Many people believe that animals lack intelligence. Even people who'll admit to some limited intelligence in some animals will insist that there isn't any intelligence at all among such things as arthropods.
If the various arthropods lack intelligence, then some of them at least provide some very interesting imitations. Several years ago, I saw a spider do something that sure looked smart. My linoleum is mostly white, with a square array of little black diamonds, on 4 1/2 inch centers. As I was walking across the room one day, I observed a spider that was doing the same thing. I don't know if the spider was aware of me or not, but it appeared to be. It would stop for several seconds on one of the black diamonds and then run for the next one, on which it would stop again. It appeared to be intentionally running from one bit of cover to the next. It seemed to be aware that it was visible against the white surface but not visible against the black surface. I don't want my place to be infested with intelligent spiders so I stomped on it. I haven't seen any more of them since then so either that was the only one or the others are smart enough to wait on the black diamonds until I'm gone.
Most people will probably claim that the spider's behavior was motivated entirely by instinct. There are several different ways to reply to such a claim. Here's one of them. The only way to arrive at that conclusion is to assert that spiders lack intelligence and that instinct is the only other possible motivation for such behavior. So, consider us. It's difficult to point to a rational justification for some of our behavior. For example, why would men take such risks, and expend such resources, in the pursuit of women? The perceived benefits of such behavior are transient and, rationally considered, it might even be argued that they're not worth the trouble. So, our pursuit of women isn't motivated by a rational evaluation of the benefits, risks, costs, and consequences. We engage in the behavior without even trying to justify it rationally. By what, then, is it motivated? We do it just because we want to, and for no other particular reason. Very few of us would be willing to cease and desist. The only rational benefit is to perpetuate the species, which isn't why most of us do it. That benefit, however, sounds like a pretty good argument in favor of the idea that the behavior is motivated by the same thing that motivated the spider's behavior. That is, the behavior isn't driven by rational consideration but by instinct.
Anybody who doubts the power of our physical drives over our conscious thoughts ought to consider how difficult it is to resist our inner desires, to stay on a diet, to confront a bully, to stay awake when we're sleepy, to avoid taking things that we want, to go against the customs of our group, and so forth. Maybe pleasure and satisfaction are nothing more than the positive feedback that we get from behaving according to our instincts. Love, marriage, motherhood, apple pie, and the flag notwithstanding, maybe after all we're not so very differently motivated than the bugs.
The Diary of Cyber Sleuth: Day One
|Letters to the Editor
Dear Sam Greetings!
Hello Friend! The rainy season is upon us here in central CA and the flooding has started. Today is a day of reprieve so I cleaned the latrines & sinks on the yard. (as is my job)
Superb article on RMDSSpritz!! (11/02) [November 2012, page 1] I agree whole heartedly and this article should be sent to & published in COSMO, etc!!! I really chuckled a lot while reading it.
Your point on patents is mostly convincing [November 2012, page 3]. I do agree 98%, however, one or two inventions should benefit the "creator" primarily, and it must also be construed in societal maturity, eg, when Jondalar & Ayla [Earth's Children, Jean M. Auel] "perfected" the "throwing sling" & "spear thrower" (through the necessity of survival) it was theirs until they chose to instruct others (also to gain more acceptance/status?). When Hank Rearden [Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand] created "Rearden Steel", I believe he did it for selfish gain and already knew the social order would gain (through safety on the rails & lower freight costs due to higher speeds!) I believe it is wrong for gov't to benefit on private patents! (NASA, etc) & who are they to say the PUBLIC can't "handle" the "ET knowledge" (UFO's, Area 51) etc. & who knows what could have been invented if the info was free & open to all? This ties in with your cover article. All men are created equal but those in gov't are more equal than those who elect them ! (We are way past the "Animal Farm"!) [George Orwell]
You take care my friend as the final showdown approaches. We Americans will not go quietly into the night!
Happy December, Sam. Thanks for the Frontiersman.
—Steve, Mililani, Hawaii
The next message is in reply to a question that I asked a prisoner who'd been deprived of writing implements and had learned to write with Kool Aid. One letter that I received was in black. I asked him where he found black Kool Aid. Most of this message is in reply to that question. The last two paragraphs are in reply to another question that I asked him.
