Wednesday, February 28, 2007


A human being is a part of the whole that we call the universe, a part limited in time and space. And yet we experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical illusion of our consciousness. This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only the few people nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living beings and all of nature.
-- Albert Einstein

The fact of humanity as a collective being is not a remarkable concept. What is remarkable is how one can carry on life’s daily activities, one of billions of others shuffling across the face of the planet doing much the same sort of thing, and still maintain a firm belief in one’s own individuality.

We distinguish ourselves with our styles and our fashions and our “unique” thoughts, apparently unaware that the very things that mark us off as individuals “different from the rest” are themselves the products of a collective culture to which we as individuals make only a vanishingly small contribution.

This blog, so unique to my own thoughts, is one of perhaps hundreds of millions of others, each as certain of its own individuality as my own.

Every human being has two souls, one a product of individual experience, and the other the product of the collective experience of the human species.

The collective soul is carried in two vessels: the DNA in which is encoded the blueprint for the species, and the culture, in which is encoded the collective actual experience of humanity.

As I’ve tried to say in an earlier post, what we call the “soul” is nothing other than the learning of the species. The soul lives in the genetic material.

But the learning of the species resides not only in the human body. Perhaps the greatest distinguishing feature of the human species is that we are the only animal that stores its learning outside of its own mortal body.

The soul of humanity in 2007 resides as much on the Internet as it does in the human genome.

What is DNA but the distilled experience of the human species? And what is the Internet but the memory of the human race?

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