You are Smarter than God

Once cutting oneself loose from materialist concerns regarding the "veracity" of myths, one sees that myths are a sort of cultural metalanguage, analogous to the dreams and discourse of a metaorganism composed of individual human processing elements.

To a disempowered individual human such metaorganisms might look very much like gods. Discovering the nature of myth allows one to begin speaking in the god-like language of myth should it become neccessary, beneficial, expedient or amusing.

A somewhat simplistic inductive argument may be made that systems composed of intelligent subsystems are themselves, by definition, intelligent. This describes the evolving system composed of the body of humanity and it's emergent complex of language, symbols and cultures.

From my perspective there seem to be two metaorganisms on Earth today: Nature and Civilization. Whether the relationship between these is one of Mother to Child, Lovers, Enemies, Progenitor/Successor, Host-Parasite, Archeocortex/Neocortex of a Gaian Brain, or coevolving subsystems remains to be seen.

It may also be the case that any one of us is smarter than god; the density of intercommunication between processing elements determines, to some extent, the speed and complexity of mental states that a system can model. Nature is slow and wise, Civilization is smart, fast and reckless. Individual humans are faster and more reckless yet. Historically, civilization has been nudged and transformed by individuals within whom extraordinary processes and new social or symbolic models catalyzed. It's fairly clear that individual humans are capable of acting more intelligently than synchronized mobs.

In the same way, Civilization may be more intelligent than Nature by virtue of its use of extragenetic/nonmaterial encodings of information where mutation happens at the symbolic rather than the nucleic acid level, and the rate of selection feedback is faster.

Overt consciousness (I refer here to the self-reflecting, self-observing or "dhyana" aspect of consciousness) is another feedback system which accellerates human extragenetic cultural and individual evolution (notions that Nature is in a state of perfect repose and meditation notwithstanding.)

[addendum: This difference in the feedback lag between Nature and Civilization may account for many of the apparently stupid and destructive fruits of industrial civilization. Civilized constructs mutate at the symbolic rate, but the feedback from the environment returns at the much slower rate of natural evolution. Lethal mutations that would be erased in a single biological generation fester for decades or centuries waiting for environmental feedback from natural systems to select them out of the meme pool. By the time this corrective negative feedback signal reaches an effective threshold, the biospheric systems through which such signals propogate may already have been rendered moribund. There's a clear survival and evolution-enhancing niche available for civilized, informational and human means of generating rapid corrective negative feedback. ]

(July 1998 - MST)