June 23, 2008

A Very Good Day

Read and responded to Altaira's blog entry (Yahoo) and checked mine (Tribe) to see if anyone saluted yesterday's entry, and realized that the blogosphere was simply Usenet without pretense (but with a bit more OCD): It's always been about performance space.

Of course I knew that about Usenet from day one, but didn't really appreciate how much of a watered-down form blogs were. No social pretense or interaction is required to blog. Sooo Hollywood. At least on Usenet you had to stay on topic and within group purview.

The start of a lovely day. (Jeez, I live in my head a lot! But some heads are nicer than others. Shit, I could be Riz!) Then I packed up $780 of product to send to Brian, Greg, and some woman in Pasadena, and drove off to the post office. Mailed the product, bought $450 in stamps (for the Enigma mailing), got a half gallon each of Scoresby and Boords at the liquor store, went to Red Robin to order hamburgers to go (Judith, mine spouse with the low sodium, phosphorus, pottasium, purine, and sugar diet [lard is okay] decided the pain would be worth it), and had a nice mid-day scotch rocks at the bar, waiting for the burgers while reading Kuhn's defense of Jane Jacobs' methodology.

Inductive thinking, I knew about. But Kuhn takes it further, describing this other, better scientific method as a distinct improvement on the hypothetical-deductivism of the old paradigm. Then Lonergan suggests that inductive reasoning is necessary for truly understanding understanding, and it's what people do anyway. I love you Jane Jacobs, that philosophers and scientists work so hard just to say that you said it right, which I knew as intuitively and immediately as you did when you wrote it. (Thus verifying Kuhn, Lonergan, Jacobs, and me!)

Inductive reasoning is verified by the sharing of Mini-ahas. (You get it? You got it!)

Is this a great day, or what! On the drive home, NPR interviews an anthropologist who has found that in Senegal, chimps make and use spears to kill prey which they then eat. Hey! Welcome to the club, guys! Except it's not the guy chimps, it's the females, followed somewhat by the juvenile chimps.

It seems Senegal is a difficult environment for chimps, and that they respond by making up three relatively independent subgroups: adult males, adult females, and juveniles, each pretty much on its own for acquiring anything more than the subsistence left over from the males' hunting and gathering and sharing of it. So they're in competition for food, or at least the females and the juvies are, with the adult males. But who is it that invents and uses the spear? The females.

The males see them making and using spears and getting extra food, but they don't get it. The paradigm is too different, and the guys can't quite put it together. Perhaps it's because they get whatever they need without too much trouble, and so don't feel the pressure to innovate. At least they're not burning the ladies at the stake. (Duh! No fire yet!) But the girls get it. Spears mean more and better food, for themselves and for their babies.

Some of the juveniles do get it (both males and females) and awkwardly emulate the larger and stronger adult female spear-makers and users. Will some male and female chimps grow up understanding the technology of tool building and tool using? Will they discriminate against chimps who don't get it? Will they get that they get it, and get what getting it means? Most unlikely, but the possibility! . . . the possibility!

What happens when spear users fight with non-spear users? Will the larger-stronger males who do use spears discriminate against the females who compete with them in spear use, or is this the first instance of Mutually Assured Destruction? Will the old-school males kill and eat the uppity spear users because "they ain't like us and they do weird things?"

Ah, civilization. Ain't it grand?

I never thought I'd be excited about the possibility of war.

Consciencisacion! Not as nice a word as I once thought it was. Still, yes, definitely. A very good day. With nuts.

First published on Tribe, February 24, 2007 -

1 comment:

eric said...

A few days ago a gorilla in a Scandenavian zoo found a knife that a groundskeeper had dropped. He pick it up by the handle, made a few stabbing motions with it, and held it up defensively when another gorilla approached. Then he put the knife on the chair by the door, where the gorillas had learned to leave things for the keepers to deal with.

There must be two dozen scripts running through my mind of what might have been running through his mind.