Exact Words From Ed Ricketts' Essay:
During the '31 depression, we lived close to a destitute and rather thriftless famiily. My wife used to remark that they looked to the county authorities for support because they were shiftless and negligent; that "if they'd perk up and be somebody, they'd be alright." Her viewpoint was undoubtedly correct enough so far as it went. But I used to wonder what would happen, assuming that people of this sort could and would change their habits, to those with whom they would exchange in the large patter, - those whose jobs would be usurped , since at that time there was work for, say, only 70% of the total population, leaving the remainder as government wards.
My attitude had no bearing on what might be, or was to be in the future, or could be if so-and-so came about; it merely considered conditions "as is." No matter what the situation might be with regard to the ability or aggressiveness of the separate units, at that time . . .[to be compiled fully at a later time].
This type of thinking unfortunately annoys many people; it may especially arouse the anger of women, who regard it as cold, even brutal, although actually it would seem to be more tender and understanding, and certainly less blaming, than the more conventional methods of consideration. And the value of it as a tool in increased understanding cannot be denied.
As a more extreme example, consider the sea-hare, Tethys, a shell-less flabby sea slug or snail, faintly resembling a rabbit crouched over, which may be seen crawling about occasionally in tidal estuaries. A California biologist [George MacGinitie] determined that more than 478 million living eggs may be produced by a single animal in a single breeding season; and the adults may occur by the hundred! Obviously, all these eggs cannot mature, all this potential cannot become reality, else the ocean would soon be occupied exclusively by sea hares. In a few generations, they would overflow the earth; there would be nothing for the rest of us eat; and nothing for them unless they turned cannibal. On th average, probably no more than th Biblical one or two can attain full maturity. Somewhere along the way, all the rest will have been eaten by predators whose life cycle is postulated upon the presence of abundant larva of sea hares and other forms as food. Now, picture the combination mother-father hare (the animals are hermaphroditic, with the usual cross fertilization) parentally blessing its offspring with these words: "Work hard and be aggressiv, so you can grow in a nice husky Tethys like your ten-pound parent." Imagine it, the hypocrite, the Pollyana, the genial liar, saying that, en masse, to its millions of eggs, with the dice loaded at such a ratio! 99.999% are destined inevitably to fall by the wayside. Any given individual has almost no chances at all. Never-the-less, the race survives, and there is a semblance of truth in the parent sea hare's advic, since even here, with this almost infinitesimal percentag, the race is still to the swift and/or the lucky. [to be compiled completely in the future as time and money allow].
An interesting parallel to these two types of thinkin is afforded by the microcosm with its freedom or indeterminancy, as contrasted to the morphologically inviolable pattern of the macrocosm. Statistically, the electron is free to go where it will. But the destiny pattern of any aggregate, comprising uncountable billions of these same units (as for example, the eventual disintegration of a stick of wood or a piece of iron, through the departure of the comparatively immortal electrons), is fixed and certain, however much that inevitability may be delayed by much deferring of the operation of the second law of thermodynamics as is conferred by painting and rust-proofing.
And the non-causal or non-blaming viewpoint seems to me to represent very often relatively the "new thing," the Hegelian "Christ-child" which arises emergently from the union of two opposing viewpoints, such as those of physical and spiritual teleologies, especially .....................
A thing may be so "because" of a thousand and one reasons of greater or lessor importance, such as the man oversized because of glandular insufficiency.
The whole is necessarily everything, the whole world of fact and fancy, body and psyche, physical fact and spiritual truth, individual and collective, life and death, macrocosm and microcosm (the greatest quanta here, the greatest synapse between these two), conscious and unconscious, subject and object. The whole picture is portrayed by is, the deepest word of deep ultimate reality, not shallow or partial as reasons are, but deeper and participating, possibly encompassing the oriental concept of "being.