Note: This ‘Dimformation Age’ first appeared in the December ’05 Zephyr…
If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.E.O. Wilson
Most scientists now agree that Neanderthals didn’t cross pollinate with Cro-Magnons. I hate this, as it severely undermines my theory that Homo erectus asphaltus, as exemplified by my fellow Americans, is regressing towards a return to Neanderthal status. But science is often wrong. Take modern medicine, for example: Eat eggs; don’t eat eggs; eggs are cholesterol bombs; eggs are loaded with lutein (good for the eyeballs). So, which is it? Take your best shot and have fun until Oprah figures it out.
As one guru recently postulated: “…medicine today is, more or less, a huge experiment. And, unfortunately, the general public is the guinea pig.” If medicine is a leaky ship, imagine what must be sneaking through the planks of the erudite disciplines of anthropology, genetic statistics, and existential sociology. It’s a dangerous game we play, risking our lives on ersatz factoids that evolve faster than a Super Bowl commercial. 1
Mudd’s Theory of Anthropod Regression goes something like this: Due to an overabundance of industrial hormones, fungicides, fumigants, organochlorines, transfatty acids, benzene, auto exhaust, sugar, and television, American DNA is transmutating into a new art form, tweaked to a frequency akin to that of a juvenile marmot under the influence of backyard methamphetamines. The evidence of our grand experiment can be witnessed in the pages of any newspaper: Cancer, arterial sclerosis, diabetes, war, and widespread depression, to name a few. But the buck doesn’t stop there.
Let’s look at some recent data, which is what science is all about. And, to keep it lively, I’ve added tidbits of pithy commentary. In today’s ultra-hip newer journalism it’s a writer’s job to dig deep into the quantum fractals and rearrange reality to trump the reader’s built-in subjective bullshit meter. Think of it as emergent satori in print, done up by a cyberpunk with a bad case of dyslexia. That ought to make you feel better as the words hit the back of your retinas.
Factoid No. 1: According to the U.N., “The world’s population will increase by 40 percent to 9.1 billion in 2050 but virtually all the growth will be in the developing world.” And, to add spice to that bit of flotsam, the U.N.’s own Hania Zlotnik added, “It is going to be a strain on the world.”2
Commentary: Imagine intelligent primates choosing to increase their numbers to the point that the planet’s natural resources are harvested unsustainably. Add to the mix: Massive poverty, diminishing potable water supplies, global warming, crashing ecosystems, bad television, karaoke bars, computer sex, widespread illiteracy, and oil wars –– what do you get? Voluntary de-evolution.
Factoid No. 2: As reported by the American Society of Civil Engineers, “Crowded schools, traffic-choked roads and transit cutbacks are eroding the quality of American life, according to an analysis by civil engineers that gave the nation’s infrastructure an overall grade of D.”3
Commentary: Want to downgrade the world’s most powerful civilization? Dumb down the schools and social infrastructure. Nuff said.
Factoid No. 3: “…. when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes ‘too far’ in the rights it guarantees.”4
Commentary: This simple quote should scare the fleas right out of your hair. Who’s brain-washing America’s kids? Certainly not their parents; they’re too busy eating Zoloft in front of the boob tube to pay attention to how their progeny relates to the First Amendment, assuming said parents even know what the First Amendment is.
Factoid No. 4: The Georgia Division of Public Health has figured out that “obesity is responsible for $2.1 billion in health care costs each year and about 6,700 Georgians die yearly from obesity-related health problems that include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.”5
Commentary: A friend of mine was admitted to the hospital. After a fitful night’s sleep, an orderly rolled in a fine institutional breakfast, to wit: One bulbous biscuit; scrambled eggs (see above); and a strip of bacon. The patient, a savvy character, sent the mess back to the bowels of the hospital, whereupon a dietician appeared to determine what sort of food might be suitable to somebody smart enough to refuse a dish of saturated fat. Here’s what was said: “You’d think of all the buildings in town, a hospital would be the one place where wholesome, healthy food would be served, seeing’s how 90% of the people lying in these beds are here because of their lousy diets.” Answer: “We serve fast food because that’s what people want.” Well, at least our local dieticians are honest.
