Note to reader: In this essay I am going to mimic Pulitzer Prize-winning author-educator Jared Diamond’s writing trope of stringing together bold unprovable assertions as if they were fact mixed with accepted knowledge for easy access reading and fun !
When American Founding Father John Adams arrived in Holland in 1782 to negotiate a loan to cover expenses incurred by The Revolution, he noticed that Dutch mothers were beating their boys more often than seemed necessary. Why the excessive Dutch corporal punishment? What forces of human natural selection are in play in this intrademic child abuse?
By damping the Dutchboy spirit with hard hairbrush handle across the bottom, the Dutch mother creates an obedient young animal that learns his place in the social order; she is simultaneously creating a spiritual-psychological demon in this boy that will radiate a grudge against the world to be exercised and perhaps exorcised in faraway lands as the boy becomes a man sailing out into the world to fight, conquer, dominate, explore the Malaysian-Java-Melanesian archipelago killing-dominating-governing indigenous people, returning home with shiploads of pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon,vanilla beans, cocoa, ginger, turmeric exotic spices that will enrich a noble class of Dutchmen coddled as entitled little merchant princes in their own childhood, who will comfortably assume primacy in the intensely stratified Dutch social order, becoming guild masters, shipowners and merchants. Dutch society is glued together by memic spank- logic and groupthink worthy of termites, ants and bees.
See: Willem de Kooning “Woman” series -1951- 1953: oil paintings on canvas for physical artistic expression of daemonic rage against Dutch Mother corporal punishment historically channelled into commercial pursuits. For study: The correlation between the re-direction of rhizomic links between a good childhood ass-whipping, commercial exploitation of indigenous peoples and the loss of Dutch colonies in Melanesia ( West Papua) to Indonesia ( and New Orleans mining interests) in 1969.
“History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among people’s environments not because of biological differences among peoples themselves.” - Dr. Jared Diamond in his Pulitzer Prize winning book: Guns, Germs and Steel
The quote above sums up Jared diamond’s book Guns, Germs and Steel in a nutshell. In light of 20 years of evolutionary biology and genetics since the publication of this book in 1997, a different story is now told. Human cultural differences, learned things ( gun making, steel making, farming, animal husbandry and the specifics of political organization, accrue in genome-proteome-RNA-ome as a result of inherited post transcriptional modifications upon nucleotides and proteins.
If the Dutch can implement the spread of corporal punishment of boys among themselves as a powerful meme that has its use in stratifying the Dutch social order i.e. keeping 90% of children as hardworking bourgeoisie, then guns, germs and steel form a meme to guide the dirty work of civilization without Diamond’s heavy reliance on geographic causality.
100,000 Dutch mothers play a key role in structuring the Dutch socio-political hierarchy. Spanking is a behavior meme transmitted via methylated histones throughout the Dutch deme - the Dutch gene pool. During the 18th century when the practice of spanking was at its zenith in keeping Dutch men in their place in the hardworking adventurous middle of the social order, the geographical context had very little to do with it. Prof. Diamond’s environmental forces may have started the Dutch ball rolling 3,000 years prior but after that distant point in time, epigenetics assumed the role of fine-tuning Dutch society and its government of absolutist and then democratic memes, travelling from France, England and Scotland and then France again post French Revolution as Dutch Absolutism collapsed into a mercantile democracy. The Dutch were meme-magnets for the salient new ideas of European civilization, always anxious to get on board.
Old school access to meme distributors: TV networks, major record labels, big New York publishing houses was difficult to achieve but access meant wide distribution of one’s idea. Today everyone is his/her own meme distributor. It’s hard to tell Joe Blow’s website from that of Sony Pictures or Random House. One billion people have easy access to the tools for global meme distribution but alas, you see the problem. An overcrowded memeosphere. we needed those filters to create a booklist, a dependable radio playlist, TV shows we all could watch, remember “Dobie Gillis” and “Bonanza”? News from a reliable talking head, either Huntley-Brinkley or Walter Cronkite - the news was real news. Now everyone is cocooned in their own memosphere access no one can communicate beyond their rhizomic patch of tangled connections. We are swamped by communication theater. We are entangled in our webs of facebook friends and relatives ( relative friends that is) with a narrow, spotty, personalized newsfeed IV drip of some sort and are led to think that we are connected. Ha ! an artful swindle, swapping old school memology for the new faux meme regime. We are faux-meming at the mouth rabid starving info dogs. Of course everyone wants to see my selfie.
Question Set A:
- When DNA unspools after mitosis in a pool of chromatin goo, are genes from each parent present and accessible?
- If there is a dominant gene ( sequence of nucleotides on one of the halves of the DNA double helix) and a recessive gene floating in some neighboring goop, how does mRNA distinguish between recessive and dominant genes if mother’s DNA and father’s DNA are all mixed together in the soup? Is the info pre-coded in some RNA during mitosis or is the info coded into the two different sequences ( genes) themselves?
- Is genetic crossing-over related to qualities of dominance or recessiveness?
