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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.

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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.

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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

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … Go to The Great Reveal from The Planetmates

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The Second Retreat from the Natural Self — Patriarchal Culture: One Gains the World in Exact Proportion to Which a Man Has Relinquished his Soul

Ritual Is the Attempt to Control Something Symbolically, Indirectly That One Has Split Off from and Is a Poor Substitute for the Real Potential of At-one-ment with Reality

It is this attempt to control something symbolically, indirectly that is the basis of ritual…. Ritual is a poor substitute for the real potential of identifying with and acting in accord with that reality…. The tragedy is that the indirect attempt pre-empts and thus makes impossible the true relationship and true accord, the at-one-ment, that could otherwise be.

Ritual and matriarchal religion are thus the “act-outs” of our repressed identification with Nature and not a reattunement with Nature as the Goddess-religion advocates would have it. From this perspective, then, ritual is not a way of tapping into a deeper relationship with feeling and Nature, it is an avoidance of real feeling, a running away from Nature, from one’s natural self, from the real, the authentic, the genuine self, from genuine action, from spontaneous and ever-creative being-in-the-world.

The Second Retreat: Patriarchal Culture

Now, patriarchal cultures, along with their patriarchal religions, follow a parallel but different pattern from the matriarchal ones, as discussed. Whereas matriarchal cultures are associated with agricultural lifeways and thus tied to the Earth and to sedentary living, Patriarchal cultures are said to be associated originally with nomadic lifestyles. I say nomadic, but I do not wish to confuse it with the nomadic ways of the forager and hunter-gatherer cultures. Early lifeways were nomadic in the sense of following the food source. They were not nomadic by choice.

However, the nomadic cultures, and the great patriarchies, evolved on the vast plains of Eurasia where the disconnection from the land involved in animal husbandry, in particular sheep herding, gave rise to nomadic warrior lifestyles and a conquering mentality. But there are other reasons why this sort of consciousness arose.

Parallel to the matriarchal cultures splitting off from true connection with Nature as Mother—that is, adopting agriculture and thus controlling, and alternately appeasing, the Nature which they at one time followed, patriarchal cultures entail a splitting off from oneself as Father, as Spirit, and a consequent need to act out and appease those energies. To understand this better, let us back up a little bit.

In hunter-gatherer cultures, we tend to have shamans as religious practitioners. These shamans can often journey in altered states of consciousness, can journey in the cosmos so to speak. Thus, although such people, as all of us, are ordinarily limited in time and space, they have a freedom of spirit — a spiritual freedom — quite unlike anything we know.

Corresponding to this, it is true that some hunter-gatherer societies focus a great deal more on their inner states and on altered realities — their much noted concern with dreams and their dream life is an example. The notable example of this is the Australian aboriginal culture. And this involves a democratization, if you will, of shamanic experience. Everyone dreams, many go on walkabouts, or as in the case of Native American cultures, on vision quests. Many other examples of profound spiritual journeying—often involving hallucinogens—could be given that are available to most if not all members of indigenous cultures.

However, patriarchal cultures tend to be hierarchical and specialized. This means that spiritual journeying is relegated to a select few, a specialized sect of priests. The vast majority of individuals in patriarchal cultures live onerous and oppressive lives that do not allow much in the way of spiritual journeying.

Is it any wonder then that these cultures are nomadic? The usual pattern is that when some inner potential is split off from and repressed—when one disidentifies with it—that one begins acting it out in the external world. So we find that the inner potential for spiritual journeying and growing is acted out in patriarchal cultures in the form of nomadic wandering. The direct relationship with Spirit, with Father, which characterizes the hunter-gatherer, is repressed in patriarchal cultures; and Spirit and Father are projected outside of oneself where one must now seek to enter into a relationship with It.

