Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

PASTIMES, Objective Analysis of Subjective Choices

PASTIMES allow a lighter application of the D chart analysis of CULTURE. Imagine the variety of pastimes from drinking alone to gardening arranged from D to A.

The pastime called GOLF derives from that universal and ancient pastime - basic to the spiritual life of man and animal - a walk in nature. Yet golf is one of the most degenerate of the abstract pastimes, surely a prime specimen of pathology of modern abstract culture.

To indulge in golf, the ground is cleaned of "weeds", mono-cultured with grass, offered an orgy of fertilizer and water, and mowed to abstraction. According to Anne *Plate in *WORLD WATCH INSTITUTE MAGAZINE, the area of the world's 25,000 golf courses equals the area of Belgium. The Japanese already spend 10% of their GDP on this pastime.[ See also DARUSA, p. 329, detailing a pending culture design contract in Japan.] Perfectly good land is thus despoiled; and golf courses, like lawns that use the largest share of fertilizer in our nation, use more resources than most intensive agricultural operations, yielding to the ELBY PUSS ethic.

"Goal orientation" is crucial in the psychology of abstract life. The more COM trivial the goal the more abstract the operation. What better way to despoil a walk in nature than to narrow one's view to a little white ball? Sinking the ball in its hole has lost its vicarious fecundity and become simply a way of avoiding the scenery. The last degradation is the PUSSy replacement of that class indulgence, the caddie, with that minitank, the golf cart. A walk in the meadow with no meadow and no walk.

Think of golf as a regression and recapitulation to earlier cultural forms. When people or cultures have too much stress, they often regress to a previous developmental stage, searching for the security of bygone days, fleeing their frontier of time. So it is with modern abstract life, living in the suburbs and playing golf.

People who could afford it fled the urban industrial life to the suburban home where they recreate the ancestral farm in miniature. The wheat field is reduced to abstract simplicity, the vegetables replaced with ELBY inedibles, the animals parasitized and frustrated in idleness. All is POTted, transformed from the reality of productive agricultural life to the consumption of the modern abstract suburban home.

More money, fertilizer and labor are put into the lawn and garden than in a comparable productive farm. Production is displaced from these rich to the poor. Somewhere some hard working people are producing the wealth that supports this profligate orgy of consumption. Yet out of political politeness, no one mentions it or even understands its rudimentary economics.

Suburban lifestyle, deprived of the freshness of nature that was its original intent, barren of any productive or individualistic creativity, forsakes the hapless truncated family in unearthly emptiness. Frustration is so distressing that they are driven to yet another regression - from the agricultural stage back to the hunter-gatherer stage.

The human race has engaged in agriculture for a mere hundred thousand years, but has spent the majority of its evolutionary history hunting and gathering, HUGS, p.230. As organic culture decays into modern abstract culture and the masses go mad, golf provides escape by a neotenic regression to earlier cultural stage, an example of CULTURAL NEOTENY, p.324.

Just as the suburban home derives from its ancestral farm, so the game of golf derives from the hunting gathering of an earlier epoch. What was originally a hunting party or gathering group is now a round of golf. The modern HUGs gather small groups, often clad in uniform or harmonious costumes, as they ceremoniously walk around the course.

The dangers inherent in hunting are now replaced with coronaries in the hot sun. Just as a brave few hunted alone then, so some now golf alone. But most add to each other to form small groups called "sums", presumably for safety's sake. Nowadays the sums - three, four sometimes more - carefully avoid territorial conflict in spite of their bloody heritage, as if generations have adjusted to each other to survive this crowded world. When those few conflicts do arise, they are resolved with only a polite hint of hate. For example, if a twosome of hunters overtakes a foursome of gatherers, the former will be allowed to plow through with a minimum of resentment, often gesturing with some subtle indulgence in submissive behavior.

Weapons have become so elaborate and specialized that they are often carried by some servant or in a small vehicle. Even the walking itself is often avoided, as exercise is relegated to the spa or the privacy of the exercycle at home.

As the missiles are launched, an strange air of frustration hovers about this small band of merry men and women, as if the missile had no object. Resourcefully, the golfers concentrate on a small hole in an ultra smooth lawn, presumably to evade awareness of the lack of gamey quarry. The hole is even marked with a flag to assist those poor of sight from advanced age.

