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E. O. Wilson


Entomologist and biologist known for his work on ecology, evolution, and sociobiology.
E. O. Wilson
Ancient Mexico, like most forest-invested New World tropics, was deficient in the kind of large game that flourished on the plains of Africa and Asia. ...The situation was partially relieved by cannibalizing the victims of human sacrifice. ...The [ Aztec] priesthood... sanctified it... immediately after their hearts had been cut out, the victims were systematically butchered like animals and their parts distributed and eaten.
Wilson quotes
The borderline between normal and schizophrenic people is broad and nearly imperceptible.
Wilson
Nationalism and racism, to take two examples, are the culturally nurtured outgrowths of simple tribalism.




Wilson E. O. quotes
Stable climates with muted seasons allow more kinds of organisms to specialize on narrower pieces of the environment, to outcompete the generalists around them, and so persist for longer periods of time. Species are packed more tightly. No niche, it seems goes unfilled. Specialization is likely to be pushed to bizarre, beautiful extremes.
Wilson E. O.
In early history phobias might have provided the extra margin needed to insure survival...
E. O. Wilson quotes
The three extreme kinds of schizophrenia are unmistakable: the haunted paranoid surrounded by his imaginary community of spies and assassins, the clownish, sometimes incontinent hebephrenic, and the frozen catatonic.
E. O. Wilson
Cultural evolution is Lamarckian and very fast, whereas biological evolution is Darwinian and usually very slow.
Wilson E. O. quotes
The naturalist is a civilized hunter. He goes alone into the field or woodland and closes his mind to everything but that time and place, so that life around him presses in on all the senses and small details grow in significance. He begins the scanning search for which cognition was engineered. His mind becomes unfocused, it focuses on everything, no longer directed toward any ordinary task or social pleasantry.
Wilson
Few will doubt that humankind has created a planet-sized problem for itself. No one wished it so, but we are the first species to become a geophysical force, altering Earth's climate, a role previously reserved for tectonics, sun flares, and glacial cycles. We are also the greatest destroyer of life since the ten-kilometer-wide meteorite that landed near Yucatan and ended the Age of Reptiles sixty-five million years ago. Through overpopulation we have put ourselves in danger of running out of food and water. So a very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic.
Wilson E. O.
Because of mathematical indeterminancy and the uncertainty principle, it may be a law of nature that no nervous system is capable of acquiring enough knowledge to significantly predict the future of any other intelligent system in detail. Nor can intelligent minds gain enough self-knowledge to know their own future, capture fate, and in this sense eliminate free will.
E. O. Wilson
Early human beings... filled a special ecological niche: they were carnivorous primates of the African plains. ...When agriculture permitted the increase of population density, game was no longer abundant... carnivorism remained a basic dietary impulse, with cultural aftereffects that varied according to the special conditions of the environment in which the society evolved.




E. O. Wilson quotes
The only other mammalian carnivores that take outsized prey are lions, hyenas, wolves, and African wild dogs. Each... has an exceptionally advanced social life, prominently featuring the pursuit of prey in coordinated packs.
E. O. Wilson
I interpret contemporary human social behavior to comprise hypertrophic outgrowths of the simpler features of human nature joined together into an irregular mosaic.
Wilson quotes
The cardinal mystery of neurobiology is not self-love or dreams of immortality but intentionality. What is the prime mover, the weaver who guides the flashing shuttles?
Wilson E. O.
The essence of humanity's spiritual dilemma is that we evolved genetically to accept one truth and discovered another.
Wilson E. O. quotes
A schema is a configuration within the brain, either inborn or learned, against which the input of the nerve cells is compared. ...the conscious mind ...can fill in details that are missing from the actual sensory input and create a pattern in the mind which is not necessarily present in reality. In this way, the gestalt of objects—the impression...—is aided by the taxonomic powers of the schemata.
E. O. Wilson
The fraction of Americans working in occupations concerned primarily with information has increased from 20 to nearly 50 percent of the work force.
E. O. Wilson quotes
Although the capacity to become schizophrenic may well be within all of us, there is no question that certain persons have distinctive genes predisposing them to the condition.
E. O. Wilson
The selection pressures of hunter-gatherer existence have persisted for over 99 percent of human evolution.
Wilson E. O.
This planet can be a paradise in the 22nd century.


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