I am alive. And this discussion brought into my mind the previous Truth Puzzle instance and the lessons learned from that. For the same lesson should be learned from this story as well.

Of course the child was playing. Yet, within that funny game of denying the obvious (that I am alive), it showed something very serious and important: Why should we take for granted anything? Our knowledge about metaphysical questions regarding existence and being is zero. We do not know what the cosmos is, we do not even know what our consciousness is, if such thing even exists. The greatest philosophers and scientists have tried to answer such questions regarding the nature of our life and failed miserably.

So who are we to claim that we are alive?

Is it because we feel something? But what does that mean and how can we interpret it with zero knowledge about the meaning of all this ‘something’ that we feel? How can we even know what we see and sense is real without any objective definition of the the infamous ‘Reality’ to begin with? How can we say that someone ‘is’ alive if we have not even reached a consensus on what ‘Is’ is?

It reminds me of the story with the captive Vietnam general who once told his American interrogator that the Vietnamese did not believe they would win the war. The Americans were so much leased with the answer that did not even bother to check out the rest of the interrogation transcript. Because if they did they would see that the same general, when asked if he thought the Americans could win the war, he also answered No…

Question the obvious we must.

And the most obvious thing is our self.

Are alive?

Are we dead?

(Does it matter?)

All I can hear…

Is laughter…