Social Reality

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Epistemology / Reality /
2008 06 02

I’ve been writing since 1948, teaching publicly as well as privately since the 1960s, philosophizing publicly since 1970, writing online since 1992, writing a pk home page since 1995, and philosophizing online about reality as a social construct since 1997. There are some important areas that deserve an encyclopedic treatment whereas I have typically been emphasizing this or that unappreciated or under-appreciated point, and writing this or that impulse of the day. Thus some basic things I have to teach have still not gotten said: or not gotten said clearly enough to my satisfaction. Here is one such:

The mother oyster spews her babies into the water. She never gets to meet them, she doesn’t dandle them on her knee, she teaches them nothing but what was in her genes to begin with: how to filter food out of water, how to grow shell … Notice: no creature is born in open ocean without as well being born in some particular environment within the “ocean”: the bay, the surf, the brackish river, the reef, blue water … the lake, the river, the creek … Still, notice: the oysters are born into water and they are not social.

The kittens are born into a cat society; kittens are not just spewed out into ocean, forest, grasslands, sky, not even specific environments such as edge of forest and grassland, tidal flats, forest under story, forest canopy … The oyster has no “family” even though it definitely has a “mother.” It never meets the mother, not knowingly. A scientist might be able to identify a “father”; but “males,” not “fathers,” and “females,” not “mothers,” are what has been important to oysters. The kitten is born to a specific mother. It is normally born with specific siblings. It may even encounter a particular tom around the nest’s periphery, it might even sense a relationship. In wild cat society, the kittens will open their eyes and see mother and siblings. In time the kitten will meet other females, other kittens. A kitten will meet lots of other kittens and lots of other adult females before it is likely to meet a tom, and it is likely to meet more than one tom before it ever meets a dog, or a snake … For the young, cat-dom is very social, almost exclusively social. Ditto elephants, ditto chimpanzees.

The bird is hatched in the nest, fed in the nest, fledged in and then just by the nest. Once it’s time to fly, it leaves the nest. In the spring of 2006 I watched a pair of great blue heron chicks almost daily. I watched them grow with incredible rapidity to fledglings. I watched them flutter down to the wadeable water, and fly back up to the crotch of branches that held their nest. i never saw them reenter the nest, but for weeks I saw them return to the same branches of the same tree and perch by their next. Then they sought new territory: and I have never, knowingly, seen them again. I watched their parents come and check on them. I watched their parents occasionally feed them even once they were grown and fishing on their own. But I doubt that their parents so much as recognized them after a point.

great blue heron
thanx Janet Zinn

The baby alligator hatches, scrambles out of the nest, scrambles to the water which is sure to be nearby, enters the water, finds itself among baby alligator siblings. The mother alligator is likely to be nearby, and to remain nearby, scaring away other predators: until the babies are a certain size: at which point Mama will eat any she can catch. Beyond two feet in length they’re just another potential meal: below two feet in length, they’re babies: off limits to female alligator diet. The male alligator will eat baby alligators any size, but the male returns to his prime hunting pool once the mating season ends. The female builds her nest in secondary or tertiary hunters water, in back water, seldom visited by males.

baby alligators
thanx dreamstime

Thus, adult male alligators are solitary: except for mating. Baby alligators stick together, Mama their military threat, till age two. Then they go out alone into the big … pond, stream … water world. They do not typically visit downtown Boston, or Death Valley: no more than does the Great Blue Heron, or the wild kitten.

Creatures have their specific environments: except man (and man not having a specific environment may be a temporary aberration). But, I emphasize, social critters and born into social environments: and, while young and developing, see only social environments: the kittens’ mother’s nest, the female cats’ settled neighborhood: the elephant group, the whale or dolphin pod …

Human children see an obstetrics ward, a nursery, then a room, indoors, climate controlled these days … a home, then perhaps a yard, a neighborhood. These days it’s likely that the neighborhood will be “climate controlled”: gated: no blacks, no Jews, no poor people … and no alligators, wild cats, no brackish tides.

Bees are social creatures. Ditto ants. Bees, ants, are born inside a hive. Some species have soldier bees, soldier ants, to keep anything that isn’t their kind of bee, or ant, out of the hive.

Worker bees leave the hive: to work. Then they return to the hive. A new queen leaves the hive, to mate: then she forms a new hive. Meantime, many a bee never sees anything but the inside of the hive.

The oyster: does it “see” even the inside of its shell? Does the snail? Whether it sees it or not, that’s where it IS. That’s where it lives.

The human child is sent to church, then sent to school. On its way to school, these days, it may pass through a hostile neighborhood: maybe one with blacks, and Jews, and car thieves. Even so, the “bad” neighborhood is still a neighborhood, a human, a “controlled,” environment, whether or not the control is in the control of the parents, the teachers, the government, the Pope …

child to church
thanx telegraph

OK, this can use, can receive, a great deal more work. But I’ve gotten us to where I can stitch a connection: humans grow to mating age … humans achieve military age … There are human soldiers who keep out everything not familiar and welcome as part of that “hive.” Some soldiers are called soldiers; others are called journalists, novelists, teachers … How many mating-age humans, or any-age humans, ever ever leave the “gated” community? How many humans ever go out into the big bad wide open world? How many humans, for all their news, and education, and internet … every know that there IS world that isn’t gated, and climate controlled?

It is told how Noah sent out a dove from the ark, and that finally a dove returned with a bit of vegetation: evidence that there was, once again, a “world” beyond the ark, and the flood water. Noah, and his family, and his stir-bound animal pairs in the story welcomes evidence of a world. But I for one was put in jail because I insisted on offering evidence to my fellow humans of a world not-gated and not-media-controlled.


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in reality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s