Sunday, 26 February 2017


"...Havel thought how much of a survival advantage it was to be mentally flexible in this Changed world."
-SM Stirling, Dies The Fire (New York, 2005), p. 406.

Flexibility is always an advantage. Poul Anderson argued (see here) that natural selection moves in two directions:

highly specialized organisms that become extinct when their environment changes;

sensitive and alert organisms able to learn and to adapt their behavior to changed conditions.

The latter can become cooperative, linguistic and intelligent. Therefore, Anderson argues that intelligence is common throughout the universe. Meanwhile, we must become and remain mentally flexible. Ditch dogmatism. Theory is grey; life is green.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And I remember how, more than once in his stories, Poul Anderson said that a very good means of learning how to survive in a low tech world would be to study the BOY SCOUT MANUAL. Or to take courses learning the survivalist methods we see described in ORION SHALL RISE. Or to be active member of the Society For Creative Anachronism, of which Anderson himself was a founding member. I've actually if I should try to find any local chapters of the SCA!


Sean M. Brooks said...

I'm vexed by my typos! Second to last sentence above should have "an" after "Or to be..." Last sentence should read "I've actually WONDERED if I should try to find any local chapters of the SCA!"