You know, it had to come to this … this point in our conversations over the past year or so. We had to work our way here like trekkers toward the once avoidable peak … knowing at some point there had to be a confrontation between the “tribal” and the “sophisticate” as to which of us would scale the last obstacle to gain that peak.
Well, here it is: The scholarly educated intellectual versus the life-educated practical. Who is more fitted for leadership of the requirements of modern national governance?
And I have to thank Roswell for the inspiration: “Where at first I picked that you were stirring people, I now, however, detect a bit of angst.”
A guild of self-assessing intellectuals that hold the monopoly on learned knowledge, but is more like an Emperor with no clothes. A class that leans on its qualifications for a kind of group-think legitimacy of what to believe.
Today (6th Feb’) is my birthday. Today I reach the enviable age of 67 years. Enviable because, unlike so many of the deceased we have recently read about in the news reports, I am (touch wood) still here on this earth, in reasonable good health and my keenness for good food and wine, plus some regular sexual activity is still “hangin’ in there! There is nothing else in life that matters.
Right, so much for the too much information section of this piece … let us get down to business.
Now, I could come at those I am directing this accusation at by playing hard or soft … I could give a blunt assessment or I could try to persuade … instead I will by-pass those I accuse and pitch my case to the broader audience who will peruse this missive out of curiosity. To them I offer this thesis.
Example: Last winter, in between spells of rain, one could observe, as many of you would have observed, those little cones of ant-activity that raised bulwarks of granule’d mullock around their individual holes to protect them from flooding … a sort of dike embankment … dozens of them all dotted about a small meterage, exactly the same. Except … except two holes near the perimeter of these multitude of exacting cones, where an elongated dike of approx 2 inches long had been constructed around both ant-holes as protection, leaving a clear walk-way connection between for ease of communication.
Let us digress now to consider what line of “thought” must have inspired such a divergence from what must be considered “the norm” for those two ant nests to strike such a different approach. At some point, there must have been a spark of observation within the collective that concluded that an expanded wall would be more efficient than the singular cone. At some moment the practicality of such a construct became obvious … and the rest, as they say, is recorded on my digital camera … but in the world of the ant, surely such a singular action must have been a momentous event … to break with tradition to engineer a completely different structure and approach to flood protection would have to be equal to Archimedes’ “Eureka!” moment … the application of a learned practicality overruling multi-millennia of habit and dogma. And let us not presume there was any “intellectual” debate on the subject … ants are known for their pragmatic approach to business at hand.
But in our human universe this is not unusual. Many, many times we change procedure, habit and mind after consideration of the practicality of a thing. We move that pot-plant from too much sun or shade to a more favourable place … we change from driving to the city to catching public transport … we see that a vote for one particular party has benefit over the longer term than another … we budget, plan and execute action based on the practicalities of experience, of life. It’s not rocket science: ”all ideas come from without, not from within.”
Closer to our own world of experience, I was having a discussion recently about gene theory and certain lines of defect that can be seen in livestock … horses in particular. It is recorded in the family archives that one such horse-era farmer thought he would branch out into Clydesdale breeding for the local farming industry, and purchased a stallion for the then princely sum of 200 guineas (I’m talking 1930s … a lot of money then). Well it is also recorded in the footnotes of that same archive that the stallion was “a failure” … and it ends there in mystery. What it “failed “at must be presumed … and it was this which generated the conversation about genes in livestock.
“The word may have got about that it was from a defective blood-line,” I suggested.
“Probably had a recessive gene defect, my ‘friend’ concluded.
“Yes … probably,” I agreed “and someone … a farmer maybe, had spotted the fault in the structure of the animal.”
“Well … they wouldn’t know THAT … they wouldn’t have even known about recessive gene theory around these parts in those days.”
“Yes, well, maybe they didn’t know about gene theory, but by jingo, they could pick a defective blood-line of breeding stock when they saw it … those old farmers.”
“But they wouldn’t know what was causing it and it doesn’t work in a consistent manner for them to have enough experience to pick out any recessive gene problem!” And so on and on we went … me in defence of ‘on the ground’ stock husbandry experience over herd-testing and proving of gene integrity science.
In the end, we had to agree to disagree on certain conclusions as THEY were not prepared to allow that long experience of animal sale-yard observation was not conclusive of a capacity to pick a recurring genetic fault in a line of stock … while I was adamant that the human eye, unscholarly as it may be in the learned knowledge of gene theory science, nether the less is very, VERY astute in picking out defects in stance, muscular build, beauty of appearance and surety of walk … and any male of a long line of testosterone-driven observation can assure you of THAT accuracy!
So without dragging too many examples of the practical applications of learned experience into the argument, I would rest my case on the fact that if we apply the old maxim of which came first; the chicken or the egg … we can solve the riddle by using our knowledge of the exoteric experience against the esoteric belief:
“Exoteric refers to knowledge that is outside, and independent from, a person’s experience and can be ascertained by anyone (related to common sense). It is distinguished from internal esoteric knowledge. “Exoteric” relates to external reality as opposed to a person’s thoughts or feelings” (Wikipedia).
… and conclude that to get the fertilised egg in the first place, at least two chooks have to have performed the necessary act!
So to conclude, while it may take a hundred essays on horse handling to change one scholar’s mind, such a challenge could be achieved quite quickly in the field with the application of one kick up the arse!
Now … if you want to know how the Pyramids were built or how they raised those gigantic obelisks back in ancient Egypt, send me your email address and I’ll oblige with the details . “You’re bluffing” I hear you say … and I tell you I learned the first from the constructing and fitting of those old “box-frame” windows and the latter from watching a cabinet-maker handle from the rack those huge sheets of MDF board … after all … It’s not rocket science!