Occidental Origins of Race-Theory (III)

(a.3) Prominent Theorists (continued from part II)

Blumenbach

During the eighteen century Europeans discovered numerous inhabitants across the world who differed markedly in their physical appearance from the pale skinned and fine-boned European explorers. The anthropologist and professor of medicine at Gottingen, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach1, having discovered in the course of his studies that both plants and animals changed as a result of differing environments over sufficient periods of time came to the conclusion that this accounted for the disparate traits found among the various groups scattered hither and yon about the globe. As a consequence of this hypothesis, Prof. Blumenbach devised five widely encompassing racial categories and published them in his De Generis Humani Varietate Nativa Liber (17762), they were: Caucasian (Europeans), Malayan (Southeast Asians, Easter Islanders), Mongolian (East & Central Asians), American (Amerindians) and Ethiopian (sub-Saharan Africans). Whilst most of these words as descriptors of racial categorization have largely fallen out of favor, “Caucasian” has persisted to this day (2018, as of the initial writing). The reason Blumenbach gave for his choice of terminology, “I have taken the name of this variety from Mount Caucasus3, both because its neighbourhood, and especially its southern slope, produces the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgian; and because all physiological reasons converge to this, that in that region, if anywhere, it seems we ought with the greatest probability to place the autochthones4 of mankind. For in the first place, that stock displays, as we have seen the most beautiful form of the skull, from which, as from a mean and primeval type, the others diverge by most easy gradations on both sides to the two most ultimate extremes (that is, on the one side the Mongolian, on the other the Ethiopian). Besides, it is white in colour, which we may fairly assume to have been the primitive colour of mankind….5

Blumenbach – whilst a very talented writer – was incorrect in his hypothesis that the Caucasian race was the originary breed of all humanity. Regardless, his intricate categorization was (and remains) highly influential upon later taxonomic schemas.

11752-1840. One of the founding fathers of the field of anthropology.

2The same date upon which the American War of Independence was formally initiated.

3Mount Caucasus is a mountain range which lies in West Asia between the Black and Caspian Sea. Its peak is Mount Elbrus.

4Autochthone is a Greek word combining auto (self) and khthon (soil) meaning, “people sprung from the earth itself.” The word is utilized to refer to the original inhabitants of a country and in that way is synonymous with “indigenous.” In Greek mythology the autochthones were those tribes of men who emerged from the earth or trees; the Sparti, who were believed to have sprung from a field sown with dragon teeth, were considered autochthones. The belief in autochthones is an early example of polygenic theory.

5Bendyshe T., translator. (1865) The Anthropological Treatises of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. London: Longmans.

Fractal America, Kodokushi-6771, Prt.2

In Japan sometime around the month of march, 2017, a employee named Takada from a Japanese company called Mind – which specializes in the removal of indelicate material (such as sex toys or sexually explicit manga) from the abodes of the freshly deceased – recounted to American scream-sheets a most peculiar tale. During one of Takada’s cleaning missions he had encountered the body of a single, 50 year old man named Joji whom had died of a heart attack whilst alone in his two-bedroom apartment. Joji was found lying in six metric tons of pornographic magazines which he had assiduously collected and stored in piles, overflowing in labyrinthine sprawl, all about his tiny house. He had laid there for more than a month; the room, filled with the noxious odor of decaying flesh, his selfsame flesh purple-green and liquefied. His eyeballs running from his sockets.

No one had noticed.

Joji’s peculiar and depressing death is part of a increasingly problematic trend of middle-aged to elderly individuals dying without notice in their homes, or else-wise secluded places, and there remaining for weeks, months or even longer. The problem has reached such a critical threshold of commonality that the Japanese have even given it a name.

Kodokushi.

The word roughly translates into English as, “Persons who [have] lived alone, die alone.” The primary causes for ghastly and seemingly ever increasing malady have been a source of much speculation and theorizing with the general consensus being due to social alienation. Japan has recently undergone demographic shift that has placed more elderly folk home alone than ever before without anyone to look after them and with the transformation of the traditional Japanese family, young people are no longer particularly keen to stay with their parents or grandparents and look after them – there are jobs and careers to be gotten into (a mindset, largely imported from America). This family breakdown and increase in the focus on endless careerism has also created another huge social problem for Japan: suicide.

Suicide-deaths-per-100000-trend

Japan currently ranks 26th (as of 2015) in total world suicide rates as aggregated by the WHO (World Health Organization), trailing Hungary and ahead of Togo (Togolese Republic). In 2014 alone it was estimated that around 70 nationals killed themselves every single day with the vast majority being men (males are highly over-represented in suicide, both in Japan and across the world).

Whilst Americans might find all of this, perhaps, grotesquely interesting they will likely fail to see the parallels to their own society. As was shown in my first installment in this series, America is far from being untouched by the vexing scourge of social deprivation. Just as a point of demonstration, whilst Japan ranks 26th in the world suicide index, The United States of America ranks 48th (as of 2015). Whilst this is significantly less suicides than Japan one should keep in mind that the WHO surveyed, aggregated and indexed 107 different countries; 48 out of 107 is nothing to brag home about. Nor is the United States exempt from the other strange and often harmful aberrations created by social deprivation which we shall examine in finer detail in part 3.

 


Sources:

RocketNews24: Kanagawa Man’s Body Found…