A Place, and a Place to Talk

The commons, limits on private ownership, especially of media, land, air, and water

If a place is not my place, if the land is not for me, if I can’t have water, all this because it is someone else’s place, what has gone wrong? If people with places feel OK about it, if that seems normal, if having a place seems like the normal human condition – well, I’m human! Or I was until something cost me my home. Generally, some disaster happened, natural disasters sometimes, human ones more often, even if it is merely that we have too many children for our land to support and we ourselves force our children off it like any stranger. I haven’t actually done that; it sounds awful. I got the boot twice instead, long story, but usually, in my comfortable white life, people at least can help their kids get set up when we do it, or they don’t fully migrate and can stay in touch.

I mean, it is “normal” to occupy and defend land, so humans all do that, or it isn’t. Kids don’t get it, don’t expect it, that they would be born homeless and what seems to be the normal human existence would be denied to them, and this is my point, my theme today – aren’t they right not to get that? If we think having a place is normal, then they are correct and there is something wrong.

And shouldn’t we, instead of forcing a counterintuitive unreality upon the world forever, simply work to make it that way, more that way? We absolutely should be working to make the world into what a happy child naturally expects! What a kid naturally thinks – that is our evolution and our genes talking. We naturally think what we have naturally evolved to think.  It’s true for a crocodile or a cow or a row of corn. Isn’t that the environmental principle, you have to have what nature made you have to have? When you build a zoo, you have to provide what the creature’s evolution has made it need, you don’t argue with that and expect success.

For the record, we totally argue with that regarding ourselves, and our success is debatable. We can do things other creatures can’t – on the other hand, we do things that other creatures don’t do for good and evolved reasons.

If a young child can see what’s right, how can a whole world of adults not?

Wait, there is a failing here, a tendency I need to check, this sounds like every person always had a place until, I don’t know, some level of recently, and that may be a myth, placelessness may be as old as humanity also . . . I mean, that’s why I said “if,” I suppose, if you think having a place is normal, then it’s up to you if this conjecture is on track or not, I guess. Full disclosure, I think it’s popular to think and say, that the normal, aboriginal human condition includes having a place. I think I’ll get away with it, proven or not. Most of us want a place, certainly landowners will tell us it’s normal, and territoriality is not strange or unusual, not only with us. Territory is food and water.

I’m not saying I have an answer, but we should be trying to create a world that matches our organism, shouldn’t we, is this not obvious? We are working hard and apparently consciously to “overcome” something – what?

The food chain? Life?

If it’s normal and acceptable that humans have a place, if adults think so, if children are born expecting it, then private ownership is a newer thing than our evolution. If you expected a place to live – then our evolution was socialist, wasn’t it? Is this irony? The rich, entitled man, university educated, certain that his land is his and no-one else’s, this is my proof: evolution made us socialist, because he feels like having a place is all right and proper, perfectly acceptable.

I am capable in my contrarianism to turn anything in the world of illusion on its head. If we find a decent principle, we can audit our modern madness some. Did I not just prove that most our history and prehistory must have been more socialist and less competitive than the mainstream position has it?

No secret, I believe what we call human nature is particular to us – but nature it is not. The entire human deal is that we have learned how to do and be unnatural, isn’t it? Not asking, teaching. If I put the book together, the working title is Human Unnature. What we reference when we say “human nature” about something regrettable is our new, manufactured self, our socially engineered selves who overcame what was natural.

I haven’t nailed it all down yet, but it seems to be the human dream and the human magic to do just this, to be “free” of environmental constraints . It puts me in mind of a current events story, a zookeeper has lost an alligator and he feels the animal was old and unhealthy and extremely unlikely to survive on its own, he’s very worried. But the beast is “free,” it must have wanted to be – and this seems to me to be us all over, we are Icarus – Icarian, do we say that? I guess so, Word doesn’t mind – why would you want to be free of the Earth, the only place there is?

If I am read at all, you know, I think the ability to have your place and your water and deny the dispossessed it all is created through abuse and its desensitization. Not under any illusion that I’ve proven the matter – yet! – but I don’t hold our aggression and our tendency to violence as naïve or intuitive, I think it’s part of the unnature. If not for that, we would be trying to match our world to our evolved selves, naturally and obviously, as the indigenous the world over have been trying to do. Of course, with land goes everything, water as we’ve said, game, resources, fuel. I don’t have to pull the idea of the commons from anywhere on myself, it’s very well developed, despite that it’s been losing the battle for a long time.

It’s not news that the air waves are a part of the commons either, and they were partitioned and regulated as such for their first hundred years or so . . . but issues of private ownership haven’t gone away, or they’re back.

It seems so unbelievably obvious and clear in the case of social media, that it is a talking space and should be free to all, would this not be your intuition also? Same as land, above – isn’t it normal, doesn’t every human expect to have a talking space, like around the fire, like in the Great Hall? Granted, the campfire, the Longhouse was a small space, and largely just for the extended family group a lot of the time, a world of strangers listening, arguing and threatening in that space is new and strange, I guess. But even after I’ve blocked everybody Right of Gandhi and used all my privacy settings, there are still some site owners’ rules about what I can say to my friends and family and I have to worry about who that is and what they’re up to.

I mean, you couldn’t plan a coup in the Great Hall, authority is always listening, fully free speech is a unicorn, a perfect vacuum  – but again, authority listening, I’m used to that, and ostensibly, we’re supposed to have some kind of group rule. “Authority” is supposed to be something of a consensus – but the private owners of the social media sites? While I’ve been censured a few times for angry speech online, policed on the privately owned Twitter, entire other sites are full of the most dreadful hate, so where is the law? If my speech is harmful, who decides, Jack of Twitter, while private rich person Jack does nothing to police Reddit or Parler? Or God knows what straight up German Nazi named sites there are?

I think the talking space belongs to the people or the king, the government. It sure as Hell shouldn’t be owned and policed by individuals. Commons. I mean, I’m not sure there is a solution for the disaster that is social media, I’m only sure that it is weird and wrong that we should have to go to some rich person’s house to talk and do it however they say we should, and after that, there are sites where the owner allows the worst of everything. Fair to say, they are not curating the public talking space safely.

We surely did not allow talk in the longhouse to descend into blows every time, there is supposed to be a sense of community and good will in the talking space. Bothering me right now, that surely, we hype ourselves up for war in the Great Hall, in our group’s private talking spaces. I’m not sure social hate is a thing we have ever been able to constrain, again, as humans, raised on pain and threat. Again, there is everything wrong with social media, everything that is wrong with people with a thousand watt Marshall, I’m certainly not anyone to re-engineer that madness safely. And, generally, I do not find solutions for individual aspects of our human problems, I don’t see solving one miserable rough thing while a million other miserable rough things go on, it all has to move together, as Pinker would cheer us up that it is doing already.

I think we’ve missed it, the Earth will die and all the bad things happen if we only become conscious at the rate we have been, even if Steven is right.

So, it’s a world sized Gordian knot and it all has to loosen at once, and here I am saying, it all moves with spanking and abuse. Less hurt people will find solutions that destroyed children like us are unable to. Still, maybe late with this. Honestly, my hope is that someone finds my blog afterwards, like when he finds the statue of Liberty in the Planet of the Apes, and we make a better start.

Jeff

June 7th., 2021