In later centuries, nomadic wandering became nomadic invading and conquering, and ultimately imperialism. In all of these an inner journey into the self is replaced by a desire to extend one’s ego boundaries outward over greater and greater expanses of territory. The amount of territory gathered outside is equivalent to the amount relinquished inside, for what one doesn’t know inside one fears. And what one fears, one wishes to control and subjugate. So the fears of inner forces motivate the expansion outward; one projects one’s inner “unknowns” onto the vast unknown outside oneself, in the physical world of land and people, of geography and society. “What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?” is instead: One gains the world in the exact proportion to that which a man has relinquished his soul. (See Enlightenment Lobotomies – White Color Slavery… in Culture War, Class War)

Thus, in patriarchal cultures there are religions which seek to relate to and appease gods which represent their forgotten and repressed inner potentials of fate, destiny, spiritual growth, and adventure—their inner “fire.” The fire or light that one has dimmed within is sought without; one cannot help but do so. Since one cuts oneself off from one’s core creative and authentic decision-making center one feels oneself in the hands of a whimsical fate that is outside of oneself . . . and that is called Father and God, and is that which one must seek to appease.

Summary, Ritual as Symbolic Obfuscation and Addiction to Control

So the pattern is the same in both matriarchal and patriarchal cultures. It is the same pattern of disidentifying with some inner potential, repressing it, being forced to act it out symbolically in the outside world, projecting it outside of oneself as an external force or power, and then seeking to enter into a symbolic relationship with it wherein one can hope to have some indirect control over it since one has lost one’s direct relationship with it. And the reason for doing all this, in either case, is the same: It is fear, mistrust of the Universe, in either the Universe’s maternal or paternal aspects … or, of course, both.

The patriarchal person is fearful of the spiritual forces within him- or herself. Hence she or he disidentifies with them and projects them outside of him- or herself where they must be related to symbolically. The matriarchal person mistrusts the Natural world and disidentifies with It, and with the physical body which is a part of It, in an attempt to control It. In doing so, these natural forces are projected outside of oneself where they can then only be related to symbolically.

In either case, it is this attempt to control something symbolically, indirectly that is the basis of ritual. In both cases ritual is a poor substitute for the real potential of identifying with and acting in accord with that reality. And in each instance, the tragedy is that the indirect attempt pre-empts and thus makes impossible the true relationship and true accord, the at-one-ment, that could otherwise be.

Continue with Ritual As Shadow, Part Four: Ritual Is Hardly Transformation … In Actuality, We “Die” to Our Real Self and Are Remade Into Something Society Can Use

Return to Ritual As Shadow: Magic, Ritual, and Superstition Occur with the Beginnings of Ego and the Agrarian Desire to Control Nature — the Matriarchal Consciousness

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A Re-Visioning of “Civilization” in Light of Impending Apocalypse … Prometheus Made us “Civilized” … And Doomed: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 13

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Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Thirteen: On Defiance, Alienation from Nature, “Civilization,” Apocalypse, Marxism, OWS, and Ayn Rand

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Will “Progress of Man” Be Humanity’s Epitaph?

peasantsplantingpotatoes_thumb2early-village_thumb2All of the “achievements” of “civilization,” these increases of control over Nature, are traditionally seen as the “progress of man,” the advance and evolution of humans. On the brink of ecocide and fishkill_thumb6peoples-orb_rr_thumb4humanicide as we now are as a result of these developments, we have a unique vantage point for re-visioning these changes. Are these vaunted human “achievements” so great if they lead to species annihilation, species suicide, as is becoming increasingly likely?

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We now continue to look into these questions. And the very next thing we see is that even the myths from ancient times give us evaluations and prognoses on us that are surprising in light of our current rationalizations of ourselves as a species.

