Perchance To Dream

There is a reason that when I sat down to create a “future history” (I thought it was needed. Look, also shuddup. I was green as leeks and twice and dumb) I had it start with people going hog wild for bio improvements. (Also for having kids created in factory style batch lots, including by gestating them in animals, particularly in China and Russia, because, well…. Population crashing. Let me tell you how many times i got stories rejected in the 80s and nineties for that assumption. (Laughs in looking at the facts not the fads.))

Why? Because given a chance, humans would absolutely do all this.

Like pimply teenagers, we look in the mirror and think “If only.”

And every time we have attempted — every single time throughout history — it ends in tears.

From the early Christians trying to live in perfect communitarian religious communities, to the weird experiments of the puritans, to the kibutzim, and before that, and undoubtedly after, time out of mind either way, humans have engaged in the equivalent of body modification, only often what we’re trying to modify is the spirit.

And what is difficult about that is that we’re not spirits, floating mid-air. (This, honestly is very annoying to me, as half the time I forget I have a body, even when it’s having a massive skin eruption) but spirits tied in to the body. You can’t just change the mind, without taking in account the body and where it comes from, and what it wants.

One of the most brilliant illustrations of this, btw, was PTerry’s when he has the auditors take human bodies. Form dictates function, so they start becoming human despite themselves.

Because again, humans aren’t pure spirit.

No matter how much humans want to make us to order, we keep beating our heads against the ape body.

My position, of course, was that remaking the body would be even worse, but that’s something else again. (I do know, thank you so much, the curse of what many people think is desirable like high intelligence, or other abilities that are out of the ordinary. If we really had naturally occurring super powers we wouldn’t because people would kill themselves in the first generation.)

Yes, humans are social apes, but we are not infinitely plastic.

The little thing we ran into in the “Two by Two” comments (no, not the incredibly chauvinistic one, where women don’t know what turns them on, but the other one, where humans are infinitely malleable) is part of the whole “Teach men not to rape.” and what the #metoo project was really all about. (It wasn’t about rape, because it was supposed to be something all women have experienced, so either the organizers are even more delusional than they sound — possible, granted — or it was about causal sexism which kind of like “structural” racism is supposed to be everywhere and invisible. What it accidentally revealed is that fields infested by leftists are rape-town, because most of these are seventies leftists, which means they were taught on Freud pap, and to refuse sex at any time and with anything — male, female, floor lamp — meant you were repressed and would eventually go on a mass-murdering spree.)

You can teach men not to rape. In fact we do. With an astonishing rate of success, if you look back on the rather sketch history of the human race and how many rapes of opportunity occurred almost casually even in historical times, so how many must have occurred in pre-history. And how many occur in our animal cousins close to us.

What we can’t do is make sure NO MAN commits rapes, ever. (Any theory that begins and ends with “if only everyone” is evil.) Because the poor dears are sperm delivery systems on legs, and if they aren’t taught and socialized to be mindful of what women want, they’ll be like dolphins (and bonobos. BTW you might want to read up on what bonobos REALLY are from rape to casual killing. Which, to be fair, is fairly representative from the — thank heavens very short lived — female lead cults and society-lets we know about.) I.e. they’ll screw anything that lives or even waves in the wind. Any hole in a storm and never mind consent.

It’s time to lay to rest now and forever the stupid idea of Rousseau’s that unschooled humans are “noble savages.” We have plenty of examples of modern primitives and regressed societies. We even have examples — waves at China, not to mention every communist “utopia” ever — of erasing and making it illegal to teach the past, down to fairy tales. They are horror stories, by and large, not utopias.

Humans are made or built by evolution — I don’t really care which you believe — from the clay of the Earth, meaning on the frame of an Earth animal. Our closest relatives seem to be chimps (though not that close, TBF) and someone recently came up with some study about how we actually more resemble gorillas, but I didn’t do a deep dive, and now I don’t remember where it was, so I can’t swear it makes any sense. Most of these social science things are irreproducible anyway.

Probably what has affected us most is our size dimorphism. Men are much larger than women, but more importantly they’re ridiculously strong compared to women. In a time and place where survival wasn’t guaranteed and everything wanted to kill you, men had a huge advantage over females. The females also had a huge advantage over men. You see, we have a super power. We can produce babies. INSIDE OUR BODIES. The creatures that make the present worthwhile — the future of us — are just mysteriously grown inside women. Men wanted that, but they also wanted to make sure the babies were theirs. Every variation of marriage, rape, conquest, our entire complex society comes from these two facts. As do the different — INSTINCTIVE — responses of males and females.

Look let’s be real. We now know there were humans on the Earth a quarter of a million years ago, and there’s suspicions of much, much older. That’s…. a very long time, in terms of human generations.

Humans were selected according to the different pressures on the sexes.

And yes, we know — heck, every animal breeder knows — character and basic traits are inherited.

Men were selected for being protectors, for being dominant, for being good at passing on their genes (the rapists you shall always have with you. It’s an unorthodox form of reproduction, that obviously worked) and women were selected for being able to attach to the man who would keep her kids safe, and bullying the other women enough that her kids were looked after preferentially.

Spare me the great matriarchies, which even some libertarians believe in. That’s bullshit on stilts, a feminist retelling of the Garden of Eden projected back on a time when no one can say for sure if it existed. But we can. Everyone of the “great matriarchies” as we find out more end up not only not being that, but being horrifically, bizarrely bad for women. Like… yes, Sparta. (Who in heck thought that was a great Matriarchy. I guess people older than I, because by the time I got to school no one even tried to sell me that one.) Or Crete. Or any of those.

Also we know — WE KNOW — that none of the modern primitives are matriarchal. Some are matrilineal but if you think the Zulus are a great matriarchy because the male in the household is your oldest uncle, I recommend you go and have your head examined. There are others, where the women are agricultural while the men are still hunters which moderns try to interpret as “the women own the land, the women rule.” This might be more stupid than men thinking women are more visual in regard to sex, or that we’re always ready to have sex with anything: men, women, small reptilian creatures.

There have been societies that worshiped goddesses, yes. If you think the Phoenicians were better for women, you haven’t read much about it.

But, Sarah, you’ll say, nowadays we don’t need to have strict marriage arrangements to know the paternity of the child. And we have guns, so women being smaller and weaker is not a big deal.

Sure. But go look at at least a quarter million years of evolutionary and breeding pressures shaping humanity’s deep drives.

Call them instinct, call them what the heck you will, inate drives cannot be overwritten in a generation or two. There’s some idea that they can’t be overwritten in a millenium or two.

We are what we are. Jumped up great apes.

Sure, you can raise women and men to think they’re absolutely equal. Dress them the same, give them the same haircuts, enforce the same rules on them.

Believe it or not it’s been tried, again and again, including with sects that tried to suppress the very idea of sex by not showing la difference. (No, I don’t have references to hand, because my fargin library is still packed, and I am over fifty and can’t remember titles and names off the top of my head.)

It works “great” every time, until the kids hit puberty, utterly unprepared for it.

I know of these experiments, because LEFTIST anthropologists used to point to them as the reason Freud was right and the worst thing possible was the repression of the sexual drive. (Even when that wasn’t exactly what was being repressed.)

And yes, experiments have been tried, particularly in the seventies, where you just slept with everything in sight. That also ended in tears.

Humans are humans, formed from deep evolutionary pressures.

To raise kids as though they were angels, just leaves them defenseless as they become adults.

To raise girls to be boys “You shall have all the sex. The most important thing is open competition and career” gives you deeply unhappy women.

It is better to raise kids as though they were individuals. You do of course teach them what you believe, but you don’t make them live it from the earliest age, which is why religious orders no longer take oblates.

Will some people be perfectly happy living in completely equal circumstances? Well, we have religious orders.

Will some people like living in free for all sexual communities? Some people do. Fewer successfully than in religious orders, because when sex rears its interesting head, it’s much harder to share and share alike.

Does either of these work for the majority of people? Oh, for the love of Bob. No. And attempts to enforce it always become horrors.

We can’t remake humanity overnight.

We are remaking ourselves, in a way, with stuff like guns, the contraceptive pill, antibiotics.

But the result will take ten thousand years to work through.

Attempts to force it early will only destroy humanity.

Keep the dreams in science fiction. When they get lose in real life, they suck real life dry.

Humans are not play things or widgets. Each of us carries the impulses and temperamental tendencies of ancestors long turned to dust. Different for everyone, of course. It is from our differences that society is born, and achievements too.

Forget grand plans. Let individuals be individual.

Vive la difference!

307 thoughts on “Perchance To Dream

    1. That’s the low end estimate for how long it took us to develop current domestic dogs from wolves. Of course dogs have a far faster life cycle than humans, so it would be reasonable to assume that it would take 70,000 to 100,000 years for similar changes to humanity, assuming our own free will didn’t royally screw up the Divine Breeder’s plans.

      1. Generational changes are far faster when a “generation”, is less than half a decade and things don’t go wonder off on their own.

      2. Lactoise tolerance in adults seems to have taken abut 2000 years to become widespread (if not 100%). Gluten tolerance (as in lots of it not just a bit now and again) probably about double that. Figure that kind of ballpark 2k-5k years) for almost any genetic change

      3. Interesting. Unlike dogs, we have culture and intelligence, which could greatly accelerate change. Or simply confound and/or derail the whole thing…who’s to know?

