A Tale of Ex-Apes - 10.1628/219597716X14696202742091 - Mohr Siebeck

Jonathan Marks

A Tale of Ex-Apes

Whence Wisdom?

Volume 3 () / Issue 2, pp. 152-174 (23)

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Evolution leaves two patterns in nature simultaneously: continuity (i.e., descent) and discontinuity (i.e., modification). In narrating the evolution of our species, we tend to privilege continuity at the expense of discontinuity, for reasons having in part to do with our historical engagement with creationist interlocutors, and to the cultural status ascribed to genetics. In this paper, I will explore the emergence of the imaginary – the universe of metaphors, possible futures, symbolic meanings, remote ancestors, spirits, magic, and most importantly, stories – as a crucial element in human evolution. The emergence of wisdom might be considered as the ability to navigate successfully in a largely fictive domain of relatedness, obligation, and morality.

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