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Early Human Savagery Is a Patriarchal Myth Rationalizing Our Descent Into Civilization: We Once Had the Run of the Forest and the “Original Affluent Society”

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Out of Eden, Part Two — Agrarian Revolution … or Devolution? The Adoption of Agriculture Brought Drudgery for Humans … And So We Cast Ourselves Out of the Garden

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A Fall from Grace?

The Switch from Hunter-Gatherer to Horticultural Lifeways

Turning now from the individual, the microcosm, to that of society, the macrocosm, the obvious historical corollary to the Fall from Grace in Eden is the switch from the hunter-gatherer way of life to the horticultural. For most of our time on this planet, our species has lived as hunter-gatherers. But the switch to the harnessing of Nature and the less mobile agricultural way of life brought with it a correspondingly different worldview.

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We Once Had the Run of the Forest

There were specific economic factors that came into play here.  The hunter-gatherer culture has been called “the original affluent society” — with the amount of daily work required for survival being estimated at only four hours (Sahlins, 1972; Bird-David, 1992). 

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With the run of the forest, so to speak, and so much spare time for personal, creative, or playful pursuits, it is easy to imagine hunter-gatherers having more congenial attitudes toward each other.

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The Agrarian Revolution Brought Drudgery for Humans

With the beginnings of agriculture and the domestication of animals, the so-called “agrarian revolution,” repression and oppression begin to rear their ugly heads. (See The Great Reveal)

Being truly a “fall from grace,” agriculture, along with the seeming advantage of control of Nature, brings with it a significant increase in work time required — especially at certain seasonal times.

And Large Families, Child Labor

So here we have also the beginnings of large families (free labor) and child labor. Children are born into families where they feel themselves invisible and unspecial and are forced into drudgery at an early age. This is, of course, contrary to an individual child’s needs and desires; so authoritarian controls and a system of sanctions and punishments are required.

A painting by artist Michel Angelo Pacet

And Hierarchy in Society … a Master/Slave Pattern … Elites, Law, Punishment, and Out-Laws

This master/slave pattern is reflected also in the larger culture. With the onset of horticulture we have the beginnings of settled communities.  Whereas in nomadic groups it does not pay to own very much and hence an egalitarianism is the rule, in settled groups we have the gradual accumulation of wealth and property into the hands of a few. This brings in a hierarchical society and an elitism which, reflecting the situation of the family, requires control of the populace for the ends of the elite. Thus a system of dire sanctions and punishments is instituted. We have the beginnings of law . . . and hence of “out-laws” — that is, those who refuse or cannot abide by the wishes of the dominant group.

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And Conformity and Repression of the Self: Authoritarian Cultures Create Authoritarian Personalities. We Have the Beginnings of Religion.

The agrarian culture is, generally speaking, much less tolerant of individual differences, viewing them as potential threats to essentially ill-gotten wealth and power. Its economic system “requires” conformity and repression of individualistic impulses of all kinds. This cultural and familial situation is reflected in the psyches of those who pass for “normal” in that society.  Authoritarian cultures create authoritarian personalities. The members themselves are as equally repressive of their own “individualistic” impulses as the larger society is oppressive of such corresponding individuals and groups.

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We have the beginnings of religion. Whereas primal cultures look to personal experience of the numinous as a basis for establishing a relation to any Larger Reality beyond the self, hierarchical societies extend the effort to control the populace for the benefit of the elites into the private realm. Clerical authorities now mediate with the supernatural. Conformity and suppression of impulses is sought even in directing the very thoughts and consciousness of societal members.