You asked about "black Kool Aid". The thugs who were stopping my outmail by prohibiting access to pen, pencil, etc were incensed that I was getting past their prohibition by my own resources of writing with the poison Kool Aid packs they gave us for lunch. So they invented a new rule saying I could not send out any mail that had an unknown substance used as home-made ink (=Kool Aid). I won my argument on that issue by them making a face-saving compromise of making a copy of my Kool Aid letters, sending the photo copy & leaving me the original (they planned to later confiscate). So you got the Xerox copy of my Kool Aid ltrs., which is why it was black = Xerox toner. One of the original Kool Aid ltrs survived my transfer here — one you should have received a copy of, & I assume you did. I'm enclosing it here so you can see what it looked like in original Kool Aid. I also did purple (grape), brown (grape mixed with orange Kool Aid), orange, & this was raspberry with maybe a little punch in it. I started out having to do very big lettering over & over on brown paper lunch bags. Very laborious. I kept experimenting with better ways & material to make the applicator with, until it got so I could do the finer lines you see on the enclosed [date omitted] Kool Aid ltr. Styrofoam cup material worked better than any kind of regular paper products, tho it still took very specific forming of it as a tip by compressing it just right with thread wound around it. But best of all was a piece of Tyvek envelope fiber, twisted over some material with flexibility (styro cup piece) & then thread from underwear (finally got) [he had previously been deprived of all clothing.] wound around it just right. Maybe silly to explain all that, but it really took a lot of work in the beginning to write each word to a legible degree, which isn't obvious at all on this enclosed ltr which used a much more refined, quicker method where I didn't have to go over each letter over & over till it was sufficiently applied & readable....
• FYI: Nothing can ever be brought to me nor given from me to/from anyone who visits me in prison. That is forbidden — almost a capital crime in CDC.
• It is worse than a capital crime (to CDC people) to even think of bringing a computer into a prison/visiting room etc. For that, I'd need to be in one of those forward, more advanced, more civilized countries like Turkey or Malaysia or Mexico or 100s of others that do allow prisoners to have laptops, access the www etc, Calif prisons are the old USSR of the world's prisons. The most draconian on the globe.
|It's An Attitude
Sam Aurelius Milam III
The following excerpt is from a longer article that I received with a letter from a prisoner. I don't know who originally wrote the article but he compared liberals to conservatives. I view that categorization as being irrelevant. So far as I can tell, liberals and conservatives are equally repressive. They're just repressive about different things. I'd have compared evangelistic reformers to people who just want to be left alone. Out of respect for the unknown author, I've preserved his terminology in my reprint. The lesson is still there, either way, if you know how to look for it.
In defense of my previous claim that liberals and conservatives are equally repressive, I'll add a few items of my own, just by way of example.
My examples aren't much more exaggerated than those provided by the unknown author but I probably had more fun writing mine than he had writing his. Anyway, sometimes exaggeration helps to make the point. Whatever the case, the important point here is that repression is repression, regardless of whether it's imposed by liberals or by conservatives.
Haw Tu Tawk Suthun
Original Source Unknown. Forwarded by David, of Idaho Falls, Idaho.
BARD: verb. Past tense of the infinitive to borrow. Usage: My brother bard my pickup truck.
JAWJAH: noun. A state just north of Florida. Usage: My brother from Jawjah bard my pickup truck.
MUNTS: noun. A calendar division. Usage: My brother from Jawjah bard my pickup truck and I ain't herd from him in munts.
RANCH: noun. A tool. Usage: I think I left my ranch in the back of ma pickup truck my brother from Jawjah bard a few munts ago.
ALL: noun. A petroleum-based lubricant. Usage: I sure hope my brother from Jawjah puts all in my pickup truck.
FAR: noun. A conflagration. Usage: If my brother from Jawjah don't change the all in my pickup truck, that thing's gonna catch far.
TAR: noun. A rubber wheel. Usage: I hope that brother of mine from Jawjah doesn't git a flat tar in my pickup truck.
BAHS: noun. A supervisor. Usage: If you don't stop reading these Southern words and git back to work, your bahs is gonna far ya!
Old Timers' Lore
I didn't make them up. I just overheard them somewhere.
My thanks to the following: SantaClara Bob; Lady Jan the Voluptuous; my mother; Dewey and Betty; FL, of Soledad, California; Steve, of Mililani, Hawaii; and Sir Donald the Elusive.
Useful Units of Measure
Original Source Unknown. Forwarded by David, of Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Statements Attributed to Al Gore
Original Source Unknown. Forwarded by Lady Jan the Voluptuous. I didn't try to verify any of them.
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor