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Raving about sex

FTLComm - Tisdale - Thursday, March 4, 2004
With all due respect for humans, I am of the opinion that our black feather friends, the ravens, are profoundly more sophisticated and knowledgeable about most things that we two legged primates, who struggle with our over worked and over estimated mental capacity dedicate so much misdirected energy toward. For a raven sex is like breathing and flying,, it is a fundamental part of life and for those of you who have some biological obsession that sex and sexuality are pure and simply a necessity for procreation of the species, you might want to take a much closer look at the antics of ravens.

When we lived in the Yukon our whole family and all of our neighbours would be overwhelmed with the energy and death defying behaviour of ravens as their local Watson Lake custom was to conduct their courtship between five and three hundred feet above the escarpment on the West side of the community. Performing aerobatics that no human pilot in the most advanced flying machine would, or could, ever attempt. Inverted stalls with gear and flaps extended; bodies, wings and tail feather out of configuration to gain the attention of their prospective mate, as both partners would wheel and spin up and down, involved in what had to be considered flight, but involved interactions that told the story of a determination to win and woe the other.

Humans are first and foremost biological creatures, the product of thousands of generations, but unlike most other beings, capable of passing on what they learn in their time on earth, as we possess the rare ability to form speech, commit emotion and thoughts to transmittable intelligible sounds. We can learn. Our complexity has resulted in our species having one of the longest periods of life dependent upon our parents. Childhood is often a few weeks in most mammals and even among ravens, lasts only part of a year. But because we have sophisticated communication equipment, we need extensive training and practice, so that we can interpret the subtle expressions of each other. Scientists have discovered that we rely on verbal communications for as little as fifteen percent and gain all other information, some eighty-five percent, through unconscious interpretation of gesture, facial expression and time based movement.

Every human baby is born with intrinsic feedback nonverbal communication, instinctive pre-wired systems to guarantee that their parents will give them attention and love them. For in those first four years of life, every child must master a whole range of behavioural skills that will grant him, or her, acceptance by all others of their kind, throughout their whole life. We learn to be listeners, watchers, imitators and figure out how to sort out emotions and imprint deep within ourselves the unknown yet completely fundamental nature of what it is to be male or female. All of this is done and finished with before we take our coats and boots off to enter the kindergarten classroom.

But there is always the possibility of error and part of the built in system, in every human child is the ability to unlearn and reprogramme, to compensate for mistakes. When you consider this process it is pretty remarkable that we do as well as we do and the main reason for our success as a species is that we are able to use our intelligence to adapt. With this adaptability comes yet another programming problem. There are people who do not appropriately succeed in development. The programming errors are minor enough to go undetected and their adaptive nature compensates often well enough to conceal even from themselves gaps in their behavioural patterns.

Of every four adult woman in our society three have not, think this over carefully, only three out of four have not been victims of sexual abuse. For every five men, four have not been sexual abuse victims. If you have a school of two hundred students, that is twenty-five girls and twenty boys for a total of forty-five children. The question you have to deal with is, what does that mean about this significant number of people who will spend all of their lives with having learned lessons that can not be corrected? They will not have lives like the other 155 fellow school mates.

This past week Tisdale's local newspaper, the Recorder carried its whole front page promoting the presentation by Shawna Sparrow of Saskatoon's Teen-Aid organisation. Teen-aid is widely used in Saskatoon's Catholic school system and is associated with the American corporation that promotes abstinence and strongly condemns public and provincial school policies regarding sexual education in schools. Sparrow addressed the Pasquia Pro-Life organisation resulting in another full page spread in the alternative publication in Tisdale, the Parkland Review. Both of these features stories were essentially full blown advertisements for a very questionable point of view.

All studies on human sexuality have determined that the basic attitudes about sex were conveyed to children long before they entered school and advertising, life styles demonstrated on television, in movies and magazines have little, or no affect whatever, on young people. For those who have been taught lessons that are off the track, no amount of preaching, shame and fear tactics will have anything but negative affects on the individual.

There is nothing wrong with abstinence and chastity as positive examples for young people, but since sex and sexual attitudes are learned by example, talk is cheap and a waste of time.

You see the design, the way people learn, is the primary issue here and sex is huge in terms of the basic elements learned by a child. Ultimately, sex and sexuality, are the most personal of all human behaviours. Even parents have no right to interfere with their children's behaviour, if they did a bad job of parenting in the child's early years, their child will pay dearly for the mistaken lessons. The role of a parent is to love and support their child, after all they are a complete reflection of themselves and they taught their child all the attitudes and behaviours about sex before the child could even talk.

For those of you who want to interfere in the sexual lives of others, there is only one thing to say to you: "Mind your own business."

Our school system does its best with health and safety issues and no teacher or health educator, will for a minute, suggest to students that there is such a thing as safe sex. Condoms are about as effect in protecting people as parents are effective in preventing their children from being sexually abused. The big issues for teenage about sexuality is being able to rely upon the built in attitudinal instruction they received when they were little. It worked for you and it will work for them.

I worked for many years among various Canadian aboriginal people, Kaska, Cree, Anicinabe and Heilsuk and all hold children in reverence. A child is a precious gift to a community and how that child came into being is the blessing of the creator. If someone chooses to act upon the inclinations that are part of their humanity and should they be blessed with a coming child it is a joyous event for both she who will become a mother and for he who will become a father. Blessed is all life.

Now if you were a raven you would know all this and would not have to wade through this tangled prose on your screen. Ravens are often the being, the deceiving deity "the trickster" (Heilsuk, Northern Kwakiut) takes the form of when he visits humans and tries to confound their existence. Ravens are a part of life, part of the great circle of beings, but they know full well that every part of their lives is part of the whole scheme of things and display their courtship hundreds of feet about the tree tops for all to see, for there is no shame in life and living. Each being must follow their destiny where ever it leads them, be it to the base of the clouds, or over the horizon and beyond.

Timothy W. Shire

Teen-Aid Inc. web site
The Textbook League, Keep them dumb, keep them pregnant, as seen on web site March 4, 2004, The Textbook League, Sausalito California Teen Sexuality, web site seen March 4, 2004
St. Peter's High School (Saskatoon)curriculum, as seen on web site March 4, 2004
Olsson, Karen, What Birds? What Bees? The Governor's other campaign for voluntary emissions reductions, as seen on web site March 4, 2004, The Bush Files
Kantor, Leslie M., Me, My World, My Future, 1994, Sexuality Information and education council of the United States
Wong, Yvonne, Abstinence-only Sex Ed Programs Leave American Teens in the Dark, December 4, 2002, The Lowell, Lowell High School Newspaper San Francisco


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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004