The Language User's Quick Start Guide

A 9-minute video to show all toddlers. (Just kidding, but seriously).

Posted Feb 12, 2018

I study how organisms adapt from our cradle at the origins of life to our grave situation today. Recently, I recognized how to bridge the big distance. 

Human language is a wild newfangled adaptation. Though a lot has been written about the big changes wrought by culture and tool-use, I think language trumps them all. Language is the root source of what makes us not just another mid-sized mammal but the amazing pieces of work we are, the first species to define a whole epoch (the Anthropocene), the expansive visionaries and screw-ups we turn out to be.

Our challenge today is DWL, driving toward adaptation under the influence of language. It's a hell of a toolkit. It floods our minds with possibilities both realistic and unrealistic. Wisdom, as I'd now define it, is the quest to know the difference between realistic and unrealistic.