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The subconscious and conscious adaptation and evolution of literary stories

Any story that we generate, whether it is written, spoken, performed – includes at least bits and pieces from stories that we have absorbed in the past. Our original works and stories that we create are products certainly of our imagination and hard work but also of accounts that we have previously absorbed, that have impacted us whether we know it or don’t. It is indeed possible to consciously model a narrative based on one that was produced before it, as Zadie Smith did in On Beauty with E.M. Forster’s novel, Howard’s End as her model. The functionality of this practice is one that leaves little room for originality and flexibility, as evident by the somewhat confined ending of Smtih’s novel. On the subconscious level, however, I argue that somehow, a part of what we have read, watched, or listened to has stuck with us and is manifest in the work we create and the stories we later tell. In that respect, all of our stories are conglomerations of slices of the stories we have already heard, whether we knowingly choose to make them so or not.

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The evolution of humor and how it impacts evolution

The evolution of humor and how it impacts evolution

The theory of evolution dictates that we as humans are the products of a random process consisting of natural selection and common descent. Furthermore, our existence as a human species is rooted in innumerable variables beyond anyone’s control as well as an ancestral heritage consisting of apes. Beyond just our physical arrival, there are cultural ramifications of evolution that distinguish the human species from any other evolved animal. “All the achievements of human culture – language, art, religion, ethics, science itself – are themselves artifacts… of the same fundamental process that developed the bacteria, the mammals, and Homo sapiens” (Dennett, 144). Over the course of our time here, the human species has experienced developments of moral codes, growth of languages, and a widespread interest in the arts. Humans have expanded their meaning to transcend just survival, but also to include morality, pleasure, organization, and culture. A quality unique to humans is our proneness to engage in humor – for the most part, we enjoy laughing, telling jokes, and being funny. I claim that humor is a necessary trait in the success of evolution and serves as an adaptive quality.

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Human impact on evolution

Becky Farber

February 16, 2007

Paper #1

            Throughout the course of class discussion and Ernst Mayr’s What Evolution Is, we have explored the notion of evolution occurring by a series of random events and interactions. “Different genotypes within a single population may respond differently to the same change of the environment. The changes of the environment, likewise, are unpredictable” (Mayr, 277). Humans by chance evolved to this latest stage with somewhat of an ability to recognize the very process by which we came to exist. On the one hand, advancements in technology, matched with the dominant attitude and position of the human race, allow for intentional and increasing changes to be made to the evolutionary path. Yet intrinsic in human nature is the faculty to adjust the direction of evolution, and this can be done without knowledge of either evolution or technology. I argue that humans alter the process of evolution both deliberately and unintentionally. Our role as the most developed organism allots us the supposed authority and innate ability to modify the course of evolution and the future of development, not just for our own species, but for others as well.

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