My Three Sons

My three sons have ancestors who killed Native Americans.

One decided to embrace the responsibility for the sins of his ancestors. He swore to protect those who remained.

One decided to embrace the legacy of his ancestors. He swore to maintain the supremacy of his white heritage.

One decided not to care.

My three sons have ancestors who kidnapped Africans from their homeland and enslaved them.

One decided to embrace the responsibility for the sins of his ancestors. He swore to embrace as equals the descendants of those his ancestors enslaved.

One decided to embrace the legacy of his ancestors. He saved their flags, their monuments, and their philosophies.

One decided not to care.

My three sons have ancestors who lived in trees.

One decided to embrace the gift of shared wisdom graced on him by teachers, books, and – in the modern world – the Internet. When he did not know something he needed to know, he looked it up.

One decided he didn’t much like school, and education was for sissies anyway. If he had any questions about life, love or politics, he would turn on the radio in his car, the television in his kitchen, and let those people tell him the answers.

One decided to spend his life stoned, making love, listening to music and ignoring everything else. Lucky bastard.

My three sons will live to see a world united by shared knowledge or shattered by superstitious hatred.

One will embrace whatever comes, accepting change.

One will fight stubbornly against whatever comes, fearing change.

One will barely notice, because of all the dancing and screwing. Plus he’s pretty much always stoned.

My three sons are loved, even the dumbass middle kid. And I hope they all find their way to lots of stoned, happy love and music, and stop worrying so much about what a bunch of assholes their ancestors were. Thanks for reading.

Climbing the Walls

If you flew to the center of every geographic area, you’d think there were dozens of unique races in the world. But if you walked, you wouldn’t understand the concept. The changes in color, face shape, hair, lips, eyes, etc. are so gradual — in every direction — that it would become obvious to you that we are all the same race.

You’d have to be a strong swimmer and climb a lot of mountains, though. Which is why we think there are unique races; the mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans and other geographic separations tend to keep people in one place for so long that they take on the characteristics of that area.

For example, if it’s hot, your skin and eyes will darken. Successful families, especially early in our evolution, dominated the other physical characteristics, so larger areas developed common traits. A good example

would be Asia, where epicanthic folds around the eyes are a strong identifying feature.

Another is the brow bone, willed to us from the extinct Homo neandertalis. Every human being on the planet who descended from ancesters who left Africa has a prominent brow bone as part of the 2-4 percent of our dna that comes from the Neanderthal race, mixed in when the two races lived in the same area — current theory places them together in the Middle East, roughly 50,000 years ago — and intermingled.  This is why native Africans lack the brow. For illustration, Manut Bol and Grace Jones are native Africans.

Globalization will eventually lead to some homogenization, but it’ll take thousands of years and I doubt the effect will ever fully wash out. There will always be a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. And family will always be family.

But (hopefully) we can stop thinking national borders are anything but man-made shock collars. 







Gub’ment Cheese

How many people does it take to need a government? At what point does a crowd need crowd control?

I think attention is the key. In pairs, each member can give virtually full attention to the other. Nobody is ever more careful to act in the larger interest than someone who feels as if he or she is being watched. The need for governing is virtually nil in a pair. In small groups there is a bit more freedom from watching and being watched.

We don’t watch everyone, and we don’t feel like we are being watched all the time. There is generally a need for a familial sort of governing at this level; parents, den mothers, teachers and coaches can handle the governing at this level.

As groups get larger, the sense of watchfulness dissipates, at a similar ratio to the sense of being watched. There is a critical mass point in there somewhere where individuals lose personal interest in the group as a whole, and concentrate on only the parts of the group that they deal with directly.

There is another critical mass point where individuals begin to feel as if nobody is watching them, and they lose the shame that keeps them from acting against the group’s interest. At this point there is a need for governance, to replace individual watchfulness and apply shame to the unwatched.