        And to the point of this article, the hardware hasn’t changed much in all that time; even though they seem very different, domestic dogs are basically wolf hardware running firmware that forked from the original far back enough that the iterations have resulted in different behavior. Or maybe an operating system would be a better analogy; the hardware (genotype & phenotype) and firmware (mental frameworks & instincts such as pack behavior) haven’t changed all that much, but the ways of interacting with humans have, and those human-generated OS/software-level changes are what created the wolf/dog distinction. Take humans out of that equation completely, and you’re probably back to all wolves in only about 20 years.

        1. Yes and no. Dogs have been separate from wolves for well over fifteen thousand years – basically, take whatever you like as the oldest date for humans in the Americas, and dogs split from wolves significantly before that. Genetic analyses have shown that dogs were already dogs, distinct from any known wolf population, when they accompanied their human masters across the Bering land bridge.

          Which is enough time for speciation to occur, in a genome as plastic as Canis lupus. So when you take humans out of the equation and let dogs run and breed freely, after a few generations they converge on a form known to canineologists as a “pariah dog,” which is physically and behaviorally different, not only from domestic dogs, but also from every wild species of canid. Erect ears, lightly curled tail, a well defined head, lean and muscular body, medium size for a dog (30-40lbs, with males noticeably larger), various shades of tan or brown in color, not heavily furred (although that may be environmental – most modern pariah-dog populations are in warmer climes), equally at home in a pack or solo, and smart. Really smart. Frighteningly smart for a dog – almost monkey-level, although the lack of opposable thumbs really slows them down.

            1. Based on a brief sampling when dog got into the local coyote population? YES. Frighteningly so. With zilch on the ‘fear of humans’ scale.

              1. Coyotes already aren’t really scared of people. They have a healthy respect at most. If they’re not actively countered (and they generally aren’t in many places), they become extremely bold even around people.

                A more intelligent coyote is troubling, though.

                1. Most of the ranchers around here put the Fear of Human into the Coyotes as much as possible. But some idiot dumped a pair of (unfixed) collies. They got away before we could coral them… let’s just say the next generation of local coyotes looked a LOT like collies. It wasn’t until there were coyotes left to the vultures on fence posts that proper ‘humans are dangerous’ was re-established in the local coyote’s minds. And yes, they were far more clever, than the packs had been to that point. Harder to catch. Harder to keep out in ways that reduction of fear did not answer for. They also adapted to human schedules in a way they hadn’t before (or really since the rancher across the way got the big one). We were fortunate, we keep no live stock so they tended to leave us alone.

                  1. I recall stories of coyotes working out that an electric fence was only nasty if on GROUND, so they JUMPED up the fence. The counter was to run grounded wires every third wire or so even jumpers would get a FULL-ON ZAP.

                  2. The local coyotes were given ballistic education after a pack killed a large animal some years ago (can’t recall if it was a horse or cow). An informal contest among the ranchers depleted the population of the more aggressive ‘yotes, and the remainder seem content to go after native prey. Doesn’t hurt that the livestock operations use guard animals; ranging from Great Pyrenees to a watch Llama.

                    There was a dog-wolf cross I heard about, but that one predated the “re”-introduction of wolves by the state. They got a more aggressive variety than what the state once had–not going over well with the ranchers. Those wolves seem to have a tendency to succumb to a variety of unfortunate events, though it’s always a mystery.

                    1. The news (and TPTB, wink, wink) makes it seem like the wolf “reintroduction” were those wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone that naturally migrated to Tetons and then west through the sage brush to Oregon. Always thought that was strange. Coyotes, yes, they are everywhere. Wolves? Not so much. The one they documented wandering down from one of the Wallawa packs to northern California, fine, he kept to the mountains. Surprised they didn’t introduce a pack to the coast range. Especially the less populated part of the coast range without highway access down south, or between Hwy 30 (Columbia) and Hwy 22 (Salem). The 3S seems to be in full force. Just be wary of the collared ones.

                    2. There have been reports of collared wolves gone missing. One guesses they went swimming, spelunking, or something.

                      There’s a particularly nasty collared one that’s done in a few cattle and scared hell out of rancher’s families in SW and S Central Oregon. TPTB were talking about relocating it if they caught it. Salem sounds appropriate. I haven’t heard anything about it recently, though.

                    3. Coyotes are smart enough to quickly learn what will get them hurt. They will develop a healthy respect – and do so very quickly – if given a reason to do so. The problem is that there are a lot of them encroaching on urban areas that are controlled by blue idiots who think “proper” action is to relocate them to a less urban area on the odd chance that they actually manage to catch a coyote. You might be able to get away with that with some species. That’s never going to work with coyotes, though. Hunting coyotes is pretty much the only thing that will put real fear into them. But the blue idiots won’t even allow euthanizing coyotes that have been caught.

                    4. Thus the night videos of urban coyotes actually using crosswalks and lights, safely and properly. Haven’t seen any videos, but based on what Service Dogs have been trained to do, wouldn’t surprise me if coyotes haven’t learned how to push the appropriate crosswalk buttons too.

                  1. The Coywolf (Wolfcoy?) in the NE US aren’t any less scary by reports. Something that naturalists didn’t believe could happen based on what occurred in Yellowstone when the wolves were reintroduced. The only wildlife population that was negatively impacted were coyotes. The wolves kill them if possible. The smaller canines, foxes, wolverines, martins, etc., then thrived as the coyote population was leveled out. Beavers thrived as Elk were forced to move on allowing the willows to thrive. Moose are thriving, because the beavers are thriving. Even the bears are thriving due to the wolves from the snow covered winter kills, or running packs off kills. I know a lot of tourists complain about the lack of huge elk herds just hanging around, that the wolves have killed off the herds. No, just forcing them to spread out into the wilderness, not hang out around the rivers.

                    1. I don’t really keep up with it (though I should change that), but last time I heard, the local naturalists have no clue what’s happening with wild canids in the Northeast. There are certainly coyotes, but ask anybody who lives up in rural northern Maine or New Hampshire or Vermont, and they’ll tell you there’s something else in the woods that looks like a wolf, hunts like a wolf, leaves tracks like a wolf, and damnsure howls like a wolf. One or two captured/killed canids have been genetically tested, and found to be primarily coyote, but with a LOT of dog and Eastern wolf (which are genetically distinct from the Western gray wolf) mixed in. They’re bigger than pure western coyotes too – big enough to take down a deer. The current thought is that we’re watching evolution in action: a new large predator is evolving to take advantage of the large population of whitetail deer that have had no natural predators since the old population of Eastern wolf was extirpated from New England decades ago.

                    2. Great. Something bigger than a western coyote to raid suburbia for yappy dogs and babies. I already take walks in my neighborhood carrying a large handgun because we have a bear that periodically makes appearances on Ring cameras. Wonder when they’ll get to VA. We have plenty of whitetail.

                    3. Interestingly enough. Aunt and Uncle were living in Tuson, AZ. Heard coyotes, which they often did, one night. The next morning found a tiny young domestic fluffy small poodle cross puppy in their fenced backyard. Near they can figure is the coyotes picked it up somewhere, hopped their fence, and left it there. They kept the puppy.

                    4. (This was 50 years ago.) If it was it wasn’t very big. Maybe 12#s, looked like a Cocker Spaniel Poodle mix, but smaller. No one in the immediate neighborhood, or surrounding neighborhoods, as defined by their near by schools were missing a puppy. Have no idea where the coyote pack/pair picked it up. My point is, while coyotes will kill pets, and that is the way to bet, I have one example where they coyotes didn’t.

                    5. I’ve heard that they are still tracking down the consequences of reintroducing wolves.

                    6. Yes. Biologists. Plus photographers.

                      How to find the wolf packs as they move around Yellowstone or Tetons? For that matter Bears, grizzly or black? – Answer: Find the hovering flock of Photographers … I am not kidding.

                      Thus the huffy response fall 2021. We and two other photographers were pulled over on a wide spot just north east of what is called Elbow Bend. Questions asked: “What animal?”, “Where is the bear?”, “Where is the wolf?”, “Fox?”, “Moose?”, etc. Answer: “Um. Fall colors …” What can I say. Trees don’t move 🙂

                      The odds of removing wolves, in the lower 48, now? I figure zip to none.

                    7. Thereader, when I was in eastern Flat State, the Fish and Wildlife people piously intoned that there were no mountain lions in the eastern part of Flat State, and any in the western part were commuting. So, when I went hiking at a local wildlife area, I listened to the ranger talking to a group. They happily headed out, and I sidled up to him. “So, the couger that’s not in the area. Has it left any more tracks on Clifftop Trail?”

                      He grinned a little, then sobered and said, “No, and none on Lakeside Trail’s north end, the brushy part where the deer are, either.”

                      Me: “That’s good to know. Thanks, and have a quiet day.” No mountain lions my furry hind leg.

                    8. We’ve heard tails tales like that too.

                      I’ve never seen a cougar, in the wild. (Well maybe</b? just north of Indian Campground off hwy 126, west of Sisters. We had something leap across the road a distance in front of us. A blur. Too big to be a fox or coyote. Too red to be a wolf. Too small to be deer or elk. Not a bear. Anywhere else, further east, could be a pronghorn, but not there.) We live in the west. I know cougars are here. I’ve worked in the woods. We’ve hiked. We’ve backpacked. Others see them. We never have. OTOH there be black bears here too and I’ve seen 2, in 65 years, outside of zoos and national parks (even national parks we’ve been skunked seeing bears). See lots of sign, just not the animals themselves. Not a bad thing really. When I see a cougar or bear in the wilderness, I’d like to do so across a river, a ridge away, or preferably from the car. Have you seen the video where a black bear sow, with a cub, chase the black bear boar down the mountainside and up a tree? Yea, that. No thanks.