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Defiance, Alienation from Nature,
“Civilization” … Apocalypse

Defiance = Birth Pain = Separation From the Real

254_thumb[1]Other aspects of the Prometheus and Eden myths fit with the interpretation I am making of it: Stealing fire/ eating the apple/ eating meat is the great act-out of the primal birth pain we created for ourselves by standing upright. It was a defiant act against Nature and Universal harmony, but it set us on the human path of being distinct from all other species. Without real access/ connection to the Real, we created substitute realities—culture, structured societies, status, language and writing, power relations, and abstract creative products. [Footnote 1]

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Prometheus Makes Us “Civilized” … And Doomed

pandoras-badfaoxFitting with that, Prometheus is given the central role in making humans distinct from all species, creating humanity, in giving defining attributes to humans to set us apart from all species and these are said to be fire and all the civilizing skills.pt654_84-cropped Prometheus is credited with, not only securing meat, fire, and all ailments and troubles (with Pandora), but also with bringing civilization and all its components of science, agriculture, mathematics, medicine, art, and literature…fine things no doubt, but all being aspects of control of Nature, opposition to the natural, abstraction and alienation from the divine, and not harmony with it or balance in relation to it. imadgfhfjgjkl;'ges_thumb[1]And only now are we beginning to understand the price that comes with these, as indeed we are suffering the penalties allotted Adam and Eve, Icarus, and Prometheus for their over-reaching and hubris. We are nearing the end of the slide into apocalyptic oblivion that Prometheus, Adam and Eve, and Pandora set us on (poetically speaking).

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The Answers

pandora__s_jar_by_a2010l-d33mfhw_thumb[2]pandora__s_jar_by_xxdigipxx-d3100pj.png_thumb[1]But within these myths lie the answers to our dilemma as well. These products of the consciousness of billions of previous humans—added to and refined over the millennia—prophesize the pandora__s_jar_by_shadow_lust-d31v87l_thumb[3]apocalypse looming before us, but these Nine-Days-of-Creation_thumb[5]tensions cannot exist in myth except being inextricably entwined with the very means of their release and resolution. So they lay before us the way home for us as well; and they predict our redemption and how it will happen. It is to this we now turn.

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Before looking at the resolutions of the uniquely human apocalyptic dilemma we have created, let me address something that is no doubt on many readers’ minds.

How Promethean “Heroism” Set Off Our Slide Into Alienation and Apocalypse … His “Rebellion” Was an Abomination, Not a Blessing

leave_eden_thumb491px-Draper_Herbert_James_Mourning_for_IcarusI know you are not used to hearing the Prometheus myth interpreted as a defiant act not a heroic act. It is never compared with Pandoras_Box_copythe defiant acts portrayed in the Eden or Icarus myths as I am here doing. Icarus is rightly said to be a tragic example of hubris or failed ambition, high-flying ambition. In Eden, Adam and Eve defy the sole divine commandment. But they can all be seen as acts of over-reaching, certainly as acts of hubris. And in all of them punishment follows the selfish act; there is karmic retribution for upsetting the natural or divine order.

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Prometheus Is a Criminal Not Heroic Figure…On Over-Reaching and Hubris

Overlord_Prometheus_Geth_PrimeBut remember that hubris and over-reaching was actually the earliest understanding of the Promethean act. It appears that time, understandably—as it does—provided a rationalization of the defiant act. [Footnote 2]

As with everything else—language, culture, hierarchical society, and the Castle_in_the_Skylike—humans turn their faults into achievements, their crimes into heroism, their cowering before truth into brave creations of castles in the sky. So it is that the Romantic poets Shelley and Byron saw this myth as a reflection of defiance against an oppressive authority, as in their time was the Church; 9781565117877French Revolutionaries saw it as a poke in the eye to the parasitic blue bloods of their age; and Marxists and other activists find inspiration in it for struggle against the suffocating prerogatives of capitalism and imperialism.

