I’m a hominid. I can do very little. Because I am a primate, and because primates have been scientifically shown to have enormous excess brain capacity (I’m thinking here of the latent language capacity of the apes. Taught in captivity, apes have achieved – what is it? A vocabulary approaching that of a small child? I think that’s about right,) I believe I can rightfully claim to have enormous excess brain capacity. You’d never know it looking at me, as I lumber along, silently scavenging for whatever I might happen to come across…
Scavenging is too glorious a word for what I do, alas. I literally have to stumble over something to find it…Stumble over it or get close enough to it to smell it…My olfactory powers are greater than yours, but they are not great in comparison to any of the animals around me…I am not competing in any biologically-acceptable use of that word…I am bottom feeding what is left behind by all the other bottom feeders around me…If I am faced with the situation where I must clash or fight with them, I give way. I can’t fight off even the jackals, I cannot withstand the bites they would give me.
I can’t even dream of eating a banana…Are you kidding me? Go up against the chimps? Fat fucking chance of victory there.
I apologize for having made my life sound dreary – it is not. What I mainly experience is ecstasy. I’m experiencing a lot of wonder…That’s the tone of my existence, a kind of open-mouthed gawping wonder at…both nothing and everything. And it feels great. My life is difficult and it certainly would look miserable to an outside observer…If I saw myself as an outside observer saw me, I might be bewitched to lose this innocent feeling of the greatness I feel, but I haven’t invented either the concept of an outside or the concept of an observer or even the capacity of evaluating my feeling or knowing I am feeling my feeling…This ecstasy in me is a kind of baseline default feeling and I don’t even know I am feeling it, necessarily.
The only homo sapiens
analogy to this ecstasy I can come up with to describe – and I mean this only as an indication, I’m not being precise--are the feelings accompanying immersion in an important project- but there was time and there was energy and I had that moment and that moment sufficed and felt happy in the very brief moments I looked up and thought about. I guess in making this comparison I am making a celebration of necessity, which has a reactionary ring to it, but there’s reality in necessity and if you can’t celebrate reality, you’ve got problems. We need necessity. To be in need is not necessarily to be impoverished. It’s better to look at it as an intense involvement in one’s life, whatever that life might be.
I want to lay my problems out on the table. It is not at all obvious why I would ever behaviorally modify myself…It is not obvious why I would change my life to make my life easier or better for myself. Why would I ever pick up a rock or clack a rock against another rock? Would I, if I picked up a sharp rock, say cutting myself accidentally, have a “sudden realization” (an inspiration, as they say—incorrectly, I believe,) that this “sharpness” (a quality?) presents me with an enormous range of new possibilities? Of potential “usefulness”? Remember: I am trying to get at what is known as rationality, not merely assume it…Assume it exists, even. Having been a homo sapiens
at one point introduces to me a temptation to retrodiction… The homo sapiens
knows that the hominid flaked rocks and this proved to be useful to the hominid. In my hominid form, I cannot predict anything. I certainly do not have a concept of prediction, and as a matter of fact, homo sapiens
didn’t either until very late in their own game. I cannot even “observe.”
I pick up two rocks, one in each hand. Maybe I can manage this. Can I bring the two hands together? Probably a lot of practice would allow me to do this. Why would I take the time to practice? Would the act of loading my hands with rocks and then clacking the rocks together give me some special pleasure? I think that’s doubtful,(but maybe it would, I’m not sure.) If I do this –clack rocks—I don’t have a distinct idea of why I am doing it. It’s not for the exercise. It’s not to develop my mind. It’s not a “sublimated sexual impulse.” It’s not an embryonic “religious ritual.” I think that this action would have to be considered to be prior to any myth...It can't be considered to be guided by myth in any sense of myth of which I have knowledge. It’s not a job. There’s no inchoate model or plan I’m enacting. There’s no goal or notion of “innovation.” I’m just not so sure I am innately a toolmaker…Of course if I do make that assumption then my way through this thicket is immediately cleared…The whole problem I want to get at is magically removed.