Quotes From "Dragons Of Eden: Speculations On The Evolution Of Human Intelligence" By Carl Sagan

Those at too great a distance may, I am well...
Those at too great a distance may, I am well are, mistake ignorance for perspective. Carl Sagan
Significant change might require those who are now high in...
Significant change might require those who are now high in the hierarchy to move downward many steps. This seems to them undesirable and is resisted. Carl Sagan
It may be that there are kernels of truth in a few of these doctrines, but their widespread acceptancebetokens a lack of intellectual rigor, an absence of skepticism, a need to replace experiments by desires. Carl Sagan
I know of no significant advance in science that did not require major inputs from both cerebral hemispheres. This is not true for art, where apparently there are no experiments by which capable, dedicated and unbiased observers can determine to their mutual satisfaction which works are great. Carl Sagan
There are many hypotheses in physics of almost comparable brilliance and elegance that have beenrejected because they did not survive such a confrontation with experiment. In my view, the human condition would be greatly improved if such confrontations and willingness to reject hypotheses were a regular part of our social, political, economic, religious and cultural lives. Carl Sagan
There is some evidence that dreaming is necessary. When people or other mammals are deprived of REM sleep (by awakening them as soon as the characteristic REM and EEG dream patterns emerge), the number of initiations of the dream state per night goes up, and, in severe cases, daytime hallucinations-that is, waking dreams-occur. Carl Sagan
What functions do dreams serve today? One view, published in a reputable scientific paper, holds that the function of dreams is to wake us up a little, every now and then, to see if anyone is about to eat us. But dreams occupy such a relatively small part of normal sleep that this explanation does not seem very compelling. Moreover, as we have seen, the evidence points just the other way: today it is the mammalian predators, not the mammalian prey, who characteristically have dream-filled sleep. Carl Sagan
Much more plausible is the computer-based explanation that dreams are a spillover from the unconscious processing of the day's experience, from the brain's decision on how much of the daily events temporarily stored in a kind of buffer to emplace in long-term memory.. The American psychiatrist Ernest Hartmann of Tufts University has providedanecdotal but reasonably persuasive evidence that people who are engaged in intellectual activities during the day, especially unfamiliar intellectual activities, require more sleep at night, while, by and large, those engaged in mainly repetitive and intellectually unchallenging tasks are able to do with much less sleep. Carl Sagan
However, in part for reasons of organizationalconvenience, modern societies are structured as if all humans had the same sleep requirements; and in many parts of the world there is a satisfying sense of moral rectitude in rising early. The amount of sleep required for buffer dumping would then depend on how much we have both thought and experienced since the last sleep period. Carl Sagan
This looks very much as if the integration of the day's experience into our memory, the forging of new neural links, is either an easier or a more urgent task. As the night wears on and this function is completed, the more affecting dreams, the more bizarrematerial, the fears and lusts and other powerful emotions of thedream material emerge. Carl Sagan
There is another connection between infancy and dreams: both are followed by amnesia. When we emerge from either state, we have great difficulty remembering what we have experienced. In both cases, I would suggest, the left hemisphere of the neocortex, which is responsible for analyticrecollection, has been functioning ineffectively. Carl Sagan
Thus, an inhibition center developed below what in humans is the temporal lobe, to turn off much of the functioning of the reptilian brain; and an activation center evolved in the pons to turn on the R-complex, but harmlessly, during sleep. Carl Sagan
And reading itself is an amazing activity: You glance at a thin, flat object made from a tree...and the voice of the author begins to speak inside your head. (Hello! ) Carl Sagan
The future belongs to those societies that treat new ideas as delicate, fragile and immensely valuable pathways to the future. Carl Sagan
Russell commented that the development of such gifted individuals (referring to polymaths) required a childhood period in which there was little or no pressure for conformity, a time in which the child could develop and pursue his or her own interests no matter how unusual or bizarre. Carl Sagan
As in all such technological nightmares, the principal task is to foresee what is possible; to educate use and misuse; and to prevent its organizational, bureaucratic and governmental abuse. Carl Sagan
This sort of information gathering is precisely what we call play. And the important function of play is thus revealed: it permits us to gain, without any particular future application in mind, a holistic understanding of the world, which is both a complement of and a preparation for later analytical activities. Carl Sagan
Dartmouth College employs computer learning techniques in a very broad array of courses. For example, a student can gain a deep insight into the statistics of Mendelian genetics in an hour with the computer rather than spend a year crossing fruit fliesin the laboratory. Carl Sagan
When all is said and done, the invention of writing must be reckoned not only as a brilliant innovation but as a surpassing good for humanity. And assuming that we survive long enough to use their inventions wisely, I believe the same will be said of the modern Thoths and Prometheuses who are today devisingcomputers and programs at the edge of machine intelligence. Carl Sagan
Natural selection has served as a kind of intellectual sieve, producing brains and intelligences increasingly competent to deal with the laws of nature. Carl Sagan