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Pictures

(draft)

 

As I see it, there are two essential questions that face us as a species. How did the Universe get like that? And how did we

get like this so we could worry about how that got like that? And we'll take the second question first. What happened to us that

didn't happen to the chimps, and what happened to our female ancesters that didn't happen to the males?

 

I was raised by a zoologist, and all through my youth the zoologists were busy with the problem of the "missing link." What

happened to us that didn't happen to the other great apes? Why are we so different? It is written in our bones and in our DNA that we

share a common ancestor with the chimps. Our DNA differs from theirs by less than one percent. So why are we so different? What

were our intermediate ancestors doing, since we broke off from the chimps, that threw us so far off track?

 

Thanks to the efforts and insights of Sir Alister Hardy and others, that is no longer a problem. By now (in the 1990s) we

have overwhelming evidence that some of our chimp-like ancestors were marooned, probably on an island in Northeast Africa, when a

rise in sea level cut us off from the mainland. (And you can find all that in Elaine Morgan's books, especially in "The Scars of

Evolution.") But what I want to discuss here is not where or when or how that happened, but rather what are the results of that

maroonment. What changes were forced upon us by our sojourn at the beach?

 

The behavior of insects and plants is largely automatic. It's under chemical control by the genes. The flowering and fruiting of

plants, and the the mating of insects, are largely under chemical control. A certain chemical change in a plant, induced by a change 

in the weather, initiates a whole train of chemical changes within the plant leading up to flowering and fruiting. The genetic

programming is built into the DNA. The DNA itself is chemical. Its instructions are chemical. And in the plants and insects the

instructions are carried out almost entirely by chemical means. Under chemical control, the female moth releases a pheromone on

the breeze which the male moth picks up downwind. He picks it up chemically on his antenna, and he chases her down. And it's not

much different with the dogs and the chimps. Sexual behavior is induced in the males by a chemical message, carried on the wind,

that the female is in heat. But what happened to us at the beach where we could no longer read such a message?

 

When a female chimp is in heat, any male can know it by smell. The message is carried on the wind, and the males are

sexually aroused by this chemical signal. The female in estrus may be approached by several males, and they may all mate with her.

They don't "make love"; they just mate, and typically it takes about eight seconds. This chemical control worked all right in the

jungle, where the odors are borne on the breeze, but it failed at the beach.

 

When estrus failed in the sea, and our mating signals were thus removed from direct chemical control by the genes, the genes

were forced to adopt a different strategy. The genes were forced to rely more on sights, sounds and touch, but primarily on sights.

 

Our ancestors were leaf-eating, fruit-eating omnivores who came from the jungle with very good eyes, but without the power of

speech. Speech arose at the beach where breath control was required in the water and where body language failed in the surf.

But our earlier communication was through the eyes. Body language is read through the eyes.

 

Surely it was this shift from chemical to visual signals that led to the enhancement of our sexual dimorphism. Sexual dimorphism

becomes conspicuous at adolescence which, of course/ is under chemical control. Both the onset of adolescence and the changes

which accompany it are under chemical control. But in addition to the physical changes of adolescence such as the swelling of the

breasts of the female, and the beard and lowered voice of the males, there comes a change in the point of view. It is this

change in point of view that paints what I call "pictures." 

 

Our older genetic programming includes a suggested interpretation of what we see which makes possible the reading of

our body language and our facial expressions. Our facial expressions are just a continuation, a refinement if you like, of

our old body language, and they are read by the eyes, And our readings and our responses are guided by these suggested

interpretations. It is these suggested interpretations, whether learned or genetically implanted, that throw up what I have

referred to as "pictures."

 

It must be borne in mind that the only genetic programming that survives in the gene pool is that which gives rise to

offspring. It is the survival of the survivors, and in our species only the babies survive. That is why, in this discussion, we have

been primarily concerned with the changes in our mating habits that were imposed on us by our sojourn at the beach.

 

By the time we came ashore again to Mainland Africa, in Lucy's time, we were talking and walking upright with the

curiosity of children still alive. The stones we had learned to use for breaking shells we now used for breaking bones to get the

marrow. But the chemical control of mating had failed. The females were no longer in heat. Unlike the dogs and chimps we no longer

relied so heavily on chemical signals. Our sense of smell is not so keen as theirs (we didn't need it in the sea) so now the mating

signals have been thrown on eye and ear.

 

The genes could no longer persuade us to mate through the instrumentality of a simple chemical odor. For the dogs and the

chimps it is still sufficient, but it no longer works with us. So the genes invented pictures.

 

Surely it was at the beach that sexual dimorphism became so important. And surely it was there that the curiosity of

childhood, which had been prolonged through neotely, was sidetracked at adolescence to an overwhelming interest in the

opposite sex.

 

The genetic programming of insects is mostly automatic. They don't have to think about what to do. The same thing is largely

true of frogs and robins. But it is no longer true of us. We are able to think about what to do. So in order to persuade us to do

things their way, the genes throw up pictures before our eyes. It is these pictures that shape our points of view.

