Sunday, December 7, 2008

Street people

So you might have noticed that there are people who live on the street. Street people, in fact.

It seems that the overall consensus of people who live in houses is that the people living on the street represent a problem for society.

There is less of a consensus as to what should be done about the problem of the street people. Depending who you ask, perhaps we should rehabilitate them, give them job training, pressgang them, convert them to a religion, house them, incarcerate them, educate them, kill them, or some combination of those.

Obviously each of those options comes with its own set of difficult questions but most of those questions are boring from being asked over and over again and they all avoid the important question which is,

What if there's nothing wrong with living on the street in the first place?

We have -always- had street people in our cities. Based on this fact alone we should be hesitant to declare the phenomenon wrong unless we're prepared to declare something fundamentally wrong with humanity itself.
No doubt many people are ready to do that. Still, most of the arguments I've heard in favor of the worthlessness of humanity are arguments about the worthlessness of humanity in post-Roman Empire society, not the worthlessness of the human organism in itself.

The human organism has literally billions of years of experience under its belt in the art of living for free off of the environment. Compare that to its mere thousands of years of experience living in cities and towns, working at jobs, and consider that from a purely biological standpoint we are probably better equipped to live like street people than like office workers in apartments.
In the event of a total economic and societal collapse, we may find that the people who have already been living on the street are better equipped for survival. That makes the automatic reaction of revulsion and disdain that many experience at the sight of a homeless person seem a little backwards to me.

No comments: