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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Territorial Savagery

Somewhere I read that one of the top physicists of the 20th century, someone on the order of Niels Bohr or Max Planck, originally planned to be something like a zoologist, but opted out of that because he didn't care for the cruelty and bloodthirstiness of nature.

I was reminded of that when I saw a recent documentary on wolves in Yellowstone Park. There was an especially stomach-turning scene in which a pack of wolves methodically hunt down and tear to pieces a lone coyote, an animal that looks much like them, that had ventured into their territory.

Humans have inherited the same sort of behavior from their simian ancestors, and through all the stages of that development they've staked out territory and defended it in the same blood-dripping way.

Well, I suppose that if they didn't do that, none of us would be here, because all the side branches of human evolution that might have led to a species cooler than we are died out instead, because they didn't rip to shreds all invaders of their territory.

Though civilization tries to dress it up, we can still see this same kind of territorial savagery in activities like gang warfare in cities and in the fight to deny entry to immigrants from south of the border, usually called "illegal immigrants" by all these children of illegal immigrants. I say that because actually no descendants of the apes have ever come here from overseas with the unanimous approval of the creatures that were already here, especially after a little time had passed. Even when the very first humans arrived tens of thousands of years ago, there were already hordes of creatures here that couldn't have welcomed their arrival when their extreme voracity became apparent, except on the occasions when the tables turned and those two-legged illegals became things to eat instead.

Something must be amiss when we notice that there's nothing about any piece of topography that has natural markings saying that it belongs to any one species of anything that moves. Animals have evolved to fit some piece of land, but I don't know of any cases where the reverse has happened.

Even the polar bears can't say that the arctic is theirs. All that sea ice is busily melting as we speak, answering not to the desires of the bears or even of the Eskimos but instead acceding to an authority that usually has the final say about life on earth, namely the temperature and the condition of that scarily thin film of molecules covering the planet called the atmosphere.


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