Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Biology and Philosophy 101 for the lower 48

If you are grown up enough to make salutary use of news which is humbling and sobering, then Mr. Darwin's notion is as personally tonic as it is powerfully explanatory of biodiversity. It invites you to reflect that all human history is but our moment on stage in a plot with an infinite chain of murderers being murdered. You cannot begin to count the designs which seemed invincible in their time and then, cued by a change in the weather, became mere stony clues for us to study.

The "for us" part you may question, but only in Philosophy 101. The notion can't possibly care or have favorites. The notion itself you may take as good reason to leave any god out of the picture or as reason to conclude that god finds the unprepared unnecessary and stasis boring as hell. The notion does not care what you think about questions of its authorship or purpose. You have no factual refutation of the notion, even if you are from Alaska.

You would expect folks who can handle life in Alaska to regard people in the warmer 49 states as weaklings, good for a tourist dollar but full of useless advice. One way they show their disdain for our opinions is by the kind of politicians they send down here. I certainly don't believe everyone in Alaska is an idiot or a corrupt bumpkin, but what a harsh sense of humor they must have to rid themselves of the feeble minded by electing them to office and sending them away to Washington for the rest of us to scrutinize.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I got to live in Alaska for about a year (cumulatively) as a teenager. I was only in Anchorage, in the relatively tame south (where being mauled by a bear was still a distinct possibility if you were foolish, and spring was noted more for corpses washing up into backyards than daffodils), but I did a full winter and I think that counts.

Anyway, the city struck me as a really strange mix of people, a quality that doesn't quite come across if you haven't been there. Most of the people I knew were what I've now come to recognize as Pacific Northwesterners, albeit of a somewhat extreme variety. There were a lot of hippie types who'd come to Alaska to escape things Outside, and they stayed because they genuinely loved the place.

But it's not the kind of place that many people can tolerate for long. So just as much of the population was made up of oil execs and military people who were there for a few years to rake in some cash before heading home, wherever that was. They had very little investment in the state or in their city, much less their neighborhood, and a lot invested in making as much cash as humanly possible in the short time they intended to stay.

And when you understand that, the political scene up there starts to make more sense.