Dream It, Be It: How Imagination and Creativity Reshaped Human Evolution
Humans can see the world around them, imagine how it might be different, and translate those imaginings into reality…or at least try to. Meaning, imagination, and hope, are as central to the human evolutionary story as are bones, genes, and ecologies. Current paleoanthropological, archeological, and biological data make it abundantly clear that the human lineage, especially in the last two million years or so, underwent specific morphological changes alongside less easily measurable, but significant, behavioral and cognitive shifts as it forged, and was shaped by a new niche, a highly distinctive way of being in the world—a human niche. This niche contains the human baseline of creativity, our ability to imagine, communicate, and collaborate with increasing prowess…processes that facilitated our lineages’ transition from a cluster of medium-sized, hairless, fangless, hornless, clawless ape-like beings armed with a few rocks and some sticks into the species who invented domestication, economies, cities, nations, religion, warfare and broad-scale peace. This talk lays out the framework and sketches an outline for how this happened.