Why Do We Have Heads At All?

—on Daniel Lieberman’s The Evolution of the Human Head

“The head presents an evolutionary paradox,”
said Lieberman. “The roof of the orbits
is the floor of the brain.”
……………………………… And I imagine a room
in which a miracle sponge sits soaking-up,
learning what it means to be alive
while other skulls orbit this particular one
which, a la Ptolemy, imagines it’s a sun

This room’s tenant thinks it knows
something of the world. It sits in domed gloom
as if it were a church in a cloister
somewhere emanating wishes. It wonders if
somehow it will ever change its world. It hopes that
someday all sapient heads will in
some way plumb the paradox, lay it bare, and
sum it up in pithy words without in
any way diminishing the comfort of its appendages

I’m not ready to ditch fossil fuels
and war is good for business, says Id

Why does the head look the way it does?
I dunno, there’s Lieberman, ask him

Why do we have heads at all, asks Jim?

by Jim Culleny, 1/9/11

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