RE: ECON: Population growth is good

Ron Salkin (
Wed, 27 May 1998 05:55:52 -0700 (PDT) (Tony Belding) writes
> The pursuit of greatness, perhaps. To me, this is one thing that
> people from animals. As animal-rights activists are quick to point
> animals can suffer just like humans, and animals can also be happy.
But, they
> can't achieve greatness.

This seems like a rather biased & unsubstantiated opinion. Naturally,
we feel that the accomplishments of humans are significant compared to
other organisms, and we certainly do build bigger structures. OTOH, I
could change it into "animals procreate, and some may achieve pleasure
from doing so, but only human females are truly attractive."
And, who knows, a beaver, after utting the finishing touches on his
dam, might think to himself "now that is one GREAT dam!"
[not that I think that beavers think that way, only that we have no
way of knowing]

I think, in order to process this, I would need to have some sort of
ballpark definition of "greatness"

> The Pharaoh Khufu created the Great Pyramid at Giza. Presumably it
made him
> happy to create pyramids. Now Khufu is long dead, and he is
therefore no
> longer happy, but his pyramid is STILL GREAT. He changed the world.

The Great Pyramid is sometimes atributed to Khufu on the flimsiest of
evidence; there is considerable debate on this point.
Would Khufu still be great if he had nothing to do with it?
Is the fellow who actually built it (hypothetically) but never
recognized for his achievement great?

What if Homer turned out to be several people- or several thousand
storytellers who each added a piece over time? Would they all be Great?
Is Achilles Great?
[or, Achilles is great if he existed. if he didnt, then Homer is great
for inventing him, or if what is attributed to Homer is in fact the
work of many men, all of whom are great.]
And what if I think that the pyramids are just a bunch of big rocks,
or that the Illiad sucks- does that mean that they arent great *to me*?

[BTW- saw an excellent documentary on Discover the other night on how
weathering patterns on the Sphinx indicate that it has undergone
considerable weathering from rain- and it hasnt rained heavily ont he
Giza plateau since 6000BC, indicating that the Sphinx may be 8-10,000
years old]


PS Not that I disagree, actually. It seems to me that something
divides men from animals- but I prefer to think of it as internal. If
Khufu strove against the world to achieve something, then that is my
idea of greatness- succeed or fail, even if his work doesnt outlast
him physically. Or maybe we agree on this?

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