He drew a Darwinian parallel:
It may be of interest to mention two other kinds of search in this connection.
There is the genetical or evolutionary search by which a combination of genes is looked for, the criterion being survival value.
The remarkable success of this search confirms to some extent the idea that intellectual activity consists mainly of various kinds of search.
The remaining form of search is what I should like to call the 'cultural search'.
As I have mentioned, the isolated man does not develop any intellectual power.
It is necessary for him to be immersed in an environment of other men, whose techniques he absorbs during the first twenty years of his life.
He may then perhaps do a little research of his own and make a very few discoveries which are passed on to other men.
From this point of view the search for new techniques must be regarded as carried out by the human community as a whole, rather than by individuals.
This was a rare revelation of his self-perception. It was a dignified and generous response to the lessons of 1937 and 1945, when others had come forward with ideas equivalent to his own—so much more realistic than the usual worrying about 'priority', with its implicit fear of cheating and copying,
and so free of the male competitiveness which was by 1948 becoming more and more evident in science.
He never claimed more than that 'some years ago I made an investigation into what could be done by a rule-of-thumb process,' when referring to his own part.
And of course this had been yet another of the lessons of 1941, that it was the search of the whole Bletchley community that mattered so much.
But that very fact might perhaps have made him wonder more as to whether the operation of the brain 'without interference' was really the right way in which to focus attention.
The very existence of these social or cultural levels of description was an indication that individual 'intelligence' was not the whole story. This question was not developed in this essay.
Meanwhile, his ability to stand back from the individual struggle was certainly required in adjusting himself to work with the rival computer that had been developed at Manchester.