Re: what exactly do anthropologists do?

Gerold Firl (
6 Jul 1995 13:35:00 -0700

In article <3tf9e7$> (Todd Michel McComb) writes:

>In article <>,
>Gerold Firl <> wrote:

>>I take it that this is your way of saying that you *do* recognize the
>>benefits of competition?

>Competition is widespread in human society, at one level or another.
>It exists. I do not apply such words as "benefit" to this scenario,
>because the converse is outside of my experience.

The converse, meaning the lack of competition? You've studied economics, so
you know the effects of monopoly there; a similar analysis can be applied
to politics. The party in china holds a *monopoly* on political power. The
benefits of competition are clear.

>Although I do not particularly disagree with your statement, there
>are many schools of thought in which it is considered superior to
>die while actually trying to do something, rather than simply
>wasting away as the "unemployable."

Wow. What an amazing statement.

It's not that easy to be "unemployable". Here in california there are large
numbers of people who cross the border speaking no english, and utterly
lacking any employable skill. Yet they not only survive, but save money.
Many illegal aliens carry a wad of several hundred dollars.

Many consider it better to "die while actually trying to do something,
rather than simply wasting away as the "unemployable"", eh? What about
going to school and getting an education? Usually not fatal. How about
getting up at 5:00 am and going to the streetcorners where casual day
laborers congregate in search of jobs? That's not generally fatal either.
What's all this about "trying"?

>Even in the case of slavery,
>one's fate is taken into another's hands, and as such one need not
>listen to the statements of the upper classes to the effect that
>you've had "equal opportunity" but merely blown it.

That is pure rationalization.

>Yes, I do believe I dislike being told that everyone is (or can
>be) equal when it is manifestly untrue. I prefer the truth, even
>if it serves to calcify the situation.

I don't believe you.

No one is equal. There is no guarantee of wealth or success, or even
survival. That is the truth, but do you really prefer it?

>We have conquered certain sorts of diseases; others appear. It is
>unclear to me that we will ever "largely conquer disease"; perhaps
>you can cite a study supporting this position.

Look at average lifespan. It has been going up steadily as disease is
conquered. Why do you find that hard to admit? Why does that conflict with
the way you want to view the world? Western culture has problems; it is
good to focus on solving those problems. But don't fall into the trap of
seeing nothing but the problems, and then compound the error by convincing
yourself that everything is wrong. Some things are wrong, some things are
right. If you can't see what's right right with the world, you won't know
what's wrong.

>The converse of the latter statement is that no one could explore
>their unique abilities. My knowledge of history does not support
>such a situation; it is only the context of these explorations
>which change. I will further suggest that people with frames of mind
>analogous to your own, in a few generations, will claim that *now*
>people can "fully" explore. And so it goes.

My speculation is that people who are malnourished, diseased, parasite-
ridden and oppressed have little time or energy for exploring their unique
abilities. It seems to me that they have to give everything they have just
to survive, and that a large part of the globe is now, and has been,
peopled by individuals who fit this description. But that's just
speculation. Maybe the egyptian fellah, with his micro- and macro-
parasitic blood flukes and tax collectors, is just as able to explore his
creative abilities as you or I. But I don't think so.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf