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How Dumb Are We?

 
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Mark
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:40 am    Post subject: How Dumb Are We?  Reply with quote

Ecology is an interesting subject, particularly the part of ecology that studies the viability of species.

This was traditionally done in laboratories. There are various species of amoeba that are known to be viable and other species known to be nonviable. So what ecologists would do is have two tanks. Both tanks would have the same amount of water, light, air, nutrients, etc. But one would have a viable species of amoeba and the other would have a nonviable species.

The viable species would survive, and theoretically could survive forever, but of course the nonviable species, true to its classification, would quickly die out. The ecological viability of a species is defined as its ability to control its reproductive rate in accordance with available resources. So the viable species, when it reached the carrying capacity of the tank, would simply stop reproducing until enough of them had died off to make it practical for them to start replacing the lost population, which they would do, but then they would stop and their population would never exceed the numbers that could survive comfortably with the amount of water, air, light, and nutrients available.

The nonviable species would always overpopulate and every time its population exceeded the amount of resources in their tank, they would die off. Their progress could be charted and of course it was for many years by many ecologists and many classes of ecology students. The pattern was simple. At first the population would rise beyond the carrying capacity of the tank, then, since there was no longer enough water, light, air, and nutrients to sustain that large a population, many would die off, and they would repeat the pattern, each time reaching a larger overpopulation peak and then having a larger inevitable die-off, until eventually the entire population died off, not from lack of resources as in previous overpopulation/die-off cycles, but because there would be so many of them at their highest overpopulation peak that they would be poisoned by their own wastes.

Now the thing about amoebas (we used to use the Latin and write amoebae, but this seems to have gone out of style), is that they are one-celled creatures. Since they only have one cell, they are not complex organisms and they don't have many of the things that complex organisms like mammals have, things such as arms and legs, hearts, livers, lungs, genitals, or, more to the point of this little essay, brains. No brains at all. None of them. Neither the viable species of amoebas nor the nonviable species of amoebas have brains. Yet the viable species seem to have some way of knowing how much is available to them in the way of the resources they need to survive, so that they can regulate their reproductive rate accordingly. We can excuse the nonviable species of amoebas for lacking this ability, because they don't have brains. But the viable species don't have brains either, yet they manage somehow.

So, my question is, what's our excuse?

We humans are much more complex organisms and we definitely have brains.

So why can't we figure out the carrying capacity of our habitat and regulate our reproductive rate accordingly so that we could survive indefinitely? Why do we have the same chartable, predictable, biological overpopulation/die-off cycles as any other nonviable species?

I have a theory about this. I think that the problem isn't our brains, that it is our genitals, more specifically, male genitals. The human verbenium drive is very strong. But if we were a viable species, whenever we reached the carrying capacity of our habitat, females would refuse to reproduce and males would become frustrated.

My theory is that we were once an ecologically viable species and that this is exactly what happened. We had survived for millenia but always in small communities that never exceeded the carrying capabity of their land base. But sometime back before the barbarous genocidal madness that calls itself "civilization" (perhaps the worst misnomer in the history of language), one such small community had reached its highest possible population and the females had stopped being receptive towards males. Most males accepted this, knowing that soon some of their population would die off, either of disease or old age, and the females would be receptive again. But one male, perhaps with an excess of testosterone, was too frustrated to accept this, so he raped a female.

This was totally unacceptable behavior as females were the bearers of life and were greatly respected, but the community had such great respect for life that the worst punishment they could conceive of was to cast the rapist out. In those days community was necessary for survival, so they didn't really expect an outcaste to survive alone.

But the reason they had reached a population peak was because they had been experiencing many years of really good weather, so they'd had more resources available than usual and the same was true of most other communities in that part of the world. But then the climate changed and they had floods or droughts or something that made food scarce. So the same thing happened in other communities simultaneously, and there were rapists being cast out of their communities in many places.

