Why should not the whole human race be given thencapacity to experience and use that intensely individualngenius that we reverence in just a few? Let us not comfortnourselves in our present condihon by false and vulgarnprejudices: that genius is necessarily unhappy, that geniusesnare all the same, that the greatly talented are necessarilynunstable or lopsided in personality, that they lack thencommon touch, that they are impractical. These problemsnall people have, and if anything great genius is oftennremarkably free of them. The unhappiness of genius is lessndue to inherent flaws in the nature of genius itself than tonthe fact that having learned to fly, the genius feels morenexasperatingly the crippling handicaps that all human beingsnlabor under; and to the “inhuman dearth of noble natures”nabout them, as Keats put it. Perhaps through biotechnicalnmeans we may be able eventually to free the choked geniusnof our species: and having done this we would already be onnthe way to angelic intelligence and love. Of course a cautionnis in order: the biotechnical tools will themselves take arhsticngenius of a high order to wield without oversimplifying thenproblems or their solutions; and to this point we must return.nBut our future evoluHon may well proceed in a fashionnthat partially transcends the strictly biological altogether.nGradually we are learning to approximate the capacitiesnof the human mind by means of cybernetic artificialnintelligence. Can there be any doubt that an understandingnof the working of Mind will follow our understanding of thenworking of life, and that just as we are now able to synthesizenliving matter, so we will be able to synthesize self-consciousnthought and feeling and imagination? One day that evilndistinction between the artificial and the natural will benthrown down, and we will have escaped the mind-forgednmanacles that alienate us from the creative and selfreflectivenevolution of the rest of nature. On that day we willnhave extended our minds and spirit into dimension beyondndimension; we will have a direct neural-cybernedc interfacenwith our thinking machines, and through them to all ofnnature; we will feel as stones and flames and petals feel,nbecause the instruments by which we register their experiencenwill be direcfly connected to our nervous systems. Allnnature will be our home and our body.nAnd of course it always was, as the Zen sages tell us. But itnis a peculiar thing about us, that we can at best feel onlynbriefly and distantly the things that we know ought to makenthis world, even at the worst of Hmes, a very paradise innevery moment. We can know the infinitely interestingnmiracle of being, but are most of the time somehow dividednas by a curtain from the actuality of it as experience. Whynshould not nature simply be waiting for us, with our greatnnatural technical intelligence, to simply plug ourselves in tonthe universe — to complete a new loop of feedback in thenwodd? Perhaps our unhappiness, our frustrated rage, ourncruel despair, come from the unconscious realization thatnthough it is what we were built for, we haven’t got around tonit yet. Nature cannot do it by herself, and thus evolved us, anspecial quintessence of the soul of nature, her “dearestselvednspark,” as Hopkins says, to do it for her. Perhaps thenhappiness of scientists and artists and saints is that they comenclosest to this in-feeling and participation, though by meansnthat are only traditional and are as yet truncated of the newnsensorium that needs to be added.nBut the traditional means are indeed pretty wonderful innthemselves. Indeed, it will be a part of the new science tonrecognize just how subtle and marvelous they are. The artsnare already an empirical craft of artificial intelligence, anmeans of creating programs in paint, sound, stone, action, ornwords that embody their makers’ angelic insight yet surviventheir makers to be reincarnated when booted into the brainncircuitry of other people. The traditional arts are also a waynof getting access to the enormous integrating powers, thentact and instinct of nature at her best, that lie dormant in thenEvents do not occur in and of themselves,nbut exist in a kind of partnership with theirnobservers. The “mighty world of eye andnear,” as Wordsworth put it, is made up ofn”what we half perceive, and half create.”nhuman brain. Thus they are an essential partner with thennew science and technology, in creating and begetting thosenfuture beings that we see in our visions of angels. By itselfnthe new technique would be shallow, a technical fix withnpossibly disastrous consequences: monsters or chilly abortions.nOnly when the sensibility of a Mozart, a Shakespeare,na Velazquez, a Murasaki, a Louis Armstrong is added to thatnof a Von Neumann or a Francis Crick, will the miracle havena chance of happening. And the artists themselves arenspecial partly because they in turn have more immediatenaccess to the angels they are helping to bring to birth. Wencan perhaps agree that if this work is not impossible, it mightnbe a project as worthy as the building of the cathedrals andnthe construction of Classical Creek civilization — somethingnto replace the anomie of our century with a commitmentnthat the whole world can .share.nThere is a curious circularity in the last paragraph thatnwill bring us to the last point in this odd exploratory essay.nLet us digress for a moment. Recently brain science hasnbeen revolutionized by the new concept of “top-down”ncausality (Roger Sperry’s term). Brain science still concedesnthat the components of the brain — its atoms, molecules,ncells, and anatomy — indeed partially determine, in a “bottom-up”nfashion, what, happens on the holistic level ofnthoughts, decisions, feelings. But it is becoming increasinglynclear that there exists a very powerful top-down causality,nwherein we can change the chemistry and electrical activitynof our brains by means of our choices, actions, knowledge,nacquired habits, creative efforts, and willed attitudes; thenwhole governing the parts.nBut if the lower hierarchical levels of the brain are bothncausing and being caused by the higher levels, then thenbrain’s activity is an essentially circular — or, better, a spiralnor helical — process. It is a feedback system determiningnitself and determining its own process of self-determining.nNow if the brain is an elegant microcosm of the universe —nnnAPRIL 1990/25n