Greek Orthodox ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew blesses believers during a Christmas mass in Aya Yorgi (St. George) church at Fener Greek orthodox patriarchate in Istanbul

There Was No War: Early Human Savagery Is a Patriarchal Myth … Hiding Our True History, Our True Human Nature as It Rationalizes Civilization and Its Enforced Enslavement as a Boon

In support of this, I quote:

The entire period under discussion, from 3.5 million years ago to about 10,000 years ago, was a peaceful period.  There are no remains of weapons used by humans against humans, no signs of groups of human beings being slaughtered. pigmeos-Mbuti-300x170 Thus the early forms of humanity, far from being savagely aggressive and cruel, were probably a gentle, humorous, peaceable folk, like many tribes living to this day in gentle climates. The picture previously offered of early societies — that of a patrilocal band of related males who exchanged women and treated them as commodities — is a patriarchal construct; such societies probably never existed. Most likely, early gatherer/hunters lived in fluid, flexible egalitarian groups. This is not to say that these people lacked aggressiveness and did not experience conflict. But they developed social skills for dealing with negative interaction; their education focused on personal relations, cooperation, their part in a larger whole.

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RdBirthFly_copyA group life centered on child care and sharing could not survive in a highly aggressive environment.  Intense aggressiveness would have destroyed the species. And among present-day gatherer/hunters, whose customs vary from extreme male dominance to more or less equal but segregated male/female to integrated egalitarian societies, one factor is universal: all live by sharing. A degree of aggressiveness is culturally induced: where it is not valued, it is not strong. This “advance” was left to Homo sapiens and that glory, civilization.  (French, 1985, p. 39)

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Upon which Skibbins (1991) elaborates,

As [Marilyn] French documents in her book Beyond Power, the first three and a half million years of our existence on this planet as hominids and the first 85,000 years walking on this planet as homo sapiens, we lived without war. There are no cave paintings of war. Replace that inaccurate bear killing bundle of testosterone which Wilber paints, with the images of the tribe in the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy.  Research in anthropology and paleontology reveal that we were a gentle, nomadic, primarily vegetarian people. For 95 percent of our lives on our planet both genders shared their love of children, their loyalty to hearth and tribe, and their deep sense of connection with each other and with the earth mother who gave them life.

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Aggression, domination, subjugation, isolation, depersonalization, sowing wild oats and clinging to powerful others are the products of the last 5,000 years.  They reflect the gradual domination of a worldview obsessed with an addiction to power and control.  This pollution has so warped our capacity to love that we believe the differences Wilber describes to be inherent.  Actually they are a symptom of a recent aberration in our history, a disease which we may be nearing the end of. . . .  (Skibbins, 1991)

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So at a certain point some of us began the agricultural attempt to harness the natural order for our benefit. The hunter-gatherer and the agricultural lifestyles correspondingly reflect two radically divergent ways of viewing oneself and the world — two separate attitudes, two different consciousnesses, if you will.

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The Original Affluent Society

In the agricultural worldview, people are separated from nature and seek to control it. By contrast, the hunter-gatherer sees in nature a great provider who asks only that one relate harmoniously to it and act in harmony with it. Marshall Sahlins (1972), in the famous anthropological essay titled “The Original Affluent Society,” first published in 1968, which did a lot to expose Western ethnocentric biases in evaluating these early cultures, wrote “a pristine affluence colors their economic arrangements, a trust in the abundance of nature’s resources rather than despair at the inadequacy of human means” (p. 29). But see, also, Colin Turnbull’s (1961) classic, The Forest People, for further help in freeing oneself from the burden of our limiting Western heritage concerning the basic “darkness” of human nature.

Mbuti boys wear grass skirts during their circumcision ceremony.

Basic Trust Versus Basic Mistrust in Relation to the Natural World

From these newer perspectives it is easier to see how, since Nature is seen as beneficent, this dependence on it is not viewed as a problem. Still, it does imply a strong element of basic trust; whereas the agrarian culture seeks to control the natural and economic forces upon which it is dependent and implies basic mistrust.

We Opted for “The Struggle” Over Easy Living

And So We Cast Ourselves Out of the Garden

The relationship for the agricultural society, thus, is one of fear, struggle, attempt to control nature, and to propitiate and appease God — in a word, separation, analogous to the physical separation at birth of the newborn from the mother.