They are fine to find inspiration where they can. I submit, however, that a deeper and more currently relevant understanding is the one I am presenting here and which was the earliest understanding. icarusGlowAnd despite all the rationalizing that’s been done on it, this earlier understanding—the one making it analogous to the Eden and Icarus structures—does shine through at times. In my opinion, Mary Shelley understood its real meaning when in 1818 she subtitled her masterpiece novel, Frankenstein “The Modern Prometheus.” In it, she demonstrates a remarkably current,Clive, Colin (Frankenstein)_02 postmodern theme of the dangers of human hubris, ofMonsanto-hungrymanFrankensteinFoods taking us into arenas of knowledge that we are nowhere near capable of managing … doing again, as we did at the beginning in taking from the divine the determination of life and death over the flora, fauna,imstiloyiages and even other humans at times, mucking with the divine order by stirring mouse-earup the forces deep within the atom and the DNA, opening more and more of Pandora’s jars, which can no longer be closed, many of them. So, yes, Shelley’s understanding is closer to my interpretation of the meaning of bringing these “civilizing arts” … In other words, they are in their essence and therefore their ultimate fruits abominations!

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atlas_shrugged_cover6a0133f4251a61970b0168e988eaf3970c-500wiIf my interpretation of Prometheus is still not understood and one wishes to follow Marxist, revolutionary, romantic, and modern interpretations of Prometheus as a righteous defier of injustice and heroic bringer of boons—in a way as to make him a model for our real occupy wall street and Arab Spring heroes frankenstein2today—than consider why it is that the person on the extreme other side of this revolutionary ideology, Ayn Rand, uses Prometheus as a model for her ideology of rapacious fukushima-no-1-meltdown-confirmed-japan_thumbcats_0individuality, which she does in her novels Anthem and the fanatically worshipped, Atlas Shrugged. So, no. Ayn Rand’s rendering shows the myth to be, at its base, depicting the ultimate perversion of a natural benign order and a criminal defiance of Young-Frankenstein-bh01polls_air_pollution_systems_4044_980080_answer_1_xlargeNature—as the industrialists and polluters of today show us—and not the revolutionary overthrow of an oppressive rule, as Marxists, Romantic poets, and French Revolutionaries saw it. [Footnote 3]

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Continue with Enter the Centaur: Wherein Lies Real Hope – Sixties and Millennial Generations Are Shamans for Deluded Promethean “Fathers”: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 14

Return to Deep Thoughts on The Fall – On Sacrifice, Dominion Over Death, Meat, and Murder … Beginning Our Apocalypse: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 12

Footnotes

1. See The Great Reveal, Chapter Thirty-Five: The Twenty-Seventh Prasad. A-mazing Cultural Maze.

2. On “time, understandably, as it does, provided a rationalization of the defiant act,” see “A Blessing for You…To Choose or Refuse”—The Great Reveal from The Planetmates: The Complete Prasads, especially

3. Regarding the glow-in-the-dark cats shown in the photo, see “12 bizarre examples of genetic engineering” at http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/photos/12-bizarre-examples-of-genetic-engineering/glow-in-the-dark-c

Continue with Enter the Centaur: Wherein Lies Real Hope – Sixties and Millennial Generations Are Shamans for Deluded Promethean “Fathers”: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 14

Return to Deep Thoughts on The Fall – On Sacrifice, Dominion Over Death, Meat, and Murder … Beginning Our Apocalypse: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 12

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Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Twelve: Deep Thoughts on The Fall – On Sacrifice, Dominion Over Death , Meat, and Murder… How We Started Our Slide Into Savagery

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Deep Thoughts on The Fall – On Sacrifice, Dominion Over Death, Meat, and Murder … Beginning Our Apocalypse: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 12

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Deep Thought on the Falls – Meat, Sacrifice, and the Determination of Death

The Fall After Eden—Meat-Eating is the Issue with Cain And Abel’s Divine Offerings, Just as it Was with Prometheus’s

There are more parallels between the Eden and Prometheus myths and tie-ins to the issue of meat-eating.

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Cain Killed Abel, Sedentary Farmers Superseded Nomadic Gatherers

ilst185Some scholars see the Cain and Abel struggle as representing that between nomadic hunter-gatherers and the first settled farmers. Abel is the “righteous” man, a herder of sheep, and a nomadic type. He has an affinity with planetmates being a shepherd. GOOD SHEPHERD 2Later, Christ is compared with Abel as being a martyr but notice also that Christ is known as the Good Shepherd—that is, caring of peasantplowingbelowcastle (2)animals, too.

