Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Civilization (NoHier) / Politics /
@ K. 1997 03
Politics is so that the ass can always trump the head.
The sorting of who you want to team-up with
from who you want to gang-up on;
The amplification of who you want to listen to:
Insects have had social species for far longer than say reptiles, and certainly far longer than any mammal species. Do insects have politics? When worker bees nourish and then kill excess larvae to make queens from, are their choices political? Not without redefining everything. When Alexander killed all his brothers so the succession would remain with him, where his communications with his men chemical? Like an ant’s? Perhaps: but since we know they had language, Alexander and his men, we already have explanatory sufficiency.
Do cetaceans have language? We don’t know. I wouldn’t yet trust any of our theories too far. Do cetaceans have sentiens? Again: you’d have to redefine everything (something we do need to do. Let’s not argue (at this moment) over human claims to sentience. Let’s also (for the moment) yield that claims of exclusivity are moot. Let’s not war over words (just yet). Let me come at this from another tack, avoiding those words: only to come back at them again.
Men are big brained (to the cost of poor women). But so are cetaceans, so are elephants (and I don’t doubt that their females suffer for it too) (but then: so do us males!) How coincidental is it that we also hold it in common that we are social species? I’ll bet that hive bees need more processable ganglia than solitary bees: or, differently organized, not too meager CPUs.
That’s hit the target left and right: now let’s hit the bulls eye for the day. Canis need good processing to hunt in packs. I’m sure the raptors such as tyrannosaurus and allosaurus needed far more processing than the vegetarian brontosaurs. Both men and porpoises are predators. We can hunt solo, but mainly we hunt in packs. Societies form, and stabilize (temporarily, always temporarily). But elephants are veggie eaters! Are they big brained just because they’re so big? No, they too are social. And, I’ve seen this explained: a terrif recent theory. We’re big brained as socialized pack-hunting predators, but, more importantly, we’re big brained, because the species’ mating strategies are oh so complex. That’s where cetaceans (and elephants) are much like us!
And that, I say, is what politics extends from.
Now: are we big brained, maybe the brainiest of all, so we can contemplate the truth? Or are we big brained so we can gang up on the other guy? Or, are we big brained so we can make a fuss over Princess Diane while ignoring one hundred million far more attractive females?
Are we big brained so we can produce Einsteins (in such quantities that we can ignore most Einsteins and still somehow have a technology)? Or are we big brained so we can argue that his property is really her property? And that the god we invent this year is really older than the god you invented last year?
If we didn’t have really big brains how could we honor Aquinas one century for saying that usury is anathema and then bury Aquinas and set up (semi-visible) cartels where favored kleptocrats partner with favored bankers?
I believe that our brains are so big that we can’t see natural laws, being blinded by our efforts to become lawyers who can tell bigger lies, be blind to more things, than the other guys’ lawyers.
What I regret is that we have this wonderful literature, ancient and modern, of rationalizations, but I fear we will never have a comparable literature of why all our gods will go bankrupt within an instant of all our air and water and food and fuel disappearing: of
why we went extinct so suddenly.
Political thinking leads people to take sides on every contentious issue imaginable;
peace requires that people find ways to sustain harmony.
I’d inserted the above into my original module on politics, now split-off as pk Politics.
To trust people is a luxury in which only the wealthy can indulge; the poor cannot afford it.
Above I characterize politics as “group-leveraged decision making.” I don’t trust groups: especially large groups. Most of all I don’t trust large groups to see their danger to everything including to themselves. Small groups could be dangerous to the biosphere, to our matrix, but the danger from small groups exponentiates when they are among large groups. I fear we’re helpless until the Deus Ex Machina of nature trims Homo sapiens back: way back. I just hope there’s a viable biosphere left for the survivors when that happens. The longer nature takes to take us down, the greater the final danger. We’ll never do it ourselves, not politically. (And then I worry whether the survivors will have learned anything. Quite possibly not.) Any way, I expect to split this postscript into yet another module where I may develop it.
Keywords politics, structure, society