 

We owe the current population explosion to the success of these pictures, and we play into the pictures with poetry, music

movies and song. 

 

Don't let the music pull the wool over your eyes! It's pubic wool.

 

The beauty in the pictures has been borrowed by the genes. It's not their own. And all their suggested actions can be

redirected to take you to the beauty which they borrowed.

 I.

A boy doesn't fall in love with a girl, nor she with him. At first they see each other. Then his genetic programming paints a

picture over what he sees. And this picture is made up of a large collection of fictitious lies. In that picture he sees infinite

happiness. In it he sees beauty in her face and her eyes, beauty in her shoulders, beauty in her walk, her voice, and her smile.

But the beauty which he sees is not in her. It's in the picture thrown up by his genetic expectations, which can in no way fulfill

them. He has not fallen in love with the girl. He has fallen in love with that fiction thrown up by his genetic expectations. And,

unfortunately for her, this fiction can be transferred from girl to girl for most of the rest of his life. If he doesn't find

fulfillment with her (and he can't), he'll try again. But for now the picture is thrown on her. He sees in her the fulfillment of

his genetic expectations.

 

And she does the same for him. She sees a young man, handsome and strong, who will love her forever. She sees someone who will

stand by her through thick and thin. In him she sees the expectation of a life of happiness. And neither of them sees that

it will end. The sorrows and the pains and the certainty of death are not built into these pictures. They are not built into our

genetic expectations.

 

The boy and the girl see fulfillment in each other. Their eyes gloss over the shortcomings. And at the slightest sign of

encouragement from the other their hearts leap for joy. They do not see where all this is leading. They do not see the end. They

do not notice pain and death. They fall in love and marry.

 

But after orgasm his picture fades. The genes have got their job done. There's semen in the birth canal, and the genes have no

more use for him. They let his picture fade. Rolling over, he goes off to sleep leaving her alone in the throes of her passion

because her picture will not fade so soon. It waits till she is pregnant or until the child is born. Her orgasm does not put semen

in the birth canal. It doesn't get the job done for the genes.

 

After orgasm the genes dump him because everything else is automatic. His picture was painted to get him to that point. Her

picture will not fade till after she is pregnant. Only then is the rest automatic. From there the genes control her chemically, and

not so much with pictures.

 

The genes keep up the expectation till they get their job done. For the male it's putting semen in the birth canal. But

after orgasm the picture fades. If he did it with his wife, he may doubt his marriage. "Did I marry the right girl?" If he's a rapist

he feels cheated by the girl. He didn't get what rape had promised. He feels that she has cheated him. he thinks that she

put up the picture. And, feeling that the girl herself has cheated him, he may strangle her to death.

 

The tendency to rape, the pictures that lead to it, will not leave the genetic programming until no more babies are born of

rape. And this includes rape under the aegis of marriage. Men get their way with their muscles. Women get their way by manipulation.

It's not that boys have muscles and girls don't. It's just that boys are muscle-conscious and girls are boy-conscious. But so long

as it gives babies, it will survive in the gene pool.

 

The girl is programmed to raise a family. The boy is programmed for hit and run. She is programed to seek his help. He

is programed to try another. Anything that gives rise to babies survives in the gene pool. And since it's gestation in the females

and orgasm in the males, the males are more programed for hit and run. A man might father a hundred kids a year. A woman could mother

only one.

 

For the most part the man and the woman don't understand each other's programming. She understands things more in her emotions,

while he understands things more in his head. But the things they understand are different. She is an expert at understanding human

relations, and he is an expert at understanding machinery. She comes to a realization, and he, to a conclusion. The men do the

preaching; the women take it seriously. But men were invented by women, and women were invented by men and we get what we asked

for. But the asking was to the gene pool, and the asking was blind. He can't understand why she is so hung up on the children,

and she cant understand why he is so hung up on other girls. ("Why doesn't he ever think of me?") We got what we asked for, but the

asking was blind.

 

II.

But how did these desires get built into the gene pool, these desires which the aenes cannot possibly fulfill? The genes do not

have peace and freedom and happiness to give. This apparent threesome is just the nature of the underlying existence showing

through in space and time. Peace is the changeless. Freedom is the infinite. And happiness, or love, is the undivided. That which is

beyond time must be changeless. That which is beyond space must be infinite and undivided. And it shows in our physics. Inertia is

the changeless showing in the changes. Electricity is the infinite showing in the finite. And gravity is the undivided showing in the

divided. And this threesome shows in the genes as peace, freedom and love.

 

Since nothing in the Universe runs toward anything else, the genes have caught hold of this threesome and persuade us to run

after it in ways that get their genetic jobs done. They have us run after peace and security for the body. They have us run after

freedom by eating and breathing and keeping the body strong and well. And they have us run after love and happiness by passing on

the genetic line. The genes don't have it to give. It is just a genetic mirage. 

 

Seeing existence theway we see it, as the world in space and time, is entirely the work of the genes. Either turn the genes' pictures around or don't let

them paint them at all.