‘…reading is a sort of new synthetic instinct…’

‘In a sense, reading is a sort of new synthetic instinct, input which becomes a program and which in turn crystallizes into neural hardware, and which incorporates a cultural loop into the human nervous circuit. This “new instinct” in turn profoundly changes the environment within which young human brains are programmed. In the early stages of human evolution such new instincts (speech must have been one) had to wait for their full development while sexual selection established the necessary elaborate vocal circuitry in the cortex. Later on we were able to use our technology, which required much less time to develop, as a sort of supplementary external nervous system. A book is a sort of R.O.M. chip we can plug in to our heads.’

– Frederick Turner and Ernst Poppel, ‘The Neural Lyre’


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