The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics and the Evolution of Culture

The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics and the Evolution of Culture

The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics and the Evolution of Culture

The Whole Creature: Complexity, Biosemiotics and the Evolution of Culture

Excerpt

In naming the great process of change the long revolution, I am trying
to learn to assent to it, an adequate assent of mind and spirit. I find
increasingly that the values and meanings I need are all in this process
of change. If it is pointed out, in traditional terms, that democracy,
industry, and extended communications are all means rather than
ends, I reply that this, precisely, is their revolutionary character, and
that to realise and accept this requires new ways of thinking and
feeling, new conceptions of relationships, which we must try to
explore. This book is a record of such an attempt.

Raymond Williams, The Long Revolution

In this book, and following in an honourable tradition which I have found best expressed in the work of Raymond Williams, I have wanted to present a good materialist argument about the nature of human sociality. My argument, briefly stated, is simple: while each and every one of us is manifestly an individual, whose life and wellbeing matters, humans and their wellbeing are not most fully understood unless the fundamentally social nature of human existence is properly taken into account. This – our fundamental sociality – is lived in our inner, as well as outer, world; and it is emotional as well as physical; and all this – our essential social being – is written on our bodies in terms of flourishing or (its opposite) illness. But believing this as a common observation is not the same as making a good, and amongst other things, scientifically based argument for how it is so. The purpose of this book, therefore, is to elucidate this opening premise by bringing together some of the most relevant arguments, across various disciplines, including the sciences, in order, hopefully, to persuade the reader of the truth of its claim.

This endeavour will involve, first, an encounter with the long revolution in human thought and scientific understanding which has gradually been building in the twentieth, and now twenty-first, centuries: the revolution that is taking place in the scientific paradigm shift from 'The Age of Reduction' to 'The Age of Emergence'. Second . . .

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