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Notice that at the outset, in The Bible, immediately after being thrown out of Eden, people are agricultural:

And Adam knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.  And she again bare his brother Abel.  And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.  (Genesis, 4:1-2)

We Ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil = We Split Life Into a Duality of Pleasure and Pain, Seeking to Possess One and Avoid the Other … at Great Cost, for We Turned Life Into Great Effort

We, of course, did not really start out keeping sheep and tilling the ground.  So in Genesis the entire period of a hundred-thousand years … or three-million years, if you include our hominid existence … of hunter-gatherer culture is subsumed under the time in Eden. But then, speaking metaphorically, we ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We no longer trusted “God” … Nature, Divine Providence, the All That Is … and instead attempted ourselves to gain power over nature by the separation of life into a duality of good and evil and pleasure and pain — struggling to avoid one and possess the other.

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In doing this we began our agricultural lifestyle, and so we were thrust out of The Garden.

Since this did not happen for that 95 to 99 percent of our previous existence, what changed? What was that “apple”?

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I contend it was birth pain. And this is what we address next.

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Continue with Birth Pain Causes a Feverish Human Mind, Struggling Against Nature and the Divine, Which We Call “Intelligence”: Out of Eden, Part Three — Birth, “Intelligence,” and Culture

Return to Is Birth the Beginning of Consciousness, as We Assume, or Is It the Forgetting of Innate Divine Awareness: Out of Eden, Part One, Birth — An Awakening or a Forgetting?

For an Overview and Links to Other Parts of This Work-in-Progress, Go to Prodigal Human: The Descent of Man

Falls from Grace: The Devolution and Revolution of Consciousness – Michael’s latest book – is now available in print and e-book formats.

at http://www.amazon.com/Falls-Grace-Devolution-Revolution-Consciousness/dp/1499297998/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400787010&sr=1-3 

Planetmates: The Great Reveal  is also available in print and e-book format.  at https://www.createspace.com/4691119

and at Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/Planetmates-Great-Reveal-Return-Grace/dp/1496083326/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399084684&sr=1-1&keywords=michael+adzema

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

To purchase a signed copy of any of my books, email me at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

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Out of Eden—Agrarian Revolution … Return to Eden—Primal Renaissance: The Earliest Yuppies, 25,000 Years Ago, Cast Us Out of the Garden. We Are Returning … Now

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Primal Renaissance: Our Greatest Hope May Be the Flourishing of Culture as We Reintegrate Long-Lost Knowledge and Worldview, Formerly Ridiculed as “Primitive”

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Falls from Grace, Epilogue: Are We Entering a Primal Renaissance?

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We live in exciting times.  Information hams it up before us at every turn.  This unparalleled info-glut brings fascination, paralysis, agony, insight, change, renewal, and inspiration.  In some ways it looks like a renaissance — take the incredible proliferation of technology, for example . . . the mind-boggling advances in computers.  But a renaissance of the “primitive,” the “uncivilized” . . . a primal renaissance?  How can that possibly be?

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Paleolithic Consciousness … Out of Eden

For weeks I had been working on several articles, my ardor suspending me above the landscape of a natural consciousness, a hunter-gatherer one.  Called “paleolithic consciousness” by one contemporary theorist, this mindstyle is reputed to exist among our hunter-gatherer progenitors and among some current “primal cultures.”  It is characterized by greater attunement with body and nature, greater relaxation and well-beingness, more loving child-caring, greater sensory and aesthetic appreciation, more expanded psychic openness, fuller emotional and relational capacity, and greater “with-it-ness” (Witness) with reality in general.