                    9. Lucky you. As long as you were inside. Otherwise … not so much.

                      I mean the memes where the “poster” has the following statement. “Found. Tawny brown cat. Do not know if chipped. Can’t keep, the dog is afraid of it.” The picture of the cat is a cougar curled up on the porch. Or the one that says “If you are cold. They are cold. Let them in.” With a cougar standing in the snow in the backyard. They are funny, in concept. But otherwise, not so much.

                      I see I missed a tag, or two, on my post … sigh.

                    10. Our DIL thought a bear was an intruder and went out. Son pulled her back in time and shut the door in the face of the bear. Took all the fun out of being “in a natural area.”
                      No, we didn’t go outside much. At one point when we were out, neighbor sent a picture of a bear apparently waiting for us on the front porch with caption: “Were you expecting him?” 😀
                      Son and I almost ran over a mountain lion cub by accident while driving out one evening.
                      I sort of prefer more… domesticated areas. Though we have coyotes.

                    11. But but… Those Bears and Mountain Lions were There First! You mustn’t complain when they Show Up!!!! [Very Big Crazy Grin]

                      When living in the Denver area, I kept hearing from people who said the above. Personally, I thought they deserved a Fatal Close Encounter with those critters. 😈

                      As for the coyotes, a few years back I heard of a coyote that was spotted in the Chicago Loop. (One of the ELs gave coyotes a safe human-free routes into the Chicago Loop.) 😉

                    12. Big controversy locally about a resident firing at, and hitting, a black bear in one of the south hills neighborhood. Apparently that is a no-no, firing a weapon in a neighborhood when protecting your domestic cats, in their own yard, in their own outdoor home, with a pet door into the main house. Never mind low caliber (more than a bb, but still low caliber) facing away from any neighbors, with their own vehicle and garage as a backdrop, and close enough to not be able to miss the bear.

                    13. Parts of LA County near Angeles National Forest get deer. Bears regularly turn up in some parts of Monrovia. On the other hand, mountain lion sightings generally involve one getting trapped on the wrong side of a freeway and not being able to slip back home. Fortunately, they tend to not come down the hills that often.

                      However, even with all of the wildlife, people are still flabbergasted when they see a certain specific animal wandering down the sidewalk. That animal is the peacock. There are a number of them in the Pasadena-Arcadia-Monrovia corridor, and newcomers are always stunned when they see them out in public. The birds are largely harmless, so the authorities ignore them. And people like peacocks. They just don’t expect to see them ambling down the street in Southern California.

                      Of course, what really stuns the newcomers is when they spot one of the peacocks up on a roof (where they sleep at night), and slowly realize how the bird got up there.

                      “They can fly!?”

                    14. Oh, dear lord – my grandparents lived in a tiny house on South Lotus in Pasadena – and for about twenty or thirty years, an escaped peacock from one of the grand estates chose to roost in the huge oak tree in their yard. I saw the bally thing when I was a small kid! Yes, of course they can fly. And they also scream like a character in a horror movie.

                    15. Locally, that is turkeys. Too many people have seen WKRP in Cincinnati. “Turkeys can fly???? but …” Proper response is “The wild ones can.” They roost locally in the big evergreens or on rooftops.

                    16. They frequently don’t, though. Have gone for a walk and found a mother and father strutting along with their enormous brood of chicks, going the other way. They didn’t find me walking reason enough to fly.

                    17. I suspect the chicks were too young to fly. Run into that with geese too. When we’ve seen the flock they were big enough to fly. They may not fly far, but they will fly to roofs and high into trees, which around here are the neighbors Douglas Fir, or Big Leaf Maples or Oregon Ash big enough to actually hold them. Haven’t seen them in our neighborhood for a year now, and then only a hen and a couple of her yearlings. Got trapped in my car in the parking lot a half a dozen years ago. Big flock. The males were in full protection mode and not letting people out of their vehicles. Called into work …. “Um, I’m in the parking lot. I might be late. Look out the windows.” Wasn’t late, the flock moved out of the section of the parking lot I was in. Also called the local country station. Their office was in the same parking lot. Turkeys are mean.

                    18. There was a time at work where a man was nervous about going out the front door. Not more than a few paces away, a black vulture stood on the ground and GLARED at its reflection in the windows.

                      I said it was a raptor and another door was probably prudent.

                    19. We get one or two cougars around the area. They usually don’t cause trouble for people since there’s usually plenty of prey. Not sure this year after the huge wildland fire, though the big hills north of us didn’t get burned out. (Makes note to carry on our land when I’m out of sight of the house.)

                      OTOH, several years ago, a neighbor looked out and though she saw her rather large dog in the yard, named Ginger for the color. Then she realized that all 100 pounds of Ginger was at her feet.

                      We have seen a bobcat on the ranch next to us; for values of seeing–moving as fast as possible. I had a closer encounter with a bobcat on a rural bike ride in California. Mr Cat was startled when I came around the bend, and took off for the woods. 25 pound cats don’t bother me. There have been cougar attacks in the hills above cities in Cali; as I remember, at least one fatal to the hiker and/or bicyclist.

                    20. I had an encounter with a Bobcat on Sheep Hill (poison oak hill) out of Drain. Was sent over to the “old stump”, to wait for light enough to drive across the hillside (hunting). As I was headed over a bobcat came around a big tree. I stopped. She/he (?) paused, then took off in a blink. FWIW, didn’t get a deer (didn’t even see one).

              2. See my comment about inducing rapid change through culling. When “avoiding humans” becomes the best path to survival again, “fear of humans” will inflect positive FAST.

                1. I think the turkeys will get that. We had a vast and aggressive flock at last residence. I suspect this fall a lot of them will end up making “sizzle” noises on people’s tables.The rest will learn to be cautious.

      4. Similarly for the house cat. Most modern breeds have histories less than 150 years. There are some exceptions from the vicinity of what is now Thailand where there are 3 land breeds Siamese, Korat, and Khao Manee that seem MUCH older than that. For example there is distinctive reference to the Khao Manee type in a 14th century poem. A cat generation is about 18 months to 2 years. Some modern sports ( the Rex variants) showed up in the 60s-80s and they are breeding fairly true now 30to 50 years later particularly when it’s a dominant gene like Selkirk Rex. So like 30-50 generations minimum. Human generations are ~20 years (actually less if you go by 14-16 for viable age for motherhood but 20 is easier on the math and on the potential mothers 🙂 ) so 600-1000 years for something to start differentiating as much as a Selkirk Rex is different from its Domestic Short Hair ancestor. That difference is NOT much mostly a curly coat, otherwise it’s a pretty bog standard cat. Fixing a change would likely take more generations with humans as we (with a few exceptions I’m Looking at you European royalty…) don’t inbreed and select quite as aggressively as cat or dog breeders do. Definitely there are some isolated groups of humans that certainly have some physical differentiation, but we seem to be a long way from splitting off another species. If modern anthropology is right Homo Sapiens has a fair admixture from at least two other Homo variants, the Neanderthals and the Denisovans and perhaps a bit of a few others. Thus even there long isolation from the main line of descent still left people that could reproduce with fertile descendants and mixing back into the Homo sapiens line. At least when I was learning biology being able to reproduce with fertile progeny defined being part of the same species.

        1. As a general rule, you can induce genetic changes relatively quickly if you are ruthless about who’s allowed to breed and especially culling anyone without those traits you are interested in. Speed only limited by generational length. Can isn’t the question; should is.

      5. Dogs come from wolves, who began to associate with humans about 30,000 years ago, hanging around the midden heaps where early humans tossed things they couldn’t use, including some stuff that was edible by wolves..Wolves domesticated themselves…

        1. Note, this is a theory.

          …I still hold to the “but he’s cute, and fluffy! Take the baby monster after we killed his mommy and raise it!”

          1. It’s also possible there’s an element of ‘and’. Wolf like critter starts nosing around the stuff humans leave. Doesn’t automatically attack Og. Og looks at the thing and goes ‘I’ve seen how these things run… I wonder if I can get it to help me the way Mog shapes stone.’ and starts tossing the critter scraps. Mean while Drog is out with the hunting band and they kill a pack of the things because ‘that’s our giant ungulate for dinner, not yours’ But hey! Puppies. Drog thinks similar thoughts to Og and also “It’s cute and fluffy and I bet it’s easier to make it my friend starting at this age…”

            1. I suspect it was more likely that Og heard wolves hunting and realized there were animals that way. Wolves lurked as he butchered. Og deduced they were asking for their share.

              Only fully modern humans, who could talk, tamed dogs.

                1. At the very least, this scenario requires division of labor. If Og hunt while Uga gather, then they split the findings, they get the concept. Then Og anthromorphize.

                  1. Now, now, we all know women invented language so they could gossip about their cave-neighbors. 😀

                    I’m going to go hibernate in the Carp-proof bunker now…

  1. First rule should be that the people who can’t tell you what a woman is because they aren’t biologists should not be trusted to tell us anything at all about people.

    They are liars and also stupid.

