First They Came for the Jews
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller
I began this piece in February, actually the end of February. I am sometimes astonished how quickly time flies. Our lives always happen around us while we are waiting for something else to happen. I often feel like a spectator in my own life. There are so many problems to correct, so many fights to fight, so many lessons to learn and books to read. It becomes simply overwhelming. I fear my friends will think I gave up, and I sometimes envy those who find more time and patience to write frequently. People like Robert, B, again... all inspire me to try harder and dig deeper. I daily make this pact with myself to write what is in my head and I daily break it. I am my own worst enemy...
Sometimes a hiatus is just what a man needs to make himself right. I guess in my case, it comes more frequently than many of my fellow bloggers out here fighting the fight every day. Perhaps some are just more dedicated than I, or perhaps I always find myself asking way more questions than can be answered by reading constantly at a fever pace.
I spent the entire month of February doing something I wish I could encourage more caucasian types to do on a regular basis. You will recall, February is Black History Month. Every February, I find myself reading at least some kind of book devoted to African and African/American issues. Last year was The End of Blackness by Debra J. Dickerson. This year was a bit different. I began the month reading Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader. This second book was very different from what I was expecting in the beginning, but given the recent events in the realm of politics I found it rather poignant. Thus, I am compelled to share some if what I came away with.
First, let me point out that I am a firm believer in the Out of Africa theory of human descent. The evidence is just too overwhelming to be refuted in my own opinion. As such, I am inclined to side with the author of this book about the horror we, the descendents of Aboriginal Africa, have visited upon the continent and peoples of our origin. The economic strains that colonization by european states and the slavery inflicted on the indigenous population by American, european, and Muslim ancestors, indeed up to our current day, is simply inexcusible by any accounts.
In this posting and the next few I would like to discuss the implications of this notion and every thing that goes along with it. To begin, let me say that survival is tough business. As the famous quote goes "There are far more ways to be dead than there are to be alive". This being true, congratulations on your continued survival and good luck with that. What struck me with Reader's book has to corolate with other subject so please be patient while allowing me to elaborate and build my case here. This is the reason I have determined that I need at least several entries to complete my thoughts lest I forget something improtant to my case I can reintroduce it in a later entry. Forgive me, I'm a machinist, not a professional writer.
Over the next series of postings I would like to explain how a small group of homo sapiens' left their home in Africa and populated a planet. As a result of this most likely unconscious decision to leave, our culture was born and the little rock we call home was forever changed. Whether this change is ultimately to be deemed good or bad is highly subjective; and throughout the discussion we will have to revisit the question Qui Bono, "Who benefits?" repeatedly. Our discussion will attempt to explain the connection between the evolution of our species and the evolution of our culture.
For those who assume that dicussing the Social Contract is the raison d'etat for this blog, I have to say that while political philosophy is important to me, it is not my only area of concern. Be patient, along the path I am taking here there are many connections, what Hofstadter likes to refer to as strange loops. Indeed, an understanding of the implications of a genuine social contract cannot be understood without the framework of where we came from and how we arrive at the decision to become a society. I will return to Rousseau after this series and probably as reference in between. For now, however, we will concentrate on a world that Rousseau could only speculate about and for the most part got horribly wrong.
Another milestone in our path is altruism. What is it and how can it evolve in a selfish, deterministic world like the one I will be painting in my next posting? This will require some explanation.
To close, let me say this. Nothing in life is cut and dried. What we seek is knowledge of a past without any living witnesses. It must be expected that the friuts we seek the most are the most difficult to obtain and all knowledge worth knowing is never as black and white as we would like it to be. My world is a place where Philosophy and Biological Science meld together. There are certain truths that forensic science and antropology can lend us but others unfortunately must be inferred. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing can be a daunting task. While we do what we can to get all the bits in the right spot we cannot be certain that the things we had to guess at are 100% correct. We can; however, gain some satisfaction in our choices when we can begin to see a bigger picture emerge as something recognizable. I would love to be able to say that science can teach us everything we need to know in life but that would be facetious to say the least; but we will explore whatever avenues available to find what truths we can. Therefore in the spirit of discovery I can only urge quaerendo invietis.
...By seeking, you will discover....