Vision_Quest__99529_zoomMbuti Pygmies at a forest hunting camp.caveman-starting-fire_thumb

The Earliest Yuppies and The Agrarian Revolution

I was also focusing on how our civilization came to lose that primal expansiveness of soul — a la “ejection from the Garden of Eden.”  An increasing mistrust of nature — and an inexplicable rebellion against an eternally old “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy — led to attempts to control Nature, and consequently body as well.  The supposed big “advance” of these earliest yuppies was the domestication of plants and animals.  In history, this first major “upwardly mobile” turning is known as the “agrarian revolution,” and it occurred variously between 10 and 30 thousand years ago.

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Renaissance

All of a piece it came to me that what was going on now, in Western culture, was exactly parallel to what had occurred during the Renaissance of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  At that time, you may recall, the Catholic Church’s intellectual hegemony was loosening, which allowed ancient Roman and Greek texts preserved in the monasteries to be released into the collective culture.  There, our formerly repressed and forgotten “classical” heritage combined and cross-fertilized with views prevailing at that time to create the incredible flowering of culture and human potential that the word renaissance now conveys.

The View from the Doorstep of Nuclear and Ecological Annihilation

It occurred to me that night how we, in the consciousness and ecology movements, are becoming ever more aware, once again, in diverse and various ways, of the vast legacy of feeling, perception, human fulfillment, and spiritual awareness and viewpoint that current “child-rearing” practices cause us “normally” to leave behind.  Similarly we come to realize how much our species lost in coming into its much-vaunted “civilization” in its evolutionary history.  The view from the doorstep of nuclear and ecological annihilation allows such perspectives. 

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Yet, through our different ways of healing ourselves, and to extents greater and lesser, we retrieve that lost and repressed legacy.

Multiculturalism

And we are, happily, not alone in that retrieval.  Increasingly it appears that our age is characterized, on a global scale, by an unprecedented multiculturalism wrought of technological advances in telecommunications and transportation.  Consequently, we are pushed to enjoying an ever growing awareness of the legacies of primal cultures, both current and historical.

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Xenophobia Dissolving and “Ego”-Eroding Information

At the same time and not coincidentally we observe our own religious, scientific, and Western-cultural hegemonies collapsing under that same weight of contrary and both xenophobia- and “ego”-eroding information.  Moreover, this collapse is aided by momentous and far-reaching occurrences as diverse as our mistaken engagements in third-world countries — our misadventures in Iraq and Vietnam, for example; the technological crisis of credibility wrought of the global ecological crisis; and the discoveries of the new physics with their concurrent death-blow to the pretensions of common-sense materialism.

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Re-Integration of the Primitive and Primal … Return to Eden

It became clear to me that just as centuries ago we came out from under the thumb of a brand of cultural repression that scapegoated and repressed former cultures — specifically, the Greek and the Roman legacies, calling them “pagan” — we were now coming out from under the thumb of a cultural repression and consequent scapegoating of even longer duration — one extending back ten to thirty-thousand years!  Along with this we were seeing not only the limitations and inadequacies of the Western civilization and technology which so many had sacrificed for, and killed for; we were seeing also the re-integration of long-lost knowledge and worldview — which formerly had been obscured and hidden beneath such pejoratives as “primitive,” “savage,” and “uncivilized.”

Shamans, Vision Quests, Sweat Lodges, and Drums

Some of us were learning this only too well, as it seemed necessary to search out the earliest or least “civilized” cultures possible for the only pertinent tips we could find on sane and healthy child-caring techniques. 

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But the rest of our culture is catching on too, and in a big way!  Shamanistic practices, rites of passage, and indigenous rituals are enjoying great popularity.  Workshops on everything from vision quests, fire-walking, and Native American sweat lodges . . . to nature treks, drumming, and “sacred arrow” ceremonies have begun popping up.  And currently we are even recognizing our Western patriarchal culture’s evil hand in the extermination of society upon society of indigenous peoples; we are re-writing the history books on the legacy of Columbus even as we passed the five-hundredth anniversary of his landing in America.

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A Flourishing of Culture?

