Monday, July 13, 2009

if there is hope for today, take tomorrow: No Entities, No Establishments (or that movement to fit)

Telecommunications has rendered time and space yet more evasive than it naturally was. Thanks to the television, men and women and children were able to watch from the surface of the earth as three US citizens stepped foot on the moon, showing us for the first time images of our small, delicate world. Moreover, computers can store things nowhere and everywhere at the same time. As I sit and write this from my room now I know that, should it be needed, by simply sending the transcript to myself through e-mail I can access my attempt at composition from virtually any computer in the world. This is made possible, or so the authorities argue, by the nonexistence of such digital information in any place. The authorities have made use of this loophole, therefore interpreting it as not evasion of a citizen’s privacy, but, rather a justifiable anti-terror mechanism.

3 comments:

  1. Telecommunications has rendered time and space yet more evasive than it naturally was. Thanks to the television, men and women and children were able to watch from the surface of the earth as three US citizens stepped foot on the moon, showing us for the first time images of our small, delicate world. Moreover, computers can store things nowhere and everywhere at the same time. As I sit and write this from my room now I know that, should it be needed, by simply sending the transcript to myself through e-mail I can access my attempt at composition from virtually any computer in the world. This is made possible, or so the authorities argue, by the nonexistence of such digital information in any place. The authorities have made use of this loophole, therefore interpreting it as not evasion of a citizen’s privacy, but, rather a justifiable anti-terror mechanism.

    These, the gadgets, adventures and abilities of humans in the Industrial Age, represent the most tangible examples of human progress. What, then, is progress? Traditionally, we have envisaged “progress” as the act by which we or our modes of living improve and move forward towards some sort of, usually theocratic, utopia. If it is true, that the harnessing of oil and the consequential industrialization is man’s proudest leap forward, what implications should we derive for the concept of progress when considering our current pocket of reality?

    There have been many ‘human instants’ by which man’s population has increased. In the hunting and gathering period from 2 million B.C. (use of fire, tool-making) to 35,000 B.C (spear-thrower, bow and arrow), there was a 167% increase in population. In the horticultural period from 8,000 B.C. (cultivation of plants) to 4,000 B.C. (metallurgy or bronze) there was a 975% increase in population. In the agrarian period from 3,000 B.C. (plow) to 1,000 B.C. (iron tools) there was a 249% increase in population. By the advent of firearms, in around 1398 A.D., there had been, approximately, an increase of 176.4%. Between 1650 and 1850, merely two centuries time, the world’s population doubled.

    It had doubled once-more by 1930, in just eighty years. The following forty-five years saw yet another doubling. Here and now, on the threshold between industrial man and post-industrial man, we have the unique opportunity of examining our human concept of progress, and one thesis, seemingly, stems from the wisdom of the ancients: the higher you climb, the harder you fall. Progress, then, is the process by which a stage is set higher. Along the way, man behaved just as all species do, by adapting to an ecological niche—rather, a multitude of niches—and through interdependence evolved the community or social niche. A species and its environment are always in a constant state of flux, and any minute transformation within a niche affects the biochemical processes of any organism within that niche.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ecological succession represents the process by which a species evolves in relation to its environment. The interaction between a species and its environment, especially the keystone species, determines the other species which will succeed at fitting themselves to the habitat. In the subsequent intermediate stage, the many species in the area begin to demand more of the environment they share. Should this ecological community—encompassing of all the different plants, animals, microbes or whatever there may bbe—fail, then another very well may follow, until a more complex community emerges. And so on, towards a theoretical dynamic equilibrium between the species and the environment.

    The ecology of the city is one place where we find profound changes elicited in organisms, such as in songbirds, as an environment and its inhabitants interact and evolve. Songbirds, so it seems, have been partly denatured by citification, insofar as their ability for predator detection and sexual reproduction have been considerably altered, in some cases stripped. While self-proclaimed misanthropes (we are all closet misanthropes, depending on the day) bemoan the decadence of city life, we partake in a self-important act by forgetting the disastrous effects already elicited unto other organisms.

    The cacophony of the city may enervate us, but for many birds’ this symphony of haste means life and death, for background noise muddles the sounds of approaching predators and other alarms foretelling of danger. The rhythmic din of society, what’s more, inhibits individuals of reproductive success by obscuring the songs of male birds (perhaps the metropolis simply selects for an army of loudmouth songbirds!), an important tool for attracting mates and demarcating territory.

    What some offshoots of this are, are the driving of some species out of the city, the changing in the means of communication among some species, and, conceivably, the future evolution of an entirely new species. Some species of robins have begun already to sing at night, as opposed to dawn, traditionally the time of their chorus. Nightingales have taken to singing, or shouting, louder during the day, an adaptation seemingly out of step with their delicate melodies.

    A study by Henrik Brumm at the University of St Andrews in the UK revealed that nightingales singing between 5am and 10am sang upwards of 14 decibels louder than their kind in the forest, their high range reaching up to 95 decibels (loud enough to send we humans scurrying for ear plugs). Their decibel levels was measured as proportional to the intensity of background noise; the march of workers on weekdays to and from their offices in the skies resulted in birds singing particularly loud.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The species and subspecies of songbirds which adapt quickest will have won the bounty of their particular ecological (or mechanical) niche, as a result of successful individuals who were able to more effectively maneuver within the changing environment.

    Currently, cities of the world trend towards agglomerization—that is, the blurring of borders between townships and cities which comes to form the agglomeration, or a city of more than 10 million inhabitants. One such example of an agglomeration is Southern California, in which is situated, from north to south, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County, Camp Pendleton or the second largest military base in the country, and San Diego.

    And it doesn’t end there. San Diego shares an island of concrete with Tijuana, whom we cannot leave out of the equation, despite our proclivity to drawing inherently illusory borders. Sequestered from the rest of Southern California, these two cities make up in and of themselves an agglomeration. Another agglomeration such cluster lies on the east coast, and is comprised of, north to south, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

    The West Coast city-state is home to approximately ten million; scant in the shadow of the East’s 44,035,785.2

    The interplay between the song birds and these growing metropolises, in some ways, is analogous to an arms race. When one evil empire ups the ante and increases the output of its nuclear weapons, so too will the other evil empire. Unlike in a mirror, where the myriad reflections appear to retreat down to the size of an atom, the empires, in a paradigm reminiscent of the faceoff between the Soviet Union and the United States, set their own nuclear stages higher. Similarly, and over time, the songbird reacted to the growing city, and eventually the agglomeration, by bellowing a bit louder as the bustling of thoroughfares became more rambunctious.

    ReplyDelete