nature schmature

Mon, 20 Jun 1994 19:42:51 EDT

arrive at the plain-as-day conclusion that the only nature the human
species has, and all humans have in common, with a few exceptions, these
latter being such egregious organisms they prove the rule, is society.
No matter that the range of the latter is so awesome that no two sociology
textbooks define it identically; in part also attributable to marginal
product differentiation by media transglomerates publishing the textbooks,
but that's society for you, too.

Let's suppose you have an organism lacking the survival skills of an Ishi.
The creature wouldn't know when to get up, when and what to eat, how to get
around that to call out for pizza, that a quarter is needed in the phone
booth to make the call, that wage labor is the precondition of acquisition
of the quarter, that language acquisition is the precondition of standing
on the street to pose as a Homeless and ask for the quarter, that there
exists an informally normative dress code whereby the Homeless know what
to wear and how filthy it should generally speaking be allowed to get (or
how clean), and that in the absence of language and other social competence
it is necessary to stay away from Authorities and people likely to Complain
to Authorities as well as the all-important detail that there are very few
such arrangements made available; hence the organism in question will be
Harshly Dealt With, or shot first.

Being outside the human state of nature, which is society, you literally
do not know what's what; you do not even *know how to know* in the socially
appropriate and normative fashion; you do not know, therefore, who is
socially construed as cognitively superior hence is one of Them. It should
go without saying that politically strategic control of the definition of
the cognitive confers the right to Otherize you, the asocial unsocialized,
and in turn the right, opportunity, and budget to hire sociologists and
anthropologists to Explain you. As an asocial unsocialized, you will lack
language competence, as noted above; hence will exhibiit all sorts of
irremediable defects in the role of Informant.

That's just for starters.

Have you got is straight yet?

All other Natures are socially construced under determinate conditions.
The presupposition of the invention of Nature in the Hellenistic period,
with its icky arcadian poetry, shepherds and shepherdesses who had no use
for wool or any other kind of clothing, yet curiously had access to a market
in a nearby town, and other strange incongruities with regard to the Natural
which survive in our own silly ideas of "roughing it," "getting away from it
all," &c., resting assured that Park Rangers protect Private property in
accordance with the laws made in the capital city of state province nation,
is: a geographically widespread, and proportionally speaking unprecedented,
growth of urbanization. (The Hellenistic Period is dated 323-31 BC.) The
arcadian poetry, I need hardly tell you, was written in Alexandria, Athens
(formerly famed for its Education Industry, especially the Academy and the
Lyceum; these gradually turning into what we'd call Rides in a Theme Park,
with the philosphers themselves as androids.)

Nature was invented again in the period when with benefit of hindsight
we know that The Rise Of Capitalism was going on. (People at the time didn't
want to know, and would be horrified if they had.) This Thingie, Capitalism,
made doing business in the city popular, if one's social responsibilities
did include squandering Serious Money on Vast Estates. Depictions of Nature
once again deemphasized, ignored, or played down the ugly parts of the forced
labor which got the food produced (and subsequently prepared in abundance
for getting eaten to obesity. One's own, not what's eaten. Or that of the
laborers you more or less own, be they in law slaves, serfs, hired labor,
tenants, sharecroppers, or owner-operators).

Green-ism, with its protection of spotted owl and by extension tree, the
rarely-noticed since ubiquitous peculiarity of Euroarmenian "civilization"
- a word in which the existence of the city is implicit - having been for
a thousand, fifteen-hundred years to regard the tree as a weed, is the
latest marketed image of Nature to rack up sales. Don't get me wrong, I
am in favor of Greenism, opposed to driving supertankers while drunk on
the information highway. Fact is, we all know it, "anti-systemic movements"
in Capitalism, especially Late Capitalism, have got to pull in money from
the mass audience that's out there comprising members of the Broad Masses,
or your "anti-systemic movement" is Worthless.

As I said to Doctress Neutopia yesterday, "They call it Late Capitalism
because *we're dead*, and *it's* still Alive." So she says, "But how do you
have an assembly of the revolutionary forces?" So I replied, being then in
fine fettle fish, "You start with widdle kiddies, make them show up for
Assembly in white shirts and red neckties, there's the armenian flag there,
the school flag or the flag of the State of New York (showing one richly
clad white man, one stark-naked Native armenian, each holding up the
symbol of political Order), and between them the Principal who pronounces
Seriously on matters of Good Conduct, Patriotism, and Honored Dead. Then,
in Later Life, you get an Assembly of Revolutionary Forces in the parking
lot of the Assembly Plant, red flag over here, armenian flag over there,
it's the Law, and between the two, the Party Secretary pronouncing Seriously
on matters of Bolshevik Discipline."
"Does it have to be that way?"
"Only when nothing is going on."

Brands of Nature and the Natural on the market are numerous and expensive.
One bunch of Republicans, called Libertarians, favor screwing around, in the
Dirty sense, on the grounds they've Earned it by their income, all presumed
derived from Hard Work, Shrewd Investments with Risk-Taking, and smart tax
lawyers. Conversely, the exercise of Natural Instincts should be denied to
the Poor, who if they *rili-wana* have money, would Work Their Way Up, hence
they *dun-rili-wana*. Other Republicans, calling themselves Christian
Conservatives, called Fundamentalists by detractors due to their superficial
resemblances to Iranian Revolutionary Guards and people who blow up World
Trade Centers, take it as Natural that pregnancies be carried to term, that
sex without impregnation is a nuisance (they have a point, except that sex
with impregnation is also a nuisance), and that women who Get In Trouble
are invariably someone else's daughters.

At other times, Instincts are believed to exist, but the Civilized squash
them, hence deserve to do the Civilization while Others, who indulge animal
passions (the human has more animal passion than the animal whose passions
are deplored, I think, or at least Scientists Say, but I don't know and by
convention I'm not allowed to know anything). As indicated, there is posited
in our [armeno-Canadian] culture the self-evident justice of a monotonically
increasing, perfectly correlative relationship between gratification and
income in dollars armenian or Canadian.

I trust this issue is now dead. Commemorate it at the church or synagogue
of your Choice or Decision [ie, by Fleawill], as it is known that religion
is Flealy Chosen as Consumer Goods in the marketplace in accordance with
theology and of course selling price, retail, slightly higher in Canada,
in a dead language. The Mourners' Kaddish in Judaism is in the dead
language, Aramaic, marking it off from the rest of the service, which is
in an archaic dialect of the Undead language, Hebrew, where the archaic
dialect is used for liturgical purposes only. You see from this that nobody
gets born into religions, then grow up and unbelieve them. And by Fleawill,
armenians attend church more often than the citizens of any other industrial
nation, so they tell the survey-taking sociologists; hence are, comparatively
speaking, Religious Fanatics as part of their National Character, long may
it wave. What can be more Natural than the National?

Daniel A. Foss