Re: virus: prev. Demon Thread

Reed Konsler (
Sun, 28 Apr 1996 19:44:22 -0400

On Sat Apr 27, 12:57pm Stephan Atkins wrote:
We can only hope to build on what has been done before if we know what
has been done before.

I've wondered about this, myself. The old adage is something like "one that
forgets history is doomed to repeat it".

But it seems like we repeat history even though we remember it. How many
nationalistic causes have committed genocide even after we have supposedly
"learned" the horror of "the final solution"? As the bloody mess that was the
Third Reich passes further into history the perspective we are lent is that
genocide is not a new thing, nor an old one..and we are not rid of it.

Ask the Bosnians.
Ask the Native Americans after singing that little School House Rock ditty:
"Elbow Room, Elbow Room, gotta gotta get us soem elbow room...
"it's the West or God we trust...there's a new land out there!"

Lest we forget that this nation is founded on the bones of massacre.

The other thing I'd note is that Western civilization is a cuture built upon
the "what has been done before" without knowing it. Technology is that way.
Does anyone really know exactly how a car, a TV, a computer, or a gun works?
But we use the tools, don't we? We build (and destroy) with them.

We wield the power built by generations while hardly remembering from whence it
came. To modify the old adage:

We stand on the shoulders of invisible giants.

Does one organism "know" it's antecedents as it overpopulates their niche and
drives them to extinction? Does DNA remember the outmoded replicators of the
past? Do the birds remember the dinosaurs?

Life is a construction built upon the past without "knowing". That is the core
of Darwin's idea: Progress without wisdom, complexity without control, meaning
without conciousness.

The self is a construct that is dependent upon the infrastructure of biology.
And the self has progressed from it's beginnings, with only the meagerest of
understandings of it's componenents.

Even today, in our outmoded religions, we deny that we are entirely physical
and entirely an expression of natural law. We argue about such imponderables
as the soul" and "the mind".

Anyway, that comment just triggered these thoughts. I know that wasn't the
central issue of your post, but I couldn't resist...