Foucault Anthropology

Late night thought: we did not eliminate the alpha, we socialized his power, all the men have it, that’s what Wrangham describes, that’s the patriarchy – but that’s Foucault isn’t it, distributed power, socialized alpha power, I’m saying, but the thing is, I think for evidence that the alpha is not gone, rather everywhere instead, is that the world has been destroyed at the hands of the tyranny of cousins, that in fact what they’ve wrought is the same destruction the alpha does. “Foucault anthropology” again: whatever relief and freedom chimps ever get from their alpha, for whatever reason, he’s occupied abusing someone else, humans do not, the socialized, everywhere alpha has time for all of us, all the time. The technological gains, the knowledge, the culture, the civilization, it all seems to be better and different, not alpha destructiveness, it was a lot of literal construction . . . but if it all ends soon, if the air gives out or something, in hindsight, we will have to say it all served nothing but somebody’s destructiveness. Won’t we?

That either he’s not gone, he’s everywhere, throwing his violent tantrums, or that he did in fact provide some check, some form of organization that at least left us selectable by the rest of the biosphere . . . weird, this may be worth pursuing. On the one hand, it does seem an alpha function to hold us back from progress, to protect his position that way, and it seems incredibly clear today in America where the oppressed citizens are asking for better treatment from the authorities and it is the police and the authorities that are rioting, having a proper alpha tantrum, and lagging behind the public’s anti-violence morality. On the other hand, if he had held us back a lot more, we would still be relatively harmless apes? I’m not getting to it, but there’s something in there. D’ya think?

Jeff

June 2020

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