Cul-cher-alee Speakin’

On Friday, or any other day that the mood strikes me, we hear at AFeatherAdrift (doncha love that “we” crap?), like to offer a more culturally mature post, directing you to the kinds of things that will impress your boss, your uncle Bart and the mail deliverer.

So grab a chair, belt up, and be prepared to be bedazzled with high-minded fare.

The New Atlantis has a nice long but very entertaining piece about travel in the age of GPS. If you are like me, you have had the experience of landing after a long plane ride, all of a sudden thrust into a wildly different environment, all peopled by folks who seem to take it as quite normal to be there.

The author muses about Kerouac, Odysseus, Huck, Quixote and others and how they would have found traveling in a world where “you are here” is a constant given. Good writing to boot. What more can you ask for?

It’s downright amazing how things just come to you. Ironic things, or sudden connections. Oddities and as “they” say these days, “ah ha moments.

Well, if you recall, Darwin was talking about changes the species over time caused, as we now know, by mutations. He posited that those species whose mutations led to their being better able to survive, did so at a greater rate than those that were not so fortunate. Over time, the better abled might well push out or “cause” the extinction” of the less abled.

Some (so they thought at the time) smart intellectuals (the very ones no doubt that the knuckledraggers of Trailer Town USA, so loathes today, thought it wise to slap Darwin’s species “survival of the fittest” onto ONE species, that of humanity. They posited that those humans most able would naturally rise to positions of power and wealth because of their superior survival abilities–abilities they believed were inborn.

Well, here is the ironic part.

The Republican intelligentsia  and their followers are to an inordinate degree not believers in Darwin per se. A goodly number agree with their uneducated mob that Darwin is an atheist nightmare and belief that we “came from monkeys” is some satanic plan to destroy us all. Darwin and his “theory” is only just that–a theory–a barely workable working hypothesis that is so full of holes and “gaps” that we can relax, read a much easier tract (read Bible), with a much much shorter story, and rest happy in our salvation.

Except that juxtaposed along side this treatise of idiocy lies their other chief tenet–survival of the fittest, which is nothing much more than the hidden framework for the much touted and Godly “Protestant work ethic.” You see, the reason that the likes of Rubio, Ryan, Perry, Bachmann, and all the other swill (read Republicans) are so against such things as social security, medicare, welfare, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and so forth is because they think it makes us “weak” as a people. We aren’t striving to survive which is what insures our evolutionary dominance. Oops, did I say evolutionary?  

I wonder do they catch themselves making that mistake? How do they live with the contradiction? I mean I know how the masses live with it. They aren’t smart enough to either realize it or if they did, make any sense of it. But some of the Republican intelligentsia must get it. I suspect they do, but they aren’t really creationists either–just for the masses.

Ironic isn’t it?

Ever thought about walking? In our house it’s a topic of conversation now and again. The Contrarian is not a walker–he will get in the car to drive 100 yards. He saw nothing so awfully wrong in Chris Christie’s taking a limo to drive him the twenty yards from helicopter to baseball seat. 

I have a love-hate relationship with walking. I like to walk on flat ground, not so much uphill. We gotta lot of uphill crap here. I’m hoping for more flat in the neighborhood I will inhabit in Las Cruces.

Once upon a time, walking a few miles a day was fairly ordinary. I recall reading about Henry Ford walking from Dearborn to Detroit to work every day. I lived in both, so I have some sense of the distance. We see refugees on long marches across often inhospitable territory in the hopes of finding safety. They often walk for days, even weeks.

Walking is great for thinking. As one writer says, you need to walk because it slows down the brain. We need the time and space. Nothing else quite gives that to us.

We walk to get from place to place, and we walk to make statements, and to raise money. We walk for health, and for penance. We walk because we can. Do we walk as a reminder of one of the things that makes us unique in the world? We walk to discover that which cannot be seen or appreciated by driving or riding in some vehicle.

Sit down with this article this week-end. Not so long.

Ya know I noticed something the other day. The Contrarian and I were headed to the VA for his yearly check-up and we were on a main thoroughfare through the city of Cedar Rapids. One that once was probably a more pleasant and quiet neighborly street.

Near the urban center, the houses were large with two stories, and wide wide porches, open or enclosed. Some were clearly not being used, others had the obligatory furniture of chairs and plants, making the house look cheery and welcoming.

As we progressed farther from the heart of the city, the houses abruptly changed. Gone were the wide and long porches, and porches became nothing more than a small platform from which one launched to the driveway or into the house. One couldn’t fit A chair on the “porch” and still open the door.

I’d say the first section were homes built in the 30’s and 40’s, and the porchless houses were circa 1950+. Times change, nobody sat out on the veranda and chatted with neighbors passing by in the evening any more. By the 50’s socializing with a family affair, conducted out in the back yard, privately.

