Revisiting the idea that it is environmental factors to which human beings are required to adapt, that is the cause of individual and cultural differences.
We would do well to keep in mind that all human beings have not only an external (the world around them) environment, but they also have an internal (their own thought life) environment. Both of those environments affect the behavior of individuals… and by extension, the generation of what tend to become cultural institutions.
http://anthro.palomar.edu/animal/animal_1.htm (Check out the second paragraph in particular.)
Life… all living things, including: monera, protista, fungi, plantae, and animalia have adapted and are continuing to adapt to whatever environment they find themselves. Human beings are classified as animals. It was a human who first invented the system that is used to describe specific, individual. living creatures. It continues to be (only) humans who use this system. The purpose of the system was to make an inventory of living things so that we (humans) may gain an understanding and appreciation of the world we inhabit.
Here, it may be useful to notice that no other living creature (of which we are aware) has the ability to take such an inventory of life on our planet. And, of course we know that there is no other living creature (of which we are aware) that uses language to the extent that human beings do.
Furthermore; language is symbolic, meaning that words are not the actual thing. Spoken or written language relate only to the ‘interior’ environment of human beings, what goes on in our thought life; our rational or mental realm.
It does appear that the creation and use of language by the human creature was/is an adaptation. All adaptations to an environment are meant to extend the lives of individual creatures making such adaptations, and hence, the species. Life… all living things have the same prime directive, that is: to survive. Could the ability to take this inventory be, in some way itself an adaptation? Could the ability of the human creature to create language and to take an inventory of living things be a complex form of adaptation meant to enhance our ability to continue to exist?
On a personal note… I have noticed that my own ‘internal environment’ is often disturbed by taking in language… and now, photographs and moving images that give me the sense that I am personally being affected by and must respond to, the events that are transmitted to me via the internet. This language and these images now form part of my internal landscape, my internal environment. Anyone who uses the internet as a means of taking in information is now tasked with adapting to that partially artificial (…’is it real or is it memorex’…) environment.
There were two separate news stories that were reported recently that affected my internal environment and caused me to feel sad, helpless, and mildly threatened.
The fist report was about events going on in Mexico. Apparently, the drug war has a new player involved. The situation as I previously understood it had to do with two groups of humans who are heavily armed and who kill one another regularly. The one group is the group who intends to market, so called, illegal drugs in spite of government regulation. This group is reported in most news reports as ‘the bad guys’. The other group of heavily armed humans is the police who are, it is reported, mandated, to prevent the so called illegal drugs from being manufactured, transported, or sold.
(Most sane people realize that because of the tremendous amounts of money involved that the combined conditions of temptation and power will inevitably lead to ‘corruption’)
What I learned recently is that there is now a third group of armed humans involving themselves into this scene. The new group is reportedly made up of ordinary people who live in the communities where the men who intend to sell the illegal drugs are active. The new group think of themselves as a militia or as vigilantes who intend to protect their families and loved ones from the violence brought into their communities by the drug trade. The official government, it is reported, does not like these vigilante groups any more than they like the guys selling the so called, illegal drugs.
The vigilantes don’t care. They are committed to putting an end to bullets flying around their neighborhoods. If the official government won’t or can’t do anything to stop it, they will. So, now there are three groups of armed human beings shooting at each other in some communities in Mexico.
How does this affect me personally in my real, actual physical reality right now? It doesn’t have any effect. I don’t live in Mexico. I am not in the illegal drug trade. I am not a police officer. I am not a member of the vigilante group. Yet, learning about this story affected my internal environment. I suppose I benefit in this way, it may be useful for me to know what is going on in someone’s immediate, real environment, in that it gives me insights about how others of my species are adapting to an environment that threatens their survival. It gives me a chance to invent, in my own mind, other possible ways to adapt.
The other story that disturbed my inner environment did have to do with something that is closer to my current real world environment. It had to do with the official government of Ecuador sending armed men in to the offices of a politically active combined group of indigenous peoples who have been organizing demonstrations protesting the planned and ongoing destruction of their home lands; their immediate, real world, environment. The government of Ecuador has recently decided that it will begin exploiting the oil that sits within the boundaries of one of the world’s most pristine areas, and Ecuador’s own Yasuni National Park.
(just inserted the url links to the above story from two different sources and posted them here. (as above stories) When I visited this blog site (as a viewer) and hit the highlighted links, I was redirected to a page that said ‘server unavailable’. This is strong evidence that internet monitoring and control of news stories exists here. If you go to either google or yahoo and type in your own search for the story you should be able to get it. Search something like: ecuador shuts down office of protesters, or indigenous environmental group. Just tried google search using these exact words: ecuador shuts office of pachamama. It came up)
I was very much impressed and encouraged by the recently written and adopted 1998 Constitution of Ecuador. It is the only constitution in the world that specifically spells out ‘rights of nature’ as well as the ‘rights’ of indigenous peoples.
When I learned of the news story of the official government of Ecuador physically closing the offices of these indigenous protestors who were acting in accordance with specific Constitutional provisions and were doing so to protect not only themselves, but the ‘rights of nature’, I was again saddened, disappointed, and felt a bit threatened.
One would think that humans, with the ability to create language and to take an inventory of living things would behave in ways that would enhance their survival quotient.
How am I to interpret these events? How am I to make sense of them? They make no sense. It is as though human beings have lost sight of their own survival imperative, or that some have thrown in the towel.
As long as the (specifically human) environment of the BUY-O-SPHERE takes precedence over the environment of the BIOSPHERE, the survival of the species known as Homo Sapiens (as well as all other life forms aboard planet Earth) will remain at risk.