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Thursday, May 24, 2007
De Hominis Natura
De Hominis Natura[*]
(On November 7th, 2005, two young men at the LSU Rec Center talk about the airing of “Matrix Reloaded” the night before on cable television. Their names are Waldo and Malcolm-Jamal Jackson.)
Malcolm-Jamal: But yeah, yo, I digged the part where they at the Mero… The Mervin…
Waldo: Ah, the Merovingian.
Malcolm-Jamal: Yeh, at that dood’s crib. That bitch was wack, yo!
Waldo: …Right. But it is true, stranger. It was quite interesting. I enjoyed that scene and also the one where the Oracle tells Neo about him.
Malcolm-Jamal: Yeh, yeh.
Waldo: The Oracle’s is an interesting statement, actually. “What do all men with power want? More power.” Quite true, I must say. Don’t you agree, friend?
Malcolm-Jamal: Damn right, dawg.
Waldo: Hmm-mmm. The question, though, is why? Why DO they seek more power? Once these men gain almost absolute power, what do they get out of it? Money? Money gives power, which, in turn, creates more money[†].
Waldo: Still, money is not the only thing that gives power to men. So, is it health and a long life that they want? Absolutely not. Of course they want to live a long life and be healthy, but that’s not why they want more power. But, is it love then? Not quite. Power can make finding true love easier and yet also harder. But the purpose of power is not love at all. So what is it?
Malcolm-Jamal: Yeh, you know… what is it?
Waldo: Glad you asked, stranger.
Malcolm-Jamal: Yo, why you keep calling me “stranger”, homie? Ma name Malcolm-Jamal but ma pen name be G-Babydoll, playa.
Waldo: Hmmm. Ok. Thank you for filling me in on that. But back to our question concerning the end of power, consider our social organization/behavior. The human race is organized just as chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are, in a multiple-male polygyny. This means many males and females cohabit a territory. Yet, we also behave like gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) in a way; that is, in every troupe there is a dominant male who copulates with the 3 to 6 females in his group. So, human social organization dictates that in a territory of many males and females there are the more dominant (those with more power, in all its diverse manifestations) and those less dominant. But why would a silverback gorilla want to copulate with 3 to 6 females? You guessed it, my friend. To spread his seed as much as possible. Well, my dear Malcolm-Jamal, same for us. That is why we seek power. Power, in nature, is an incredibly influential aphrodisiac. So every male of every species wants to attract as many females as possible to be able to perpetuate his chromosomal information. The more dominant men will be able to do so. The less dominant won’t[‡] and will be eliminated from the population’s gene pool by none other than nature’s own gas chamber for unfit organisms: natural selection.
Malcolm-Jamal: Wha? What that mean?
Waldo: Well, it simply means that the most adapted individual will be the most sexually active and evolutionarily successful. This, Malcolm, is the true, final effect of power. Of course, we do not try to impregnate every female that we attract now. Not anymore. Not on purpose, at least. And females in our “highly evolved” species aren’t attracted only by power any more. But what is the cause of this need for reproducing in such frenzy, you might ask yourself, Malcolm.
Malcolm-Jamal: Uh yeh… What it is?
Waldo: You see, friend, we are still animals. Mammals. Primates. Not differing by much from the great apes. Our instincts are not asleep. And which is the strongest of the instincts? Why, that of procreation[§], of perpetuation of the species. And so, it’s fueled by our instincts that we seek power. But, in our search for power, our instincts make us more aggressive towards other males. Completely logical since they also compete for the females. Most of the time, in our society, males, dominant or otherwise, cannot show their true selves because we are always protecting our “belongings”. Appearance, material properties, family and other people’s[**] opinions of ourselves are all things immediately related to the amount of power males possess. A pleasant physical appearance is a type of power which I’ve defined as “physical” power, material properties are a form of “pecuniary” power and people’s opinions of us are directly proportional to our social status (our level of dominance, if you will). Family is also important since it can include offspring (which we have already proved as our first priority), mate (which, unconsciously, we think of as a type of property, obviously differing greatly from any other type of property but still “ours”, so we protect[††], but also because they are the mothers of our offspring and therefore usually the person who directly nurtures them) and progenitors, to whom we remain sentimentally attached throughout our lives like our relatives the chimpanzees. After all, like them, we are highly social animals. Do you follow my reasoning, dear Malcolm?
Malcolm-Jamal: Damn, dawg, you better stop calling me that, yo. I tolya what ma name was, G.
Waldo: Yes, yes. You see, aggressiveness is crucial for the protection of our “belongings” and therefore for obtaining and preserving our power and thus for us, as individuals, to be selected for. Obviously, so is intelligence but without aggressiveness, along with our testosterone-enhanced possessiveness, it would be as useful as a cat securely attached by its claws to my scrotum.
Malcolm-Jamal: Man, you twisted muthafucka. Goddamn, bro.
Waldo: I see. Anyway, after much debate, we have found the cause of our thirst for power, its main requirement and its effect in polygynous societies of, at least, the taxonomic primate superfamily Hominoidea[§§]. But why, you’ll ask, “M-J”, have we bothered so much to find these three concepts relating to power in human society?
