By Jaime Yarbrough, Science Editor – July 12, 2021
What am I about to read? Why do I need to read it? How will it make my life better?
Once again, forgive me for my absence but as you know it’s summer, and there are places to go and things to do. Thank you for your congratulations for having the 2nd place winner in the 4th of July parade (DNHS Class of 1970)! It was a team effort.
Part of my absence has also been due to the immensity of the next topic: brainwashing.
Synonyms for brainwashing include conditioning, persuasion, indoctrination, influencing, re-education, drilling, programming, propaganda, proselytism and propagandism …
I am certain most of you have heard one or more of these terms lately and wondered, “how did we get here?” This is a simple, logical but extraordinarily complex question that cannot be easily answered without a full understanding of the history of humans from living in a cave through the twisted corridors of the human experience on this planet.
It is, however, a particularly important question to ask. Not only from the aspect that the answer is equally important but today, because of the affects of the subject, far too many people are NOT asking. One would think unfortunately, superficially, in the short term, from successive prior generations. While this is a “science” article there are subjects in the humanities that have very scientific aspects that are like true science. Archaeology, anthropology, paleontology and a host of other ‘ologies’. The primary ‘ology’ we will be examining two primary sciences, biology, the science of life and psychology, the science of the mind.
Part of the reason I have chosen this topic is because it is currently topical, AKA in the news. No doubt, unless you live under a rock you are aware of the turmoil surrounding our schools, critical race theory, the ‘dumbing down of America’, the practice of indoctrination rather than education, the war being waged against “big tech” for the acclaimed censorship and manipulation of social media and the struggle to defend our Constitutional First amendment. By now you are either totally engaged to see what answers you might find or enraged at a perceived bias or unfounded claims. Therefore, I hope to, as best I can, look at how we got here as objectively as I can.
To be fair, this should be a multi-part article, giving space between the first, second, and third sections of the timeline. And for people to weigh in, ask questions and give their perspectives. One of the many reasons I am curious about how we got here is I am here with you. “We”, includes me! So, with that let us back stroke to the stone age.
Regardless of how you might view the presence of humans on this planet most will recognize the relation of human beings to the rest of the animal kingdom. There are many solitary creatures that are created and until they propagate live their lives as single creatures. They live their lives only to breed with others of their kind and have no other interaction.
But the greater animals belong to ‘families.’ The offspring recognize their parents and for some time after their birth remain with them. All animals are endowed with ‘instincts’ that guide them either singularly or in families how to survive. These ‘survival’ instincts are critical and, as we will see, the framework for some of our greatest challenges. Starting out with, unless ‘asexuality’ is involved there are two genders. Each gender has its own natural instincts. These instincts start with the first breath. They are part of the organisms DNA. Those instincts are responsible for finding shelter, food and in mating. Here there is a crossing of the lines between biology and psychology as first or most notably by Charles Darwin and Abraham Maslow’s observance of his ‘Hierarchy of Needs.’
There are many other works that go into depth about these instincts such as The Territorial Imperative: by Robert Ardrey. Within these investigative works are a wealth of information ‘who we are’ and ‘why we do what we do, that are, for the most part not taught in schools, per se. As the world became more populated with living plants and animals’ things became complicated. Most of you have seen Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ and recognize how the first primate picked up a bone and realized he could use it as a tool, to kill. This led to hunting other animals for food, increasing the size of the brain and reasoning power and overall health of humans.
Of some of the characteristics of families there are the realization of companionship. With offspring comes recognition of responsibility and protection of possessions. Whether it is man, humans, lion cubs, wolves or a million other animal species the instincts are similar. Here is where territory is established. It is widely said that sentience or self-awareness is the hallmark of intelligent life. “I think, therefor I am,” is how man claims his existence. However, almost animals have the recognition of their personal space and if you violate it, they will likely react, instinctively, no thinking involved.
Observing the natural world is one of the most important activities of any species but especially humanity. Nature always has something to teach us. On our tour to ‘how we got HERE’ we have stepped on a very fast-moving train and things are going to get equally complicated. I feel now is a good point to end Part I and invite comments. I will try not to leave you hanging too long for Part II.
Be well, stay safe.