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December 06, 2012

Logical Insights re: Illogical Behavior

The idea that nations, like families, are inclined to carry out the wishes of a ruling iconic father figure (patriarch) resonates powerfully throughout human history from "ancient" to modern times. Although there have been some notable exceptions, (Cleopatra, Catherine the Great, and three British female monarchs come to mind) the overwhelming majority of national rulers have been male, a dominance compatible with "nature" where the males of most mammalian species must compete in ritualistic fashion for both the privilege of mating; also for dominance in herds, prides, troops, and other hierarchical family groups.

It's thus not too great a stretch to propose that our own species, recently established as a product of mammalian evolution (although not all agree) may well be expressing certain behavioral tendencies as part of its genetic endowment; in other words, to what degree is human culture a product of evolution and how much control can we exert over obviously problematic mass behavior?

We are now reasonably sure our cognitive potential for language and writing were gradually acquired over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution in Africa, but it took only a few thousand for Science to evolve in Western Europe and North America, and a few hundred more for the fallout from scientific "progress" to pose an existential threat to the planet.

Could it be that our recently recognized ability to influence planetary events through our combustion of fossil fuels may be an expression of our male-dominant genetic heritage and our unwillingness to acknowledge it also an example of how we tend to work against our own best interests by denying unpleasant reality?

Pursuing those insights a bit further, it may well be that the same competitive urge displayed so prominently in mammalian males is playing a key role in persuading their human counterparts to deny an unpalatable truth: that our greatly increased consumption of energy over the past two Centuries now has our species in an existential hole.

In that respect, the just announced details of Washington State's new "Marijuana" legalization law make absolutely no sense. According to CNN's lead report this morning, it is now "legal" to possess as much as an ounce, but still illegal to grow, buy, sell, or smoke it in public.

As we ponder that apparent absurdity, we are still awaiting the details of Colorado's legalization law, also passed on November 6th, but not yet signed by its Governor.

These conflicts are now awaiting resolution by a victorious second -term President who has yet to be inaugurated, but is still clearly not accepted as legitimate by a majority of Republicans.

Can this species be saved (from itself)?

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at December 6, 2012 04:24 AM