Friday, January 22, 2016

10,000 biological generations

It is not that nature lacks intelligence but our own concepts do
(Jeremy Narby, anthropologist )

I saw the movie The Revenant this past week and it was good, not because of the acting and cinematography, which was excellent, but because of how the story was told. It's loosely based on the life of an actual fur trader Hugh Glass, who was supposedly almost killed by a grizzly bear in 1823. It is ostensibly a tale of human survival, but to the credit of the director, it reveals more than a man-vs-nature adventure film.

Seeing ourselves

Depredation, race, class, predatory capitalism are certainly revealed in the film but we also see human relationships with what can be called the natural world, as well as respect and understanding of the “other,” both human and non-human But I did find myself at times during the movie thinking about the criminal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by our modern day white terrorists grifters.

For those who have not seen the 2013 talk by Jeremy Narby, Intelligence in Nature, the following video is outstanding. He poses the question: How can we [humans] transform ourselves into intelligent predators?

The title of this article, “10,000 biological generations” refers to the fact that Homo-sapien-sapiens—us-- have only been around some 200,000 years, a drop in the evolutionary bucket. Whether or not we humans in our present form will be around 200 years from now is, in my opinion, questionable at best. But we have survived by the “skin of our teeth” in the past....

Our last common ancestor with the chimpanzee (See “Remembering uncle Sah” ) likely lived in what is now the country of Chad in Africa. Approximately 7 million years ago we went our separate ways. Now, the more than 7 billion(!) of us in the 21st century need to somehow radically change just who and what we are.

Malheur Refuge once again

Land use policy in the United States is worthy of serious discussion and debate at the local, state and national level, but the feverish, narcissistic fantasy of a segment of America to hand over all our national sanctuaries to the “private property” crowd because they think it's some sort of right they have acquired is on par with the old, nonsensical “divine right of kings.”

What is at stake, as humans, is changing the “concepts” about the world we live in and our place in it. In the meantime, in one small corner of Oregon, all of us collectively need to confront the idiocy of white entitlement accompanied by the usual threats of violence. Get out. Yeah, it's non-negotiable. We need to get on with solving genuine problems in the 21st century.

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