But new research has led biologists to a different view. We didn’t adapt to a particular Stone Age environment. We adapted to a newly unpredictable and variable world. And we did it by developing new abilities for cultural transmission and change. Each generation could learn new skills for coping with new environments and could pass those skills on to the next generation.
As the anthropologist Pascal Boyer points out in his answer, it’s tempting to talk about “the culture” of a group as if this is some mysterious force outside the biological individual or independent of evolution. But culture is a biological phenomenon. It’s a set of abilities and practices that allow members of one generation to learn and change and to pass the results of that learning on to the next generation. Culture is our nature, and the ability to learn and change is our most important and fundamental instinct.
Freelancers often work independently, but being “on your own” doesn’t mean “going it alone.” Freelancing successfully means building a network to line up new gigs, passing assignments to others when things are busy, and getting referrals from friends when they’re not.
In the information-and-hyperlink saturated workplace social networks we now inhabit, clarification, confirmation, and collaboration are but a click or two away. It’s mission-critical for individuals, groups, and organizations to be able to discern what kind(s) of personal learning strategies are necessary to survive and thrive in our new world of permanent information whitewater.
There just isn’t any choice other than continuous learning because ongoing change—permanent whitewater—is our only remaining constant.
In the past, media provided a filter. If something was on the front page or the evening news, it was considered important. If not, it wasn’t. Yet today, anyone can broadcast—whether it be a distraught mother or a crusading journalist. Nobody needs to ask for permission, even in a corrupt, authoritarian country.
And that’s why social media is playing an increasing role in shaping events. A small group of passionate people can influence others that are slightly more reticent, still others take notice and also join in. Before you know it, a movement ensues …
You have to wonder how the world got to where it is today where we have to FORCE people to be INDEPENDENT. Two words that look weird together in a sentence. It’s come to this – you have to force people to be independent? Isn’t that something that would create mistrust or curiosity in people?