Conquest of Nature

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / NoHier / Kleptocracy /
@ K. 2000 08 30

Where William Went Wrong

Kleptocracy versus Nature

The bucks battle till one yields. Happens every year. A champion may reign (have a harem) for one year or several: but never for very many years. The buck not “strong” enough one time may prevail another. Some bucks will never breed. Not only do they have no victories in battle, but no female decides to give him a quickie while the champions are engaged. (The winner controls the territory for the season, but other genes can slip into the pool.) The bucks battle in single combat. There’s no tag team. No corps of engineers hamstring one combatant while he’s occupied facing their ally. When the mating is done, when the fawns are dropped, the forest returns to anarchy: the males go their separate ways. Cervidae “society” will not reform till the females once again approach their season.

Human females have no season. That is, they are women for all seasons. Human battles are continuous: certainly for that and I don’t doubt for other reasons as well: mouths per available space, mouths per available calories, males per available females …

The bucks’ combat is frontal, contested in day light. There are no cheap shots, no sneak attacks. If the buck gets an antler in the balls, it was an accident. (It’s the predator, the hyena, the lioness, the leopard … that goes for the genitals, not the co-species competitor.) (The lion goes for the spine, the throat: a major injury: then walks away, leaving you as a trophy: rejected as food: lion fights for honor, for territory, for females; not for food.) Humans … Well, you already know. Sir James Frazer opens his Golden Bough with a portrayal of a King of the Woods. A male human candidate for the kingship can promote himself by killing the king: at night, while he’s asleep, from behind, from above, from below … it doesn’t matter: just kill him and you become the king. Once you’ve got the kingship, you can hardly enjoy your magical status: you’re too crazy going sleepless, looking over your shoulder, furtively protecting this Wood you’re king of.

It does not matter what happens in a battle so long as
the enemy lies at your feet at the end of it.
Conn Iggulden

Human females have no season. That is, they are women for all seasons. Human battles are continuous: certainly for that and I don’t doubt for other reasons as well: mouths per available space, mouths per available calories, males per available females …
The bucks’ combat is frontal, contested in day light. There are no cheap shots, no sneak attacks. If the buck gets an antler in the balls, it was an accident. (It’s the predator, the hyena, the lioness, the leopard … that goes for the genitals, not the co-species competitor.) (The lion goes for the spine, the throat: a major injury: then walks away, leaving you as a trophy: rejected as food: lion fights for honor, for territory, for females; not for food.) Humans … Well, you already know. Sir James Frazer opens his Golden Bough with a portrayal of a King of the Woods. A male human candidate for the kingship can promote himself by killing the king: at night, while he’s asleep, from behind, from above, from below … it doesn’t matter: just kill him and you’re the king. Once you’ve got it, you can hardly enjoy your magical status: you’re too crazy going sleepless, looking over your shoulder, furtively protecting this Wood you’re king of.

Force is all conquering, but its victories are short lived.
Abraham Lincoln

But the new levels of social organization made possible (as well as “necessary”) by the food and population surpluses of agriculture have a new wrinkle. I’ll use William the Conqueror as an example not because he’s the first but because he’s the supposed source for the throne which has held the highest perennial status for the past few centuries. In 1066 Harold’s forces were defeated by William’s invaders. Harold’s people had been in the British Isles for a while. William had just hopped over from “France” (actually, no such place at that time) where they’d been around long enough to pick up the local languages of Gaul after their raids from Scandinavia (no such place at that time).

People should know when they’re conquered.
Gladiator

William “proved” in blood his political divinity. Fine. That’s all in accord with what some mammals do. Except for this wrinkle: now that he’s killed you, you’re not allowed to kill him back! Your son isn’t allowed to kill him or his son. He gets the harems, the farms, the land … this year, and next, and next, and next … He keeps them by disarming you and by governing your rations, your access to resources.

