Language Is A Virus

Words and language are but a virus preying upon our brains from birth.

Exploring Daniel Dennett’s From Bacteria to Back and Back, we’re left with a peculiar takeaway; words and language are but a virus preying upon our brains from birth. However, this virus is symbiotic and the backbone of human culture–and culture is the foundation of our intelligence.

On the surface, language seems to mimic top-down intelligent design. We humans are the creator of our language so therefore we are in control of it. However, Dennett inverts the paradigm and ties the phenomenon to evolution, demonstrating how language is as organic as natural selection. “Children acquire this natural language by a quasi-Darwinian process, achieving the competences that are the foundation for comprehension by a process that is competent without comprehension” (197). The child becomes immersed in language from birth and bootstraps themselves into comprehension through a massive and unconscious process of trial and error (197).

The Soul and Marx: The Need For Illusion

Religion is “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world… it is the opium of the people.” – Karl Marx

Marx is an atheist and highly critical of the illusion or affects created by religion. He views religion as the “ghostly realization” of the state and society, and a struggle against religion is a direct struggle against the state.

To overcome religion, the people must “demand to give up conditions that require illusions” (Marx 116). Illusory happiness must be replaced by true happiness, and a critical examination of heaven naturally leads to a critical examination of earth (Marx 116); “the critique of religion into the critique of law, the critique of theology into the critique of politics” (Marx 116). Marx calls for a war on the conditions of society and to use criticism as a weapon to not simply refute these conditions, but to utterly destroy them (Marx 117). He calls for those to be ruthless in their pursuit of correction and demands that people move beyond idle discussion and aggressively apply the critical theory.

Why? What For? How Come?

The question why? seeks to provide reasons of the two fundamental categories in which we explain things: causality and function.

These two categories can be traced back to the origin of life itself and to understand Daniel Dennett’s cryptic statement, “Natural Selection is thus an automatic reason-finder,” you first must understand how Dennett views reasons.

Reasons provide answers to the questions of why? However, the question why? is subdivided into two categories of what for? and how come? (38). When someone asks “why are your eyes blues?” they are really asking “what causes you to have blue eyes?” or rather, “how come you have blue eyes?” How come? questions seeks the process that explains the occurrence / observation, i.e. a kind of continuity. Understanding how come? questions is the first step in reasoning’s evolution and do not attempt to explain purpose or function (38).

The Soul and Christianity

Thou shalt not steal? It seems the foundation of Christian principles are a bad sequel of Greek tradition.

The correlation between concepts of human spirit, soul, heaven, and God presented by Greek philosophers and the fundamental principles of Christianity is awing. If there were such a thing as copyright laws at the time, Christianity would be battling a tough legal case. While the parallels are evident, Christianity’s perversion or adaptation of the soul, building upon Platonists’ intent of abstract concepts (Forms), morphed the religion into a new way of life and perspective of the soul and world.

The Old Testament is largely a creation story and description of God. God is a single true reasonable being (relatable to the embodiment of Parmenides’ cosmic heaven and Plato’s Forms), existing as a perfect conception unlimited by the material / empirical world. God created heaven and earth; the reasonable and empirical. Man is introduced upon earth and created in God’s image, but having no knowledge, or need of knowledge. Man is then stricken with peril as he becomes aware of himself through sin—disobeying God by eating from the tree of knowledge and gaining an understanding of “good” and “bad” (reasonable and empirical). This self-awareness hints of an “I”, consciousness, or spirit.

AI and Immortality

Immortality awaits! Suppose the kind corporate folks at MindCloud offer you the following "deal":

In exchange for your earthly, bodily existence (and maybe a few ducats), MindCloud will upload all of your memories, hopes, aspirations, and emotional and affective dispositions up onto a secure place in the cloud. In this place "you" will be able to explore and experience the ever-increasing contents therein, where "you" may contribute to such content by building up a new cloud-based narrative of "your life," and where "you" will also be able to satisfy virtual analogues of felt bodily urges and needs, without having actually to attend to the hassles of tending and caring for a corporeal body.

Would or would not accept such a deal? What would your concerns be? Here's what I think:

MindCloud is entertainment. MindCloud is fiction. And I can’t help but take the idea to its absolute—becoming God.

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