Mind and Murder

Elites supply meaning by enforcing order, but even religious elites cannot supply purpose because an aristocracy in its orthodoxy cannot embrace chaos. (Orthodoxies demand strict adherence to rigid understandings, strata of realities.  Reality, of course, is not stratified and does not submit to rigid layers as stratified perceptions deny change, the ultimate reality of the universe.)

The universe, which seems neither hostile to us nor favors us but remains benignly indifferent to our existence, includes both order (what we call physical principles or natural laws) and disorder (that is, randomness). Therefore, no aristocracy can permanently endure because it denies the legitimacy of disorder, randomness.

The universe is not obliged to be orderly.  All morality is species specific. The morality of a cat or a dog is not the morality of humans.  The universe is not obliged to demonstrate interest in any of those moralities.

As a species we have two inherent ‘blind spots’. The first is that the ‘mind’ grew as a response to mating.  The more time invested in the production of progeny and their rearing, the more physiological changes occurred to incorporate this investment in progeny, the more convoluted and intricate the mating rituals became.  Any given female can produce only so many offspring, can nurture only so many children into adulthood successfully.  Random mating would not assure continued life and learning of the young, would not, therefore, suffice for genetic success.  (Cats and dogs, on the contrary, can produce multiple births [litters] multiple times and release their young to the world within a year with reasonable certainty of genetic success.)

By choosing to nurture the young for significantly longer periods of time (neotony), Homo sapiens adopted the consequences including an end to estrous, lengthy courtship and mating rituals, longer gestation, cultural transmissions, language, formation of family units, all necessitating ’mind’.  (Some argue that language arose as a consequence of food gathering and hunting, but this is not necessary.  Intricate hand/body signals, chirping, guttural shouts would suffice.  Witness honey bees and birds. That language, necessary for cultural transmissions, would facilitate food location, etc. is undeniable. But if language is metaphorically the chicken, then the egg was quite clearly the ovary.)

Our second ‘blind spot’ is our civilized assumption that Nature and, therefore, the universe has aspired to our species, that we represent the apogee of evolution.  Victorians would employ natural selection to verify their own supremacy. Nazism was not possible without Victorian antecedents. Americans confuse ‘fitness’ with ‘goodness’, believe in and create myths to support our sense of exceptionalism, and empire and xenophobia co-exist.

Yes, I am aware that none of this happened in stuffy Victorian parlors. Imagine instead a plain of seared grasses, a ribbon of black blue surrounded on both sides by lush green growth (the “great, grey-green, greasy Limpopo” of Kipling’s Just So Stories) an unrelenting sun above cloudless skies. Walking upright, with shoulders slightly bent forward, a figure not much over 5 feet, 6 inches lopes forward paralleling this ribbon of water.  His head is large, his forehead domed, his nose noticeably flat, his body not excessively hairy, his pelvis is narrow, his legs long and he clutches shafts of wood pointed at both ends. Behind him a troop of similar creatures keeps pace.  This is the land of fur and fang, of claw and wing, of yellow teeth and red meat. This is the land of the hunt. These creatures will run a prey in relays, exhausting the prey so that the pointed shafts may kill.  They eat.  They remember.  They learn.

Mind and murder.  When they are many, when they have eaten, when they are bored, they will invent warfare. They will war against anything that is not ‘us’. (cf.: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29237276)

When asked why they live in small, often isolated, groups, the bushmen of the Kalahari, the !Kung San, from whom we may all ultimately descend, are reputed to have answered:  We fear war.

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