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Rebirth of the SacredScience, Religion, and the New Environmental Ethos$
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Robert Nadeau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199942367

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199942367.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

The New Story of Humanity: Brains, Minds, and the Environmental Crisis

The New Story of Humanity: Brains, Minds, and the Environmental Crisis

Chapter:
(p.25) Chapter 2 The New Story of Humanity: Brains, Minds, and the Environmental Crisis
Source:
Rebirth of the Sacred
Author(s):

Robert L. Nadeau

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199942367.003.0005

While sitting in a window seat during a flight from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. about twenty years ago, I had an experience that changed the course of my life. On the ground below, vast numbers of trucks and mile-long strings of railroad cars were moving along extensive networks of highways and tracks that threaded out in all directions, like a circulator system in some giant organism. Products from factories and farms were flowing through these arteries toward distant cities and coastal ports, and raw materials were flowing in the other direction to processing and manufacturing plants. In my mind’s eye, the web-like connections between electric power plants, transformers, cables, lines, phones, radios, televisions, and computers resembled the spine and branches of a central nervous system, and the centers of production, distribution, and exchange and all connections between them within the global economy. This conjured up the image of a superorganism feeding off the living system of the planet and extending its bodily organization and functions into every ecological niche. I realized, of course, that the global economic system is not an organism. It is a vast network of technological products and processes that members of our species created in an effort to enhance their material well-being. But this system does in ecological terms feed off the system of life on this planet and extend its organization into every ecological niche. After my plane landed at Dulles International Airport, I asked a simple question that required years of research to adequately answer. How did members of one species among the millions of species that have existed on this planet manage to increase their numbers and the scope and scale of their activities to the point where the capacity of the system of life on an entire planet to support their existence is being undermined? The answer is that our species, fully modern humans, evolved against all odds the capacity to acquire and use fully complex language systems.

Keywords:   Ice Age, United Nations Population Fund, Wernicke's area, history of human family, human brain, petrochemical industry, standard social science model

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