Sure, I love a good philosophical chat.
Though, I have to disagree with your position re: nature. Mother Nature also created cancer, AIDS (unless you think that one's an engineered bioweapon, with would be proving your point, really), the blackberry thorns currently turning my hands into bright red histamine balloons, the asthma that would have killed me if I were a Grokette, the two seizures that would have picked me off if that didnt, tapeworms, horrible gross tropical flies that bite you and inject eggs under your skin, murderous aggression, murder in general, rape in general, brutality of all stripes is very present in nature and in particular in chimpanzees.
You could argue that nature is actually at the bottom of a lot of humankind's more sociopathic inhumanity to itself. I was just hearing some neurologists on NPR saying that a lot of lying, cheating, betrayal, dishonesty, scamming, stealing, violent crimes, greed, etc may have a lot more to do with the subconscious machinery of the brain than anyone's conscious will.
But I agree that the world is epically fucked up. Just watch the news for plenty of vivid examples of this. Hell, as we often notice here at MDA and other paleo forums, just look at the processed, toxic, destructive shite that 99.9% of the Westernized industrialized world eats.
I agree with Mark's commentary on how agriculture (and I would say industrialization too, though he didn't go that far into the future) created all kinds of ill effect. And that IS humanity monkeying around with stuff, and messing itself up.
Yeahhh... 'animals and children tell the truth they never lie!' ORLY? Ever read a chimpanzee behavioural study? Ever watched Meerkat Manor? Hell, ever gone to elementary school? I mean... really. I can't hate on anyone who likes to romanticize things, I love to romanticize and mythologize things, that's basically what art is. But this is not a realistic view, imo. Nature's red in tooth and claw. Nature's cruel as hell.
Mother nature itself is so symmetrical and beautifully understandable.
People definitely do default to that. But I noticed something when I watched the last presidental election go down. All my progressive friends were convinced that right-wing voters were all just STUPID, they were ignorant bigots who let themselves be bamboozled. And yet, all my conservative friends actually(!, believe it or not!) had very rational and well-considered reasons for their political positions. They weren't stupid, their values were just diametrically different. Naturally my conservative friends thought that all the left wing voters were just STUPID too, they were dreamers, they were socialist dabblers, they had irrational hate-ons for authority, they had victim complexes, they were just used to sucking at the government teat, they needed to get a real job, etc etc. Naturally my leftist friends likewise had very well-reasoned positions. Again, irreconcilable value systems.
People see problems in this world and think 'people are dumb'. Well, people have been around for a long time without destroying themselves. Meanwhile, they (we) have become essentially gods with our ability to manipulate the environment around us. I'd say they are doing alright.
But I do think that the first reflexive response to people who we don't understand, don't agree with and who aren't much like us in some way... is to just assume they are dumb, sociopathic, evil, dishonest, etc.
Arguably we have subdued nature. I'd agree that we benefit from that. My Grokette self would be dead, I'm only here due to modern Western allopathic medicine. I really enjoy having an ipod. Half of the acrylic paints I use are synthetic hues. There was no purple (not even from berries, those tend to stain red, and indigo is great but it's not the same) until the Phoenicians came up with Tyrian Purple. And I'd have to be the daughter of a king to be able to afford that stuff. Now I can go drop $5 on 250ml of ultra-brilliant vivid violets, purples, lavenders.
But on the other hand, the history of humanity is a history of wars, massacres, brutality, out and out sadism and torture, good old fashioned conquerig and pillaging, etc. We really have never done all right. We've always been violent twits to one another. On a smaller scale, we've always gone around being cruel, shunning, or just being pointlessly shitty to one another. Always always always. I don't think humanity created that, I think it's a design flaw in our brains. It doesn't impede our survival, we still breed enough to pass on our genes, so I don't think nature gives a damn if we're happy or not.
I love that quote.
Maybe people who think these people are dumb are not seeing the full picture themselves. One of my favorite quotes from Einstein is when he said that problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that they were created with. In other words if there is lots of crime, you don't punish the criminals. You make crime unnecessary and keep it from happening. You don't use your same philosophy that created the policies that then allowed the crime to happen. You find your paradigm shift
Arguably finding and fixing the social causes of crime are better than just locking up the criminals. This is classically ineffective anyway. Most people just get more into the criminal lifestyle while in prison. So I think that's a good idea. If we can engineer this crap out of ourselves- and arguably we CAN alter and shape our behaviour- that's awesome.
Easier said than done, though.
I do agree we need a paradigm shift. I hope whatever it is, we can do it peacefully and with wisdom rather than this cataclysmic natural disaster/world war/end times scenario that so many people seem to either crave or feel we 'deserve' for being... I don't know, sinners or something.
The way the world is run now isn't sustainable, though. I know that I, as a North American, only have the lifestyle I do because the majority of the world is being exploited, robbed blind, and is living in abject poverty. I think Western governments have a hell of a lot to answer for with their foreign policies and their international trade activities. Buuuuut... I'm still going to the apple store and buying that ipod that was made with metals extracted possibly with either child or slave labor in the third world. I need new jeans for when I move back to the city, and chances are they'll have been made by a trafficked young woman who's beaten by her supervisor, possibly abused sexually too, and is made to work for pennies a day.
And I own (and like) Nike shoes. I can't throw stones.
If we're going to make this better, we're going to have to give up all that stuff up. (yeah yeah, I know all us Groksters should run barefoot anyway.)
I agree that society has a lot of destructive habits that we feed to little kids before they can think successfully for themselves. I disagree that this is our only problem- lots of awful behaviour appears to be very natural.
The problem is that they get caught up in the paradigms of society. "Common sense" is only removed when people are taught wrong things and the people believe it. It is in most if not all of us. The problem is that people need to be more open minded and willing to search for truth. Call it an indivualistic center of the brain. This will rise us above the same level of thinking that created our problems and allow us to solve them.
I do agree that open-mindedness is good. Dogmatic fundamentalism doesn't do anyone any favors.
But yeah... I may naturally and bioneurologically want to get out of my car and deck the guy who just cut me off. But I still can supersede that with my higher will. So, sure. I think we can develop a better way of living. I think we should. I hope we do.
Last edited by CandylandCanary; 08-29-2011 at 10:21 AM.
Getting my Grok on in the Pacific Northwest.
"C is for cookie, that's good enough for me."
"Cookie is a sometimes food."
"Sometimes cookie monster eat APPLE instead of COOKIE. Sometimes eat CARROT."
-Cookie Monster, partially reformed sugarholic