125 - When birds do not educate their children anymore.
3 June 2018 François Roddier
The biologist Konrad Lorentz (1903-1989) had noticed that when they become very numerous, the birds do not educate their children anymore.
Birds are among the most advanced animals in creation, soon after mammals. Like the monkeys, they are capable of imitation. This allows them to educate their children. Thus, each family has a particular song that distinguishes it from other families. Biologists have shown that imitation can provoke altruistic behavior, thanks to a selection of so-called cultural kinship.
For example, at the approach of an eagle, a small bird will scream. In doing so he draws the eagle's attention to him and puts his life in danger. This behavior can in no way be of genetic origin because, if it were, it would quickly lead to the disappearance of the gene in question. It is therefore necessarily of the cultural type (it is transmitted by imitation). It allows the safeguarding of the species as a whole.
Altruistic behavior involves social behavior. The latter is particularly visible in migratory birds when, in the autumn, they gather before facing the crossing of a sea. Such behavior is useful for the conservation of the species. If, on the other hand, social behavior puts the species in danger, the so-called natural selection of relatives will tend to eliminate it.
When a bird species becomes very large, it depletes its food resources and endangers its existence. Parent selection will tend to eliminate this behavior. Since the choice of food is a cultural behavior transmitted by education, an uneducated baby will be more likely to adopt a different food than that of his parents. This would explain why, when they are very numerous, the birds do not educate their children anymore.
Would it be the same for the human species? This seems very likely. In one or two generations, a few tractors have replaced hundreds of farm workers. We do not read, we listen to the radio or we watch television. We do not write anymore, we send SMS text messages. We do not count, we take his calculator. Reading, writing, counting have become knowledge of another age. We became completely dependent on the technique.
This has allowed our species to multiply at an unprecedented rate. Unfortunately, it causes the depletion of our fossil resources, the loss of our biodiversity and global warming. Today we only transmit knowledge related to the technique. We forget to learn to think. Our elite no longer seek to understand, but to develop new technologies. To continue to transmit this knowledge does not put our species in danger?
There was a time when going to graduate school guaranteed a job. This is no longer the case today. Long and expensive studies no longer appear as such an attractive cultural food. Some young people go on to higher education, others stop after baccalaureate. In a society that is in danger of collapsing, can we say today those who will do best? If, genetically, we are only one species, culturally we are many. The selection of cultural parentage will decide the future of our children.
History tells us that there was a precedent. Shortly before Jesus Christ, Julius Caesar spoke and wrote fluently Latin and Greek. Three centuries later, Emperor Maximilian 1er wrote Latin badly and did not know Greek. In 518 AD the Byzantine Emperor Justin 1er could neither read nor write. When I was little, I was taught the song: "The good king Dagobert put his pants upside down ...". It is only with Charlemagne that we finally realize the importance of education. Shortly before his death, he tried to learn to read.
Just as the disappearance of an animal population is identified with the disappearance of its genes, so the end of a civilization is identified with the end of its culture. The end of the Roman Empire gives us an illustration. It is time to understand it and change the way we educate our children. Survive those who will have the basic knowledge needed to rebuild a society, at the expense of those with only technical knowledge.