Monday, 18 June 2007

Iz my philosophy, let me shows it to you

Am just at one of those negative points in my life I think. We were blessed with a gorgeous weekend, and I was thinking how few people really deserved to experience it... Definitely not George Bush nor John Howard, in view of their respective stands on global warming...

Ah but anyhow - my weekend, let me shows it to you.

Saturday had a pleasant enough day but all in town so no really beautiful moments, other than the weather being absolutely gorgeous, and finding creaming soda at the local Indian market, (the one in Market City, in case creaming soda is your thing) and getting a good sucuklu pide into me. (== Soo Joo Clue, is Turkish salami and cheese in a Turkish bread pide.)

Sunday got better. Off for a drive in the country, on the way out picked up Wok In A Box noodles and then ate them pretty much at Australind, where we drove to via the scenic route around the lake/inlet there. As we've had some winter rains now, the scenery was lush and green and looking better than it has in years, cows and calves enjoying a feast of plenty and looking shaggy and woolly.

We snuck back across the highway to Collie, stopped to check out Wellington Dam and watch the freeclimbers scale the quarry walls for a while, and then turned and came home via Harvey. And look, it must be the number of people I know that are having babies in the next few months, many of them younger and (I thought) smarter than that and now changing their lives irrevocably, forever, that I guess got me thinking.

Harvey helped too, because every time I hear the name I think of Harvey Danger's song "Flagpole Sitter" and today the verse that I couldn't get out of my head was:

Been around the world and found
That only stupid people are breeding
The cretins cloning and feeding
And I don't even own a tv

And you know, I wonder now. In studies done on a rat population, some twenty years ago now, the scientists running it made a few discoveries that need to be connected to human life:

The experiment was simple - give the rats ideal conditions and a fixed size environment for breeding and reproducing, allow the population to continue unchecked by predators, and see where it stabilised at.

What actually happened was this:

Rat mothers had huge litters, and nurtured them and grew them up to healthy little rats, which continued for a few generations. Food and water were never allowed to become scarce, and the rats in fact had a rat utopia. The population continued to grow, and then levelled out.

And what was doing the levelling was what had the scientists wearing out pencil after pencil. Rat mums were having indiscriminate sex with rat dads, dropping litters, and going out to get pregnant again, often leaving litters to die or (if lucky) cared for by surrogate rats (sort of like the generations cared for by grandparents)

Rat lives were cheap, and rats would attack and kill others for no other reason than stimulation, it seemed. The generally orderly rat society fell apart as more and more rats seemed to realise that rat life was cheap. Nests got dirty and stayed dirtied as rats stopped caring for their young, for themselves, and then for the lives of the other rats.

And all the pieces, the thrill killings and thrill bashings, the random one night stands, the lack of caring, even seemingly unrelated things like the fall of the Roman empire - all fell into place...

Our populations have been increasing, but nowhere so much as in our cities. The human rats have been forced into closer and closer proximity, and we have abandoned babies, bashed babies, bashed people, murdered people,and thrill killings. When grasshoppers breed to the point where they are touching one another's legs more than a certain number of times in a certain period, their bodies change and they become a locust swarm. Seems like we and the rats have a different overpopulation switch wired into us...

For the Roman Empire, the founding and growth of large population centres signalled the beginning of the end, the effects of it were in my view one of the causes for the fall. For us, we have reached the age of large cities and while society groaned and wobbled a lot, it seems to have in general held for the medium cities. Larger cities are pretty much rat jungles, but medium cities and smaller seem to hold on okay. It's not "stupid people" that are breeding, just people whose entire machinery has been thrown out of whack by perceived overpopulation.

And now we have the Internet, shrinking us all into a single virtual city, and there are even more people out there feeling that pressure. So think about that before you join another friend network, add Facebook friend, or request to join someone on Myspace or follow someone on Twitter. Are you willing to be the straw that broaches critical mass and lets loose the virtual rat of overcrowding?

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