It has a goal and a strategy to achieve it. It disguises itself as it stealthily surveys its enemy’s vulnerabilities. It mobilizes its resources to conquer. It bides its time until it is certain it can overwhelm its victim. Then it attacks. If it detects resistance it changes tactics–retreats, sends for reinforcements, captures its enemy’s intelligence and incorporates it. It regroups and, transformed, goes forth again to triumph.
This could be a description of a human army. It happens, however, to be a description of an army of cancer cells. Most of us shrink from describing bacteria and other microorganisms as intelligent. Neurosurgeon Frank Vertosick does not. And perhaps, when you finish reading MIND: A UNIFIED THEORY OF LIFE AND INTELLIGENCE, you will not either.
What is intelligence? We define it in human terms, but are humans the only measure? We ascribe it to higher mammals and to social insects like bees and ants, but when we cross the threshold into cellular life, definitions blur. This revolutionary–but accessible and highly entertaining–exploration of intelligence is guaranteed to alter your appreciation of life on its most fundamental level.
Frank T. Vertosick, J.R., M.D. is the author of WHEN AIR HITS YOUR BRAIN and WHY WE HURT: THE NATURAL HISTORY OF PAIN
(Originally published as THE GENIUS WITHIN)