We need to think of the different ways herders and agriculturalists might view animals. The herder needs to raise and care for planetmates, regardless that they will eventually be killed. The farmer can view planetmates as a means only to an end—as slave labor or soul-less tools to be used in the raising of crops.

The Gods Want Meat = The Gods Want to Retain Determination of Life and Death

And in the Cain and Abel story, we have the same idea of an offering of a meat and a non-meat to a god, just as in the Prometheus myth. Again, meat is the accepted and more desired sacrifice by the divine.

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The Gods Want Humans to Offer Meat – to “Sacrifice” That Right of Determining Life/Death

01-anonymous-cain-and-abel-offer-sacrifice-unto-god-duomo-di-monreale-monreale-sicily-itIn the Prometheus myth, it all went awry because Prometheus did NOT offer the meat he should have to God. As I said, offering the meat as a sacrifice is the same as saying that it is left to God to determine the life and death of the planetmates (animals), not humans.schwartz1_thumb And in Abel’s giving up of a lamb to the Divine, the message is that the humans represented by Abel, the nomadic herder-gatherers will be willing to not eat meat, to forego it, to “sacrifice” it.

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Cain’s Story of Not Sacrificing Determination of Life/Death to the Divine = Humans’ Increasing Control Over Nature

2_cain-abel-sacrificesBut with Cain, the farmer, it is all about control. Cain does not offer an animal. Like Prometheus he gives the divine a lesser offering—not quite a tricking of the divine as Prometheus did but close to it; he is not willing to sacrifice as much. In giving up much more abundant grain and vegetables, the price he’s willing to pay is much less than Abel’s offering of a fellow planetmate, a lamb, raised and cared for from birth. Palaeolithic_bedsThe unspoken part in this myth is provided by way of the Prometheus myth. For in not offering meat to the Divine, the assumption is that Cain will be keeping the meat for his own consumption…and by inference that Cain is keeping for himself the determination of life or death of fellow planetmates instead of putting that responsibility where it belongs—in the hands of Nature/ the Divine.

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Deep Thought on the Falls – Murder

It’s No Wonder Cain’s Making of Life-Death Decisions of Animals Leads to His Doing That For a Human

GREEDFinally, the controlling, savage, and murderous qualities that come with increasing control over Nature—as I have described at length elsewhere—show up in that it is the sedentary, cain-abelmore controlling tiller of the soil, Cain, who has become capable of taking now, even, a human life. In The Great Reveal, I showed why that also follows: For once humans became capable of killing and eating planetmate flesh, it was not long before humans were able to kill each other.

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Will “Progress of Man” Be Humanity’s Epitaph?

peasantsplantingpotatoesearly-villageBut all of these developments, these increases of control over Nature, are traditionally seen as the “progress of man,” the advance and evolution of humans. On the brink of ecocide and fishkillhumanicide as we now are as a result of these developments, we have a nuclear_explosion_color_3_thumbunique vantage point for re-visioning these changes. Are these vaunted human “achievements” so great if they lead to species annihilation, species suicide, and ecocide as is becoming increasingly likely?

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We now continue to look into these questions. And the very next thing we see is that even the myths from ancient times give us evaluations and prognoses on us that are surprising in light of our current rationalizations of ourselves as a species.