One might expect hunters to be silent, yet one is shocked by the shout of "fore". Presumably, recent millennia have reversed the need to hunt the animal, and liberal inclinations have lead to the custom of conserving the lives of nature's creatures. Thus the warning "fore" boasts that game is no longer the goal, that meat eaten is hunted by lesser folk in far away lands. Their higher status helps to explain the elaborate costumes and equipment, all ill suited to productive activity, and ELBY clan taboo.

The shout "fore" derives from the original hunt, presumably to warn other primates that their goal is only four legged creatures, who do not yet understand the spoken word. Some etymologists argue it derives from "fur" as "Fur people watch out!". Mundane scholars argue that the term derives simply from the term "forward", fore vs. aft, as a warning "look out ahead".

Golfing groups are often gender specific, but sometimes the operation is planned with mixed genders. Even when mixed, the men tend to congregate to discuss their other hunts in the office or arena while the women discuss family matters of feeling, relationships and status approval. If the genders do mix, conversation tends to dwindle, unless sufficient gender crossing has already broken down the ancient roles so that boy-talk and girl-talk meld into an abstract mush of consumption cliche.

Skiing TOPs the list on the anti-ecologist's revenge. Skiing offers thrill, skill, effort, expense, danger, quasi-tribal participation, and triumph over nature. Satisfying the TOP ELBY value, skiing not only produces nothing of value, but actually degrades the ecology by using much fossil fuel and damaging the landscape. RIDlys will rationalize that skiing invigorates and relaxes, enhancing health and happiness, presumably to enable even more efficient and intense degradation of human and natural ecosystems.

The health spa is growing in popularity among the ELBYs as an abstraction of physical work from production or creation. It does help fill the cultural vacuum by offering a the sweaty erotic promise of a safe meating place. The exerciser is the culmination of the job ethic: intense experience that consumes a share of nature's resources but produces nothing - not even significant experience, unless one carries a Walkman or watches TV. The ecologists alleviation for these pheromone dens is the ECOSPA, "A pound of fat equals a pound of petroleum!" where the exercisers are connected to generators, not motors, and the energy expended is returned to the grid, refunding the customer ten cents per kilo-watt-hour.

But these abstractions of work express basic human vigor, covered with a puritanical taboo to deny or at least obscure the elan vital. An example of elegant waste is the health seeker who leaves an air-conditioned home, drives an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned spa to take a sauna.


For practice, make a D chart of pastimes. Start with a blank Health chart, D CHART OF PASTIMES. Let the left i scale measure the production-consumption scale, with no-gain in the middle, production upwards and consumption downwards. Let the bottom Dissociation-Accord scale measure the degree of pathology as measured by personal and social health, with pathology on the left and health on the right. Which pastimes actually produce more than they consume, above the center line? Which pastimes are the most pathological, on the left side?

For practice compare down-hill vs. cross-country skiing. They are close, but down-hill is slightly lower because it uses more fossil fuel - or does cross-country do more damage to the landscape. Cross-country is toward the right A because it is often done in small groups. On the other hand, acquaintances are made at the lifts. Both have the positive A value of being quasi-extended family process: a fun outing. The A of vigorous exercise is lessened by the risk of fracture and alcoholism.

In a similar way, compare hiking vs. golf, drinking alone vs. making hooch, growing carrots vs. growing grass, eating alone or going to a restaurant, watching TV vs. ... Eventually most pastimes can be objectively diagnosed, a fun game at parties.

This is an excellent exercise in objectivism, because one must DIPLy put aside one's own culture and devotions to do an objective analysis, toward an agreement with other objectivists. Notice that disagreements, unavoidable in such a crude science, are best expressed as quantities, not preferences or categories. Notice also that die-hard subjectivists are may be unable to make objectivist analyses and are apt to threaten physical violence at the mere suggestion, perhaps inferring some disparagement which no objectivist would intend. Be assured that the objectivist is in no way obligated to subjectify this analysis, at the risk of lowering intellectuality to the level of mundane life.

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