21st October 2020

The question of whether humans are born naturally stupid or are taught the skill as they mature is a matter of great interest to me. Most certainly the ability of less intellectually gifted individuals to survive to adulthood has quite rightly improved considerably, through the liberalization of social condition, expectation, improvements in basic care and medical  treatment, yet unfortunately the seeming contrasting need for the  structured societal dumbing down of the young seems to have added a wholly unnecessary additional hurdle  to  the steeplechase.

I will relay to you the gist of a interchange I was obliged to witness quite accidentally but a day ago as a prime example of this most strange progression. The conversation, I use that particular word quite loosely you understand, was between an obviously bright and inquisitive young lass of seven or eight years old and her unapologetically disinterested father.

“Where do the deer come from, daddy?”

“They live here.”

“But where do they come from?”

“There are no fences around the park.”

“Yes, but where did they come from?”

The last request for enlightenment was simply ignored, which I accept is a better alternative to at best snarkiness, at worst the backhander which the fathers mannerisms suggested was more his usual response.

I am in no way the perfect example of parenthood, but can claim to have been almost pedantic in my insistence on sharing each and every  morsal of knowledge at the drop of a hat. Such simplistic moments of social intercourse must surely result in seeds of promise, hopefully to be expanded later by the child’s own internal and heartedly rewarded initiatives.

On my avenue home my mind, still bemused by the earlier contretemps, was suddenly filled with images of albatrosses, penguins, and homing pigeons.

Pigeons are a subject close to my heart, having for many a year been a keep follower of the sport of long-distance pigeon racing, fancying, and the equally fascinating absurdity of exhibitional pigeon tumbling competition.

The ability of racing pigeons to home over multitudinous mileages is to date still a wholly unexplained phenomenon, cept of course by attempting to conjoin the ability with the rather bizarre theory of lay line existence. Albatrosses are of course capable of homing over thousands of miles of open ocean, where, unless my recollections of pseudo-science theorem fails me, no lay lines can possibly exist. Penguins bless their little cotton socks, home whilst swimming in water and marching on land. The Vikings discovered and employed magnetically charged metals as a primitive form of compass from say the thirteenth century. Humanity was apparent very-late making it to the homing table!

I often wonder about that huge area in the hominoid brain that has no obvious use, or perhaps more correctly no longer has particular usage. Considering all species are without doubt cast from the same strands of DNA, and but develop through time and natural selection the specific skills suited to their purpose, might not we equally lose those abilities not required for our particular patterns of behavior?

My train of thought is of course bordering on the imbecilic, completely randomly conjoining pieces of probably unrelated information together in search of theory or simple conjecture.

The fact that the deer swam to this island as a result of continuous species expansion has no apparent relevance to pigeon, albatross, penguin, or brain capacity. But of course in reality, in the promotion of lateral thought capability it do!

Perhaps if we forgot to shackle intelligence we might recall how to navigate instinctively.

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