Then force entered in; might making right;
power, and its tool, violence,
and its most devoted ally, the averted eye.
Ursula K. Le Guin


Goya, Colossus

It’s many decades since I learned that if I wanted to live till supper time I had to keep my mouth shut. When the cousins of William say “Tell us what you think,” it sounds like they’re soliciting ideas, hoping for wisdom, but of course they’re really writing down names so they can strangle you in the dark. So it wasn’t until my blood pressure passed two hundred and I knew I was on my out anyway, that I stopped guarding what I said and to whom. But of course I made exceptions. Now I’ll tell of one that disappointed me. I was at a business-associated party in New York: 1976 or so. The loft had just been written up in Architectural Digest. The Irish-born and raised publicist I was meeting there for the second time had just been written up in New York Magazine. He seemed to be a bold one, suddenly making tens of thousands of dollars an hour. The New York Times had just reported Lord Kent’s objection to finding an IRA bomb in his egg cup during his Brighton holiday. (I invent the identity but not the incident.) I commented that it didn’t astonish me that aristocrats believed it was OK for them to smash you but not OK for you to smash them: infantile “reasoning” should be familiar to all; but that it did astonish me how the rest of us swallowed it. If Liz belonged on the throne because William smashed Harold, why shouldn’t Paddy be on the throne if Paddy can smash her? This man, famous overnight, smiling a moment ago, moved away from me. But he’s Irish, for Chrisake!

(What’s Irish and stays out in the rain?
Paddy O’Furniture)

Oh, but we’ve fixed all that in our (ahem) “democracy.” Blood doesn’t decide, God is out of it: popular votes decide. And terms are for limited periods. … Is this reality or is this window dressing for the same old thing in a new disguise? (See Masks & Deceptions.) What about the infrastructure? What about the bureaucracy? I can remember opportunities to vote for this or that judge, but I remember none to vote for the legal system as a whole. I remember none to vote for the police, the court secretary, the gofer who prevents your message from reaching your “representative,” the teachers who did their best to see that the representative couldn’t understand it if it did reach him. The cops bash and kick somebody: eight against one. Why aren’t they arrested? Why aren’t they tried? (They are: they’re arrested by themselves, and tried by themselves. Harrumph.)

But it’s everywhere. I narrate how my grade school teacher remained my grade school teacher even after following ingratitude with a false accusation. (Baked Goods: Discounted) I never hired her. My parents never hired her. No, this is a democracy: all those decisions are made for you. You don’t hire: you can’t fire. I narrate how my high school geometry teacher showed that she’s wasn’t familiar with variants of “Euclid’s” axioms, could only read from the text before her, betrayed no understanding: next day she was still the geometry teacher. (Math) I narrate how college seemed better, but then graduate school was solidly back in the core of the meretricious. (pk’s Interrupted Orals) Exposure doesn’t bother them. Now that they’ve (ridden in on the coattails of those who have) conquered you, there’s no conquering them.

Our Christian conquest of the world
I Ripper

I’ve narrated now a classmate in gym would lose the point to me in fencing, then stab me in the crotch. (In Ivy League.) In the symbolic world (Existential Sets), I won; in the physical world (Extension vs. Intension), I lost. I scored the point legitimately, my foil bowed against the canvas protecting his heart; he scored his injuries illegally, after our formal hostilities were theoretically suspended, my thigh guiding this klutz’s foil tip under my canvas crotch as my lunge’s force carried it on into my groin.

I have not yet narrated how the first sergeant in basic training sarcastically recited the army regulations against harassment while harassing us. Just like a cop “reading” (ha, ha) you your “rights” (ha, ha).

Right now I’m just (as commonly) assembling fragments. A future session will review it and tie it in with evolutionary history, magic, and the “development” of society. I also have to expand my too brief treatment of Jared Diamond’s key hint as to why we put up with kleptocracy: we’ll put up with almost anything in order to shoal together like fish, reading our danger from ourselves to be worse without the mob than with it. I must also argue that the strategy that got us here may not get us “there.”

2004 04 05 insert: to be blended later
If conquest is a legitimate form of ownership, then why don’t we just all go out and conquer what we want? or die trying? If the British royal house is so proud that some ancestor of theirs killed the ancestors of the others, some large portion of those ruled, then why should they feel safe for so much as a second? Shouldn’t whoever puts a bomb in Lord So&So’s eggcup suddenly become better than that late Lord So&So? Shouldn’t s/he all of a sudden run the government? until someone else can put a bomb in sher eggcup? If it’s wrong now, why wasn’t it wrong then?

2005 03 05 Conquest diction polluted a news item on TV this Thursday. Coverage was of Steve Fossett’s record-setting nonstop, solo flight around the world without refueling. The newscaster talked of “our superiority over the sky.”

Kleptocratic culture sees that only the diseased get hired, or stay hired, or get promoted. This is devolution, not evolution.

Kleptocracy

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.
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