- A hemocyte has 46 chromosomes, 23 from mom and 23 from dad. How does the mRNA know which gene ( mom or dad) present in chromatin is the dominant one that will code the protein in question at a particular transcription event? How does mRNA get “wised up” as to which is the dominant gene?
- Is the dominant gene the only one of the two that gets unspooled and unpaired ( two rails of DNA ladder are separated down the middle to allow access to a row of nucleotides from double helical strand of DNA? The other gene for the same trait remaining tightly wound up with its histones?
- How is a recessive gene silenced during transcription?
- For example: At the cochlear cell (or is it a cluster of brainstem neurons?) that governs pitch perception - mom has perfect pitch and dad is tone deaf. Is there a perfect pitch gene sent by mom at the chromatin of this cell? Is there a tone deaf gene from dad at the same cell? Is there a cochlear HOX-type gene, a bauplan controller gene that locates the placement of hair cells for reception of various pitches? example of such a gene barking orders “hair cell for middle C you go over there! Hair cell for A above middle C you go over there!
- Does the human genome contain 3 billion bases or 3 billion base pairs? Since the genetic code is read from the series of bases ( series of letters ACGT) on a strand of DNA and reading can go in 2 directions on each one of two strands, does the human genome actually have 12 billion bases available for transcription? Does DNA only get read from 5’ to 3’ and not vice versa?
- During meiotic recombination are entire genes swapped when swapping occurs? If entire genes are always swapped how does a gene identify itself as an entity for the recombination. What prevents only a percentage of a gene from getting swapped? If only a percentage of a gene is swapped during a recombo event might this be a source of mutation and potential evolution of a superior trait. i.e. a new gene X-prime that is shorter than X and codes for a longer pair of canine teeth ( without the extra nucleotides, the stop growing instruction is missing when transcription happens in the following cell division ( and for all of history until extinction in tar pit)
In Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond confuses species variation with species evolution. He also vastly overestimates expected rates of plant and animal evolution. As has been established in contemporary evolutionary theory, change is not usually evidence of evolution. Think of a graph of daily fluctuations of the stock market over the course of 50 years. There is an enormous amount of change but a single overall trend up or down to health or disease, survival or extinction. Several classic examples of species evolution in textbooks are not evolution at all but simple species change. See: Darwin’s Galapagos finches or Kettlewell’s peppered moth-industrial melanism. Most human initiated change in plants is trivial ( though useful) intra-species swerves that are as likely to revert to pre-human form as to survive as evolutionary improvements in the currently domesticated varieties. Humans have created freak plants removed from most age-old forces of natural selection. Change is not often evolution in the natural world and 99% of genetic change is unhealthy. Bodies of plants and animals go to great lengths to edit change OUT of the genome prior to replication.
To say that learning and memory occur in a synapse between a dendrite and an axon is like saying a million year old glacier is made of drops of water. It is true the glacier IS made of drops of water, but a lot transpires to create the perceived result.
“Synaptic plasticity requires rapid synthesis of proteins.”
“Proteins are made to order at the synapse”
“Which RNAs get translated into protein to form memory is still a mystery.”
“There are 1,000 to 3,000 mRNAs at each dendrite”
JBQ: Are proteins synthesized at dendrite for hippocampal long-term memory storage of childhood trauma ( Dutch hairbrush across butt and thighs). Are these punishment protocols enculturated as post transcriptional modifications of nucleotides or histones or RNA or other protein molecules? Are these “hairbrush memories” transmitted to following generation of spankee via epigenetics or must each generation of Dutch boy get spanked anew? Is the spanking of follow-up generations simply a cultural booster or is mom starting from scratch with each new generation to instill this key social behavior she learned from her parents re: status in relation to a dominant upper class, a class that is essentially sedentary and must be fed from the hard work the spankees? Hey Hey we’re the Spankees ! Spankee and Our Gang.
How much of human development of past 20,000 years is actual genetically conserved evolution and how much is simply RNA modifications - easy come-easy go. Humans may be at an evolutionary dead end given our measly numbers of different species-one, opposed to 600,000 living species of arachnids and 40,000 species of fish. We are new here on Earth and unwelcome given our record. There are one million microorganisms currently planning our extinction.
JBQ - Was the emergence of the bourgeoisie in 18th century Europe a manifestation of thermodynamic gradient reduction between Capital ( cold, darkness) and Laboring humans ( warm, light). A Capital-labor dualism similar in type to the entropic dualism between the hot sun and cold dark outer space that causes differential reduction using life forms - plant animal, microorganisms? Answer: Yes
Given that these dualities are similar, do Marshall McLuhan’s cold and hot media reflect this entropic duality? TV is hot, books are cold a differential giving rise to information growth - information as life. Information convection caused by two different temperatures. Commie convection between Bakhunin and Marx.
