Engineering–as a methodology rather than the discipline–is highly prestigious, connoting optimized construction and implicitly excellence in the resulting capabilities.  Reverse that logic and something that exhibits excellence in capability must be well engineered.  And so it goes when we consider our own human species that exhibits [some might say] the highest level of capability we must be highly engineered; an optimized system of interoperable components tuned over the millennia that has enabled us to achieve the successes we enjoy.  Books, such as Kluge, question whether we humans are so well engineered. They offer our current state as an outcome of an evolutionary process which has neither foresight nor hindsight.   A mechanism that tends to hinder the continuance of the weak through failure over purposely developing the strong.  So as the argument goes we are not optimally constructed; we are the result of layers of adaptations on top of previous adaptations; a system put together with bailing wire an duct tape.  

Yet surprisingly for the most part we work! We are a system that has evolved over the last two or so million years, made up of components that have themselves evolved over several hundred of millions years.  A system that enables adaptation to conditions unforeseen at the onset. A system that is able to proceed with one simple, easy to understand goal–survival–but no end-state design. A system that is able to leverage legacy components and adapt and incorporate them. A system that is able to continue it would seem without end. While individual components that make up our being may not appear optimal it is the system as a whole and the changing context in which it is able to survive that defines how well it is optimized. It is the optimization of the whole and of the pieces within the the physical, mental and migration through time.     

It was this contradiction that struck me as I was listening to the video below, The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind. 


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