Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I have been at my parents house in the Central Drakensberg for just over a month. It really is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and I love it for the views, the fresh air and quiet, and the isolation from all things work. But this time, what stood out to me the most was the incredible wildlife. I spent many hours watching a colony of huge ants going about their daily business one morning, a pair of rock pigeons have been raising a baby above our stoep, a bat has moved into the house, and flies around the television and lights catching insects, and yesterday, my father and I spent two hours watching and photographing an immature black eagle that turned out to have escaped from the local falconry. earlier today, my mother stumbled across a red-lipped herold snake nearly a meter long, outside the kitchen door. And tonight, a shrew that was roughly the size of the first two joints of my index finger ran into the house, and had to be rescued, and put in the wood-pile. It changes one's perspective so much to spend time watching these animals, seeing how incredibly they are adapted to their environment and lifestyles, and how they all fit together in this ecosystem.
I have never been anti-evolutionist; my upbringing exposed me to both evolutionist and creationist ideas, and I found a happy medium at some point that I still pretty much consider useful. I have, however, had a big deal for many years with the way that evolutionary theories have been used to justify prejudice against race, gender, sexuality, and myriad other things. thing is, I am rapidly realizing that the way that people's writing is used by non-specialists does not necessarily reflect what is actually written. I have, therefore, decided to read Darwin's Origin of the Species in order to (hopefully) make up my own mind about what he had to say, and how it has been used. Exploring the natural environment around my parents home, the whole idea of evolution makes so much sense. Ah well, we'll just have to see if it continues to, particularly in relation to the Franz Boaz/Ruth Benedict/Margaret Mead literature I read a lot of last year which rebuts evolutionist justified primitivism.

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