George Paxinos

As different artists sculpt different statues from the same block of marble, different environments produce different characters, even in identical twins. Evelyn, a geneticist and amateur archeologist, makes a formidable discovery in Israel, the consequence of which is the birth of Christopher and José, identical twins raised apart, one in affluent Sydney, the other in the slums of Buenos Aires …                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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Are our brains too small?

I’m always amused when I hear the term: ‘man-made’.

On the other hand, we never hear: ‘mouse-made’, ‘mushroom-made’ or ‘micro-organism-made’.

There is another important distinction to be made between biological creation and creation myth or belief.

Regardless of your spirituality or religious orientation, could we agree that everything comes from nature?

Can we somehow rank the marvellous acts of self-sacrifice and care for others by Mother Teresa against the enormously complex, symbiotic and nutritional role played by fungi on the forest floor and subsoil root systems?

It is truly complicated to separate the simple from the complex, and by association the difference between the role of the individual and that of the group. Intelligence can be both centralised and distributed.

…his thinking was an amalgam of ethics, neuroscience, ecology and theology. I have to hand it to the guy—he has a coherent rationale, convoluted though it is.

In one sense, a colony of fungi represents just as valid a neural network, as the human brain – ‘it’ makes decisions for itself, culls bad connections that threaten survival, and builds good connections where conditions promote prosperity.

Still, how often do individual mushrooms write for academic journals or present the nightly weather forecast?

And conversely, on what occasions do humans regard their ‘athlete’s foot’ as a clear and present survival risk?

We humans are often guilty of regarding our intellect and capacity for thought as ‘special’, distinct, or somehow outside of nature’s realm and her prerogatives

“He claimed the brain has leftover reptilian parts—from snakes. They give us Stone Age emotions, unsuitable for handling our space- age technology.”

Are our brains too small? Too big?

Let’s put it this way…

If you were to design a near perfect recycling system, would you investigate french food waste practices or a mushroom colony (or both)?

Food for thought! (Couldn’t resist the pun ;>)

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