I deal every day with people who tell me "my snake likes me". Snakes, now - there's an animal with a set of biological imperatives. They have a brain which deals with the four Fs - fight, flight, feeding and - um - mating. They do not have the right kind of brain to like anyone. They cannot behave altruistically. People, on the other hand, are capable of being emotionally moved by another's experience, or even by a fictional one - something that I can hardly see as being a possibility for a collection of cells operating under a biological imperative.

You are certainly no cretin, Elizabeth Creith, you are, in fact, one hundred percent right...in as far as you go. Yes, our current way of thinking about ourselves assigns us altruism but run with me here for a minute and I'll move you one planet closer to the Sun.

First out, I'll assume that we both agree that our brains file information by some manner of association, so permit me to precondition your belief system by bringing to your forebrain certain associated ideas that you probably already accept.

* Einstein imagined riding on a beam of light and saw Relativity.
* First, man saw the Universe revolving around a stationary Earth, then later he saw the Earth spinning around the Sun, then, almost yesterday, man saw the Sun circling the galatic center, then....
* Question: Which entity goes forth through time; the bee or the hive?

Now, ready? Here is the denouement.

Because we are communities of cells that move about in a eat-or-be-eaten environment and can only continue through time by interacting with other communities of our kind, we evolved a language to help us fight off the bears (so to speak).

Our language initially served only to transfer survival information to other colonies of cells like ourselves and vice versa. But from this humble but grunting begining, came systems of culture that protected us from bears and other systems of culture that were lacking in refinements and soon the social system became more important than the isolated celluar colony.

In summary.

Our biology drives the car; our sense of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and seeing, are our sensor gauges; and our language - which begot our sense-of-self as a tool - is merely the mechanical power-train and engine that moves us through the streetways of our Culture.

It is good to be born into a good Culture.

Oh yeah, I amost forgot, I tendered the colored snake like twofold. One, to say Merry Christmas,
and two, to point out that words like "like", like all words, are merely functional and have no ultimate meaning.

Last edited by themilum; 12/18/05 10:36 PM.