What’s more, in a manner analogous to the cross-fertilization of ideas that led to the medieval Renaissance, our culture is expanding and becoming richer through the inclusion of these alternate perspectives.  Those of us on the healing edge are uniquely able to sense the potential of this inclusion as we experience the effects that this kind of appreciation of the feeling, the affectionate, the intuitive, the natural, the body, and the senses has had upon our individual lives.  Why would we not think that this kind of cross-fertilization of repressed heritage would lead to a flourishing of our culture in the same way that it is has led to a blossoming in our lives?

The Brightest Light on Our Cultural Horizon

Indeed, many of us do feel that a “primal renaissance” is occurring on our planet.  Furthermore, many of us believe that this occurrence may be, in truth, the brightest hope on what otherwise can appear globally to be a rather bleak social and cultural horizon.

So let us not lose this opportunity to midwife the emergence of this primal renaissance, and, germinal as it may appear at this time, to nurture it to its fullest flowering.  We cannot change the past, of course.  But our efforts will work — one small measure at least — for righting the many wrongs of those who have come before us toward those earlier primal societies, and the deeply felt ideas and cultural ways they held dear.

slider-SWEATPablo_Amaringo-Beings_of_the_Vegetation1pyADFAFDAFAgmyvision-quest-iii-patricia-allingham-carlsonHope Rwanda, Village of Hope Project,

Continue with Book 10 Primal Return: The Prodigal Awakening

Return to Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance

To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace

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 AsheDrumCir_540x242   Image: President Barack Obama Holds Recovery Act Event In Nellis AFB   35-156_268_2_sweat-lodge


View More: http://megwilsonphotography.pass.us/meg_wilson
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Continue with Book 10 Primal Return: The Prodigal Awakening

Return to Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance

To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace

Invite you to join me on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/sillymickel

friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillymickel

To purchase any of Michael Adzema’s books, available in print and e-book formats, go to Michael Adzema’s books at Amazon.

To purchase a signed copy of any of Michael’s books, email the author at sillymickel@gmail.com … Discount for blog subscribers.

Planetmates Say the “Agrarian Revolution” Was the “Direst Development” and Took the Magic Out of Living: “You Began Determining the Life Cycles of Some of the Earth-Rooted Beings of This Planet”

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 Cast Out of the Now, We Began Living in Time, not Experience; the Richness of Life Faded: “Through Horticulture You Expanded Your Interference in Nature’s Perfect Ways into the Flora Empire of Earth Citizens,” Say Planetmates

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The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, The Eleventh Prasad: “Agrarian Revolution” – Interference in Flora Empire

Planetmates Release The Eleventh Prasad

Goat Leads The Eleventh PrasadInterference..in Nature..you decided to extend control over the Flora Empire of Earth Citizens.

Goat was First Consciousness at The Eleventh Prasad.

"[Y]ou next expressed your impatience with the divine flow by controlling the vegetarian side of your food resources by instigating horticulture."

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The Eleventh Prasad – “Agrarian Revolution”

Once you started hunting planetmates for food and killing your own out of fear of scarcity of resources, the next step towards ever more control of what Nature/the Divine provide naturally was facilitated. In terms of the well-being of planetmates, the planet, and the survival of humans, this was the direst development.

naturecollageMobile-Nature-WallpapersBorne of increasing lack of faith in Divine Providence, you next expressed your impatience with the divine flow by controlling the vegetarian side of your food resources by instigating horticulture. Through horticulture you extended your control—we would say interference—in Nature’s perfect ways by deciding what, when, how, and where to grow the Flora Empire of Earth Citizens. About 25,000 years ago, increasing numbers, though not all, of your kind took over the divine plan for these Earth-rooted beings. You determined their life cycles and fates and set them to your ends, rather than Nature’s ends. You call this “the agrarian revolution.”

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Video Commentary by SillyMickel Adzema

What follows is a video of a reading of The Eleventh Prasad, with commentary, elaboration, and context, by SillyMickel Adzema.

