Part 2: The Rise of Function

I’ve outlined what function is and how it came to be, but to understand the detailed kinds of function we see in life and the mind, we need to back up to the start and consider the selection pressures at work. Humans have taken slightly over four billion years to evolve. Of that, the last 600 or so million years (about 15%) has been as animals with minds, the last 4 million years (about 0.1%) as human-like primates, and the last 10,000 or so years (about 0.00025%) as what we think of as civilized. The rate of change has been accelerating, and we know that our descendants will soon think of us as shockingly primitive (and some already do!). An explanation of the mind should account for what happened in each of these four periods and why.

Life: 4 billion to 600 million years ago
Minds: 600 million to 4 million years ago
Humans: 4 million to 10,000 years ago
Civilization: 10,000 years ago to present

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