Jared Diamond asserts the following as causes of European domination of less tech-savvy peoples of the Americas:
- Military technology and tools : guns, steel weapons, horses
- infectious disease thin indigenous ranks
- European maritime tech: shipbuilding, navigation
- European absolutist political organization ( monarchy)
- Writing for quick and detailed communication
JBQ - Are any of the above items more than cultural memes that are learned and are handed down between generations i.e. individuals tap into the pool of advantages using a hard-won, expensive education rather than absorbing their culture carrying inborn hardwired ( structuralist) intellectual tools for art, technology and language? Answer: Carrying a pathogenic microorganism harmful to others but not to one’s self is more than a meme - it’s a vector. Essay topic: “Vectors versus Memes” Guns and steel are memes, germs are vectors.
Society in comfortable times is like unspooled DNA stewing in chromatin. It is diffuse, flexible, open to forces of change. In stressful times, in times of siege, society closes ranks, tightens up, assumes its form, a rigid organization suitable for transfer of hereditary information ( wars of conquest) - chromatids from chromatin.
“Stalin, a ruler directing the energy of memory” - Guy Debord
The idea of the farm is the root of property and thus of war. One must remain stationary, define an area of operation create and defend their border, become a cell with a definite membrane evolved ( devolved) from protoplasmic wanderer-gatherer-hunter.
Question Set B:
- Did the intense concentrations of RNA, free-floating aminos and miscellaneous organic molecules at freezing and melting of “Snowball Earth” events ( 5 total) force the evolution of borders ( cell membranes) thus introducing the idea of private property - the idea of life itself, allowing the conflict that defines all LIVING things to begin? Cells then team up, form alliances, symbiotic relationships by intention or by force to form communities first and then hierarchies of dukedoms moving toward a world of absolutist states ruled by royal brains - higher animals, life on land, birds, mammals, apes, humans ! The cells of a tribal, hunter-gatherer society multiply into a highly stratified civilization - uncontrolled growth.
- What has been quicker, the spread of food production around the globe or the spread of Christianity? What is a bigger meme, food production or Christianity? How are farming and Christianity connected? What percentage of farmers are Christians? Are food production and religion yin-yang operations? One must develop religious hierarchy to ensure the distribution of food to priests-kings and to soldiers. what is the best religion for efficient food distribution and subsequent cultural development-war making capability? Religion is war. Religion is different from war the way that ice is different than water i.e. not essentially different. War is melted religion - religion is frozen war. Another hot-cold thermodynamic gradient in search of reduction-acceleration toward entropy.
- Are plant pollination-seed distribution / animal collaboration a duality hardwired into specific sequences of nucleotides in each organism? or is this partnership simply a function of RNA activity or post transcriptional modifications that are heritable?
- What is the ratio of living organisms changing one another’s selective conditions for evolution-extinction and the inanimate world changing selective conditions via weather patterns, continent formation-deformation, ice ages, comet impact etc. Is this ratio 50-50 or 90-10 ?
- Are germination inhibitors at seed plants post transcriptional modifications or are they coded by genes?
- What were the effects of the ancient ( 10,000 years ago) rodent feces bacteriome-virome on human health? Rat virome effects on human gut microorganisms in relation to digestion, immune system function. When humans began farming and storing grain and attracting rodents to human habitation were there positive results? we know of bubonic plague. Did rats make humans more intelligent? were humans better wayfinders after rodent collusion-collision-cohabitation? Did segments of rat neuronal DNA find their way into the human genome? We know they did. which ones? What useful neuron DNA or RNA did humans receive from their domesticated animals and plants? Did dairy products and beef make humans more intelligent by accelerating neural electrical transmission due to better insulation at myelin sheath? was there ANY evolutionary genetic advantage from human relationship to plants and animals other than nutrition and obvious memic developments such as civics, urban planning, war-making?
- Is industrial melanism (seen in Kettlewell’s peppered moth observations recorded for textbook posterity in his doctored photos in mid 1950s as classic example of Darwinian natural selection) a result of genetic mutation thus Darwinian, as asserted by Sewall Wright or the result of epigenetics? - inheritance of an acquired characteristic thus Lamarckian NOT Darwinian? If it turns out that Kettlewell’s theory holds water despite his fraudulent photo and moth gluing onto tree bark, I vote for epigenetics due to superficiality of this variety-making that is not evolution, remember the stock market graph. It is odd that Jared Diamond would use this raggedy, much debated, sloppy science as an example of evolution in his book.
Conclusion: Is the Dutch Hairbrush a vector or a meme? genetic or epigenetic? Is beating one’s children learned or inbred behavior? Are efforts to control the destiny of children by interfering with their self-esteem ultimately productive? Is there a difference between immediate and ultimate productivity? Something workable in the 18th century is no longer necessary, there is room in the contemporary Dutch social order for everyone to excel, to rise into the middle class somewhere. Forms of soul-killing have their uses in maintaining status quo of religion and social order. Let the rich brats get away with murder and satisfy their every whim. They will grow into adults expecting royal treatment. A nation of arrogant unspanked asses. See: Fifty Shades of Gray for upper class predilection for ass spanking for hire. Spare the hairbrush and the sickness of stifled potential.