    1. Yup. These days, before entering any discussion with a possible leftist, ask them to define the term “woman” without circularly referring to the term itself. If they can’t, or refuse to, just laugh at them and thereafter ignore them. They aren’t worth your consideration.

    2. Woman: adult humans who, when healthy and properly developed, make eggs, and can gestate the fetus after egg fertilization, and nurse the resulting infants

      Anything else is just a faux facsimile.

      1. Point of order: we don’t “make” eggs, we’re born with them and we can’t make any more. That’s why women lose fertility as we get older and men do not.

        But the “healthy and properly developed” thing is important, because these fatheads want to use the extremes to warp definitions or to set exceptions as the defining part. Twerps.

      2. We have our eggs in utero. All that remains is maturing them (often only 1, maximum is around a 1/2 dozen at a time), releasing them, and, once fertilized, gestating.

        1. There have been dark whispers, and I don’t even know if it’s possible, that most of the “egg sellers” for surrogate are fake profiles, and these are the fast-matured eggs of aborted babies.
          I don’t even know if that’s possible, but….

          1. …because selling the other parts wasn’t horrific enough…

            Ugh. I really hope it’s not possible.

            1. In theory it’s possible, as is using adult stem cells to produce gametes. (I wouldn’t be surprised if the first wasn’t used in the Grissom timeline to get the enormous numbers of eggs for all the cloning projects, even if the US claimed to have gotten them from the ovaries of women whose bodies were donated for science, and I know that the latter was used in cloning the few survivors of a certain anti-agathic experiment that modified mitochondrial DNA).

              In the here and now, being able to make gametes from stem cells would be very useful in the conservation of critically endangered species of mammal, including the mountain gorilla. Gorillas are close enough to humans that, once the technology is readily available for conservation purposes, it’ll be pretty much impossible to ensure that it isn’t used by humans with infertility issues, gay/lesbian couples, etc.

    1. And meant to be so, just like a “WARNING: CLIFF AHEAD” sign can be a nightmare, especially when you’re driving at night in the rain. Even if you don’t veer off toward the sign, that doesn’t mean you can’t have nightmares about falling off the cliff.

      1. Nod, the difference between Utopias and Dystopias.

        Any utopia IMO would be a nightmare to live in but the creator obviously thinks that it is a Great Place To Be.

        While a Dystopia is written as a Warning. A type of society to be avoided.

          1. That’s a cultural issue; in today’s “culture”, reality manifests as satire.

        1. If you have seen the movie Tomorrowland, the utopia Disney depicts in it looks like a horror show to any of us who grew up in the ’50s, or anyone who grew up outside the big city….

        2. I immediately understood why I found so much of Bradbury’s work to be Utterly Depressing when he said something roughly like, “I don’t write to predict futures, I write to prevent them.”

    1. Well. Um. Muslim tradition is that a man still has his wife to have sex with, and maybe some other new wives married while up there in Jannah, and also male boy houris. Oh, and also there is a market (free!) to browse and purchase heavenly p*rn pictures that turn into actual events.

      Bleh doesn’t seem like a strong enough sound effect.

      Some sects hold that women also get male houris; but generally they hold that faithful Muslimas just have to keep ministering to their husbands, or to whatever dead Muslim they get married off to, in Jannah.

      And… yeah, Muhammad supposedly gets to have several new wives in Jannah. Most prominently, the Virgin Mary, but also a woman previously married to a Pharaoh, who is mentioned in the Quran.

      So yeah, be a bit cautious when you read how Muslims really really respect Bible personages and Judeo-Christian traditions. People are not talking about the same things.

  2. Why? Because given a chance, humans would absolutely do all this.

    Oh, GOOD, I was getting all nervous because… my “Star Trek, but fixed” story HAS BOTH OF THOSE, all my aliens are literally Humans But Tinkered With.

    And the religious guy even gently makes fun of the federation “science is our religion” guy because they came up with a theory of parallel evolution to explain why all life was earth-compatible. (It’s a beautiful theory!)

  3. Only tangentially related (and I know how seldom we go off topic here), but in the area there are several billboards advertising “Yoga for all humans”. Makes me wonder how many non-humans have tried signing up for their yoga classes.

    1. I know I’ve heard of Dog Yoga classes . . . always seemed unnecessary, as dogs do yoga naturally.

      I expect your sign producers are aiming more for physical or sensory disability yoga without using ‘disabled’, because that might be an unapproved word this week.

      1. Some dogs apparently like to copy their owners doing poses, or can be trained to do it along with their owners. Dogs seem to enjoy it, just like dogs being taught to “dance” with their owners is a thing.

        1. Let’s not forget Truth and Beauty (or if you’re a modernist, Top and Bottom. Bleah.) 🙂

    2. The use of “humans” instead of “people” is an irritating linguistic twitch that has gotten common with some groups, mostly younger techy types I believe. (Might have started on Reddit…) The people at my place of employment use it all the time. Drives me crazy. I think it started out somewhat ironic or virtual signaling and just became a habit.

      1. I approve of using “human” rather than “person” with the very precise carve out that they must actually mean what they say.

        I go all rage-flag over folks saying “human” when they mean “Someone I recognize as a moral being,” ie, a person.

        1. If you think about it, they’re actually being species-ist 🙂 I assume there’s a virtue signaling component mostly because the people with the twitch are all pretty woke.

          1. I have TOTALLY done that!

            … I’m also the person who does the over-acted “Non human moral beings? You mean like Angels and God?” stuff. 😀

  4. Way back in the middle of the last century I came across a phrase (Source of said phrase lost in the dust and rust of my memory.) that read something like, The poets and outlaws define and delimit the world in which the rest of us live. This has become one of the major postulates of my sophomoric philosophy. Hence I, to a certain extent, gratefully accept the mind benders and body twisters, the crop dusters and the crap shooters, the saints and the monsters as well. The world, the society needs an edge, a frame that defines and delimits it.

    Admittedly that can, and does, become problematic when the area of the frame becomes greater than and exceeds the area of the picture contained therein, such as it seems to have done in the world, the society today.

    Oh well, breaks over, back on our heads.

    1. I worked for an “aerial applicator” (crop duster) for several years. Spray pilots and aerobatic pilots (and glider pilots to an extent) have a far greater respect for limitations and gravity than do a lot of people in aviation. Those of us who work the ragged edge of what technology and gravity allow respect those laws. One way or another, gravity is going to have a say. Likewise poets – dream or nightmare? Well, that’s up to the poet and to the reader.

      1. Recompense

        I have not heard lutes beckon me, nor the brazen bugles call,
        But once in the dim of a haunted lea I heard the silence fall.
        I have not heard the regal drum, nor seen the flags unfurled,
        But I have watched the dragons come, fire-eyed, across the world.

        I have not seen the horsemen fall before the hurtling host,
        But I have paced a silent hall where each step waked a ghost.
        I have not kissed the tiger-feet of a strange-eyed golden god,
        But I have walked a city’s street where no man else had trod.

        I have not raised the canopies that shelter revelling kings,
        But I have fled from crimson eyes and black unearthly wings.
        I have not knelt outside the door to kiss a pallid queen,
        But I have seen a ghostly shore that no man else has seen.

        I have not seen the standards sweep from keep and castle wall,
        But I have seen a woman leap from a dragon’s crimson stall,
        And I have heard strange surges boom that no man heard before,
        And seen a strange black city loom on a mystic night-black shore.

        And I have felt the sudden blow of a nameless wind’s cold breath,
        And watched the grisly pilgrims go that walk the roads of Death,
        And I have seen black valleys gape, abysses in the gloom,
        And I have fought the deathless Ape that guards the Doors of Doom.

        I have not seen the face of Pan, nor mocked the Dryad’s haste,
        But I have trailed a dark-eyed Man across a windy waste.
        I have not died as men may die, nor sin as men have sinned,
        But I have reached a misty sky upon a granite wind.
        — Robert E. Howard

        (He had several along the same lines, but I know this one is in the public domain.)

          1. He still is in many ways. How many people know of his poetry, or his ‘modern’ adventure stories set in Afghanistan or the Middle East, or even the Dark Agnes stories?

  5. I always thought that Freud was pushing that Sexual repression thing because he wasn’t getting enough of that sweet stuff that keeps a young man alive.
    As far as the 10,000 years, well I am very afraid not. With the advent of CRISPR there are already loads of people out there tinkering with the human genome. Designer humans? Possibly. Goo Plague that kills us all more likely considering the imbecilic hubris that stalks the University, summoning Nemesis to us all.

      1. After a very enlightening lecture about the artistic circle around Freud in Vienna in the late 1800s-early 1900s, a WHOLE lot of his foci made a lot more sense. Those people were seriously off the deep end in some very self-destructive ways.

        1. Indeed. You’d be hard put to find that many pedos in a prison. Decadent doesn’t begin to describe it. That said, what made Freud dangerous was the mantle of SCIENCE. What he actually did was make it all up. Pervert and liar. One of histories greatest monsters in fact.

        2. I once read the opinion of a pediatric psychologist who was practically livid about his tendency to explain away the sexual abuse of children.

    1. The coming Eugenics Plague is likely to erase most of humanity from the universe; if their idiot tinkering doesn’t kill us first. 80% of the world dies, 16% differentiate into humanoid monstrosities of every kind, 3% remain mostly human-baseline, and, maybe, the 1% or less get some kind of bonus out of it (but don’t bet on it, nature rarely plays nice.)

