The evolution of mankind is a process that is steadily accelerating. This is not just an argument presented in Waking Life; while the reasons remain a hotly debated mystery, many scientists now believe that the evolutionary process itself has evolved and occurs at a more rapid pace than life has ever known. The film uses the biological evolution of mankind, from squishy invertebrates to mammals to conscious organisms, as its initial evidence for this stance. Social and technological evolutions- agriculture, industrialism, and scientific development- provide further evidence to support its telescopical theory. Linklater argues that this acceleration has traditionally been exclusive to the population on a holistic level, rather than focusing on the individual. This would explain our natural competitiveness, our drive to dominate one another, the development of capitalism, and other such behavior manifested from the predisposed support of surviving to propagate. Indeed the biological development of our species, while effecting the anatomy of the single organism, has been a direct result from the development of populations- the natural selection of the dominant traits within a population- and has thus taken place to benefit the species primarily and the individual secondarily.
So what is causing this acceleration in the evolutionary process? Biology, culture, and technology are fueling each other’s development! We make a progression in one of these facets, and it provides new opportunity in the other two. Those oppurtunities lead to further progression in the other two facets.
Example: Farming and Agriculture (technological) -->
the development of cities/groups of people living together, and genetic changes brought on by new diets and eating habits (Dunham) CULTURAL, BIOLOGICAL
Cities and close populations presented a problem with disease, which lead to cleaner habits, hygiene, and etiquette (CULTURE) and the development of medicine (TECHNOLOGICAL), and medicine has forever changed our society and genetic makeup.
Will Dunham's article on Thomson Reuters’ website reports similar ideas to the increasing speed of evolution. Dunham writes, “people today are genetically more different from people living 5,000 years ago than those humans were different from the Neanderthals who vanished 30,000 years ago.” Complimentary to the points in Waking Life, Dunham notes that significant evolutionary accomplishments are notably associated with scientific and cultural achievements.
SOMETHING I'VE BEEN WRESTLING WITH IN THIS PIECE...
The new evolution for Linklater will stem from a symbiotic coexistence between digital and analog information, blended for the first time by neurobiology. I’ve listened to this over and over and it still remains unclear. So I am setting out on a journey through the internet to find some answers. (QUESTION #1) What does this mean?
According to the PC guide, search CIO-midmarket on analog, and search CIO-midmarket on digital:
ANALOG INFORMATION is “information that is continuous, that is, any piece of information that can take on any of an infinite set of values.” Analog information was our traditional source for relaying phone, radio, and television signals and is basically a series of ever-changing waves being streamed into a receiver.
DIGITAL INFORMATION is “restricted” to the exchange of binary information. An infinite number of possibilities exist in the pattern of 1’s and 0’s that represent information and are transferred into digital devices, like computers, digital phones, and digital cameras. Digital communication has quickly replaced most analog sources, even though it is less accurate than its predecessor. This is because digital information is more reliable, clear, and easy to store and copy.
According to The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary:
NEUROBIOLOGY is “the biological study of the nervous system.”
(QUESTION #2) What does neurobiology have to do with analog and digital information?
Humans obviously take in analog information, not digital information; we see continuous waves of light and hear continuous waves of sound, rather than perceiving our surroundings in binary 1’s and 0’s. Is Linklater trying to say we are going to evolve into organisms capable of processing digital information? Sounds like "The Matrix" doesn't it?
Back to the video: Linklater referred to digital information as “artificial intelligence” and analog information as “molecular biology” and “cloning of the organism.”
Molecular biology has a central focus on DNA, RNA, genetics, etc. (analog communication) and is the driving force behind cloning.