We can use the power of abstraction (in the computer science sense) and reasoning by analogy to understand ourselves in novel ways. For example: we are composites of countless cells, all coordinated by biological mechanisms to create our lives. It is clear to us the role each cell plays. But transporting ourselves to that cell's level of awareness, given the experiences it has, how well could it understand that same system (a human being), of which it is a part? It could not. So reasoning by analogy back to humans: just because we can't understand precisely the larger social system of which we are apart, do we still have grounds to conclude that one doesn't exist?
I went to TEDxBerkeley on 2/19/2011 and was really impressed by the speakers. Then I started browsing the TED website one day... and then I made an account... we'll see where it all goes.
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