      1. Yeah, some of the more paranoid ideas about the covid-19 genetic treatment (it wasn’t a real vaccine) make you see how easily some crazy person could destroy us alll… Make the “treatment” transmissible, have it latch on to parts of the genome… There goes humanity. Done.

      2. Something with an 80% fatality rate isn’t going to spread very far. That’s the main reason Ebola never makes it past localized outbreaks.

        And the technology that allows the creation of such a plague also allows the creation of countermeasures. The technology already exists, we need to keep researching it so that we can stay ahead of the evil and unlucky.

          1. But a high lethality and transmissability conflict with a long incubation period. The first two require a rapidly reproducing pathogen that can get sufficient load into mucous to spread and overwhelm the body before the immune system can effectively respond while a long incubation period needs a slowly replicating pathogen that remains unnoticed by the immune system for a while.

            You might be able to engineer something with some kind of chemical trigger to speed up reproduction, but that just gives the researchers fighting it another vector of attack.

    2. Um…. plague, maybe. But it’s not that easy. I suspect C-19 WAS supposed to be lethal.
      As for humans…. h*ll NO. 100 years from serious change. BUT more likely to kill than improve.

  6. In my book “The Master Code”, the genetics scientist has been tampering with quite a few things and using artificial intelligence to design genes that grow some new internal features (e.g. transhumans, etc.). The genetics of the human race have NOT been following Darwinian evolution for quite some time now. Note the modern proliferation of eyeglasses for poor vision, that in nature would be minimized (genetically in the species) by getting eaten by predators or not being able to throw a spear accurately at an enemy. In animal husbandry, it takes just a few generations to create a new animal breed based off of certain features is some mating pairs. We can evolve or devolve. I think lately the human race has devolved considerably! Note the many devolved people, almost subhumans, in our society. Nature or Nuture? I think nature wins in the end!

    1. I’ve read somewhere the sudden onset of near-sighteness is linked to juvenile vitamin D deficiency.

      Apparently being out in the sun seems to be necessary for proper eye development, and when kids spend most of their childhood indoors, their eyes do not develop correctly.

      It’s reportedly a very big problem in Asia right now because the current generation spent a huge amount of time indoors studying for the state tests.

      1. That may be two different things. Vit D deficiency is a global issue as we discovered during the covidiocy. And yes it is a problem and exacerbated by people staying indoors.

        BUT Failure to go outside due to studying/computer games is likely to cause a weakness in the focusing capabilities of the eyes simply because if you spend more of your time focusing close up your eyes will adapt to that.

        1. Trying to run down a good article on it, but from what I saw, near-work showed no link. It was specifically exposure to sunlight that tied into the eye shape changes. It looks like they had not assessed it for vitamin D state, just out door activity:

          This was the best one I’ve found so far.

          The epidemic of myopia in East and Southeast Asia | ANU Research School of Biology

          The implication is if you do a lot of near work, doing it outside is a good idea.

          1. Interesting.

            I do recall that Myopia is a trait that almost certainly only became prevalent when humans started farming. Myopic hunters tend not to do so well….

            1. That’s the genetic influence, but looks like there is a growth component as well. Kind of the same way you can tell if someone did a lot of javelin throwing or squatting based on how their shoulder joints or leg bones developed respectively.

              That’s separate from the joint wear. I recall there is a joint that does not fuse in people who grew up throwing javelins, and if you grew up squating, your leg bones will be more curved to accomodate it. Basically, it grows more bent, because wit was pressed that way.

              People are complicated things.

            1. eInk displays.

              They’re super specialty and expensive right now, but I would bet they become a major standard in super light laptops, because they are extremely energy efficient and fairly durable compared to LCD displays.

                1. E-Ink, for Electronic Ink.

                  It’s what the Kindles and e-readers use for their screens. Apparently a couple of groups are developing color versions, and others are increasing the refresh rate to 40fps+

            2. Eh? Barring the earliest laptop I ran across (HP something or other), the flat screen displays had back lighting, either fluorescent or LED. Never had the other Kindles, but the Fires I know are backlit.

              As a child (age 8-10 or so), my folks had me get a lot of UV exposure, either outdoors or via sunlamp. Came out somewhat myopic (needed glasses as of age 8), but not horrendously so. When I had cataract surgery, we set the dominant eye for good distance vision, and the other good reading. That was fine until I needed cornea cleanup, and the resulting effect was strong myopia in the dominant eye. As usual, the expected outcome would have been for me to go farsighted, but my body doesn’t pay much attention to expectations.

              1. Backlit, certainly, but also reflected glare that can make it difficult to work in bright light. Unless I misunderstood somewhere, which is possible.

                1. Ah. Didn’t think of that.

                  It’s usually too bright for me to read out doors (I have one eye with a verrry slow pupil behavior because reasons), so I do what I can to get just the right amount of ambient light. The ISO Std 551862 taqueria has a couple of really good spots to eat and read. (And keep half an eye on the entry. It hasn’t gotten weird in Flyover Falls yet, but.)

      2. Hmmm. I’m more inclined to line near sightedness with literacy. Constant focusing on nearby script during the entire growing period is like binding women’s feet or breasts to keep them small.

        1. The symptom of “wears glasses” isn’t exactly direct, either– I can function without glassses.

          I just do a lot better with them.

          1. If I just had the astigmatism, then I wouldn’t need glasses all that badly. But toss in nearsightedness, and I have to have bifocals.

            1. IIRC I had astigmatism along with extreme near-sightedness.

              Both were taken care off after I had the cataract surgery done.

                1. In first or second grade, I was near-sighted in one eye and IIRC far-sighted in the other eye.

                  Until my eyes were checked, I assumed that everybody shut one eye to see the blackboard better. 😆

              1. Mom is the same. She went from being “where are my glasses” at the first thing in the morning to legally being able to drive without them. Her eye sight is now better without glasses than they ever could be with glasses even though she still has a slight correction. She tried going without them, just going with reading glasses, but she was 80 when the change happened. As she stated “I’ve worn glasses for 75 or more years”, she doesn’t remember when she first started wearing glasses.

                Ironically enough it is the modern age that makes me wear glasses, have to have to drive. My eyes leveled off at 50 and have improved near nearsightedness since then. OTOH reading, never had any problems since the last few years. Did break down and go progressive because it was a PIA to take my glasses off to read the fine print. Slowly but surely I’ve actually have to always use the reading portion of the progressives over the last couple of years, not just for fine print, but reading on computer. Even making fonts larger doesn’t really help because still have the eye strain which lead to migraines.

                1. The way it was explained to me when I noticed my nearsightedness improving after 40 was that people naturally get farsighted as they age.

            2. When I had my cataract surgery, it corrected both my nearsightedness and astigmatism.

    2. Actually, what you’re seeing is Darwinian Evolution. We are adapting to our modern environment. We build devises and machinery to overcome physical faults, making intelligence and creativity a major advantage individuals can have.

      Of course we also invented contraceptives and Welfare, so there may be some “Survival of the fittest” incidents coming along soon.

  7. I’ll be honest, I run the other way from “Humans Can Radically Alter Themselves Because Technology” scifi, I think Starship Thieves and a smattering of John C. Wright’s books are the only things I’ve read and liked that had an element of that, taken seriously. Maybe Cyteen, if I’m feeling generous. I can relate to Mary Renault’s Theseus more readily than I can the characters in most transhuman themed works.

    On Sparta as popularly depicted by the other city states in the area,* I wouldn’t call it a matriarchy, or a particularly admirable** society, but I think they were on to something with their idea of motherhood as a serious responsibility, equivalent to soldiering. In my mind, those are both vocations that not everyone is cut out to inhabit. The idea that every man of status has to be the one and every woman of status has to be the other is unwise, in any society which can allow for any kind of specialized work. (That is, any society functioning above Super Desperate Survival Mode.) But by the same token, a society that doesn’t recognize and respect those two roles, is doomed to extinction.

    *I haven’t paid enough attention to archaeology of Sparta to know what of that’s been debunked, or whether to believe the debunkers.

    **If that sounds like lukewarm condemnation, “not particularly admirable” is my default judgment on a lot of ancient societies. It’s not worth getting worked up about the stuff they got wrong, or fetishizing them for the things they got right. Just note it, learn from it, and move on.

    1. Even Cyteen, when you go back and read it, has a whole lot of “the protagonist thinks this is fine like a fish thinks the water is fine”… but for the outside observer, this is a Horrible Warning.

    2. If that sounds like lukewarm condemnation, “not particularly admirable” is my default judgment on a lot of ancient societies. It’s not worth getting worked up about the stuff they got wrong, or fetishizing them for the things they got right. Just note it, learn from it, and move on.

      Also, there’s only so much “run away screaming for a nuke on your location” that you can fit into a life…..

        1. It really says something about how awful the Spartans were that other slave-based societies called them out for how many slaves they had and how brutal they were to said slaves. I’m not aware of any other society that literally had a whole separate social class of the bastards of the elites sired on slave women.

        1. Yeah, Sparta was evil because it’s evil.

          Mother as producer for the fodder.



          It really is odd how close the “dies in motherhood” and the “dies of war” numbers track, since both use the same medical care.

          1. If we’re talking about pre-WWI medical care, I might snark about the medical care being a significant contributor to both sets of deaths.