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Continue with A Re-visioning of “Civilization” in Light of Impending Apocalypse…Prometheus Made us “Civilized”…And Doomed: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 13

Return to Why Humans Are the Sorriest of Species … Apocalyptic Foretellings Hidden in Myths of Eden, Prometheus, Pandora, Icarus, Cain and Abel: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 11

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Why Humans Are the Sorriest of Species … Apocalyptic Foretellings Hidden in Myths of Eden, Prometheus, Pandora, Icarus, Cain and Abel: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 11

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Kaleidoscope of Postmodern Life, Part Eleven: Prometheus, Meat-Eating, Pandora, Eden, the Apple, the Fall, Cain, Abel, and When and Why Human Life Became All About Work

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Meat-Eating and Apocalypse…First Falls and Last

rn-27f5After writing the previous section on fire, meat, Prometheus, and Icarus, and in subsequent research into the Prometheus myth, I found there is far more connection in the myth to the eating of meat than I realized. bgrn1476lAlso, the myth’s elements underscore the idea in the previous article that in stealing fire/ eating meat, we set off the developments that would lead to our apocalyptic prognosis today. Further, it is clear that the Prometheus myth is the Greek analogue to the Judaic myth of Eden and the Fall, which supports my thinking that the apple in the Garden of Eden represents meat—meat eating…hunting…killing of planetmates.

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The Greek Fall from Grace—Prometheus

Prometheus’s Meat Trick

early-humans-278x225In the Prometheus myth, the fire stealing started with a trick that Prometheus played on Zeus. Prometheus—midway between gods and men, a Titan—gave the god two offerings from which Zeus was to choose. He gave meat and bones. Zeus chose the bones, supposedly because it was packaged more attractively. This is said to be the basis for why humans eat meat, according to ancient understandings.

Zeus—Not Amused

promethesfghshdusBut when Zeus realized the dutrust3trick, he was pissed … understandably. He hid fire from humans in retribution. Subsequently, Prometheus stole the fire and gave it to mankind. But this angered Zeus even more. So, this time to take revenge, he sent the first woman, Pandora, to live with men.

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Ha Ha … Very Funny, Zeus. Thanks a Lot for the Pandora

Sophia_Gnostic_Humanity-HealingPandora literally means “all gifts.” So it is that Pandora represents all the blessings that come with human advancement, represented by harnessing fire. But Pandora, as we all know, brings all troubles as well.1_sc00e4388f She carries a jar that, opened, releases all “evils, harsh pain and troublesome diseases which give men death.”

Pandora shuts the jar but it is too late, and many of the evils had already escaped. Interestingly, what remains in the closed jar along with the rest of the evils is hope. This is a theme that I return to again and again in this book and the subsequent one, The Great Reveal, in discussing what we need to do about our dire situation: That is, turn and face it, delve deeper into it and not turn away, for therein lies our only real hope.

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Eden – the Biblical Fall – Life Becomes Endless Work and Struggle

Hunter-Gatherer Egalitarianism by Christopher Boehmfred_flintstoneBut notice the parallels with the myth of Eden. In the Biblical rendering, the eating of the apple—which I say represents eating meat—results in the end of easy existence and that from then on humans survive only through “the sweat of one’s brow.”

The Original “Leisure Society”

first_peopleSure enough, the end of the nomadic and knowledge.originalvegetarian existence of early humans—called the first “affluent society” because it required only three hours a day of work to garner what was needed for survival—occurs with the introduction of hunting, then agriculture, then husbandry. [The Great Reveal and Footnote 1]

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Strenuous Living, Slavery to Survival

And in the Bible, we notice that immediately after Eden, the “second generation” of humans is seen working strenuously to survive as represented by Cain and Able, who were one a tiller of the soil and the other a herder of animals.

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promethesfgsgfusThat not bad enough, but then after Cain slew Abel, like a second fall from grace God added an even greater load of hard work. Cain was told that to punish him, the earth that had soaked up the blood he’d spilled would resist aiding him in producing his crops and he and those who came after him would have strenuous work in eking sustenance from Fire Birdher and a hard life in simply surviving.

As an aside, notice how whenever we talk about the deepest structures of our mind—and myths provide a glimpse into that—we see the perinatal gestalt. For the Earth here—the placenta—is no longer rich, nourishing, and helpful but, as is the case for the prenate in the late stages of gestation, is impoverished of oxygen and nutrients and less vital, less supportive of one’s continued living.

