It begins at childbirth. Labor pains. It will always be a laborious process, but whether it is painful has much to do with the variety of creature giving birth. In all of nature, one species has evolved a physical characteristic that pretty much ensures its birth will involve the excruciating pain of passing its cranium through its mothers birth canal.
The surest sign that civilization has become part of human evolution is the unusually large brain to body ratio and its effect on our pain to pleasure ratio. Civilization is so counter to the natural course of life on earth that humans have evolved an over sized organ to keep track of the arbitrary vagaries of civilization’s regulations imposed on the behavior of otherwise natural creatures.
My favorite metaphor for this phenomenon is that of a morbidly obese businessman on vacation, mounted upon a scrawny, wise burro assigned him at the Rubber Rose Dude Ranch, reading from his traveler’s guide he pontificates upon the beauties and developmental possibilities of wherever the steed takes him. When he returns from his ride he must refer to the travel guide to recall his adventure to others, while the burro knows every evolving inch of the same territory by heart.
The Cajun comedian, Justin Wilson, tells a similar tale of a young barefoot boy walking along a two rut road in the swampland of Louisiana overtaken by a Cadillac driving, ten gallon hat wearing, cigar smoking, diamond ring wearing big shot who demands, “Hey, boy. Where’s the Post Office?”
“I don’t know.” replies the lad.
“Where’s the County Courthouse?”
"I don’t know.”
“Where’s the highway to get me out of this God forsaken hell hole?”
"I don’t know.”
“You don’t know shit, do you, boy.”
“I know I ain’t lost.”
In both instances the appropriately named, over-sized modern brain assigns its own values and priorities to an environment that the lean, essential primitive brain understands with the genetically evolved, intuitive understanding of millions of years hanging out on the planet.
Only humans make a job of getting from womb to tomb. The rest of the natural world follows the path of least resistance. Engineers know that work is measured in units of energy spent in overcoming resistance by the nature of the universe. Conquering, containing, exploiting and mutating the nature of individual humans and the environment in general is the proud purpose of civilization’s mission, ostensibly assigned it by the creator of it all. With the exception of the minuscule portion of mankind that remains naturally indigenous, the natural evolution of man has been arrested by belief that he is an exception to the laws of nature granted by an imaginary inventor of it all. Authorities, pushing man’s laws on every newborn, promise that living outside its protection is to risk annihilation by a wilderness whose savagery can only be described in terms of the atrocities man has perpetually perpetrated in the name of his self righteous exceptionality.
The foregoing is to give some depth to my chuckle at the comment on my previous post, Does Not Work Well with Others, offered by one whose life is dedicated to making man’s laws to his own liking, to wit, “… opting out. SELF sufficient, the privilege of distance, so that one may critique free from risk or consequence.” And later on his blog, "…kindly fuck off and crawl back into your hole...or get off the fucking fence you fucking pussy and get into the fight!"
Such a staunch upholder of civilization knows intuitively that the real danger in life is found within the fight to make civilization as convenient to human exceptionality as nature is to the rest of life on Earth.
It is a wry chuckle, I’ll admit.
I realize that this post is in violation of my vow to post only fiction on this blog, but I figure that since civilization is the epitome of an ongoing revision of a fiction, perpetuated by those with faith in it and by the faithless unable to envision doing more than going along to get along in the anonymity of mobs relying on quantity over quality, it was within fiction’s purview.