Factoid No. 5: Wired magazine says that “In the absence of new regulations, pollution-related illness will suck up as much as 15 percent of [China’’s] gross domestic product by 2030.”6
Commentary: America, that bastion of growth at all cost, is paying down the same debt, but denies the karma associated with poisoning the air, water, and food supply. Let’s get this straight: Pollution is a choice. Very few of us pollute by accident, certainly not at the corporate/military/industrial level. Pollution has no loyalty to any nation or ideology; it is an equal opportunity bastard with an insidious propensity to invade cellular tissue from the liver up. Only the most retro of species would willingly poison themselves and the food they eat. There’s nowhere to hide. We have met the enemy and it is us.
Factoid No 6: My hometown paper, The Birmingham News, says “the average family here will spend $4,448 on gasoline this year…… That accounts for about 13.4 percent of the average family’s after-tax income…”7
Commentary: You do the math. If you’re driving a hulking idiot-mobile that gets less than 30mpg in town, you’re throwing your hard earned cash down a rat hole, or Saudi Arabia, whichever you prefer. Let’s be honest: There’s no excuse for pissing oil. It’s another choice, one that has a geo-political reality: Your gas expenditures are fronting dog house terrorist training camps, whose adherents can’t wait to see what a suitcase nuke will do to suburbanites in some nice quiet piece of the American Dream. Take it from me, you can drive like a cat in heat and still get 50 mpg. All you need is less ego and a diesel. Make that a bio-diesel and you’re a serious revolutionary in need of a place to stash your extra cash. Sad to say, from Tampa to Oakland, there’s a sea of SUVs –– symbols of our species’ unconscious determination to return to the days of old, when having a protruding occipital ridge was a sign of tribal chic.
Let me wrap this malarkey up with a quick reminder of where this all started – Smart monkey’s don’t choose to poison the Earth and each other. Intelligent critters don’t voluntarily dumb down their kids’ education. Wise mammals avoid killing themselves with industrial shit food. Forward thinking students don’t belittle hard-won freedoms and constitutionally guaranteed rights. Hipsters don’t equate gas hogs with their sexual apparatus.
But here we are, beleaguered by a crumbling civilization that’s obviously lost contact with its own higher reasoning faculties in exchange for cheap trinkets and an endless supply of seriously idiotic entertainment. This is not the proverbial edge that ensures survival in a harsh environment. This is not the road to enlightenment so highly spoken of by Buddha and his merry men. This is not how Cro-Magnon sidled past the competition and became the world’s primo omnivore. No, ladies and gents, we’re on a highway of ever diminishing returns, a road that leads back to whence it came –– the Neander Valley and all that goes with it.
You heard it here first: Homo erectus asphaltus is poised for genetic anthropod regression. And the end result will not be pretty or gratifying to those who measure themselves in the mirror of Manifest Destiny. These things happen. Big apes come and go like clouds in the sky.
And regardless of what the scientists say, we’re never more than a few genes away from our cousins, the Neanderthals. Which is irony in its purest form, being as the old brutes never demonstrated the wholesale tendency to overstep their bounds as a matter of hubris. In fact, the Neanders were fairly civilized when you think about it.
1. (Dr. David Williams, Alternatives magazine, Spring 2005).
2. “Earth crowded now? Wait ’till 2050,” The Associated Press, Feb. 25, 2005
3. “Crumbling nation? U.S. Infrastructure gets a ‘D'”, MSNBC online, March 9, 2005
4. The Associated Press, Jan 31, 2005
5. “Nearly 1 in 19 Ga. Deaths obesity-related,”” The Associated Press, May 21, 2005
6. “China’s Next Cultural Revolution,” Wired magazine, Issue 13.04, April 2005
7. Birmingham News, June 13, 2005 (editorial, “”Money out the tailpipe””)