What Torah Did for Us

Chimps don’t have a fallen nature. But they do nurture their young, show one another tenderness and affection, and drive out of the community members who don’t conform to group norms.

That last one is a real, tribal, natural instinct.

What Torah did was take that last phenomenon out of a bundle of alpha male “prerogatives”, and codify it as a community function, and distill it into a linguistic form both flexible and portable.

A single individual alpha male’s social control of a troop of chimps or apes was, by means of Torah codification, thereby communalized, its utility expanded, regularized into a hierarchy with safeguards and rules, which aided non-alpha survival and retention, and made internal competition less lethal.

The original alpha-male function was strongly tied to exclusive access to females. Any new social and hierarchical adaptation must still manage that unruly sexual instinct element. That means ours, too.

Insider language

From slang and extreme styles to encryption technology, our social instinct channels its insider/outsider feature into activities appropriate to individual organisms, and includes the whole range of “protection-against-the-outsider” activities.

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
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