Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Diomedean Evolution II

Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation, 2 Nov 2014.

Intelligence requires a long childhood during which behavior is learned. Therefore, both parents must protect helpless infants and ignorant children. Diomedean adults are kept together not by permanent sexuality but by the need to cooperate to survive migration. The prolonged effort of migration concentrates sex hormones so that arrival in the tropics triggers indiscriminate mating. Children must all be born at about the same time if they and the mothers are to survive the long migration. The family is not a couple and their children but a matrilineal clan. However, Diomedeans living at sea near the equator have continual labor and sexuality and therefore also patriarchal monogamy. Migrators and sea-dwellers see each other as perverse.

A long childhood is our glory and our tragedy. Helpless, ignorant children can be:

educated or indoctrinated;
encouraged or intimidated;
taught how to think or told what to think.

The conflict between these two kinds of upbringing will decide the future of humanity. My upbringing: I was given good advice, which I ignored, and taught nonsense, which I took on board. No good, either way. I should have started zazen twenty years earlier. However, my daughter, now grown up, was not indoctrinated.

A human organism, as soon as it has been activated by social/linguistic interaction, has a unique and distinctive personality from an early age but I think that this comes from genes and environment, not from rebirth as many of my fellow meditators believe. The personality then responds to inputs which, however, can have contrary effects, as suggested above.

A possible future form of the conflict: Poul Anderson's Psychotechnic Institute began well, applying psychology, not imposing an ideology, but went wrong, doing too much too fast and taking disastrous short cuts, thus provoking a "Humanist" backlash. But that is in another future history.

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