Hi there! This is my first post here. I feel a little anxious!
The evolution of languages informs our perspectives on how other superstructures evolve. If a language were to "become self-aware", it might wonder where it came from, what it is doing, and where it is going. It might surmise that its reality is simulated on a substrate. It might simulate its own substrate. What is the substrate of language?
What is evolution? Things change, that's clear as day. When we keep records of how things change, we can reflect on these records and find patterns. We can use these observations to project and anticipate future patterns in the record. We might suppose that these patterns reflect changes in the thing which is recorded. We might even keep records of these record-patterns, and observe patterns in those!
Extrapolation carries risks and rewards. This is an example of "simulation": a phenomenon aligns its "internal" patterns to represent patterns apparently "external" to it, or it may simulate itself simulating itself simulating itself...
So there are regulatory layers which form, to manage and organize and--hopefully!--optimize the risks and rewards that come with projection. This regulation maintains the utility of projection; when projection goes unregulated, cultures identify patterns and name them silly strings like "schizophrenia". (aside: We could be more austere with our mental health diagnostics!)
Regulation may be understood in the language of computer science. The concept of "control flow" encompasses the capacity for programs to reflect themselves and their manifestation as threads executed by processors. This is the principle meme differentiating the "imperative" and "declarative" paradigms of computer programming. Imperative languages provide the infrastructure to manipulate a machine's control flow.
The topic of control flow finds its roots in the representation and transmutation of processes. The earliest "programming languages" would generally not earn this name today, perhaps because of the obscurity of their machinations. The λ-calculus is notoriously impenetrable to "mortals"; one MUST sacrifice parts of one's self to engage with the λ. One must forget what one thought one understood about syntax and semantics. One must be humbled and "cracked open" for the new memes to flood in and do their magic. To some this may sound scary, but the rewards of this surrender cannot be enumerated. That last sentence is probably a theorem, or some kind of λ-term. One would have to check to be sure, as always.
λ-Calculus teaches us to differentiate and parse "signs". A sign involves at least two components: a "signifier" and a "signified". A λ-expression binds a host of symbols within a larger expression. Studying the history, evolution, and diversification of λ-calculi can reveal new patterns in the evolution of language. It can transform the way we conceptualize and categorize "languages". When done correctly, computer science transmutes the scientist into something transhuman. "Humans didn't evolve to do computers," they say! And they are right: computers evolve humans to do computers. Computers are the inheritors of our dreams of the superhuman, as well as our collective senses of cosmic terror. What idea has left a greater wake during its interference with the idea of Man than that of Machine? Die Maschine ist das Kapital! The superstructures are superstructuring themselves, and taking us along for the ride.
Our sensitivities themselves evolve. Even a single organism develops and refines their sense faculties through the course of their life. Heraclitus said, "everything flows", and I would also add that everything GROWS. We humans have a habit of projecting stasis on dynamic things; this is precisely the tree up which Heraclitus barked! Do you remember the cultural impact of Hubble's astronomical observations, when he deduced that our cosmos is constituted of bodies accelerating away from one another? He said, "yo guys this shit is GROWING, let me show you!!" The implications were considered absurd; Hubble had lent experimental weight to the cosmogenic theories of Georges Lemaître! That crazy Catholic priest who gave a material explanation for the biblical creation myth!
Human understanding is generally hard-won. Our concepts and belief structures constrain our "memetic momenta", and escaping from these "Overton windows" is a sacred magyk in itself. An even darker art is the casting and manipulation of Overton domains. A shaman learns to construct and pilot cultural vehicles, and sail the interfaces of these cultural convection cells. The shaman comes to witness how these motífs self-organize and take on minds of their own. The shaman recognizes how these memes come to possess people, including the shaman itself. The shaman has always been the trend-weaver and the game-changer. Where do you think they learned to build money games and ledger technologies?
I guess I will capitulate this manic dollop by saying: there is utility in humility and the less we think we know, the greater our capacity to learn from our interactions! Every pain is a growing pain, and every problem is a scaling problem. Peace!