“The Eleventh Prasad” From The Great Reveal by The Planetmates – the audiocast

The link above takes you to the audio-only version of my commentary on The Eleventh Prasad, exactly as is in the video. Click on the link to go to the the audio site, or you can listen to it here using the audio player below.

http://cdn.hark.com/swfs/player_fb.swf?pid=bdjglpxwlf
The 11th Prasad. “The Great Reveal” By The Planetmates: “The Agrarian Revolution”

Paraphrase/Elaboration of The Eleventh Prasad — by SillyMickel Adzema

Having begun your controlling obsession by killing planetmates and eating them — hunting — you set up the next step in that expansion of fear into the daily activities of your lives. Pushed by the anxiety of an imagined scarcity of resources, you had begun inserting yourselves into the lives of the Fauna Kingdom. But your excessive fear that you might be unable to take care of your needs caused you to begin your mucking with the natural order in the Flora Kingdom, as well.

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Having a taste of the unnatural power of control over others — that you experienced in removing the life from other planetmates by hunting and killing them — you began to see a way to feed that addiction — which was powerful in it being a substitute for, because it was reflective of, real life — in your interaction with the earth-rooted beings of Nature. Hunting and killing facilitated your imagining of manipulating the flora around you. Removing this decision from the purview of the Divine, where it belongs, you, yourselves, began determining the life cycles and fates of these beings, deciding when they would be “born,” when they would end their existences, where they would live, who of them would get to be superior in numbers, how they would live, and the manner of their deaths. This determination of the life and death of earth-rooted beings, you call horticulture.

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Horticulture means that you began growing your food — taking the lifecycles of earth-rooted beings and setting them to your ends alone, not Nature’s ends. You had observed some planetmates killing and eating others, and you had begun doing that — hunting. You observed that the offspring of many of the Flora Empire — their fruit and seeds and nuts — would become new beings of the same kind of them, when placed under the ground. You decided to fight back your dread of uncertainty by kidnapping those offspring — those seeds, fruits, and nuts — and putting them to use for you. You took the seeds and fruit and put them in the soil near where you lived. This God-like determination of other lives was the beginning of what you call the agrarian revolution.

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sagfagagsagafdThis major incursion of control into the erstwhile harmony of Nature’s domain could not have been more significant for us all, all planetmates; it was the worst development of all. It has had repercussions regarding the well-being and survival of yourselves and all planetmates extending throughout history ever since, and has set up the situation as we have it today. Indeed, its consequences for the planet we share were the most dire of all, as we will demonstrate to you increasingly, as this continues.

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Remember it was your fear that your resources would not be sufficient to satisfy your needs that caused you to add the task of killing planetmates to your food foraging. Remember that your increasing removal of yourself from your felt experience — your insensitivity — allowed you to do this without conscious psychological upset. You began “toughening” yourselves, making yourselves inured to the consequences of your actions.

This reduced connection to your felt experience allowed you to descend into a further diminution of your experience with the cultivation of plants. For your existence previously had been rather easy. It was Nature that went about automatically, with no effort on your part whatsoever, producing what you would need — food and shelter even — without limit or end. You simply had to discern where Divine Providence was “hiding” its gifts and treasures for you to find.

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But your increasing lack of faith in Divine Providence and your increasing insensitivity to the quality of your existence — focusing, because of fear, on the quantity of that existence instead — had you take the magic out of living. Any playful interaction with Nature, as in foraging, all adventure involved in it as well, was put to the side, was considered inferior to the value derived from more certainty in your lives, no matter how hard you had to work to make that happen.

Your impatience was manifesting as well. For, originally, Nature would produce its gifts for you on its timetable; adventure … and surprise … and continual reassurance of the benevolence of the All beyond one’s self … were involved in that. It would have you continually reminded of and reinforced in the knowledge that you were in the hands, always, of a kindly and invisible power that knew all — certainly far more than you did or ever could hope to — and was like a best friend to you.

