Human Peripheral Devices

How do humans plug-n-play with the world around them?

With our 5 senses. Those senses are of course:

  • Hearing – Ears
  • Seeing – Eyes
  • Tasting – Mouth
  • Touching – Hand (body)
  • Smelling – Nose

Why were we given these 5 senses?

Or to put it another way:

How come we don’t have pits on our faces that detect infrared light like many snakes do (called pit organs)?

How come we don’t have tails that can detect “electric fields generated by muscular contractions” in the water like the platypus does?

It has to do with evolution. The genes, the enviroment, the organism, and the tools used to interact with the world, are all bound by the laws of physics.

Within the framework of the laws of physics comes natural selection. A couple of things about evolution/natural selection:

  1. It’s not perfect
  2. It’s not always the strongest that survives

When genes (how heredity is passed along) are copied they’re not always a perfect copy.

Things being the way they are out there (or way down in there), these copies are not perfect. In the same way, you can tell the difference between an original document and a copy of the document made with a copy machine, it’s very difficult in nature to make a perfect copy. – Bill Nye “The Science Guy” – Undeniable

That’s okay that the genes aren’t perfect. When it comes to evolution and natural selection, you just have to be good enough.

…there is another remarkable and vital point to be made about evolution and the survival of the “good-enough.” It is an unfortunate linguistic happenstance that “survival of the fittest” sounds so good, because random natural variation does not produce perfectly fit individuals, nor does it need to. Evolution is driven by the idea of “fits in the best,” or “fits in well enough.” – Bill Nye “The Science Guy” – Undeniable

Genes aren’t perfect and organisms just have to be good-enough to suvive and procreate. It’s hard to survive when resources are limited in the environment.

… individuals compete for resources in their respective ecosystems, and the individuals that are born or sprout with favorable variations have a better shot at survival than their siblings. – Bill Nye “The Science Guy” – Undeniable

Within each ecosystem species fighting over limited recources is a matter of life or death. Which brings us to our questions from earlier:

How come we don’t have pits on our faces that detect infrared light like many snakes do? and, how come we don’t have tails that can detect electromagnitism in the water like the platypus does?

The reason is – the genes that we ended up with created the smartest brain on the planet. Our peripheral devices are an extention of our brain.

Since us humans, snakes, and platypus share the same ecosystem (which is inbetween the micro and macro) we dominated the fuck out of them because we ‘fit in the best.’

It turns out we didn’t need to see our prey in infrared or need to detect them with electroreception. We needed to out smart them. And we certainly did. Using our brains’ 5 “good-enough” senses – our human peripheral devices.


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(I’m doing Lucky’s 7 Day Challenge. Try to write a post everyday for 7 days. Any of you bloggers out there are more than welcome to join us!)

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