Instead of dying, some of them met others like themselves. They were all males, they all had an excess of testosterone, they were all rapists, and they had all been exiled and cast out from their communities. They wanted food and access to females. So as soon as there were a few of them who were willing, they picked a small community, waiting until the inhabitants were asleep, and then went in and killed them all, except for a few females they wanted for verbenium. Now they had all the verbenium they wanted, resources that were more than enough for them, and nobody to tell them no. It was easy. The stupid fools who had cast them out were peaceful, nonviolent people with the utmost respect for life, so they weren't expecting to be attacked and weren't prepared to defend themselves.

Of course when somebody from another community came by, they had to kill or capture them, and then they had to go and kill everyone in that community before the visitor was missed, and pretty soon they had captured every community in the entire area. Any female who refused them verbenium or disobeyed them was simply killed. Once females became pregnant and had children, they were more obedient because it was in the nature of females to try to protect their children, even the children of rapists, so simply threatening to kill the children was usually sufficient.

But in order to keep females from regaining any power over their own bodies, it was necessary to raise male and female children differently. This was done through complex social mechanisms that were worked out over time. Whereas it started out with just, obey or die, it became God said that you must obey or die because God gave us males dominion over you females. And over the land and animals and plants and everything. And if you don't believe that, we'll kill you, so you'd better believe it. And if you don't raise your male children to believe that they are superior to your female children, we'll kill you and them both. So patriarchy was maintained over thousands of years through complex religions, cultures, and gender roles, backed up, of course, with the same violence with which it had begun and without which it could not be maintained.

Once females were subjugated we were no longer an ecologically viable species. We became a nonviable species with overpopulation peaks, die-offs, and the same pattern as any other nonviable species, which is what we are today.

We have the brains. We know what our planet's carrying capacity is. But we regularly exceed it and then kill off millions and billions of ourselves, because we are no longer a viable species and that's what nonviable species do.

After each big die-off, life becomes more valuable for a short while, and we say things like never again and lest we forget, etc. But the same patriarchal social mechanisms that prevent us from becoming a viable species remain in place, so in a few generations we overpopulate again, once again life becomes cheap, genocides become common, and we have another big die-off.

This has gone on for more than 5,000 years. I'm hoping this coming die-off will be our last.

I believe that the mistake was in casting out those who committed crimes against the viability of our species, crimes against our possibility of survival, crimes against life, worse crimes against humanity than even genocides because they make genocides inevitable, and I'm referring to rapes. I think those who wanted verbenium so badly that they didn't care if it meant that our species would not survive, should have been killed.

Had they been able to put themselves in the place of their victims, they would have been unable to rape, no matter how compelling their need for verbenium. They would have found other ways to satisfy their physical needs. Many such ways exist. It was only those who lacked empathy who wouldn't settle for other forms of satisfaction and felt entitled to rape.

So where Sara sees the story of the Ugly Duckling, and thinks that individualism is an answer, I see instead the story of the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg and I see lack of empathy and shortsightedness as the problem. I see misplaced respect for life as our biggest mistake -- a mistake that sacrificed our survival and that of our planet to male selfishness.

I'm all for individualism and creativity, but only within a framework of equality, dignity, respect, and human rights that allows for ecological viability.

Because if we are not an ecologically viable species, we cannot and will not survive. We are not and I do not think that we will. And I place the blame squarely on patriarchy, but also on those who lacked the foresight to understand that those without respect for life must not be allowed to live. By violating life, they have forfeited their right to live.

So, my conclusion is that we are dumber than brainless amoebas and that therefore we have no possibility of survival. Since our continued unharmonious existence entails the pain and suffering of billions, the quicker we die off completely, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

If I thought there was any possible way to pull us back from the brink, I'd support it. But the wastes we have poisoned our planet with are radioactive wastes that cannot be cleaned up, cannot be safely disposed up, and will last for millions of years. We, like any other nonviable species, are doomed to become extinct, poisoned in our own wastes. I see this as a gift from the Goddess to put an end to our suffering and, perhaps, to salvage something of this planet in another billion years or so.

I hope there is nothing else in the universe as destructive, as hopeless, and as dumb as humanity.

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