This is a fable about the evolution of the tool from ingenious idea to master of morons. I have a friend with whom I enjoy metaphysically absurd, free thought speculation and hip-shot future history type conversations. Over lunch at Cisco’s several years ago, Bill intimated as to how at one point in the evolution of their genetic hybrid of themselves and the planet’s indigenous ape population, the creators of this man-thing found, on one of their sixty-three thousand year rounds of their projects throughout the galaxy, that these creatures had developed awesome mental powers of telekinesis and were levitating huge boulders in construction of a perfect pyramid. Feeling that they were advancing too fast and ignoring too many other aspects of physical reality on this laboratory of Earth, they introduced the wheel. Humans have been lifting and pushing everything ever since and only dream of levitation now.
This fable isn’t that far out. But then maybe it will be by the time I finish putting it together. It has something to do with how anthropologists get notoriety for either observing or teaching animals to behave in a way they can construe as human. Although they may also observe more interesting intelligent behavior alien to any human parallel and even be able to get out of the box far enough to figure out how such strange activity fits in the overall scheme of the life of the subject, it gets buried beneath the furor over the mirror of ourselves. The field is of keen interest to me and might have been my life’s work had I realized its potential earlier in my life.
Boy, there’s a statement you can only hear from someone feeling old. In any case, old enough to ramble on about my theories and memories of their formation with only occasional twinges of being senile and irrelevant to anyone else. Anyway, I am pursuing a career in anthropology, just not in the misty mountains of the Congo or the musty cloisters of academia. Like every other new interest that comes along since I graduated college, I make use of the only real lesson I learned about education in those four years; the knack of learning, by adding it to my home schooling curriculum for as many hours as my curiosity requires. My anthropological fieldwork includes eleven humans, eleven dogs, five cats, seven chickens (at the moment) and numerous species of wild birds, insects, reptiles, mammals and fungi here on the veldt east of Awestun, Tejas on the banks of the Colorado River.
Be that as it may, my observations in combination with information about other’s theories and observations only slightly dilute the possibility that everyone just likes a good story and really couldn’t care less whether it is to be believed or not. I’ve had it with believers anyway. So saying, he launches into this piece for which the introduction seems overlong.
Words were an early tool of mankind to further elucidate and articulate the specificity of our bitching about whatever seemed somehow wrong with the way things were, are and always will be. To this day, truly happy people just sit and grin and make music. The words happy people do use are meant to convey a feeling beyond words to people who cannot think without them. In this way, any idea of value to others may also be an unnecessary superfluity to yet others, like high rises to gorillas and me.
The benefit of an idea to the essential requirements of life determined its independent arising and eventual saturation of the culture …up to a point. I am kinda vague about where that point lies but it must be the degree of how much the idea required its enactor’s direct involvement in the immediate results of its use. As an evolutionary example: a man wrestling a deer to the ground and cutting it’s throat to gain a meal is more directly involved in the results of using his tool than if he had killed it with a bow and arrow from a distance, but more directly involved than one pulling a trigger from a yet greater remove, who himeself is more involved than one shopping at the butcher, who is more aware of the killing involved than the one ordering a red meat rare filet mignon at an upscale restaurant, who himself is infinitely more directly involved with the results of using his fork than one pushing a red button to slaughter cities full of people he never met and will never eat.
This is where I was, when I began working on the peasant post below and came to realize it was the same subject.