Friday, January 12, 2007

A Chimera between Einstein and Darwin

One thing that is lacking from the intellectual endeavors in today's world is that of synthetic creativity. With the advent of an attitude to quantify and compete in a specific context, the laudable tradition of going over the borders and come to grips with the essential problems that encompass all walks of men's intellectual activities is gone.

In some areas, the lack of an all-encompassing activities might not pose an urgent and serious problem. For example, when one tries to develop a new blue laser diode, knowledge in related areas might suffice.

For some themes, however, the absence of a synthetic effort can be fatal in the effort to achieve. In trying to understand the human brain, for example, it is necessary to attend to the various aspects of this complex system, from the molecular mechanisms of synaptic regulation to the whole-brain transient synchronization observed in the moment of one-shot learning.

In understanding and preserving ecology, it is necessary to appreciate the complexity of life-forms and the multi-faced interaction that exists between various species. In fields such as cognitive science, biology, sociology, etc., the awareness of the complexity of the whole system is a necessary ingredient of any successful and truly useful theory. The field of consciousness studies is clearly one where such a synthetic effort encompassing various fields is necessary.

On the other hand, a mere collection of miscellaneous facts is not sufficient to solve the enigma of consciousness. We need a sharp, focused intellect directly facing the most abstract and intractable conceptual problems concerning the mentality. Thus, we need a "Chimera between Einstein and Darwin", attending to the various aspects of a complex system with the greatest care and pertaining to cut into the heart of an abstract problem structure at the same time.

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