The Many Models of Reality

Some of you may have noticed the site’s new tagline. It was not with a shrug of indifference that we jettisoned the beloved bean-based blogging system. Yet an article of pristine cant was recently discovered in which one of its lines was found to be irresistible. This piece of dadaist anthropology can be found here. A few bolded excerpts follow:

(Franz Boas) became the first scholar to explore in a truly open and neutral manner how human social perceptions are formed

That would be this open and neutral scholar Boas.

Cultures do not exist in some absolute sense; each is but a model of reality.

Studies of the human genome leave no doubt that the genetic endowment of humanity is a single continuum. Race is a fiction.

A fiction that tends to kill people who fail to observe it.

All cultures share essentially the same mental acuity, the same raw genius. Whether this intellectual capacity and potential is exercised in stunning works of technological innovation, as has been the great historical achievement of the West, or through the untangling of the complex threads of memory inherent in a myth…it is a matter of choice and orientation, adaptive insights and cultural priorities.

One has to almost appreciate the courage required to pen such words. For historically, they would have been the leper’s bell of an unveiled con man or a gibbering lunatic. Every civilization has identical intellectual output. Some merely use it to place men on the moon, planes in the air, computers on the Internet, and ancient diseases in the history books; and some to tell stories around the campfire. You simply can’t say one civilization is any more accomplished than another. Each has its priorities, you see. As proof, have you ever heard a Westerner tell a good story? No, you haven’t. Thus complex threads remains tangled, QED.

The Victorian notion of the savage and the civilized, with European industrial society sitting proudly at the apex of a pyramid of advancement that widens at the base to the so-called primitives of the world, has been thoroughly discredited – indeed, scientifically ridiculed for the racial and colonial notion that it was, as relevant to our lives today as the belief of 19th-century clergymen that the Earth was but 6,000 years old.

Sadly knowledge of this discrediting hasn’t filtered down to the billion or so inhabitants of the world desperate to reside in these ridiculed colonial notions.

There is much more, though current blogging compensation offers insufficient inducement to capture it all. The point being is that the only objective realities in the continuum of the universe are that white people are evil and global change warming. What exists aside from that is simply a function of choice, orientation, and priorities.

And for those who subscribe to the blank slate, there is the blank wall: The Museum of Non-visible Art. Boas should have thought to advocate the latter–it would have been a funnier troll.

6 thoughts on “The Many Models of Reality

  1. Perhaps a culture that can nurture political correctness really is no better than the cultures it claims not to be superior to.

    • Agreed. A civilization that does nothing but untangle complex threads and survive, has demonstrated a greater utility than one that creates the modern world and subsequently allows itself to be extinguished.

      Oddly, the purveyors of PC would likely agree.

      • Without the will to protect and perpetuate our race and civilisation, all the science, technology and culture in the world is useless to us. If things stay on the same course as they are now, those who have replaced us will be “untangling of the complex threads of memory inherent in a myth” over our graves a few generations hence.

  2. If I wasn’t so sure, I would think I was listening to a lawyer. Using all the flowery language to say absolutely nothing…if you were to translate those statements into “plain English” they wouldn’t have the gall to proclaim it.

  3. “Studies of the human genome leave no doubt that the genetic endowment of humanity is a single continuum. Race is a fiction.”

    Christ, it’s astonishing when people are so enamored of their own nonsense that they most express it in the least convincing manner imaginable. If you’re going to debunk the “races are utterly distinct, unrelated groups” strawman you shouldn’t do so in a way that highlights the actual truth you are tying to hide. The term continuum demands that there be meaningful differences within the continuum. A continuum which is identical on every part is not a continuum. So if different groups cluster at different points on the continuum, which (oops!) they do and behave differently as a result, which (double-oops!) they do, then race is not a fiction (triple-oops!).

    “Cultures do not exist in some absolute sense; each is but a model of reality . . . All cultures share essentially the same mental acuity, the same raw genius.”

    Contradiction alert! How can we know the mental acuity doesn’t vary unless some models of reality are quite a bit more absolute than others? Also, “essentially” the same? More like “utterly, absolutely and indisputably identical,” you bigoted monster!

    “The Victorian notion of the savage and the civilized, with European industrial society sitting proudly at the apex of a pyramid of advancement that widens at the base to the so-called primitives of the world, has been thoroughly discredited.”

    This has always been a particularly irritating savage-apologist claim because the point they are, ahem, refuting isn’t even a value judgment. It’s just a historical fact. Once upon a time whites lived like bone-thru-the-nose savages. (Note exactly like them, but a lot closer than we are now.) We moved beyond that, proceeding through various stages, all while the bone-thru-the-nose savages stayed basically the same. You can even argue that savagery is superior to civilization, but you can’t argue that savagery didn’t precede civilization. Well, an anthropologist might argue that, but I think it’s beyond even them.

    Man, postmodernists must really think we’re stupid. Problem is, they’re mostly right about that one.

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