Monday, November 17, 2008

an old question.

Spike: It's bollocks, Angel. It's your brand of bollocks from first to last.
Angel: No. You can't ever see the big picture. You can't see any picture.
S: I am talking about something primal, right. Savagery! Brutal, animal instinct!
A: That wins out every time with you. You know the human race has evolved, Spike!
S: Into a bunch of namby-pamby, self-analyzing wankers who could never hope to overcome aggressors...
A: We're bigger. We're smarter. Plus there's a thing called teamwork. Not to mention the superstitious terror of your pure aggressors. [Angel gestures "air quotes."]
S: You just want it to be the way you want it to be.
A: It's not about what I want!
Wesley: Sorry. Is this something we should all be discussing?
W: It just sounded a little serious.
A: It was mostly... Theoretical. We...
S: We were just working out a... Look, if cavemen and astronauts got into a fight, who would win?
W: Huh. [pause] You've been yelling at each other for forty minutes about this. [long pause] Do the astronauts have weapons?
A&S: No.

This may be an old question, but I think it's an important one. Fred brings up an interesting caveat: "cavemen live in their 'caves.' they at least have fire."
That unfolds into a lot of "haves" for the cavemen. Cavemen split a rock and have a knife.
I understand it's a lot more complicated than that and Ordovician tool-making is a thousand-years worth of knowledge, but let's assume that cavemen have knives and because they do either astronauts have stone knives or astronauts do not.
I guess that's a question of how you feel about science, not just about scientists, but about the scientific method and how intimately scientists are entangled with technology.
And of all possible modern humans, why astronauts? Is the astronaut the paradigm of human evolution? Are they, instead, the anti-caveman? Cavemen live in caves. Astronauts live far away from caves, in space. Cavemen make their own tools. Astronauts have their tools made for them.
The question, simply put, is:
If Astronauts, as larger predators, and Cavemen, as more enthusiastic predators with sharper teeth, were to identify each other as in-competition for mutually desired resources, who would win?

I think Cavemen would win, but Astronauts would be able to articulate their loss using several theories, but would probably focus on conflict theory.

What about you?

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