POST # 243    SHAKING THE OLD FAMILY TREE

The number of television commercials offering professional investigative services into the subscriber’s family history, appears to be noticeably on the increase. Such companies warrant accuracy, based upon their asserted employment of modern procedures, including DNA science. We have little familiarity with these investigative methods, chemo-biological or otherwise [ nor, as to the extent of their validity, especially when applied to ancient items of evidence] nonetheless, for the purposes of this writing, we are willing to assume that the results, reported by such investigative companies, are responsibly accurate.

We recognize the value of an individual’s interest in his familial history as a matter of general information or curiosity. Moreover, from the standpoint of family identity and integrity, such personal history can afford to the subscriber, a comforting sense of security and continuity. We have some concerns, however, which we will shortly disclose, regarding the possible (problematic) motivation and (mis)use, by some of the recipients of such investigative results.

It would be useless, and impractical, to attempt to cite the many blogposts we have published, in which as the main, or subordinate theme, we have urged the rationally sustainable proposition that the entire human family, possesses equal potential for wisdom and advanced thought, regardless of geography, skin color or ethnicity. One does not read in Darwin or Spencer, nor in any of their eminent scientific successors, any suggestion that, Nature, in the process of delivering evolution’s most generous gift, the advanced brain, to homo sapiens, favored certain groups over others; ostensible differences in development, where they may exist, would appear to be the products of culture (religion, ethnicity) and not innate capability.

In related writings, we have strongly urged the retirement (or expulsion) of the noun, “race” from the lexicon. The concept, necessarily implied in the word, has proven to be capricious, unscientific and purely subjective; furthermore, history has demonstrated that self-serving assumptions inherent in such verbal construct, have reliably served as purported justification for dominance and bigotry.

To again state our purpose, our concern is not aroused by an individual’s understandable and perhaps, commendable, curiosity concerning his family tree; it relates specifically to certain instances of improper motivation for the search, and the reductive misuse of the search results.

Most of our written efforts have been devoted to expressing the vital need for the individual to develop his own distinct and personal “self-image,” or “personal identity.” We have suggested that one’s (objective) perception of his own persona, may be derived from his recollection of his own cumulative history of behavior. We would additionally add that the extent of his valuation of the human goals of self enhancement and objective perception, are relevant considerations. Folks who may believe that their “true self,” or persona, will be revealed through a search of their family history, (as if personality traits are bequeathed to future legatees), are wasting their money on such a delusional expectation. Self- knowledge can only be attained by a personal, sometimes, painful, inner reflection of one’s successes and failures. There are no valuable clues to be unearthed regarding the provenance of any enduring family trait, as may be fantasized, in any revealed history obtained from distinctly different people, albeit one’s relatives, living in divergent settings and earlier times.

We do admit to a measure of distain, however, for that class of individuals, characterized by a lifetime of inflexible, stereotypic inclination, who vainly seek, from the use of such search services, ratification of their own unfounded, reductionist, and often, perniciously bigoted views. Such folks do not search for a window on their family history, but instead, (fruitlessly) seek confirmation of the rectitude of their reductive and bigoted mindset. Moreover, they blindly and ungratefully give no thought, to the wasted potential, so generously invested in them by evolution (in common with every human being), for the development of knowledge, advancement and self- awareness. Such ignorant and selfish rationalization does not entitle such exemplars of ingratitude, and shameful waste of human potential, to any more than family shrubs; certainly not trees.

-p.

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Literature Student and enthusiast.

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