Funny, that I just noticed that very physical transition the other day.

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7 comments on “Cul-cher-alee Speakin’

  1. hansi says:

    Interesting thought about traveling and being in a world where ‘you are here’ is a constant given. One does need GPS. Meditation and Mindfulness is far more accurate, because then you realize you are always here.

    • Sherry says:

      Exactly right Hansi! Here is always where it’s at, though most of us are living in the past or future most of the time. Mindfulness is a true work in progress for most of us.

  2. blisterina says:

    Weeelllll….”Survival of the fittest” is not actually Darwinism, but a misinterpretation of it (even Darwin himself used it to mean other than what it is commonly misinterpreted to mean; per Darwin, natural selection just happens, it’s not something we consciously affect). So, since the tighty righties like to create their own explanations of things like the Constitution and the Bible and American history in school texbooks, I can’t really say they’re contradicting themselves.

    Las Cruces: quite flat. Except for the mountains.

    We walked everywhere when I was a kid because we couldn’t afford to ride, and I do remain an avid walker; it’s better than meditation, which I’ve never been good at because I start worrying about whether I left the kettle on and stuff like that. Which sort of leads me to…

    GPS! I’ve been on a Lewis & Clark kick lately. Lewis walked most of the way, actually, several miles above or below the river, since he was the one collecting samples, etc. Clark measured the distance from St. Louis to the Pacific using dead reckoning, so he sort of just added it up in his head as they went along. He came within 40 miles of the actual distance. Neither of them got lost. Is there a human alive today who can do any of this??? Even pirates these days rely on GPS. So lazy!

    I’ve noticed the exact same thing about how houses face their neighborhoods these days. Before, it was all big, welcoming porches — Hi, neighbor! — and now it’s like they’re mooning us, with their gigantic garages being the first thing you see, and the tiny little entry hidden way back beyond the driveway — Look at all the stuff I’ve got! Nyah Nyah! Don’t come near me!

    Sorry for the lengthy opinionizing! You have clearly launched many a synapse in my brain today!!!

    • blisterina says:

      argh, forgot to close the italic there.

    • Sherry says:

      Absolutely correct Blisterina. Darwin, as I understand him was talking about the mutations were either helpful for survival or not or neutral. Those that were “fit” in that sense, survived to a larger degree.

      Yep there are mountains all over NM but between them, lots of flat. I spent a couple of weeks there, mostly west of Albuquerque, but that is what I learned and saw.

      Walking is not what it used to be. I remember the Jane Eyre and movies of those times, heck people didn’t think much of walking three miles to visit someone. Today….people would drop dead.

      Well, thinking is a good thing I do believe. Least ways I think it is, I do entirely too much of it sometimes. But then the Contrarian spends three days planning a “work” and then spends 1 hour actually doing it. lol…

  3. pepsoid says:

    I do feel a kind of sadness in the “You Are Here” world – nowhere is ever truly undiscovered or mysterious. I mean technically this wasn’t the case since we have Ordnance Survey maps, yet on a personal level, it very much still *is* the case for most places in the world… but satnav and Google Maps doesn’t make it feel so… until we start venturing further and more populously into space!

    I’m a big fan of Darwin – I find evolutionary theory/natural selection fascinating and have read several books about it (by Daniel Dennett and Stephen J Gould, amongst others). It is a fascinatingly misunderstood concept. You seem to have the right general idea, Sherry, but those “tighty righties” (love that term, Blisterina!) are just so off course – although I suspect, perhaps, they do “get” the irony you speak of, but express supposed beliefs that are most likely to bring them votes…?

    Further commenting on such, it riles me (sometimes, although I try to be pretty calm about it these days) that both creationists and staunch, non-religious evolutionists rarely seem to see what is to me an obvious point of crossover between the beliefs – and between religion and science generally… that being… that God created Science! This is putting things very simply, not going into questions such as “Who/what is God?” etc, but science doesn’t have to “explain away” God, simply put God in a different context. Science constantly shifts its perspectives, why can’t Religion also? (I suspect Jesus Himself would agree)

    On walking… it is indeed much underrated these days! I sometimes speak of having to walk up to, ooh, half an hour, to get somewhere – which so often incites looks of shock and mild horror. There’s something wrong here…

    • Sherry says:

      I hear ya progenitor. Loved Blisterina’s tighty righties too! Sometimes I wonder who gets what in the GOP. They seem increasingly mad to me. And of course you are right. It’s all so easily resolved. God created the universe with certain laws and those laws work. lol..But they desire to have to book that they can interpret as they wish and then point to as justification for their otherwise bigoted views on any number of things. Nice little racket.

      Yes, a half hour is for me just a bit more than a mile. I used to do that constantly as a kid. Now it’s a huge undertaking! lol

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