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The Balance of Nature? - Part One

Posted on 2017.07.25 at 21:38
Current Location: behind the hedge-row he lies
Humeur actuelle: still they don't believe meh
Musique actuelle: the boy with the thorn in his side...
After listening to something on NPR, the source of all imagination, I realised something.

Of course, we should all know by now that life is about 50/50 genetics/environment. E.g., being gay, and so on. Mankind seems obsessed with bringing everything down to a 50/50, pretty much. E.g., American elections. If environmental stress is great, then genetic faults show up more often. If genetics is strong, environment can sometimes be overcome. But overall, it all comes down to a 50/50 - why? The balance.

The whole damn point of evolution is genetics "trying" to evolve to eek out some longer-term niche in the environment, right? So, pretty much everywhere, the tendency is for genetics to be in a balance with the environment(s). That leads us NOT to the old NAZI idea that genetics rules everything 100%; and NOT to the old liberal idea that social changes can overcome all problems 100% - but to the pretty common idea of just plain regular 50/50, or about there, pretty much.

The problem is that there are things like asteroids, and droughts, and punctuated equilibrium. That means that 50/50 will not always be able to cut it - ad infinitum. Once in a blue moon, bizarre changes happen - and bizarre events from genetics are required - or - once in a blue moon, bizarre environmental or social changes are called for, to keep a species or a local ecology going.

Chaos theory. Once in a while, major changes come out of nowhere. But, most of the time, life is a nice lukewarm 50/50, and that's just fine.

Anyway, the main point is that the vast balance of nature rather emasculates past grand theories of Social Darwinism, superior racism, genetic engineering, as well as of progressive social engineering, "educationalism," "Walden 2," or whatever. On the other hand, sometimes, in a blue moon, there is no immediate balance of nature.

Indeed, Nature is a work in progress, a composite of all sorts of imbalances. It's kind-of a statistical mean, that balance seems to be the norm, to mix metaphors. If you are a tiny-dot human living a tiny-time life, everything looks pretty stable to you. The solar system looks pretty orderly and predictable. And everything works out roughly 50/50 for you. You play the stock market and maybe there's a 50% chance you win, or a 50% chance you lose.

But, step out of that tiny timeline, and you will see that the universe is a dynamic, colossal, chaotic pinball game, crashing and exploding, careening, leaning this way or that way - and there ain't no 50/50 here! - unless... unless you step another quantum leap up and views things from the perspective of some over-arching god-like observer, looking back on our universe and musing, "Oh, what a pleasant little fish tank!"

What does this mean regarding our dives into extremism? Well, it means that they are often misplaced. But, they might also be well-informed, even if misplaced. Humans are born to be anxious. We are jealous of each other, so much, we try to control, and, failing that, we fan out and control the entire planet, at our own peril as a species. So, we are each and every one being eaten away by doubt and struggle, toil and trouble, fear desire hurt anger and revenge.

No doubt, this nattily embroiled (see what I did there?) zeitgeist is wont to generate endless conspiracy theories and extremist, scientificalist or academo-pop solutions that end up doing no more good than realligning this or that sector or phalanx, following mass emaciation from wars and starvation.

We surmise that perhaps we accomplished change when all that really happened was that the survivors began crawling out from the rubble and tried to build some kind of life again. Most often, when we contrive extremist ideologies, we jump the gun.

That is not to say that sometimes extremism is warranted, in extreme times. But, we have a habit of over-dramatising everything, to the point where tens of millions of us are slaughtered. And we ain't seen nuthin' yet.

I think that birds are the most prescient of creatures. Why this? They have been around so long. They have been relentlessly, repeatedly mass-slaughtered by the environment, and yet they keep on singing even lighter, smarter, wiser.

Imagine a blurred picture. Now, overlay upon this a translucent blurred picture - which slightly brings the resolution up. Keep doing this over and over again, and the picture begins to look clearer and clearer, down to the most infinitesimal pixel. This is like the life of a bird, upon the life of a bird, upon the life of a bird...

Pretty soon, a bird knows all there is about every damn move that could ever be made anywhere. A bird is by now able to spot the squirms of a worm miles upon miles away. A bird has battled and fraught through epochs of evolution and climate change to become the master of 50



Looking at 50 upon 50 - it is like looking at the full eclipse of the sun: Thereupon is seen the discrete, the definite, the most sublime which would never have been spotted by the naked eye, were it not for this persistence - this insistence - that life continue on along with some kind of balance of nature.

So long as life can strive, it shall prevail into the land of subtlety and wisdom.

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