In college I completed an actuarial (actuarial, not actual) questionnaire to give me a statistically-predicted life span. The questionnaire asked, “Are you a/what is your gender?, Do you smoke/drink or other?, Are you married or other?, What disease history/histories does your family have?” Also, “Are you Democrat, Republican, or Independent?”—ok, I lied about that last one. The question was actually, “Regarding the future, are you pessimistic or sanguine about the future?—oops— that was a lie too—it never asked that. Look up “sanguine” and decide for yourself. Said questionnaire gave a number—the number: “This many years you shall live, and no further,“ which number I dutifully memorized to give counsel of what matters and what does not. It is a really useful statistic to help keep perspective.
“In a relative blank of geological time, our species invented language, bringing in the 6th great transition. By this I mean true language, not facial expression, bodily postures and movements, grunts, sighs, frowns, smiles, laughter, and other paralinguistic signals shared by most humans. And not the creative chatter of parrots and crows, the sweet calling of songbirds, or the howls, roars and chittering of mammals, no matter how varied and modulated.
Animals can communicate by sound, as we do magnificently well, but they cannot truly speak. True language, uniquely practiced by humans, consists of words and symbols invented and assigned arbitrary meaning, then combined to create an infinite variety of messages. (If you doubt the endless productivity of language, choose one out of the infinite series of prime numbers, then count verbally from there.) The messages generate stories, imagined and real, variously from all times past, present, and future.
To speech was added literacy, which rendered every human thought potentially global. Humans could ask any question about all the life around them, species by species, organism by organism. The capacity for language, science, and philosophical thought made us the steward and mind of the biosphere. Can we muster the moral intelligence to fulfill this role?”
Genesis—The Deep Origin of Societies, E.O. Wilson, 2019, pps 38-40
An intuition must be grown