Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society & Its Pathologies / Social Survival / Evolution /
Mission: to emphasize man’s evolution from gatherer, to hunter-gatherer, to hunter-predator, to parasite, to pathogen: the stupid parasite that kills the host
We’re all familiar with the following human history:
|Gatherer||Gatherer / Hunter||Hunter / Predator|
How many of us admit to recognizing more recent chapters in the metamorphosis?
That’s why I’ve been calling my society folders Society and its Pathologies.
Leonard Shlain’s book on human natural and sexual selection puts it that baldly in at least one passage: very pk, very Knatz.com.
A parasite can be considered stupid when it makes such excessive demands on its host that it kills it. Then the parasite has sealed its fate, because not only does it lose its meal ticket but it, too, dies. An organism that kills its host ceases to be a parasite and is reclassified as a “pathogen.” It could be argued that Homo sapiens has degenerated from its beginnings as a symbiotic prey to a symbiotic predator to a parasite and has now transformed into a planet-devouring pathogen.
Sex, Time, and Power, p. 130
Note: Shlain isn’t necessarily repeating pk; we are both, along with many others, scientists, novelists, ecologists, lay persons, repeating Loren Eisley … Ian McHarg …
Now when did man become a predator? Within the last few million years, the last couple. When did man become a parasite? I suspect that the answer is entirely within the modern era: the last fifty-, forty-thousand years. When did man become a pathogen? I’d say the process clearly began eleven-, twelve-thousand years ago: the Late Pleistoscene overkill being fairly clear evidence. note Australia didn’t wait for the white man to come to be ecologically devastated: Australia was sore stressed forty thousand years ago when the first men came. period. One could also argue though that man became a pathogen with the development of agriculture: when we started not just driving things to extinction, but monopolizing things.
Is man’s pathogenic nature irreversible? Couldn’t we go back to being a smart parasite? No. It’s too late. The die is cast.
We belong dead.
The Bride of Frankenstein
When did it become too late?
Bucky said that 1968 was the turning point: we’d either learn then what we needed to learn or it would soon be too late: no matter what we learned. There’s a point beyond which the cancer has already killed you, it doesn’t matter if you’re still walking around, it doesn’t matter what you learn about it while you’re still walking around, you’re the walking dead. In the 1940s science had shown us cybernetics, information theory. By 1960 futurists were envisioning a networked world. In 1970 Ivan Illich showed us how networking could generate the institutions which might undo the damage of all our other institutions. In 1970 pk offered to do it, to become the world’s non-prescriptive, non-censoring librarian. (I refer of course to the Free Learning Exchange.) By 1972 word was getting around.
Word was getting around and resources didn’t change course to aid it. Therefore 1972 was the end of the world: the benchmark: when stupidity became indelible, irreversible, irremediable.
Late Pleistoscene Overkill:
2004 09 30 Two quick comments. Today’s Reuters Science reports a spin on theories about the extinctions of large predators: beyond twenty-five kilograms, the predators box themselves in to having to hunt only large prey. So much megafauna was on its way out anyway. We should take note ourselves; but also loosen our conviction that it’s entirely our fault. Also: reading Denis Wood’s Global Change, seeing how well he handles the problem of how to make a point simply: then admit that it isn’t simple. I try to make simple points: for drama, for rhetoric, for effect … but know perfectly well that it isn’t simple. The reader should know it too whether Wood or pk admits it out loud.