Raymond Federman
The Short Hops of Knowledge


In the beginning knowledge did not move. It did not move because there were no means of transportation for knowledge. Therefore, knowledge did not go anywhere. It just stayed where it had been gathered and digested. Knowledge was static inside the one who had gained it, whatever that knowledge may have been, as for instance the knowledge of the innards of a rabbit, or more precisely of the skeleton of a rabbit, acquired by the one who hunted and killed that rabbit, and subsequently ate the dead animal.

As the hunter devoured the rabbit, as the flesh was being ingested, the rabbit's skeleton was gradually being revealed to the hunter as knowledge. When the rabbit's flesh was completely eaten, the hunter had before him, in its actual form, even though the bones were no longer connected, the complete skeleton of the rabbit, but also inside of him, in a virtual form, a knowledge of the skeleton.

It became clear to that hunter that knowledge, in order to be, must be digested physically and mentally. However, that abstracted knowledge of the rabbit's skeleton was useless until the hunter shared it with someone else. Unspread knowledge is dead knowledge. The virtual bones of the dead rabbit became knowledge only when transmitted to another consciousness. Knowledge that is static serves no purpose. Only when it is exchanged does it become relevant and functional, otherwise it simply remains non-knowledge. It is obvious then that knowledge must travel in order to become useful.

Originally, to spread knowledge, let's say the knowledge of the rabbit's skeleton, it was necessary for the one who had gained that knowledge to move from one place to another. In other words, the body that contained the virtual knowledge of the rabbit's skeleton had to circulate so that the knowledge inside that body could reach another body. That was the only way knowledge could become accessible to others, by the displacement of bodies, by the movement of people from one place to another, mainly on foot in the early days of humanity. But this process was soon found to be too slow, even if these bodies ran full speed instead of walking. Yes, it soon became evident that for knowledge to have value it had to circulate rapidly, otherwise it quickly became obsolete. Thus the necessity of inventing means of transportation that would accelerate the movement of bodies so that knowledge could be spread faster.

First it was the invention of the wheel which accelerated the spread of knowledge, and with it the use of certain domestic animals, such as cows, horses, donkeys, even dogs, to make the wheel turn faster so that the bodies with knowledge could reach other bodies sooner.

From the wheel there was but a small step to the steam engine, and another short hop to horsepower combustion, and another hop to the jet engine, and finally one more hop to nuclear power. No need to go into the minute details of this hopping evolution of transportation as long as one understands that knowledge in order to become useful must be transported as quickly as possible so that it can remain relevant.

Eventually, however, mankind discovered that it was not necessary to transport bodies in order to spread knowledge. Instead of displacing bodies so they could share the knowledge

inside of them with others in other places, it was easier to simply transmit the knowledge inside of them. That meant, of course, inventing new means of transportation which could carry the sounds and the images created by the bodies who had knowledge. First it was the drum, then the smoke signals, then the written word, then electrical current, and eventually all sorts of electronic gadgets such as telephone, telegraph, fax machines, computers, etc. Therefore, it is obvious that in the history of knowledge there is but a short hop from the wheel to the drum to the telephone, and beyond. But more important, without the rabbit, without the rabbit's skeleton, and certainly the model of his hopping motion, we would still be living in a total state of ignorance.




Ecce Homo Libidinesus
[a scientific story of sorts)

The unpredictability of the human species can be explained by the fact that humans live three times longer than the other mammals of similar characteristics. Interestingly enough, scientists have demonstrated that in superior mammals (superior in this case by the larger dimensions of their bodies) there is a clear cut relation between the number of cardiac pulsations and the length of their existence. No such statistics have been recorded for the human species. In any event, the evolution of the human species, to the inverse of other species, depended greatly on the innovations of the mind rather than somatic transformations. And yet, even though physically weaker compared to other mammals (especially the bovine type), no other species devotes as much energy and relentless eagerness to the destruction of other beings and things, no other species practices violence and murder with as much obstinacy, no other species deals with its progenies with as much incoherence and carelessness, not to mention cruelty, no other species subjugates its females so harshly than the human species.

It all began with the unique process by which certain anthropoid primates entered homonization which resulted in the non-opposibility of the big toes, the late soldering of the bones of the skull, and the loss of pelage. But above all, it is bipedality which assured the liberation of the hands that permitted mobility in space, and allowed Homo Sapiens to enter social and cultural life. One must be upright to be sociable and cultivated. Bipedality also allowed sexual confrontation, that is to say the face to face confrontation of sexual organs unique to the human species, but which also caused psychic confrontation of the sexes. Suddenly, Homo Faber became Homo Itinerans and Homo Libidinesus.





Questions of Origin

1

Hail Caesar


Did you know that the origin of Kaiser and Czar is Caesar?

Therefore, all those who succeeded Caesar were mere parodies in their behavior as well as in their name.

When Caesar said Et Tu Brutus! He already knew that all his successors would be puppets.


2

The Cranial Palimpsest


Did you know that generals of the antiquity used the skulls of their slaves as papyrus or parchment. They would have their orders encrusted in the hairy leather of the massenger’s skull after it was shaven. The slave would then be sent out to the battlefield or the besieged city, and there another general would decipher the message, after the slave’s head was once again shaved since his hair had grown back during his arduous journey. Later, the same head was used again in the same manner as an old parchment since the first message had become an undecipherable blur of scar tissues. A new message or command was then engraved on the skull, and the messenger would set out on another perilous journey.

These skulls buried deep among the antique ruins probably told, like Thucydides, the entire Peloponnesian War. If archeologists had more imagination, and were less indolent, they could bring into the light these great historical secrets by unearthing these palimpsestuous skulls.