Matt McIrvin (mmcirvin) wrote,
Matt McIrvin
mmcirvin

Let's go drink some coffee and plant a vegetable garden, like the monkeys do

The generally wonderful BldgBlog has an interview with science-fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson. Robinson has many interesting things to say, some of which I agree with—I particularly like what he says about collapse-of-civilization fantasies. But this part rubbed me the wrong way, about the danger of pleasures that aren't what he thinks of as basic primate activities:
And there’s an addictive side to this. People try to do stupid technological replacements for natural primate actions, but it doesn’t quite give them the buzz that they hoped it would. Even though it looks quite magical, the sense of accomplishment is not there. So they do it again, hoping that the activity, like a drug, will somehow satisfy the urge that it’s supposedly meant to satisfy. But it doesn’t. So they do it more and more – and they fall down a rabbit hole, pursuing a destructive and high carbon-burn activity, when they could just go out for a walk, or plant a garden, or sit down at a table with a friend and drink some coffee and talk for an hour. All of these unboosted, straight-forward primate activities are actually intensely satisfying to the totality of the mind-body that we are.
I think jwgh complained about this type of argument in a comment somewhere recently: "My pleasures are genuine, and I engage in them all the time because they truly gladden the soul. Your pleasures are counterfeit, and you engage in them all the time because your subconscious dissatisfaction with them drives you to compulsive addictive behavior."

Also, I'm not sure the distinction he draws is genuine. Consider: we all know that there are people who have a never-satiated compulsive appetite for sex, and that's about as natural a primate pleasure as there is. I consider it entirely logically possible that we could have genuine pleasures that speak to the essence of being human and that are also wasteful and destructive.
Subscribe

  • Moving elsewhere

    I'm probably not going to be posting much here any more; longer posts are going to go to http://mmcirvin.dreamwidth.org/ (where there isn't…

  • Early voting in Massachusetts

    Monday was the very first day of in-person early voting in Massachusetts, ever. I didn't have much in the way of a practical reason to do it, but…

  • More video games

    I got an XBox One for Christmas (with Halo 5), but only got to actually play with it for the first time yesterday, as the first unit had a broken…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

  • 17 comments

  • Moving elsewhere

    I'm probably not going to be posting much here any more; longer posts are going to go to http://mmcirvin.dreamwidth.org/ (where there isn't…

  • Early voting in Massachusetts

    Monday was the very first day of in-person early voting in Massachusetts, ever. I didn't have much in the way of a practical reason to do it, but…

  • More video games

    I got an XBox One for Christmas (with Halo 5), but only got to actually play with it for the first time yesterday, as the first unit had a broken…