Wednesday, July 24

Our Orgastic Future

An interesting article son on how bonobos are forcing us to change how we look at how we evolved. It looks like while we have evolved from chimps, we still have a way to go before we teach bonobos. At least in some behavioural patterns. 

Take the human distaste for homosexuality. Religious thick heads. Right wing morons. And other assorted idiots hate gays. Why? No intellectual coherent answer. Saying that god said so just tells me that you are simply a moron who does not have the capacity to think for themselves. In other words, they are below living beings. Thick as a stone.  Remember son, libertarianism. Liberalism. Individual rights. As long as your exercise of your rights does not impinge on somebody else's rights, you do what you want. 



Our Orgastic Future - Lapham’s Quarterly

Precisely when the ancient primates who preceded us Homo sapiens actually turned the corner to become human is one of those running battles in anthropology. Theorists scrutinize the long arc of gradual evolution to find a slight nick in the curve and there, it’s argued, our glorious ascent begins: when we began to walk upright, when we grunted out the first phonemes of speech, when we fabricated the earliest tools. Simply invoke the phrase “savannas of Africa” and inside our minds blooms a tiny movie, the tale of humanity’s bloody contest with and eventual triumph over nature somewhere around the time we left the security of dense jungles for the more progressive world flourishing at the forest’s edge.

This little drama, our secular genesis myth, divides early humanity into male hunter-gatherers and fireside female domestics. The men boldly marched out each morning with their spears and clubs to bring down a mammoth, while the women tended the fire and kept up the stores of food and clothing. Some twenty thousand years ago, life was basically the painting Neanderthal by Frank Frazetta. It’s so easy to flatter ourselves with this cartoon—hunting aurochs and taking down mammoths sounds strong and macho, but alternate theories have long suggested that a great deal of early protein probably came from more manageable prey, like vermin or deer. Spearing rabbits wouldn’t inspire Frazetta, nor, apparently, the Paleolithic artists at Lascaux, either. Which is why we’ve been spinning some version of this PR story ever since the Aurignacian-Perigordian people of southern France first scratched the smooth walls of a cave with a piece of bone.

A recent theory from Robert Sussman and Donna Hart holds that perhaps a great deal of our finest human traits may well have been refined by our ability to “evade predators.” According to scientific estimates, Sussman and Hart argue, some “6 percent to 10 percent of early humans were preyed upon according to evidence that includes teeth marks on bones, talon marks on skulls, and holes in a fossil cranium into which sabertooth cat fangs fit,” and so we were under intense evolutionary pressure to develop a different kind of skill: running away. “Many of our modern human traits, including those of cooperation and socialization,” may have come from escaping predators, not hunting them. The glorious history of Homo sapiens may have less in common with the feral troglodytes found in The Clan of the Cave Bear than with Brave Sir Robin from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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