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It was most certainly kind, however tricky. It played with you, just as much as you would in relation to the things in your world. Since everything worked out in the end, far better than if you had planned or decided it, you trusted in its ways and its intentions toward you.

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But increasingly, for the reasons we have been detailing, you found it impossible to exist in a state of Now that was entrancing, you were living in a planned future, having a conceptual existence rather than an experiential one. The richness of life was increasingly faded from it. And in this faded reality, the present was for you only the precursor to a more desirable future … always off ahead of you … out of immediate reach, but taunting and luring you with the promise of ease of your unbearable feelings of impatience and uncertainty.

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So, in extending conscious control over the timetable of your obtaining food, through the process of horticulture, you could not have all you wanted whenever you wanted, but at least, you told yourself, you could have a pretty good idea of when you would have it … living now more in time rather than in experience … and you could deal with your uncomfortable impatience by giving it a promise of a time and an image of a future where it would be satisfied. This was a step down from full existence as we know it and as you once did, in that when that time of satisfaction would come, it would quickly be over and the impatience and uncertainty would rise up their fearsome forms right away. And somehow you did not learn that or get the lesson from that, but simply substituted another imaginary time of satisfaction off in the future that you could focus on.

At any rate, this development of yours of extending your control over — we would say interference into — Nature’s Flora Kingdom with the institution of horticulture … farming … began in your species about 25,000 years ago. Not many of you engaged in it initially, but more and more did over time. It began to take hold of more of you 10,000 years ago, and became visible as a major aspect of your kind especially 5,000 years ago. Today, there is virtually none of you who live in the old ways, relying on Nature. There is all of you living for some future reward for present expenditure of energy — work — instead of opening such “presents” in the here and now.

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Indeed, your tendency to project all happiness into a future time, unattainable in any present, would leave you more and more despairing as you would see the end of your lives ahead of you and with the realization at hand that such a future time would really never come. So it would push you to imagine even a time after death in which you would be able to receive the rewards for all your work in the present.

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You would reinforce your inability to live in the present by focusing on a “heaven” after death when you would get the enjoyment of life of which you are depriving yourself while alive and which a part of you knows you are missing.

summer-flower-collage-217564 Continue with The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, The Twelfth Prasad: Husbandry and Sedentary WaysEnslavement of Earth Citizens

Return to The Great Reveal from the Planetmates, The Tenth Prasad: Descent Into Savagery Begins … Becoming Controlling, Becoming Killers

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Primal Peoples Had a Nobleness We Don’t Know: Civilization, Culture, and the History of Our Falls from Grace in Nature … Return to Grace, Part One — Can It Be Otherwise?

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Yes, We Can Improve the Human Condition … and We Have: The Necessary Wound … We Should Make It Better

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History of Falls from Grace

In two other works, The Great Reveal and Primal Return, I have delineated what I believe are some of the factors in creating the present state of consciousness as described as being the endpoint of the process of devolution in the last chapter. I trace it back millions of years to bipedal locomotion, an increasing skull size, greater pain in childbirth, increased psychological repression, changes in pelvic size in the female, the forces of natural selection on the length of gestation, comparative prematurity of human newborns, secondary altriciality, increased pain in infancy and birth for humans, increased repression, increased neocortical capacities, the beginnings of culture, and increased skull size again. I also trace this current patriarchal pathology back thousands of years to the “agrarian revolution” and the rejection of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Civilization, Culture, and the Falls

So obviously I do not believe that this condition was always the case for us. However, it goes back rather far in our line to the beginnings of our hominid existence. And its more extreme form seems only to have come into existence within the last 10,000 years, and only then for part of the population. It follows also, since I have claimed that it is more characteristic of “civilized” cultures, that I don’t believe that its extreme form is as prevalent in “simpler” cultures, specifically, hunter-gatherer ones. And I should mention that even among hunter-gatherers there is quite a bit of variety in the degree of severity of this expulsion from paradise.

