April 9th, 2008

run the fuck away

My Twittering

  • 20:08 Why doesn't wikipedia output valid XHTML? That's annoying. I WANT XML! #
  • 20:11 Okay, what I really want is a Javascript-like DOM for querying an HTML file retrieved by a Ruby program #
  • 20:51 And the answer is hpricot. Thanks @elliotcable #
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run the fuck away

Welcome to Earth: Conspicuous Consumption

Music plays a large role in human interactions, most notably mating. Humans have a bewildering array of mating dances that they use to demonstrate their fitness to mate. Humans fashion devices that they use to take recorded music with them, and many obsess over a variety of details about the production and consumption of music.

One common place for music is in the armored carriages that humans use for transport. These behemoths are key to maintaining their sprawling colonies, and also play a large role in the mating process as well.

Yesterday, I witnessed a most curious conjunction of music and cars. A car passed down the street with music literally thundering out of the music system. The volume was such that all musical quality was destroyed, and all one could here was garbled noise and the sound of the steel body of the car vibrating. With each beat, a loud buzz dominated the sound.

At this volume, the driver of the car (a male) could not hear the music clearly. That level of volume would also be uncomfortable to human ears. This makes the behavior seem quite self defeating- why would one do this?

Once again, it comes back to mating. In most social mammal species, the ability to provide is considered a desirable trait in a mate. As you may recall, for humans, only a small caste of workers does anything useful in human society. Everyone else must find some way to prove their ability to provide, in stead of actually being able to provide. The solution? Conspicuous consumption.

The buzzing, blasting noise is not truly related to music. It is a desperate attempt to prove the male's fitness to mate. At great effort and expense, he has created this noise machine, and uses it to attract a mate. Human cars, in general, serve this secondary purpose. Some humans expend great expense on modifying cars for no practical purpose, except to show that they are fit to mate. Others acquire cars that are impractically large, or require a great expense to own and maintain.

It's a form of proof: I can acquire and spend resources, and therefore would be a fit mate.

We do not have to stop at the opposite sex, however. Males establish a social pecking order based on their ability to consume. A competition between males develops to own the most expensive, or most modified, or the loudest vehicle.

These sorts of competitions have no practical benefit, and the mating drive causes these humans to consume well beyond the capacity of their environment to support. This drives the more powerful and technological subgroups of humans to expand outward and displace or subjugate other groups that have resources.