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Promethean Fall – Defiance is Punished by Hard Work, Like in Eden

2005-RachelStone-PrometheusAnd the Prometheus myth also has this same sequence as in Eden and the Fall of a defiance of the ways of Nature and God followed by a punishment and suffering, but also by strenuous work as being the lot of humans from then on. For as Hesiod relates the myth, Zeus did more than take fire from humans in revenge for being tricked out of the meat that Prometheus first deprived him of (and for that you can read that humans article-2114122-1223540D000005DC-635_634x410took from God/Nature the determination of life and death, which in our deciding to kill planetmates, we most assuredly did, see next post), but Zeus also took from humans “the means of life.”

And the consequences of this are similar to being cast out of Eden. For if fire AncestralPuebloans_Anasazihad not been stolen…meat not eaten by humans…humans not adopted hunting, horticulture, husbandry, NativeAmericanDancersas Hesiod puts it, “you would easily do work enough in a day to supply you for a full year even without working; soon would you put away your rudder over the smoke, and the fields worked by ox and sturdy mule would run to waste.”

Continue with Deep Thoughts on The Fall – On Sacrifice, Dominion Over Death, Meat, and Murder … Beginning Our Apocalypse: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 12

Return to Sorry, Billy Joel, But We Did Start the Fire: Why Humans Are So Big on Burning…And Its Apocalyptic Prognosis For Us Today: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 10

Footnote

1. Excerpted from “From Hunting and Gathering to Sowing and Reaping

Cultural evolution can be defined as the process of developing the tools and skills to deal with certain challenges. Therefore challenges present the key stimulus for any kind of development. The challenge to survive as a hunter/gatherers is not inconsiderable – and early humans met the challenge for hundreds of thousands of years, without depleting their natural environment. Agriculture was invented about 10000 years ago and many of the environmental crisis we face today are directly related to this paradigm shift, from the destruction of the world’s forests in order to grow crops, to the depletion of land due to monocultural plantations, to salination and a thousand other woes.

Nomadic hunters and gatherersEarly humans were nomads. They roamed within a certain range. Trespassing into another group’s range could result in conflict. However, due to population limits, each group’s range was quite extensive. It is often assumed that finding food must have been incredibly challenging and time consuming, yet, research has demonstrated that in favourable habitats only an average of 3h per day are needed to collect food, plus some more time for preparation. Anyone who has ever even partially lived on foraged foods knows that nature supplies plentifully – each thing in its season. It is also a popular idea to imagine that people were moving around constantly, only remaining in one place for a matter of days. But there is no reason to assume such restlessness. It seems far more likely that people would move from campground to campground in accordance with the seasons, in tune with the things they would find in each place. And it seems reasonable to assume that they would remain in each place long enough to gather and process for transport whatever gifts Mother Nature had offered. Only in areas that are particularly hostile, such as deserts or the circumpolar regions, would frequent moving be necessary since food supplies are less abundant.

(At the 1966 ‘Man the Hunter’ conference, Marshall Sahlins presented a paper entitled, “Notes on the Original Affluent Society,” in which he challenged the popular view of hunter-gatherers living lives “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” as Thomas Hobbes had put it in 1651. According to Sahlins, ethnographic data indicated that hunter-gatherers worked far fewer hours and enjoyed more leisure than typical members of industrial society, and they still ate well. Their “affluence” came from the idea that they are satisfied with very little in the material sense. This, he said, constituted a Zen economy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter-gatherer)

More at “From Hunting and Gathering to Sowing and Reaping” at http://www.sacredearth.com/ethnobotany/food/civilization.php

Continue with Deep Thoughts on The Fall – On Sacrifice, Dominion Over Death, Meat, and Murder … Beginning Our Apocalypse: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 12

Return to Sorry, Billy Joel, But We Did Start the Fire: Why Humans Are So Big on Burning…And Its Apocalyptic Prognosis For Us Today: 21st Century and Its Discontents, Part 10

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