Shaking Hands With Beef Trees
Reflecting on our history reminded me of something a man had written some time ago. "Demography is destiny", said the founding father of Sociology, a Frenchman. Comte was his name. He had given us a way to explain things, like why certain people choose to act one way and not the other. This paved the way for the social disciplines. Academia now believes we can empirically quantify social action, providing a plethora of reliable statistics to back up their findings. Sexuality, gender, race, religion, and class tell us what we need to know.
Strapping on their blinders, the educated shake their eight ball of wisdom, and out pops the enlightenment. Why theft? Poverty. Murder? Low per capita income. Rape? Income inequality. Human action must have an explanation, they say. The theories are endless.
Intelligentsia holds that correlation amounts to causation. I liked it better when bad was because of the devil, and good was God's fault. Maybe it's the 9th century Carolingian beer-brewing monk in me talking. Anyways, if I hear the term "socio-economic factors" again, I may just burn myself at the stake. Feel free to join.
"People spend their lives trying to explain terrible events. It's dedication to making 'evil' or whatever you choose to call it, out to be more than it is.
Humans are certainly unique, in that we think there are reasons for things. Animals carry on. People spend their lives trying to explain terrible events. It's dedication to making 'evil' or whatever you choose to call it, out to be more than it is. The ancients understood this, and for that we mock them. Nowadays entire professions are dedicated to figuring why Bob would shoot his neighbors. They churn out more explanations than a jackhammer could butter. But I've got to ask. Could it have been because he wanted to, or ill enough that he had to? Whether it was to get their jewelry to sell for drugs or sexual fantasy is beside the point. He wanted to, or his illness wanted him to. Call him sick. Call him a corrupt soul. Either way, can it really be prevented? People have always killed each other, for little or no reason at all. Curiosity sometimes. Men start wars. Their egos rather enjoy the violent stroking. These things will never end.
Back to royalty. King George III has come to be known as the mad king. It wasn't because he lacked political foresight, or that he foolishly lost the colonies to blue-blooded overconfidence. He had a genetic nervous disease known as porphyria, which causes one to severely cramp, hallucinate, and become depressed. With age the monarch became increasingly hysterical. One day he decided to plant a cut of steak in the garden, believing it would blossom into a beef tree. On another occasion, he shook hands with an oak tree, thinking it was the King of Prussia. These things happen. However, such behavior leads one to believe the king may not have had the best decision making skills to run one of the worlds largest empires. The porphyria was the result of Royal inbreeding. One can only bed so many blood cousins before the twitches begin. The Spanish, English, French, and Hapsburgs all carried incestuous afflictions. Highborn families eventually inbred themselves to extinction. Perhaps their numerous squabbles had more to do with mental illness than dynastic pride.
Stop kidding yourselves. Testosterone is an explanation for things. So is estrogen. Or lithium. Or lack thereof. Social theory is distraction. It's another means for us to feel as though we get it. We don't. People do things because of what they are. Nations war with one another because that's what they've always done. Some people enjoy painting. Others killing. We all have the capacity for both. Nothing has changed. A roll of the genetic dice is what we are. Our ancestors are to blame. Now make nice and go shake hands with a beef tree.