Bend the world to our will

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A note for Lesson no. 7, "Our Brains Can Create Reality," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 120‌ is:

...evolution blended the Five Cs into a potion that spurs us to bend the world to our will.

Humans take niche construction to a whole new level. We try to control our environments by building houses, farming food and wind, and modifying the landscape by blowing tunnels through mountains and reshaping coastlines. But some of the things we do have unexpected effects, in part due to a tragic cocktail of hubris and ignorance of complexity. For example, humans have unintentionally transformed fertile land into desert.

Additionally, some of our attempts at niche construction have made the natural world and less controllable and more dangerous. Examples are the effects of climate change on storm patterns, and political efforts to create doubt about the scientific evidence on climate change in an effort to maintain the economic status quo.[1]


  1. Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. 2010. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Climate Change. New York: Bloomsbury Press.