Some time ago, we heard a nutritionist, authoritatively, declare, “The reason Man craves carbohydrates and overeats, is because he has earlier been “hardwired,” by empirical necessity, to such behaviors from his distant past, when food was not regularly obtainable.” We, certainly, are not in a position to, affirm or deny, the accuracy of such definitive statement, nevertheless, with some contextual and dynamic clarifications, we do, at minimum, find the specific adjective, “hardwired,” to be contextually, useful.
Followers of this blogspace are, no doubt, aware that we are ardent devotees of the empirical school of epistemology as declared by the great English philosopher, John Locke, viz., man is born with a “clean slate” (“tabula rasa”) and acquires knowledge, by his experience. Accordingly, we would clarify the dynamics of the noun “hardwired,” to explicitly, signify, instilled in from childhood, and thereafter, societally, reaffirmed, rather than, erroneously, assert that he is “inspired” with certain knowledge, at birth.
Identical to the cultural dynamics and practice of the repetitive, recital of consensually, accepted, oral history by pre-literate, Paleolithic and Neolithic Man, our understanding and employment of the subject term, refers to the repetitive teachings, concerning significant experiences, empirically learned and culturally, passed on, to future progeny.
It appears evident, that, by necessity, Early Man was unremittingly, obliged, to be preoccupied with his survival. Predatory danger from wild animals and strangers potentially existed everywhere, during bright daylight and, most especially, the opaque nighttime. Incipient danger lurked in the forest, open fields, hills and particularly, at watering holes. Man banded, together with familiars (members of his familial group or tribe) and, mutually, braved the ever-present fear of danger, potentially intruding into their vulnerable, abodes. The appearance of anything, or anyone, therefore, perceived as unfamiliar or different, was, by dint of defensive necessity, understandably considered a portent of imminent danger.
It is pragmatically, logical to assume that significant lessons on the vital, distinction between familiar and exotic appearance, were thus, passed on through the millennia of succeeding generations, by instructional lessons to the young, possibly, reaffirmed by folkloric expression ( tales and dance ritual), around the tribal fire. The life-threatening, “hardwired,” distinction between the familiar and variant was commonly, considered, existential, through the many epochs of Man’s existence in insular, tribal society.
It appears that the eons-long, forward, sociological march of humankind, from insular, tribal existence, to living in society with other groups, was concomitant with the gradual, sociological and agricultural development, from a mere “subsistence,” to a “surplus,” economy. The same, necessarily, portended inter-societal contact and trade, roads, commercial laws and uniform media of exchange. Contextually, it led to the necessary interaction between various peoples of non-provincial and variant appearance, ethnicities, language and dress, thus, experientially and rationally, altering the subject menace, dictated by many, previously, limited, insular stereotypes. The growth of Cities, City-States and, then, Nations, universally brought together Man, in all his various ethnic and racial, iterations, living together and in commercial and social interaction. What may, in earlier times, been perceived as “different,” and, perforce, menacing, became mundane and unthreatening.
Our speculations, concerning the pre-historic origins of the primitive and unjust discrimination against other Homo sapiens, (who looked “different,”) may possess some acceptable degree of verisimilitude, yet, unfortunately, it’s “hardwired,” contemporaneous continuance is irrational, retrogressive, unspeakably, immoral, and life-damaging and deleterious, to its recipients.
Over the years, we have, speculated on the relentless, seemingly, interminable and, in our view, pathological, causes for the contemporary, perpetuation of racial and ethnic bigotry, and have been able to perceive certain possible causes, or etiologies, all of which, reliably, possess the quintessential ingredient of human ignorance.
- The insensitive, early-childhood, teachings of “we” and “they” in the instruction of the young’s needed sense of belonging, and identity. A more salutory approach would be the employment of the context of “we,” i.e., indicating the natural existence and acceptability of other cultures and physical appearances.
- The presence of, nuanced, personal, feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem, resulting in the solely available, desperate and purportedly, redeeming, self-valuation of white skin color, or religious belief, over different color or credo.
- The existence, of bigoted speech, in the family home, particularly, during the child’s younger and more formable years.
- The retrograde, ignorant and empirically, disproven, belief in the cultural, superiority of one classification of Homo sapiens, over another.
- The limitations inherent in interaction, primarily, with persons who share the same racial and belief systems, making, conceivably, possible and credible, fictional or delusional, accounts of the character of “others” of different skin color or variant beliefs.
The solution to this timeless, execrable, and empirically, unnecessary blemish upon humankind, may, logically and empirically, be related to its presumed origins, viz., the primitive fear of danger from beasts or unfamiliar people. If prehistoric fear of the unfamiliar person is the accurate etiology of the problem’s, classical origin, the logical solution would seem to reside in the emphatic teaching of, and the promotion of socially interactive experience, and thereby, the empirical demonstration of the equal humanity, of all Homo sapiens, regardless of skin color, ethnos or chosen beliefs.