            Chesterton speculated somewhere that the suffragette movement started at a time when childbirth was still dangerous, but men’s work was becoming less so. (He specifically related it to times of peace following war; I think he’s wrong about the causal connection, which to me always seemed to be more about women moving into the vacuum created by all those dead men.)

            1. :head tilts, thinks:

              Seems legit.

              I can argue on the other side, of course, because some of my ancestors looked at the not-care they could have for giving birth, and the “why would I do something silly like act as if there’s a ritual unclean-ness between touching corpses and touching pregnant women” was STILL an improvement over “dig a hole in the shed and grunt a baby out into it.”

              It’s just… incredibly bad, by comparison.

              1. I hate to defend ’em, but…the stats include “there is a 50/50 chance on this thing. PICK ONE” and you just guessed wrong.

                Humans are weeeeeird.

                I know you know, but I have to SAY this.

                1. I recall a reading a book by a neurosurgeon who related that he was accused of doing extremely risky procedures. He agreed and explained it thus, “If I do NOT operate, the patient has 0% chance of survival. If I DO operate, the patient has a 1% chance. 1% isn’t much, but it still beats 0%. Guess which one the patient (or family) picks? I’m going to give my patient that 1% chance.”

                  1. Which is one of the reasons why people were so upset when the British NHS blocked Charlie Gard’s parents from coming to the US for experimental treatment.

                    1. And, THAT, RIGHT THERE, is THE VERY DEFINITION OF EVIL.
                      Even 0.0000000000001% is ABOVE 0.0.
                      I hope never to become a Demon, BUT IF I SHOULD, I SO want to be the DEMON to give those WHAT FOR! For they DESERVE IT! (And as the t-shirt says, if what I SAY offends you, you really ought to see the stuff I HOLD BACK!)

                    2. Cousin was born with Spina Bifida. Aunt and uncle went to battle to have her hold her, and to clean her up. Doctors were willing to let her die. She was just going to be a brain defective cripple. She wasn’t. She had her physical challenges, but she did not have any brain problems. A bright articulate child. It was the stents that provided the fluid drain from her brain that failed, again, when she was 13, that caused her death.

                  2. When dad had his stroke in ’86, it was caused by carotid artery stenosis. Right side 100%. Left side 95%. The smaller veins on the back of the neck into brain did expand to compensate some but eventually could not keep up. The neurosurgeon couldn’t do anything about the right side. But there was a small chance of cleaning out enough of the right side to make a difference. Even then there was a high chance of a clot breaking loose and he’d die on the operating table (even though we three girls were adults, we were not told the odds, just there was no option). Do nothing, then hold his hand, and wait. Dad could not make the choice. Mom had to make it for him. Surgery went great. He lived another 22 years. At 10 year survival he had to go through the procedure again; again with the risk of a clot breaking loose … AFTER he went through prostate cancer treatment and 4 arterial hear bypass.

                    As dad was going through this, in recovery and rehab, a number of his co-worker’s and their friends, who had the same risk factors (high cholesterol, drinking, smoking), had their carotid arteries checked. Four were in immediate danger of the same carotid artery stenosis, a “matter of time”. All 4 had the surgery. Two had strokes on the surgery table and did not make it.

    3. Jack Chalker did a lot of human modification speculation especially in 4 lords of the diamond series and the Well of Souls series.

  8. Julian May did something similar in her Mileiu series: one species, the Lylmik, are ethereal beings who are dying out because they’ve lost all interest in reproduction. Their leader (who used to be human, 6,000,000 years ago) gets four of them to enter specially-created human bodies; two male, two female. They are NOT gay. At the end of the last novel there’s at least a chance the Lylmik species will survive.

      1. The Mileiu series is the sort of sequel to the Pleistocene books. 😉

  9. Agree – the human animal is going to change/evolve but not to some specs dreamed up by TPTB or other “experts” who know oh so better.
    It all sort of reminds me of…

    I think I will keep my dreams positive and worry about now and what I need to do to deal with today. Thanks for the ideas to think and dream about!

      1. Worse yet, the other songs on that album. “Fred” was especially horrible, if I have the title correct. I am not going to listen to be sure.

    1. Something is .. amiss.
      I recall that tune… but I also recall the line(s) in the tune:

      You can’t feed the People,
      So you feed the machines…

      And those are missing in this.
      Did I slip across timelines (again)?

  10. Speaking of utopias. Seen in the local Chinese help wanted: “No tattoos, criminal record, or positive test history.” “Applicants who have tested positive or been in a mandatory quarantine facility need not apply.”

    Humans in groups of more than about 80 are mad.

    1. It is AMAZING how I have become “counter culture” without making any effort to do so.
      I have NO tattoos (if you do, fine, but they are not for me).
      I have NO piercings (if you do, fine, but they are not for me).
      Nor do I have any (intentional*) brandings (astonishing, I know).
      I do have a couple scars, but they aren’t showy or otherwise “cool.”
      Really, I am DULL. And… considering so many alternatives? DULL is GOOD.
      “It’s Hip To Be Square” resonates, some.

      There were a couple soldering iron incidents – that do not show, or so I believe.

      1. The most prominent scar on my body is a not-so subtle reminder to avoid doing something stupid. That accident hurt!

  11. “…but spirit is tied in to the body. You can’t just change the mind, without taking in account the body and where it comes from, and what it wants.”
    And that’s where intelligent machines fail. You and I, we breathe or we die, we eat or we die. That’s built-in motivation. People fool themselves thinking they can program motivation into computers until they get kicked in the gonads by Buridan’s Ass.

    1. It doesn’t mean intelligent machines fail, it just means that they would be different.

  12. Body modifications, yes, some folks will go for it. Live forever in this broken world? Many more than Heinlein have contemplated such a thing, like Orson Scott Card’s billionaire who kept replacing himself with a clone every 20 or so years for a younger body, thus thoughtlessly sentencing his current self to a life of hard labor and torture.

    There’s Peter Beagle’s A Fine and Private Place contemplates everybody being a ghost who just hangs around their grave until they get too bored with it all and refuse to rise from the grave anymore.

    There’s the crazy nuns from grade school who tried to say of heaven, “We’ll all see God and just be happy singing his praises.” Sounded like hell to me.

    Glenn Reynolds may want to live forever in this plane of existence, but old coots like me can just wink at the young and healthy wanting to go on forever that way. What age do you want to be when you stop growing older? I seem to be ridiculously healthy, given my age, but still, when my church greets every birthday chanting, “May you have many years. May you have many, many years,” it sounds more like a curse to me than a blessing.

    Can you blame me for preferring Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come? Though, I’m OK with not knowing. No young Dylan my son, I will not, “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

    Enjoy life where and how you find yourself. To everything, there is a season. Celebrate it. Don’t deny it. ‘Nuff said.

    1. There’s the crazy nuns from grade school who tried to say of heaven, “We’ll all see God and just be happy singing his praises.” Sounded like hell to me

      The best way I’ve heard that explained is… imagine your most epic nifty-fit.
      That time when you found something SO UTTERLY COOL that you just could NOT stop talking about it.

      ….that’s what they mean.

      1. What helps me understand Heaven, is to realize that in Heaven, we encounter infinite JOY. Easy to say the word, but to contemplate the True reality of what that would mean stretches even my mind. To be in a place that JOY permeates, not boring at all.

        One data point. God seems to speak poetically. When I hear Him, He writes better than I do. I can tell. The gift of the Spirit given is poetic, for 25 + years, to turn sermons into poems, while they happen. Weird poems are ones I hear about the sermon, prior to the pastor speaking. My pastor points out we just listened to the same voice. I just take dictation.

        Poetry is strange and weird. It needs an eraser, since it must include everything needed, and nothing more. It is frozen Truth. It is also alive, with music. Translation seems to kill poems.

        1. Translation seems to kill poems.

          Perhaps this is different for a poet — or a better poet, or a truly inspired poet — but I would often rather have the corpse of a good poem in translation than nothing at all.

          ….Although that sounds really disturbing, and the metaphor gets downright confusing when one considers the original-language poem is still there, and this is probably why I’m not much of a poet.

        2. Translating poetry requires a poet of equal skill. That may be why it took Goethe to do German translations of Shakespeare.

          There’s so much playfulness and layers to a great poem. A skilled translator can get the meaning and even translate it into the proper cultural tropes, but it’s almost impossible to translate the sound that sometimes make a poem magical. And I don’t mean just duplicating a rhyme scheme, which is almost impossible to do well and be faithful to the meaning. The sounds themselves are part of the enjoyment of some poems.

          My favorite song lyric is, “little old lady got mutilated late last night,” in Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London. How could you possibly translate the way the lilting, alliterative lyric exudes an ironic playfulness despite the meaning of the words?

      2. Sorry still think nuns B crazy like bunny rabbits on LSD. (There may be exceptions). When St. Therese of Avila went on about her ecstatic vision where the Lord pierced her heart with a sword again and again…well it doesn’t take Freud to interpret that one.

        1. Meh. No. What she was expressing was not sexual. To take it Freudian is retarded.
          There literally are no words for a religious ecstasy.
          I once had a side blow to one. Think of it as being touched by the edge of Himself’s pinkie nail. I cried for three days. I was not unhappy. I just didn’t know how to handle it and had no words with which to explain to very worried husband.

          1. “Who’s the little retard?”
            “Me, me, me,” wagging tail
            “Good boy anyway,” petting me on the head.

