Thursday, November 19, 2009

Disjointed update post


Grad school apps in progress - I'm in a better headspace than I was last week, certainly. Which is good. So that's getting done.

I'm doing a lot of bustling around the house and getting things taken care of, generally. I now have a new chainsaw that works! And used it this morning on the embarrassingly large pile of wood lying around. It's a little tidier now, but will take a lot more work before it turns into usable firewood.

I saw a poster Monday for a talk tonight by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy (no, not a typo, Hrdy is correct), who was one of the writers I read for a course last year. And, whoo hoo, I was able to shift my orgo section to 5 and went to the talk and the reception and booksigning afterward, and had a nifty time, what with the pretty tasty food bits on offer and the honest-to-god intelligent, interesting conversation.

Hrdy challenges the view of human nature as inherently violent, and argues strongly that humans evolved to act cooperatively. Uh, to summarize hilariously briefly. Interesting, and pretty persuasive. She was surprisingly conservative in how far she'd push her claims in tonight's talk; I'd expected ... I don't know what, but she really stuck within the bounds of what the physical evidence can show, no conjecture to speak of at all. She's apparently controversial, but to me the only controversy is why is this even a question - any animal living in groups has to by definition find a way to get along to mutual advantage. The notion that people evolved to slaughter all rivals looks to me like pure nonsense, not least because if that's the goal, we sure suck at it.

Homeschooling coop has had a flood in the building, rendering it unusable for the rest of the week and next, too. Blah. So there's been an oddly disjointed, yet peaceful, feel to the week.

I have a bruise on my left forearm from tae kwon do. Knife-hand strike that was blocked (quite well), repeated a bunch of times in a combination. Good: placement of the strike consistent. Bad: consistent placement meant the block kept landing in the same place, too. Hence the bruising.

So today: chainsaw, martial arts, kickass feminist sociobiologist, socializing. And I got the recycling & trash out, too. (I feel like I've accomplished something really big when I haul the accumulated recycling, no idea why)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Lynne said...

You are amazing! Missed you at knitting last night.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Well, Hrdy is half right, imho. Humans are hard-wired for empathy, without which we could not be socialized and the species would not survive. It's why when a child of two or three does something antisocial, you can not so much inform her as gently remind her of the Golden Rule, and it will make perfect sense to her. (Or, if it doesn't, heaven help her parents, for they are raising a sociopath.)

But, since humanity began, that instinct has been at war with brute survival instinct. The shadow of this conflict within each of us, thrown large upon a wall, is much of what we call religion.

Sadly, people often resolve the conflict by dividing the human race into Us and Them. I have to act in a civilized fashion toward Us, but I'll fight like a tiger to keep Them out. This antisocial behavior we call patriotism.

2:27 PM  

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