We need to change our way of thinking and seeing things. We need to realise that the Earth is not just our environment. The Earth is not something outside of us. Breathing with mindfulness and contemplating your body, you realise that you are the Earth. You realise that your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Look around you–what you see is not your environment, it is you.
This is a swell narrative. But science? Wolfe points out that Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould remarked that these and other stories throughout Darwin’s work “required a feat of fiction writing” and aren’t scientifically rigorous. Wolfe longs for a more complex explanation of the origins of language than Darwin offers, and he finds it in the work of linguist Daniel L. Everett, who based his field work on studying obscure human languages and concluded that evolution can’t perfectly explain the origin of language.