I think I disagree with you about morality and enlightenment being separate from natural urges. If I understand your argument correctly, you mean our morality and intelligence is distinct from “natural urges” and this is part of our separation from animals. I disagree in that I think morality is a very natural urge. The moral choice is usually the one that harms other people the least. I think this desire to not harm other members of our social groups is a very animal like urge. As far as I know, individuals in a group of animals do not normally hurt each other for no reason. I think morality is something that ties us to our natural urges. Of course, I may be incorrect in the way I’m defining morality or in the way I understand the way you are defining natural urges.
To address just one point of your well reasoned argument, I think a discussion of religion as a possible impetus for domestication. My knowledge of very early religion is minimal, but I think the idea of domestication animals for religious purposes is reasonable. In the past, religion played a very central role in people’s lives, much more central than it does today. If early humans thought a sacrificed animal would bring a better harvest or fatter animals, they would want to do it with a regularity that I think would require domesticated animals. I don’t mean to suggest that this is the only reason why animals were domesticated, or even that it was the main reason, but I think it is an interesting argument to consider. Religion could be an interesting part of the domestication puzzle.
Also, I don’t mean to nitpick at something you only briefly mentioned in your blog, I just think it is an interesting point to consider.
I had the same problem with that argument. I think the prevalence of non-mammals in horror movies has more to do with the fact that non-mammals tend to be scarier because they are so foreign to us. Beyond that, there are plenty of movies with mammals as the bad guys. Recently “The Grey” with Liam Neeson had wolves as the scary animals. Going back even further, “Cujo” had a St. Bernard, possibly one of the least frightening dogs, as the monster. Non-mammals are easier to make scary in a movie, which explains their prevalence I think. It takes better film making to make a dog seem scary. I think Bulliet was way off on that one.
I found Bulliet’s discussion of the shift from “real” experiences to fantasies somewhat problematic. If I understand his argument correctly, he says since people see less slaughter on farms, a “real” experience of violence, they are more inclined towards violent movies, a fantasy of violence. I would say watching a violent film is not that different from watching a an animal be slaughtered in terms of being exposed to violence. Perhaps doing the actual slaughtering is a different matter, but Bulliet seemed mostly concerned with a child’s first exposure to violence, which I would imagine would not be actually doing the slaughtering. In both cases the violence is observed by a removed audience. The violent film is only less “real” because at the end of the day no one is actually hurt. Visually the two experiences seem very similar to me. I suppose the main idea of my rambling is that seeing a violent film and seeing an animal slaughtered seem similar in terms of forming a child’s views on violence. I have a hard time seeing why watching animals be slaughtered desensitizes a person towards violence while watching a violent film is a product of a need to fantasize about violence. The two experiences seem similar to me. I could be way off-base with this idea though, having never seen an animal slaughtered.
Crops do exist that can grow in places where just a few decades ago it would have been unthinkable. I think the problem is just having access to a cereal crop isn’t enough to make up the huge wealth disparity that exists between the rich and the poor. Or that the crops don’t thrive enough to bridge the gap.
As for still having specific major titles, I agree that all fields are coming together, or have never really been that far apart to begin with, but the scope of knowledge is so great, I think having something more all encompassing would be difficult. I think there is just to much stuff to allow for less specific majors. 4 years isn’t enough time to learn everything to a meaningful degree, so we have to make it more specific. I feel like this is a somewhat lame excuse because I agree, majors should be less specific, I just think given the short amount of time spent in college it would be impractical.