Cognition and multicellular development

Doug Klimesh dougklim at
Tue Sep 7 19:58:09 EST 1999

JoshCahoon wrote:
> Why would you attribute a complex mental act that  humans can have due to their
> complex nervous system--" the innate urge to become a part of something greater
> than yourself"--to simple single celled organisms? That's laughably
> anthropomorphic.

Yes, there may be some anthropomorphism in my view, and I certainly
don't know what it's like to be a single celled organism.  However you
are of the opposite (equally laughable) extreme in believing that only
humans can have these complex thoughts.  However we are discussing
INNATE URGES not necessary complex conscious thoughts.  Does the
bacteria consciously think, "I should divide so as to propagate my
species?"  No, it just divides.  At the very most it would think, "I
should divide... I am dividing... I divided... Where is more food..."

However the complex mental act of "the innate urge..." was thought by
something without a complex nervous system.  Science currently calls it

My point is that multicellularity is associated with more than just a
sense of self.  The sense of self is the most basic, and if one has that
then one has a sense of non self.  I see the following as some of the
most basic innate senses and urges:

Sense of self, sense of non self, sense of others same as self (others
of same species), sense of being part of a species, urge to help the
species (foremost by reproducing), urge to be near others of same
species, urge to merge with others of same species (usually sex), the
urge to become a part of something greater than yourself.

A single celled organism can have a sense of self identity by itself. 
Without any further urges it would have no reason to be a part of a
multicellular entity.

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