Last night I watched a PBS show about stress.
But just before the show began, words on the teevee screen and an announcer announced: "This program contains material some viewers may find objectionable."
I watched the show. Didn't see a single bare breast -- nor any exposed genitalia -- nor hear a single swear word. So no nudity, no "bad" words (as though words can, in and of themselves, be bad. Here's this: Fuck. The F-word. I just typed it, you just read it. Did it hurt you? What's wrong with it for fuck's sake?), not even talk of sex (which people spend their lives trying to have and having, but can't stand to have discussed on their televisions).
So their were none of the usual things that cause American teevee viewers to get mad.
...The show focused on how stress affects a certain group of baboons, and reveals that this stress is caused by the extremely hierarchical system the baboons lived under. As one of the researchers on the show put it: Baboons only need to spend three hours a day finding food, so they spend the rest of their time giving each other grief. This "grief" is doled out to establish and maintain their society's hierarchy.
Then the show discussed Britons who worked in the Civil Service, where every worker knows exactly where he/she stands in the hierarchy. Workers are even labeled with numbers: so a two in a certain function knows a three can give them shit, while they cannot give the three shit, but the two can give ones shit.
So Britons in the Civil Service are very neatly analogous to the baboon society.
The baboon researcher concerned himself with the levels of stress hormones in the baboons, and found that the lower the rank, the higher the stress. And the higher the stress, the worse that baboon's health would be. This is exactly the same for the Britons in the Civil Service and humans in general.
...After viewing the program in its entirety, I realized that the "material some viewers may find objectionable" is the fact that humans can learn a hell of a lot from baboons because we're so closely related, genetically, to them. And that this fact is incontrovertible.
The program asked, toward its end: "Are humans brave enough to learn from baboons?"
I interpreted this to be: Can we get religious people who, in Western society's religions, believe in human exceptionalism out of science's way? Will we be able to, one day, run a show about the incredible similarities primates (including humans) exhibit without having to take a bow to religion?
Succinctly: Are humans brave enough to discard religion (or at least completely banish it from the scientific realm because it has absolutely nothing to offer) in the pursuit of scientific truth -- aka truth -- and to allow teevee programs to present this fact: that humans are just another member of the order primates?
And can we grow the fuck up enough to the point where humans don't give a fuck about the casual use of the word "fuck"? Right now there are adults who are afraid to use to use certain words because they are "bad." Grow the fuck up!
...But the above was a way-off tangent. This question is more important to humanity: Can we admit that religion adds nothing to our understanding of the world? Can teevee programs that deal with how life and humans really are be freed from warning people not to watch them because they present the truth? ...Getting rid of these warnings is important because idiotic parents may use them to prevent their children from being presented with the truth of the human condition. Children must be freed from their parents' ignorance.
And we need to admit that our religions have only ever served to obstruct an informed and intelligent understanding of humanity and the world and universe of which we are a part. ...For god's sake, it took until the year 1992 -- nineteen ninety-two! -- for the Catholic church to apologize to Galileo for ruining his life. And he lived circa 1600! Therefore, it took the Church about four hundred years to say that it was OK for Galileo to have posited that the earth revolves around the sun -- which members of the Vatican must have verified for themselves with their own telescopes (since they had the money for them), yet still condemned!
All of which is to say (write): Humans -- especially children with ignorant parents -- should not be warned that they are about to be presented truths that oppose their religious beliefs. These beliefs need to be challenged so they can subsequently be discarded. Religion has no place in the presentation of knowledge since its only object is to hinder it, as it has done since humans invented it.
Hundreds of years ago Galileo proved the utility of the telescope and how inutile religion is. If only the world subsequently kept the telescope and discarded religion. But we wanted to have out cake and the Spanish Inquisition too.
Are we brave enough to accept that baboons are more intelligent than their human primate cousins, in that they haven't invented religions to torture themselves with (literally and figuratively)?
PS regarding my last post: I'm already over getting tired from taking Methadone. And am in extreme fucking pain.
...Of note: Humans knew methadone to be an effective painkiller through its being tested on animals, most importantly non-human primates. And it's the way we evaluate all drugs before their use on humans is OK'd. If humans were exceptional compared to the rest of animals, we wouldn't learn a goddam thing by testing them for safety and efficacy on these non-human animals before using them on humans, because humans would be so radically different from our test subjects.
PPS: I apologize that this post is all over the place. I'm in too much pain to concentrate and put together a cogent argument for or against whatever I'm for or against here.
But there's an argument made somewhere in this post. it's up to you, dear reader, to put it together. It's like a jigsaw puzzle! The parts are there... Even if there are a surplus of them...
Take what's needed, toss out what isn't, until you have a coherent argument!
23 September, 2009
Last night I watched a PBS show about stress.