There’s a Robert Heinlein quote which has been floating around for decades. Those with a vested interest in excusing the (Sub)Human Hive approach to “social” organization tend to deliberately misunderstand this quote, by reducing it to a mere laundry-list:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
The above can be (and IS) deliberately “misunderstood” as the claim that humans should all be exceptional “polymaths” on the scale of Leonardo DaVinci, or suchlike.
Hive-apologists then typically go on to point out that 99% of humanity have utterly failed to do so, and that’s why such polymaths are exceptional.
They THEN go on to (implicitly or explicitly) endorse what amounts to a “caste system” as the only possible organizing principle for society. Of late, outright calling it a “caste system” has become “politically incorrect”. Nowadays, the same fundamental idea is promulgated as the notion of the “division of labor”.
However, the basic organizing principle remains: the attempt to REDUCE hunakind to the level of what used to be (accurately) described as “idiot savants”:
a person who is considered to be mentally handicapped but displays brilliance in a specific area, especially one involving memory.
Now, I realize that the above is anything but “politically correct” — that’s the point.
There has been a decades-long crusade aimed at covering up the fact that those exhibiting what is now called “Savant syndrome” are little more than organic “tape-recorders”/robots capable of (re)producing some specific patterns/objects with astonishing detail and accuracy — while simultaneously being utterly incapable of even the most rudimentary level of self-maintenance or learning OUTSIDE of their rote-memorized “savant” skill-set.
Take Leslie Lemke:
Now, some may claim that Lemke’s ability to “compose songs on the spot” necessarily indicates that he isn’t “just” an organic tape-recorder. Okay, I have no quibble with that. He is just barely capable of some small level of “creativity” — which is itself UTTERLY DEPENDENT on his — admittedly vast — corpus of ROTE-MEMORIZED content.
Of course, the same could be said for Wesley Willis:
The Wesley Willis Fiasco songs were essentially punk rock songs with Willis howling his obscene, absurd rants as lyrics. Some called it exploitation; others dubbed it “savant-garde.” The Wesley Willis Fiasco recorded at least three cover songs: Thin Lizzy‘s “Jailbreak”, Pure Prairie League‘s “Amie“, and Duran Duran‘s “Girls on Film“, the last of which was recorded for a 1997 Duran Duran tribute album. Another song by the Wesley Willis Fiasco, “The Bar Is Closed”, recreates a section of Rush‘s “Tom Sawyer”; the song “Casper the Homosexual Friendly Ghost” does the same with Van Halen‘s “Jamie’s Cryin'”.
After the Fiasco broke up, Willis’s popularity increased markedly. As a solo artist, Willis created more than 50 albums, each with over 20 tracks, full of bizarre, tense, and often obscene rants about crime, fast food, cultural trends, bus routes, violent confrontations with superheroes, commands for his “demons” to engage in bestiality (in The Daddy of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Willis explained that these songs [e.g., “Drink a Camel’s Cum, Suck a Cheetah’s Dick”] would “gross out” the demons enough to leave him alone), and praise for his favorite actors, friends (both platonic and romantic), politicians, and hip hop and rock artists. Songs about rock artists were usually confined to describing a show performed by the band that Willis had attended or opened for, recycling key phrases such as “The crowd roared like a lion,” “A lot of people met the band,” or “The band got down like a Magikist“. Many songs end with the phrase “Rock over London, rock on, Chicago,” followed by a product slogan, such as “Wheaties. Breakfast of Champions.”
Willis’s keyboard of choice was the Technics KN series. Willis would obsessively trade in one KN model for the newest ones on the market during the time when he was making the most money (after his break-up with The Wesley Willis Fiasco). The KN1200 was the keyboard he was currently using, according to a Howard Stern interview on September 26, 1996.
Anyway, the salient fact of of “Savants” is: a (vanishingly small) amount of pseudo-competence exhibited by an individual who is otherwise incapable of anything resembling even the most basic “activities of daily living” (to say nothing of any kind of “Survival Skills”):
Sadly, the vast majority of human history has consisted (to a great or lesser extent) of the attempt to model the “ideal” human society on the needs and capacities of “Idiot Savants”.
This is dangerous, because a “society” whose populace can just barely manage to stumble through the specific, (rote-memorized) tasks related to their specific — rigidly delineated — social “role” will be utterly incapable of coping successfully, if — or likely WHEN — those rote-memorized patterns are disrupted.
In many ways, the theoretical social “ideal” is illustrated by the structure of George Orwell’s (semi)fictional language “Newspeak”, from his novel Nineteen-Eighty-Four. Specifically, the 3 “classes” of vocabulary:
The “A” group of words deals with simple concepts needed in everyday life (such as eating, drinking, working, cooking, etc.). It is almost entirely made of words that already exist in the English language.
The “B” group of words is deliberately constructed to convey more complicated ideas. The words in this group are compound words with political implications and aim to impose the mental attitude of the Party upon the speaker. For example, the Newspeak word “goodthink” roughly means “orthodoxy”. The B words were in all cases compound words. They consisted of two or more words, or portions of words, welded together in an easily pronounceable form. The resulting amalgam was always a noun-verb and inflected according to the ordinary rules.
The “C” group of words deals with technical vocabulary and is supplementary to the other two groups. Since the Party does not want its people to have knowledge of more than one subject, there is no Newspeak word for “science”; there are separate words for different fields.
To put this in more “modern” terms, the three “vocabulary lists” consist of the following:
- The basic conceptual vocabulary related to “daily life”
- The “Snarl”/”Purr”-words related to your specific demographic
- The technical “jargon’ involved with your socioeconomic “role”
Ironically enough, the fact that there IS such a thing as “daily life” vocabulary is a tacit confession that caste-based “specialization” can only ever crudely approximate “idiot savant”-conditions.
The fact that the various demographic/occupational “castes” must communicate with/depend on one another in order to survival at all necessarily prevents their “specialization” from being total.
What those in “authority” want us all to ignore is: even a society of “specialized” castes necessarily rests on a vast corpus of GENERAL KNOWLEDGE to be able to function AT ALL.
Leslie Lemke is just about as thorough a “specialist” as it is possible to be: a (reasonably) competent multi-instrumentalist with a vast repertoire of (rote-memorized) songs, a (circumscribed) ability to “compose” within the boundaries of that repertoire — but he can’t even wipe his own ass after he shits.
I think part of the reason why our wold-be Overlords want us to be fascinated by idiot savants is because those unfortunate individuals are as close as you can get to caste-based “specialization” in the real world.
We’re supposed to admire — and — to whatever degree possible — ASPIRE TO that level of aping/parroting/ignorance as an “ideal”.
THAT’S why there’s so little communication between various racial/ethnic/religious/sexual/occupational “communities”: ignorance, stereotyping and fear ensure that the members of the various demographic “communities” mostly won’t deviate from their assigned “role”.
If they do, they’ll feel “guilty” about it.