            What a wonderful experience for you. I think I’ve mentioned here that I’ve heard the “voice” of God twice in my life. Both times the immediate reaction was total certainty that it was the voice of God. The second was, “Wait, what? You’ve got to be kidding!”

            1. Yep. Same “Why me?”
              You’re not retarded. BUT there’s a whole lot of “scholarship” on this issue that IS. And I’m sure that’s what you remembered, but had no way of talking back at, when you heard it.
              Sorry. I was REALLY not calling you names

              1. Exposing me to my ignorance is not malicious. It is welcome! I was never into the mystics, so I only read somebody’s snarky excerpt. Should have known better.

                Even people with my own ridiculously inflated ego and absurdly high self-regard get fooled “some of the time,” probably more than most. I have a trophy somewhere from high school for first place in the Conclusion Jump. 😉 Appreciate the correction. BTW ridiculously inflated ego and absurdly high self-regard are essential tools in any successful writer’s toolbox, for those lonely few of us here who aren’t writers ourselves. So be gentle with us and just smile sweetly at our arrogant ignorance.

    2. My problem with “eternal life” is what does one do? After watching every movie (no matter how bad), reading every book (no matter how bad), being reincarnated as every thing that has ever lived (or will live – one can just wait for it to show up), what does one do next?

      Eternal is infinite. Things are countable. Therefore, one will have plenty of time to do all the things – as many times as one would like – and still have plenty of time left over. It sounds AWFUL. The first few billion years would probably be fine, but after that?

        1. I think (and this is not original to me, though I may have synthesized from multiple origins), that part of the problem is we perceive time as not even fully one dimensional (with some outliers that show even that is not completely correct), but eternity may be 3 (or more) dimensions. We not only cannot perceive this, we can’t even imagine it.

      1. What eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
        and what has not entered the human heart,
        what God has prepared for those who love him,

  13. And what is difficult about that is that we’re not spirits, floating mid-air. (This, honestly is very annoying to me, as half the time I forget I have a body, even when it’s having a massive skin eruption) but spirits tied in to the body.

    One of the surprising things about doing #75HARD is how aware I am of my body and how much more comfortable it feels when I am aware of it.

    1. Starship Troopers… is not a great vision of the future. It may end up being the least bad,though.

      1. Having a requirement that you put your life on the line for this country before you can vote, or hold office, would cut down at least half of the rot in our government. Although I seem to recall Johnny Rico asking one of the medics at the recruiting center if he was military and getting a response like “I’m not crazy”; so that would seem to indicate that any non-enfranchised servers in the government didn’t get to vote themselves raises or privileges. No unions there.

  14. Human males have basically two reproduction strategies: Dads and Cads.

    Dads provide nurturing and support to the women they impregnate and the offspring thereof. This gives them a high chance of producing some children that reach adulthood and reproduce even though they may only produce a relative handful of babies

    Cads impregnate and move on (this may be literal as in the rape of entire countries by hordes of mongols or similar or it may be simply dumping the woman and child as soon as the former no longer has any desire to have sex with you. This strategy can lead to dozens of babies but in most of history the majority of those babies have failed to make it adulthood themselves so the total number of next generation from this strategy is not notably different (unless you are Genghis Khan) from the Dad strategy.

    The problem is the Dad strategy is the one that leads to civilization. One of the big big problems of the 1960s sexual revolution is that it has resulted in a society that emphasizes the cad strategy over the dad strategy. And that is particularly true in the West where we mostly have a robust(ish) safety net for single mothers.

    This is a bad thing for everyone

    1. I am far too Ancient to be a Proper Dad.
      And, as monstrous as I might be, my standards are Far Too High to be a Cad.
      I might have regrets – but at least I am not inflicting Regret on Society At Large.
      Yeah, I am a monster.
      But I ain’t EVIL about it.

  15. Among the fans of a certain Science Fiction writer who has a Thing for Artificial Wombs, there is a contingent of extreme radical feminists. One of these was able to argue that that men and women are exactly alike (this while in a discussion of the mechanics of pregnancy!), and also that men have no business having an opinion on abortion because they don’t have a uterus. (No, my ethical opinions are not centered in my gonads). These see nothing wrong with having humanity adopt the life cycle of ichneumon wasps, with human males as the hosts. (Calling this the introduction of pathological abnormalities and that it might not be a Good Idea was dubbed prejudicial hate speech). When I rather foolishly initiated a discussion of the possible drawbacks of artificial wombs which got no traction at all, and the writer Herself injected the opinion that they are inevitable (starting with agricultural and animal applications) within the century, I dropped out of that fandom. “They’re too nuts, they’re too nuts, they’re too nuts for me!”
    If Sarah ever expresses the opinion that her Darkship Universe with its genetic supermen is either likely or desirable, I promise to come down with a case of the screaming heebie-jeebies and run like hell.

    1. I shudder to contemplate just how warped the psyche would be of someone gestated entirely in an artificial, or non-human womb. Weber, in his Honor series, at least acknowledges that fetuses require stimulation for proper development. Which really makes me wonder just how much his Manpower organization would need to recreate that to provide functional slaves?

      1. With the application of sufficient handwavium, all such problems are easily resolved. Handwavium has extensive current applications in the fields of Renewable Energy and government finance, although there are so far unsubstantiated rumors that it sometime fails when subjected to stress. It is, however, cheap and plentiful.

      2. Safe hold also, where Nimue (an android) records hours of herself reading, talking and singing so it can be played to the developing babies. Along with the artificial womb providing realistic heartbeat/breathing sounds and, presumably, realistic gut rumbles and other “incidental,” sounds a living body would make.

        1. :laughing:
          OK, funny real story, one of the kids was a baby in the NICU.

          She was very, very fussy.

          The nurse, at his wit’s end, said “Did you sing or ANYTHING while you were pregnant? She needs something familiar!”
          Me, punch drunk from waaaay too little sleep: “[brother name], NO!”

          Baby stops crying.

          Nurse collapses into seriously adorable giggles.

          1. 🙂 🙂 🙂

            For our son, it’s have to be a cat purring. Or “[cat’s name] NO!” because the cats thought the ripples in my tummy, when baby kicked and moved around were for them to play with. (Dang cats!)

        2. The human brain and auditory processing systems are quite sophisticated. I have little doubt that the babies so incubated would perceive that difference, and develop differently than naturally grown children.

      3. That was the least of my objections. I was more concerned about the lack of maternal attachment to children if mothers could distance themselves and avoid the hard parts of pregnancy, the reliability and robustness of mechanical vs biological systems, nutrient quality control and supply chain issues, the required training and competence of technicians, and vulnerability of centralized reproduction centers to natural disaster, accident, terrorism, and war. Just because something is possible doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea, especially when it’s introduced suddenly on a large scale.

        1. I know that’s a risk, but I’d like to see artificial wombs anyway, for the kids that have to come out too early.

          And the ones that would otherwise be killed.

          1. We have artificial wombs.
            Have for like a century, started as carnie shows.

            Baby incubators.

            They just suck, right now.

            (I know you know, but….saying the quiet out loud)

            1. They don’t work at all prior to a certain stage of development, although that stage does keep getting earlier. They are also horribly expensive compared to the natural process.

              1. Yes, and oh GOD I think that is just SUCH an American and fun and yes awesome more thing flailing like gamer cat here.

                    1. Also, it is scandalous that he promoted himself. It was all just so exploitative of those poor babies and families. But those babies lived instead of dying!


                (Yes, I’m re-reading. <a href=” buy the book, people.)

                1. It’s in my TBR stack, as soon as I finish this “history of the Picts” that I may use as one of my “how not to write history” books. It’s more polemic about the evils of, um, everything Roman and Christian and centralized than a straight account of “here’s what we know about the Picts.”

                  Bad soapbox! Shoo, shoo!

                  1. Ooo. Smashing bad soapboxes is always fun to read.

                    There’s a bit in a history I’m reading, Everyday Life in Joseon Korea (collection of translated essays by Korean historians) where the writer’s talking about the rebellion of Im Ggeokjeong in the 1560s and lamenting that it didn’t “achieve liberation for the low-born class”.

                    me: Um, Historian, did you stop and realize that in that time and culture, people thought about their relatives first and foremost as who they “belonged” to? “Thinking in classes” is a Marx thing, and he came along three centuries later…?

                    (The historical info is neat, though, and having a bandit leader like that in a story could be Very Cool.)

                2. I did, I did. I confess, I borrowed it from KU first, but in spite of my nearly complete and baffling unfamiliarity with Japanese culture, mythology, and folklore, I did manage to follow the story, and it was a good one. Worth a reread, too, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

            2. If you web-search “Orvan” you might find me, but you will more likely find a REAL, TRUE, GENIUS and TRUE HERO: Orvan Hess. No, not that Hess. Orvan Hess was on the side of GOOD and RIGHT. He took the technology of the day (starting in the 1930’s… so vacuum tubes, etc.) and managed to cobble together a FETAL HEART MONITOR with “stone knives and bear skins.” He kept at it and improved it, over and over – into the Transistor Era.

          2. I’m more afraid that the technology would be immediately and horribly abused. Especially after seeing what has happened after chemical contraception and other medical techniques were introduced.

            1. Blink. Blink.
              A wearable artificial womb? It would have to be at least the size of a toaster in the early stages, or a microwave oven in the later. The metaphor of having a bun in the oven would become horribly apropos. The latest high fashion accessory, no? Mind shuts down, boggled.

