December 23, 2009 | Leave a Comment
A foundation of this work is the power of sexual selection and social structure to inform biological and social evolution. Integrating sexual selection and social structure with heterochronic theory, neuropsychology and endocrinology makes it possible for these components to comprise a synthesis I’m calling “The Orchestral Theory of Evolution.” One way to explain how these seemingly different disciplines integrate is to explore them in enough detail, one at a time, so that depicting how different languages are describing the same process makes sense intuitively.
In the case of sexual selection, I have the work of Geoffrey Miller (2000) to detail what I am thinking. Miller doesn’t believe neoteny influences human evolution in an important way. Miller is an evolutionary psychologist. He believes that the simpler explanation is likely more useful. Nevertheless, Miller adroitly describes human evolution impacted by sexual selection. My variation of Miller’s thesis is as follows:
1) Natural selection
2) Sexual selection (selecting for pattern when seeking a mate)
3) Human sexual selection (selection for novel pattern when seeking a mate)
4) Art (selecting for novel pattern outside of mate selection)
5) Awareness of the selection, or creative, process
I believe that a familiarity with social structure is integral to understanding the power of sexual selection to propel these transitions. Implied is a hierarchy, or meta-evolution, of evolutionary processes, beginning with natural selection. Sexual selection follows natural selection. Where it gets particularly interesting is when human sexual selection begins a focus on novelty or aesthetics, probably in the form of rhythm and dance. What we call culture, step 4, represents a sexualization of experience, with a focus on novelty itself becoming assigned to experience. Symbol itself, language, emerges from sexual selection rhythm-and-dance grounded rituals to become what we call culture, but it probably is in no small way almost all about procreation. Step 5 emerges when we split consciousness beings begin to integrate our two separated selves, becoming aware of the relationship between consciousness, sexuality and the creative process.
This five-step process is a slimmed-down explanation of the evolution of evolutionary process, concentrating on sexual selection in particular. I believe this to be a useful abbreviation because it offers a cogent doorway into the integration that this work seeks to share. Over the course of this blog I step in and out of the central thesis of this work from several doorways, hoping the reader will acquire a feeling for the music that guides this work, like one who is learning dance steps. Though I have described this thesis as subtle and complex, like a work of Bach, it is mostly a case of the theory just feeling unfamiliar. Bach, complex, nevertheless can feel familiar. Experiencing human evolution as a five-step dance is one way we can move to evolution’s music.