Wednesday, 11 February 2009

That Politics Lecture...

The inspiration for this blog was brought to you today by; NME The Essential Bands

So yesterday we had our first People and Politics lecture. I must say I was rather dreading it as I have never really taken much of an interest in politics before. It wasn't quite what I expected. As the lecture began I was actually finding it interesting!

Chris Horrie was explaining how 'The State' is the "Monopoly of Legitimate Violence". To explain this in simple terms, what I think he meant is that The State (Hampshire County Council in our case) can use some violence, restraining citizens who do not adhere to the rules. Or to quote Chris's theory "At the end of the day if you don't pay your train ticket... you will be killed!" I'm thinking a little bit of a exaggeration but the general point was... there is always a next stage of punishment and if a citizen was to refuse to co-operate continuously they may finds themselves to be subject to treason eventually- in which case it is (though unlikely) possible to be executed.

Ok so that wasn't really explained in simple terms...

The main part of the lecture was based on the philosophical side of politics so were introduced to the likes of Aristotle, Plato and Machiavelli. But the part of the lecture which was of most interest to me was Darwin's 19th century theory of Evolution By Natural Selection.

Darwin argued that all species derive from a single organism. Some grew wings and bred this characteristic into their offspring enabling them to fly, hence making birds... while others grew fins and bred fish and eventually we had; cats, dogs, rats, monkeys, humans etc etc. Natural selection is the preservation of a functional advantage that enables a species to compete better in the wild.

Natural Selection is still being used today in dog and cat breeders. Favoured characteristics will be bred while the animals born with... say... 3 legs, different colour eyes, wrong colour, blind, deaf etc etc will not be used for breeding until those unfavoured genetics eventually die out.

I would like to end this blog on a thought by Machiavelli... So Darwin realised that we all evolved from breeding by natural selection and we were (apparently) derived from Apes...

How will humans evolve to the next stage of human evolution?!


  1. That is probably the most important question that anyone could ask. I think that social evolution can replace biological evolution. Or perhaps technological evolution is in fact a type of biological evolution, since the ability to develop technology is a function of the human organism - the brain. Getting back to violence, one of the main spurs to technological innovation is war. The internet for example was mainly developed for military purposes and uses thinks like communications satellites that were developed as part of the cold war arms race.

  2. Actually to say the internet was developed for many military purposes is a bit of a faleshood.

    In simplicity it was developed by and for pornography.

  3. Pornography may be one of the primary uses of the WWW, but it was not developed for that purpose. The original computers were developed during WWII for code breaking and the electronics industry - especially the comms industry was funded by military research and military innovation. Your error is the common one of ex-post-facto reasoning - falsely attributing causes to results. It is rather like saying that the printing press was invented in order to produce the novel (or for that matter printed pornography) when in fact it was invented for a different (and far more harmful) pupose - printing the Xtian Holy Scripture in vernacular languages. We are moving on to look (briefly) at economics and as we shall see as soon as any technology is invented (generally for the primary motive of any polis which is to say war and violence) somebody will then think of a way of making money from it. Thus comms satellites were first invented for military puposes, then somebody realised that you could make a profit by using them to broadcast pay TV. In the first case this was indeed porn. It now a mixture of porn and football.

  4. But what about Katleigh's point about social evolution vs biological evolution.

    "That which does not kill me..." Frederick Nietzsche

    "More human than human is our motto..."

    Eugenics in the USA - social democracy, social science, welfare state

    Man and Superman - Zarathustra - the first 'superape' - humans are 'a bridge between apes and Ubermensche'

    De-evolution - The Last Man - Idiotocracy Consumer Society and the triumph of the cockroach

  5. Futility as Zarathustra lectures those incapable of evolution - Very good animation.

  6. Zarathustra and evolution

  7. Children of men - The Last Man

  8. After a good start this blog has gone strangely silent

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