Georges Chapouthier

Human Beings: Apes in Mosaic Form Publication date : October 1, 2001

In this essay, Georges Chapouthier proposes what he believes to be one of the fundamental laws of evolution. According to his proposal, the construction of complex organisms is achieved by the congregation of simple organisms and their ensuing integration by specialization of each of these small parts for specific functions. The model he uses is colonies of coral, which can extend for kilometers. However, insofar as that each element retains its individuality, the organism resembles a mosaic.
Georges Chapouthier shows how this law governs not only the constitution of complex organisms but also the very constitution of our brains and our society. The emergence of ideas such as that of liberty can be explained by this model of a mosaic which preserves the identity of its individual elements, and thus their diversity.

Georges Chapouthier is the director of research at CNRS. He oversees research on personality and adaptive behaviors at the Hospital of La Pitié – Salpêtrière.