The reason for the disparities between cultures, as can be derived from the model I have constructed, has to do with the fact that we all, by virtue of being human, are in a separated state relative to the Divine. We have all come into form, to put it bluntly. Beyond that, we all have some amount of trauma from birth. If nothing else, the separation from the mother represents enough trauma for a secondary duality to occur there; but there is almost always much more than that occurring in the womb or around birth to create a further separated, further removed condition.

So by reason of these species-specific factors, all peoples and all cultures attempt to work out their situation “in darkness” as to the real causes of things, oblivious of the motives behind at least some of their actions, and, in sum, liable to error. Hence, any culture, any people is capable of creating cultural and social constructions that increase, or decrease, the amount of repression and fearfulness that already exists as part of the human condition.

Primal People

Thus, we can only say that in general hunter-gatherers are less repressed, less anxious, less “devolved,” and so on, than are people from agrarian or industrial cultures. Cultures have taken somewhat different paths, even hunter-gatherer ones (cf. Gregor, 1985; and Turnbull, 1972). But generalities have their uses, and the evidence appears overwhelming that simpler lifestyles are correlated with radically different, more humane attitudes and behaviors toward children, toward other human beings, and toward Nature in general—characterizing a less split-off state. (cf. Bird-David, 1992; French, 1985; Lawlor, 1991; Liedloff, 1977; Sahlins, 1972; Turnbull, 1961; and van der Post, 1986).

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The Necessary Wound?

Also, this analysis does not take into account any metaphysical or theological perspectives on the opportunities or, dare I say, “benefits” of a separated state, a more dismal and painful human condition. There are those who claim that this “wounding” is a necessary prerequisite to truly human compassion and empathy. Muller (1992) has said that the painful and traumatic human condition … and he is speaking particularly of that produced in childhood … represents our unique opportunity … he even uses the term advantage.

Still, hunter-gatherers don’t seem to be any the less compassionate or empathetic; indeed, the opposite of that is most often asserted about them. So one must conclude that there is no reason to go back to the poisonous pedagogical traditions which enjoined that sparing the rod would spoil the child, or to Christian, especially Catholic, ones that routed the roadways to heaven through valleys of torture (to which I can personally attest).

We Should Make It Better

It would seem, to the extent we are able, that we should do all in our power to minimize this devolutional pull on consciousness, to do all in our power to minimize the separation from the source of our true identity, our knowing, our power and joy; to do all in our power to maximize the chances for future generations, as well as ourselves, to live in the nobleness, strength, at-home-ness, and glow of divinity that characterizes our species at its best. I am sure, given that, that there would still be enough “darkness” hereabouts—within our still-separated state—to go around, providing more than enough “opportunities” and “advantages” for any other ends God might have in mind for us.

Can We Make It Better?

So, then, the question still remaining is, can it be otherwise? Can we make it better? Can we improve the human condition? Looking cross-culturally, the answer would appear to be absolutely in the affirmative (Lyn-Piluso & Lyn-Piluso, 1994). From the perspective of the new experiential psychotherapies, ditto. From the viewpoint of conscious and responsible conception (Baker, 1986) and loving and welcoming gestation (Verny, 1981), without a doubt. And from that of humane and natural birthing procedures (Leboyer, 1975); sensitive, physical, and loving infant care (Liedloff, 1977); and flexible, attentive, and accepting child care-giving (Mahler et al, 1975; Sroufe et al, 1992); a resounding yes!

So let us look now at some of the evidence for a more fortunate and favorable human condition and some of the factors correlated with it. With those in mind, we can envision the more natural self.

Continue with Changing the Human Condition Starts with Birth: The Most Precocious, Brilliant, and Advanced Children Were Treated Differently as Newborns

Return to Resistance Is Futile … One Doesn’t Have One’s Own Mind … One Takes Up the “Mind” of the “Collective”: The Fourth Fall From Grace — Rites of Passage, Becoming “Adult”

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