Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Fabric of Society

If society were a bolt of linen, I wonder what its thread count would be. I wonder what its cost per yard and color would be. I wonder how long society would sit on the shelves before anyone would buy it, and what would they use it for once they did. And if it would fade.

Yep, I'm in that kind of mood. Its fabric of society time.

9 times out of 10, when I start one of these blog posts, I have no idea where its going to go. I'm sure that comes as no big surprise to anyone who's read even one of these. So I'm curious about where I'm heading with this and I'm writing the stupid thing.

I've made several incredibly obvious observations about the fabric of the society we live in. Nothing about atoms and dark matter - that's not obvious. But just about things. Starting with humans.

A normal healthy person has two arms & two legs (four limbs), two eyes, two ears, a nose with two nostrils. A dog has four legs (humans have four limbs), two eyes, two ears, a nose with two nostrils. So does a cat, and most other mammals. That cannot be an accident.

(For an exception to the nose rule, I suggest you read "Tobacco Road" by Erskine Caldwell).

Almost all people, in almost all cultures, wear clothes of some sort. I've seen pictures of very famous, intelligent, powerful people, and they were all sitting in a chair, wearing clothes. Just like I do.

People are generally sociable, sociable to the point they they use complicated bureaucracies called governments to arrange and regulate their societies, to create & enforce laws for the good of the whole, to allow the group to accomplish much more than a single individual, while at the same time allowing an individual to accomplish a lot within that framework. Lions have their own societal arrangements, as do dogs, cats, wolves, apes and on and on. Why is this? Human society is a lot more complex perhaps, but that's because we're more complex. We think abstractly, speak in languages, have the ability to grasp higher mathematics. But at a basic level, its down to the two ears, two eyes, one nose with two nostrils observation - at a basic level we arrange our society into groups, just like wolves, lions and gorillas.

I think about stuff like this off and on. Back when I was a systems engineer, I wondered how society ever got to the point that things were so abstract.

I'd wonder about things completely stupid, like why did society develop in such a way that I had to go to work everyday, fighting heavy traffic. How did money become little more than numbers on a computer screen.

How did money become, period.

I think this is about as much as I care to think about it for tonight - so this post went right here.


Heather said...

Man, that is too deep for me. Although I have had the question of how did money become the meaning of our exsistance? It controls us and keeps us hostage.
Interesting post.

Patti Anne said...

That's heavy. Hmmmm, what if cats had three eyes and dogs had four? How would we be able to look at them?

I guess there must be a Divine Creator who figured all this out!

linlah said...

Linen is way too expensive to compare to society but my guess is a thread count of 50. And it did fade from 500 to 50.

A Valdese Blogger said...

Heather: I'm not sure about the deep-i-osity of the observations. I read a book called "The History of Money" once, which a bit of the philosophy of money in it too. I think it's interesting that we've become so abstract that we give value to numbers on a computer screen - numbers backed by nothing.

PA: If cats had 3 eyes & dogs had 4, they'd look funnier than they already do. I'm thankful that house cats don't weigh 60 pounds or so. We'd all be dead if they did.

linlah. I remember when you could get a package of chewing gum for a dime, and it had 5 pieces. Then they increased the price to 20 cents, but it only had 7 pieces. I'm sure of society was a bolt of linen, something similar would happen, and at the very least you'd have to pay the same price for something cheaper.