The wasp returns to its burrow, the salmon to its birthwater, the tern to its rookery, by remembering. With these and many other creatures we share this ability to virtualize World—to record in Brain as memory, and recall and use as tools for the maintenance of Creaturehood, sense impressions of Being, and impressions of these impressions. As we experience our mental model of World as World, we forget—if we ever knew—that our virtualization of World is a tool, and confuse our model of World with World Itself, with What Is.

The capacity of Brain to host, process, and use Virtualization is Mind. The processing of virtualization by Brain is Thought. Thought is the feedback signal in a negative-feedback control loop that drives creaturehood Action in response to Perception, and operates to reduce itself to zero or a strategic local minimum.

The maintenance and training of the usability of Mind is Learning. Usability of Mind that exists and persists without Learning is Instinct. Virtualization of the world taken, treated, and responded to as reflective of the actuality of What Is is Knowledge. Knowledge that is ongoingly maintained in agreement with What Is is Fact. Knowledge that is ongoingly held out of agreement with What Is in the presence of available correction, or in the ongoing absence of corroboration, is Belief. The instinctual correction of virtualization for agreement with What Is is Science. The scientific instinct operates to negate the effects of idiosyncracies of virtualization, include point-of-view limitations concomitant with creaturehood Individuality, toward improved agreement of Fact with What Is.

The invention and use by Brain of systems of reusable placeholders—symbols—for memories, relationships among memories, and other symbols is Language. Language conveys instructions on the maintenance, processing, and use of virtualization. Language recorded and staticly stored in nonliving form decouples the instructions conveyed from idiosyncracies of creaturehood, including individuality and mortality.

Virtualization of World begins no later than birth with the instinctive virtualization of parent by child. Through preverbal and averbal perception of environment, exemplar, and artifact; through shared language living and static; through inculcation conscious, subconscious, direct, and inferred; virtualization builds in individual Mind and is built across place and generation by multiple instances of individual Mind. Group virtualization is Culture. Enculturation is the conditioning of Mind to experience group virtualization as World, establishing Idea as more important than Creaturehood, than Life, than World. So it is that humankind can wage war in the name of an idea called Peace and deploy weapons capable of planetary destruction in defending an idea called Nation.

Thronging the city streets
In the subway fifty to a car
Socialization bringing food and drink from
      and banishing wastes and debris to
            far country
We live numbed to need for physical space.
We are able to tolerate this compression
      because the world, the range, we roam
Is virtual.

Knee to knee on bench or beach, in chairs in transit or auditoria
The operative distance between us is Virtual
The World, the Range, we roam,
An inch, a foot of separation
      in objectively quantifiable Space,
A mile, a light year, a universe away
      in Thought.

1David Newkirk, "Stars,
Copyright © 2004–2009 by David Newkirk ( All rights reserved.