Malcolm-Jamal: Is G-Babydoll, dawg! Get it straight, gangsta! Shit…
Waldo: Absolutely, “G-Babydoll”. The answer to that question, though, is that those three notions were important because they were necessary to make my simple yet complexly formulated point. And that point is, Mr. Doll, that nature is plainly cruel. Men would be the sweetest, mildest and most sensitive creatures in the globe if their innocent, prepubescent personality was not suddenly corrupted, because of his awakened glands, by the perpetuation instinct, aggressiveness and the sweet/sour taste of power. Take away any of the first two and the third is gone. Yes, quarrels all around the world would cease to be. There would be no more labels such as “prep”, “nerd”, “snob”, “geek”, “piece-of-shit frat boy”[***], “hot head”, “murderer”, “racist”, “criminal”, etc. Indeed, man’s benevolent character would emerge, never to be clouded again by the many masks he is able to create for his own protection and well-being. He would be able to dress and act however he REALLY wanted and say and do whatever he REALLY wanted, not bound anymore by the need to be aggressive and possessive and not hidden by those facades he so cleverly used and needed for his appearance and people’s positive opinion of him. Man would be nothing but friendly. Only then would he be truly free from himself. So, what’s the solution to all this, you ask, Baby?
Malcolm-Jamal: Baby? Bitch, you fuck wit ma name one more time and I’ll cut yo nerd ass wit ma nine-muthafuckin-inch! Got that, punk ass ho?
Waldo: ...Well, I thought you said your name was… nevermind. But, back to our point; yes, I know I sound like a Bakunian anarchist[†††]. Yet, unfortunately, I suppose I’m also like many modern left-wingers, especially the radicals, who pinpoint the problems wonderfully but fail to give a reasonable, effective solution to them. Yes, my friend, you are guessing correctly - the only two solutions are completely irrational. The first one would be to be able to not reach puberty – and, personally, I would have loved not to. I know, I know, childishly absurd. The second one would be that we, as human beings, become a race of asexually-reproducing organisms. After all, our true chains, the carriers of our seed, the mothers of our children, the steel in our jail bars, are women. Yes, it’s womanhood that should be eliminated. Or, actually, manhood for that matter[‡‡‡].
Malcolm-Jamal: What the fuck???
Waldo: Indeed. And so, asexual reproduction would solve all the aforementioned problems. Absolutely illogical, I know. Truthfully, there really is no way out for us “less dominant” males…
Malcolm-Jamal: Less dominant? Speak for yoself, playa! Me and the dominance here between ma legs are goin out clubbin tonight and we plan on getting some "seed-carryin" pussy! Ye-ee-ah! I’ll see yo broke, nerdy, punk ass later, G! Ha! Peeeeeace!
And there he goes… Did he even care? Was I in reality just talking to myself? Hmm… Is the further expansion in numbers of earth’s most dangerous parasite, mankind, worth the unhappiness of so many of us? Is it really worth that much?
Malcolm-Jamal: (From far away, almost inaudible) Word!
Waldo: (Sighs)… “I lost my faith in womanhood”[§§§]…
“…I could have been wild and I could have been free
But Nature played this trick on me,
She wants it now and she will not wait,
But she’s too rough and I’m too delicate…”[****]
[*] The following document was conceived and developed in the early hours of Sunday, November the 13th, 2005. It was originally supposed to be a regular systematically written essay but as it was being composed it became an opus in platonic dialogue.
[†] So even if what they wanted was more money it would only be to gain more power.
[‡] Or, in our species, will normally attract only the less visually pleasing or less healthy females but, surprisingly, not necessarily the less intelligent ones.
[§] Actually, it’s survival but since Prometheus gave us his divine gift of fire it became a lot easier to stay alive with the ages. In other words, it’s easy for us to survive now, so survival isn’t a driving instinct anymore, except, of course, in extreme situations.
[**] Especially females.
[††] This is not a sexist statement. Women also experience this sense of possession towards their man.
[‡‡] The coefficient of variation of size between males and females in humans is 0.15, meaning males are on average 15 percent bigger than females. In other primate species this dimorphism is much more marked. For example, male baboons can grow up to have twice the body mass of the female.
[§§] The hominoids are the great apes (Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus, Gorilla gorilla and Pongo pygmaeus i.e. two species of chimps, gorillas and orangutans respectively), man (Homo sapiens sapiens) and the nine species of the family Hylobatidæ.
[***] A personal favorite, I might add.
[†††] I say “Bakunian anarchist” instead of just “anarchist” to differentiate the two meanings that, in my opinion, anarchism has acquired in the last 30 years or so. I define Bakunian anarchism as the ideology that was born in the 19th Century from the mind of Michael Bakunin, a Russian social activist who is regarded as the father of modern anarchy. Made a bit more mainstream since the late 70’s by some musical groups of the ever-growing (yet almost extinct) punk rock movement, anarchy today is thought to be, especially by young people, just pure chaos and disorder. This is not what Bakunin professed. That is why I wanted to clearly highlight the difference. For more information on Mr. Bakunin refer to the bibliography and your search engine of choice.
[‡‡‡] Murder is not intended, only the elimination of one or both of the genders since the deletion of either one would make the other pointless, therefore making us, in a way, asexual.
[§§§] Waldo quotes “Pretty Girls Make Graves” by The Smiths, an 80’s pop band, here.
[****] Also from “Pretty Girl Make
i just got the chance to sit down and read this, aldo.Post a Comment
i love it. i didn't know you wrote. write more! for goodness sakes. this was great.
"Not anymore. Not on purpose, at least." lolz.