You wanna meet Enemy #1 in every hunter-gatherer tribe for the last 200,000 years? Here’s the rascal:
What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in comprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals.
If tribes had a post office, they’d hang his mug on the wall. Why? For the reasons Hamlet just rattled off. A fella like that is DANGEROUS! a trouble-maker, a disturber of the peace.
“Look, buster, we don’t need some smart-ass telling us he’s got a better way to run the show. Isn’t our tribe in one piece – and, I might add – by the skin of our teeth? Our way works. Has forever. Don’t mess! Go peddle your ideas to those crazy barbarians over the hill.”
The Moral Sense evolved into a hominid DNA fixture by deputizing conscience, with its weapons of fear and guilt, to discipline the tribe. Any new idea, which can arise only in the mind of an individual, was considered a threat and therefore an enemy, Us vs It. The status quo was forever. Any proposal to change it, well, was unthinkable. The possibility of change never registered on a tribe’s collective consciousness.
How do we know this? With the emergence of organized states, the infallibility and exclusivity of the tribe got transferred to rulers, to kings with divine rights, to warlords and emperors and dictators and generals. But if you put your ear up close to the last 10,000 years, who, through that long march of history, keeps shouting, for the very first time, the right to be heard? the freedom to think? And who is treated as an enemy of the state? who is gagged and silenced? who is tortured and imprisoned? who is burned at the stake? That’s right. That fellow –
Man, Infinite in faculty.
And if allowed to think, no telling what the rascal can come up with. Take Galileo Galilei. Disturbing fellow. Ended the last ten years of his life under house arrest, Before he got pronounced an enemy of the state, he made a telescope. First of its kind. 1610. Have you Republicans ever seen it? Doesn’t look like much, but Jesus, it started a revolution. John Boehner, esteemed Speaker of the House of the Dead, have you seen pictures taken by The Hubble? 100 billion galaxies! Less than a hundred years ago we thought the Milky Way, OUR galaxy, was the only one. That’s what happens when you let those smarties loose.
How ’bout this for a revolution. I’m dictating these thoughts to my Dragon, a computer program. He writes out every word, never loses attention. Like he’s devoted. W-h-a-a-t! Alan Turing, who started the computer revolution before the state drove him to suicide, lived during my lifetime. He’s as close as a grandfather to my Dragon. I’ve talked about the Ascheulean hand ax, Mode One. It took a million years to manufacture Ascheulean hand ax, Mode Four.
Yet the Moral Sense dominates the Republican Right. You’d think these moral maniacs would exercise some humility, at least recognize the colossal achievements of science. But no, Republicans are superior to the science of Climate Change, dismiss scientific findings in economics, deny millions the science of health care, trample on the reproductive lives of women with no regard for the facts of biology.
Hamlet gives us the key to the problem. The Moral Sense, with its terrifying deputy, conscience, never links “infinite in faculty” with “paragon of animals.” Sure, man has the comprehension of a god, but he’s a primate evolved from an ape. The Moral Sense doesn’t realize man’s infinite faculty is imagination. It doesn’t recognize its belief system about reality is all made up, mere conjectures, for example, that a human life begins at the moment of conception, that a morning-after pill is a murder weapon, that the poor are congenitally lazy. Fantasies don’t tell us what turns the real world ’round. They’re guesses.
“You don’t have faith!” roars the Moral Sense, sending the posse at Democrats with burning faggots.
“Heretics! Burn ’em.”
-Sorry, fellas, not doable in the 21st century..
“Fine, we’ll destroy your leader, that communist, secret Islamist, that black anti-Christ out of Africa, that dictator trampling on the Constitution,
Barack Hussein Obama.