On October 19, 2008, I suggested that it would be useful for humans to be able to locate things by sonar as a bad does.  I have since learned that some young blind people have learned to locate things like parked cars by clicking their tongues and listening for the subtle echoes.  It won’t find a fly in mid air for you, but it might be able to locate a door in the dark.  So it turns out we are better than I thought.

Who thought it before?
If the idea that a big social pool depresses fertility is the truth, then it would be expected that somebody had thought so before.  After all, people think remarkable things.  Imagine what went through the mind of the first person who ate an egg.  “Look what that bird just did.  I think I’ll eat it.”  And that was one of the good ideas.  There is no shortage of bad ones.  Why not this one?  Good or bad, why not?

I imagine the thought has been expressed.  A merchant in Sumer remarks to a barge skipper for whom he is preparing a bill of lading.  A Mayan architect backs away and looks at a course of stone in a wall he is watching going up and speaks to his helper.  A native American glances up from a Clovis point he is chipping out and says something to his son.  A Japanese scholar finishes a figure he has just laid out in ink and mutters to his assistant.  A Chinese astronomer interrupts a dictation to his secretary and makes a different kind of observation.  A Neolithic farmer near Stonehenge hoists a basket of grain to his shoulder and grunts to his neighbor.  A midwife in the city now in ruins and being excavated in the Amazon basin whispers to her husband.  “Maybe the reason we don’t have babies is we don’t marry cousins.” 

Any or all of them would have known enough to see the possible connection.  Countless others might have.   Did that remark survive?  Did it get recorded in so many words where we can find it?  After years of search, all I can say is no.

Is the idea in and of itself hard to grasp?  No.  Is it offensive in absolutely every culture?  I don’t think so.  Does it imply a cure?  Certainly it implies something to try.  So does it matter?  Of course.  It is hard enough to prove, but there are plenty of ideas that have not been slow in catching on because of that.

There must be a filter.  There must be a consistent and rigidly imposed filter that has stripped it from record.  And who prepares the record?  The mighty of the earth prepare the record for their own purposes, which generally include remaining mighty and very little else. 

One of the footprints of this invisible thing we are tracking is the very fact that it is never mentioned at all.  We shall look at this more when we address issues of politics.

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