10/22/20 – Pure Motivations

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, October 22, 2020.




Because, Aitana, when humans were built, they weren’t quite wired right.


  1. Yarrun

    I can see why Ciara would go after Dimitri and subsequently get bored of Dimitri. She has the same energy as Anesu but without the need to constantly put a barrier between her and the world. It’s the closest Dimitri would get to sleeping with himself.

  2. Pete Rogan

    Human beings have complexities to them. Some are evolutionary continuances — justice, for instance, seems to be a perception of offense against everybody down to the level of cats and dogs. We have language, which seems tied to the development of motor skills, which may just be a recent development of an older skillset — certainly we have seen chimpanzees use tools and even perform music. And then we have elephants and their representational art.

    One of the older skills we have is the perception of opportunity, whether that be for shelter, for food, for companionship, or more recently for self-improvement. We can perceive when one choice is better than another, and will struggle for it against others even of our own species. So far as we can tell, this behavior is older than single-celled organisms, which still practice choosing for an optimum result and got it from something even older and simpler than they.

    Striving for better has worked for Earth life since it came into existence, improving the life of the organism and thus its chances of surviving and producing offspring, whether by cellular division or exchange of genetic material doesn’t matter. In fact this skill has adapted time and again to very dramatic biological changes, whether from single-cell structure to more complex organisms, the invention of sex, and even the transition of the atmosphere from carbon dioxide to extremely caustic oxygen. And even more drastic changes.

    I can’t call this tendency ‘not wired right.’ As far as I can tell, it’s the essentialest part of living at all. If you’re not trying to do better, you’re sitting on your biological potential and every second you sit you’re wasting it, man. Life is built on minimizing risk, identifying goodly gain, and pursuing it to completion. Everything else is paperwork.

    1. Bonker of Things

      Excellent observation, Pete!
      I do not wish to rain on it, though I feel I must be a bit of a downer and point out that, unless you’ve managed to stumble upon genuine elephant art, all paintings produced by elephants are the products of torture. The handlers have been beating the elephants until they are able to paint pictures and the purchase of such pictures means the support of such practice. :’-(

      However, at the same time as I claim that elephants cannot really paint (as they are “just repeating a trained maneuver”), I also do not mean to diminish the capabilities of our fellow animals. Most, if not all, are far more capable and aware than we normally give them credit for. When I was a kid, I was taught that the difference between man and animal is our great intelligence, our tool use, our language, that we have real emotions, that we produce art, and that we are self aware. Then I grew up and saw with my own eyes what a load of loxodonta manure my teachers had been dumping on me; we are not at all unique among animals to have those abilities. Sure, we may have taken a step further in many areas but we’re still animals and there are many other areas where we are not the greatest. It seems to me that the only actual difference is our hubris, although that might simply be because I haven’t been able to talk to any other animal to hear them spew out how much greater they are than us.

      Some I have discussed with have been persistent in claiming that we are, for sure, the smartest animal, to which I insist that the ones making the test will naturally be the ones excelling at it. We are the smartest animal that we are able to test according to our definition of intelligence. Those people have also been insisting on that we, for sure, are the only ones who can produce art. Again I must disagree and the best counter example to both claims is the Neanderthal, which has been diminished by researchers for decades until it turned out that the claims of low intelligence and lack of art was simply the lack of observational skill by the earliest reseachers. Neanderthal did produce art but it was simply not recognized as such until recently, potentially as a result of our hubris. Neanderthal never became extinct because Cro-Magnon was superior, instead they became extinct because we were so numerous that we assimilated them into our own ranks. Roughly 75% of the Neanderthal genome still lives on in us modern humans, spread out so that each carry around 2-5% on average. And we are richer for it as their strengths are now our strengths and vice versa.

      If we then expand upon the subject of art, I believe that there are ample of animals who can and do produce it, it’s just a matter of us not recognizing it as such. Other primates can sing harmoniously; many different animals dance; several decorate their nests meticulously to attract mates, and not just the obvious example of birds but even fish has been seen to do so. There is even art being produced daily by spiders in my ceiling corners and it saddens me every time I must erase it to keep it down in volume (though some get to keep their webs to reduce the fly population).

      I realize now that I have managed to digress a bit, I only wished to make a tiny comment on the mistreatment of the majestic elephants and it turned out into a lengthy opinion. I blame Christopher and Pete, if the two of you did not constantly keep producing such interesting things to read, then I would already be sleeping instead of pressing “just one more strip before I turn in for the night”.

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