                    1. A little bit of teasing by wilful misunderstanding? Showing off my multiculturalism and all that? I personally think the Andean custom makes more sense, but the aguayo was ubiquitous in the two years I was in Bolivia, and I’ve seldom seen swathing drapes. .

            2. In the Grissom timeline, the artificial uterine environment itself is far too heavy to be carried, mostly because there’s a huge amount of support infrastructure), but women who have to resort to it for medical reasons often wear a set of microphones to transmit the sounds the baby would usually hear in the uterus.

              OTOH, given that AUI technology was originally super-secret Cold War black-budget projects, it’s unsurprising there were abuses, especially on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain, where it was run by the Competent Organs (viz “All the Little Hedgehogs”). Later, after it becomes public knowledge, there’s a huge clash between those who view it as the fruit of a poisoned tree and those who believe that the abuse doesn’t invalidate the legitimate use.

      1. Ah, so you are familiar with the fandom and fan in question? It was a few years ago. To be more accurate, she said that there was no difference between human males and females except for the plumbing, but since the discussion was about the plumbing, it did not display great perspicacity. I don’t specifically recall the declaration about sexual dimorphism, but it sounds horribly plausible.

        1. Yep yep. The lion thing was…gaah, probably eighteen years back? Shortly before the time when a much saner fan told her that he’d be happy to incorporate her tale of Woe&Sexism&SomeOtherKindOfWoe into the FAQ, just to save everybody time.

            1. Trust me, you don’t want to know. She had about the same verbiage to sense ratio as that fellow who himself banned just last week.

    2. Now you guys are making me want to go back to my first novel (abandoned because I didn’t know how to write yet). A philosophical rumination on that very problem, set in the late 60’s. It involved a Nazi scientist now funded by the US government for some reason completely unfathomable to the poor grad student left to clean up his mess after he dies.

    1. I bet the various state attorneys-general are going to their hands hovering over their keyboards, ready to type the challenge lawsuit papers.

      1. OMG. I hope so.

        Won’t be Oregon … or Washington … or California … But I sure hope there are a number of other state attorneys-general without their heads up their asses, um, assets.

        1. California might, depending. California is granted certain exceptions to the Federal air quality rules to allow the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to impose even more stringent rules (likely originally because Los Angeles is in a natural smog trap). There’s been a time or two in recent memory when the Left’s attempts to give the EPA greater control over air quality has encroached on this, and caused a backlash from California’s government.

          1. Good point. Willamette *Valley has some stringent air quality rules too. Don’t know if there is a stricter than EPA exemptions or not. If there is, and the executive order interferes then yes, Salem will file.

            /* Inversion days has whatever is in the valley sweep south to pool over Springfield/Eugene down to the gorge at Cottage Grove. Smoke is particularly bad. Last couple of summers, particularly 2020, was a huge reminder of prior fall seasons when both field and slash burning occurred. Can happen in the winter too with wood burning stoves, but cold weather doesn’t make it as bad. I guaranty natural gas furnaces are a lot less polluting that even the newest wood burning, be it super dry split wood or pellets.

      1. I’m beginning to expect a coup by the younger cohort of Democrats. They’ve had two generations of, “The Youth of America are the Hope of the World,” and they know, just know, that time is running out and the oldfarts are just not taking climate change and social justice seriously enough.
        And they’re too young to even think about consequences.

        1. Do they get the cool caps with the short bills and the one-size-fits-all string in the back? Seems like I saw it in the 60’s leftist playbook, a movie called ‘Wild in the Streets’ The images of poor Shelley Winters in her latter-year heft being fed LSD to make her happy while wearing the rainbow mumu was a sight to sore eyes. It certainly sored mine.

        2. I would laugh if this happened. I would bust a guy from doubling over so hard. So much flack from the black pills, and a tiny subset of the left ended up triggering it.

  16. Fascinating. And you also said, ” I was green as leeks and twice dumb” which reminded me of an old relative of mine, who was arrested for trying to steal a leek. At least, that was what he told my aunt, that he was arrested for taking a leek in the grocery store.

  17. “Let individuals be individual.
    Vive la difference!”

    Yes, absolutely! The world would be such a milquetoast, bland, boring place without differences. Sadly, we have an entire generation of ‘non-player characters’ (NPCs), that is, people who are group-thinkers and total conformers.

  18. “It’s time to lay to rest now and forever the stupid idea of Rousseau’s that unschooled humans are “noble savages.”

    Definitely. Unschooled humans are … seriously scary, because one of the things we gave up in exchange for intelligence was a lot of our basic instinctive programming. But it didn’t go in coherent chunks, it went in fragments. So an unschooled human “knows” lots of things that don’t connect and don’t make any sense, and the struggle to make sense of it all can lead to some seriously dark places. For example: humans, being tribal creatures, are programmed to fear/hate/avoid “the Other”, like lions are programmed to fear/hate/avoid members of other lion prides – but unlike the lion, we don’t get any programming about who or what the Other is. We have to guess. Which, I think, is where racism, and sexism, and a lot of other “isms” come from.

  19. There is a bit I like in George R.R. Martin’s Armageddon Rag, where his protagonist takes a tour around the country, seeing all his old best friends from college, and he pays a visit to the hippie girl who’s now on a commune seeking peace and enlightenment, and raising her children without aggressive toys. And as he starts to drive away, he sees the two boys playing out a battle between, I think, Spider-man and the Hulk, and is oddly cheered up . . .

    1. My daughter was playing with toy vehicles with my parents earlier, and I’m pretty sure there was something about some of them throwing bombs.

    2. My thing was playing with dolls…OK, a G.I. Joe Action figure, and I tortured and abused it horribly. I was acting out over what I considered liberal and unfair corporal punishment. At least it wasn’t a puppy.

      1. George Eliot had Maggie Tolliver do similar things to one of her dolls . . .

    3. I had a busybody scold me once for buying my daughter the entire damn set of Disney Princess dolls for her fifth Christmas. I didn’t feel like explaining that as a result, I’d overheard Snow White hiring a herd of Breyer model horses to “stomple” the evil stepmother. Probably because ponies are cooler than dwarves.

      1. I mostly did my dolls’ hair. I liked that. But I also played with trains, cars, etc.
        I also built future cities and peopled them with tiny plastic dogs.

        1. I built insanely intricate worlds with my animal figurines (too much Watership Down as a child). OTOH, I have vague memories of some “Lottery”-esque game I played with the carnivore figures vs. the herbivore figures…

  20. The people who keep declaring that Trump and his supporters are authoritarians who are a threat to democracy are about to go all in on rule by decree by declaring a “climate emergency” to impose the agenda that they cannot get Congress to enact:

    This is why they are so anxious to pack the Supreme Court; because a packed Supreme Court would allow these power grabs and enable the full radical identity-group based Marxist agenda to be imposed.

    I note that what Team HarrisBiden is doing is the exact route Chavez used-he issued decrees when he could not get the legislature to impose his agenda, then remade the top court so it would rubber stamp his decrees, than turned the legislature into a rubber-stamp. This is exactly what Democrats want to do in the USA.

  21. I’ve dreamed about my future histories, and they either go into terribly pessimistic or terribly optimistic.

    (Don’t ask about the Matriarchy and the MEIR virus and being called a feminist in the mid-22nd century is the sort of thing that causes guns to be drawn and satisfaction to be demanded…)

      1. Yea, and you want the truly hilarious comedy point after that?

        First contact…and humanity is the only known race that has sapient males in one form or another. In both characteristics and roles. A few species find it hilarious; a few find it disgusting; and a few openly say that the Matriarchy “should have done better.”

        Diplomacy is always interesting when that happens.

  22. and bullying the other women enough that her kids were looked after preferentially

    Hmm. I’ve been thinking a lot about polygamy and monogamy. That sounds like something from polygamy – women bullying other women. Seems less likely under monogamy, because less necessary when you’re not competing directly with other wives of the same man.

    I’m also coming to the idea that we’re biologically polygamous (male sex drive + female hypergamy) but we impose monogamy culturally because it just works way better. It seems to me that polygamy must always create a large pool of throw-away men, which really creates a large pool of very dangerous enemies, if you’re human beings. And I think — still trying to work this out — it may also create a somewhat smaller class of throwaway women — for the throwaway men to fight over.

    I’m also starting to think that while monogamy is culturally more stable and better for everyone, we keep reverting to polygamy whenever we can. After all, it appears we learned how to make fire and then lost that knowledge at least once over the millenia.

    Maybe that’s where we are right now, actually. The highest status men have access to many women and the lowest status men don’t have access to any. Normally, I think under polygamy a high status man supports and protects his wife and children. It seems in the modern version, he either doesn’t do that, or his women don’t give him children. On purpose.

    Is that part of what is screwing up the reversion to polygamy this time around? The whole point of polygamy is that the highest status man gets the most children. And is that part of the return to monogamy? Because it seems that monogamous couples are having more children than high status men and women in general.

    Questions I’m thinking about for a fic on a society moving from polygamy to monogamy.

    1. In ape bands, high status females bully the rest so they stop ovulating (this happens in sufficiently bullied women too, so–) This is so their kids are the only kids in the band, and thus– Yeah. The animal nature is not good.
      More kids survive in monogamy. It’s better for peaceful society. Natural? Probably not.

    2. For a non-fic example, there are the Latter-day Saints in the 19th century. On that subject, you might say I have something of an inside track.

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