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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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By Adolescence, “Civilized” Children Are Programmed … Whereas in Primal Societies Inner Experience is Cultivated: Return to Grace, Part Four — Puberty, Becoming Adult

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“Civilization” Brings Brutal Rites of Passage and Fear of the Supernatural: The People of Nature Just Laugh at the Townsfolk Living in Such Terror and Valuing Cruelty

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Finally, let us investigate the fourth fall from grace, the time around puberty when the ego is consolidated around a specific identity, task, role that marks her or him for life. Can this be otherwise?

Forest and Village Worldviews are Directly at Odds

Once again, Turnbull’s (1961) report on the Mbuti provides a fitting example. This example is especially illuminating in that he was able to observe and note differences between the hunter-gatherer Mbuti and nearby villagers with whom they had occasional contact. Since the villagers have to be considered post-agrarian and definitely not hunter-gatherers, we are able to study any differences between these two lifestyles and possible differences in worldview, side-by-side.

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With “Civilization” Comes Brutal Rites of Adulthood and Excessive “Masculinity”

Indeed, Turnbull shows that these differences do exist, and we see one distinctly in connection to the rites of passage that are undergone respectively in each culture.

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The rite of passage is called the nkumbi and is conducted by the villagers. The Pygmies undergo it, at a certain age, in order to enjoy certain respect and privileges in their dealings with villagers, as they must often have for various reasons. Of their own, the Mbuti have no such rite of passage, certainly nothing severe and harsh like that of the villagers. Turnbull (1961) describes the villagers’ nkumbi:

The physical ordeals sometimes start out as games but develop into cruel tests of physical endurance. A crouching dance that might be fun for a few minutes becomes agony after half an hour. A mild switching on the underside of the arm with light sticks is of no concern until, after several days, the skin becomes raw. And then the villagers notch the sticks so that they fold over and pinch the skin sharply, often drawing blood. When the boys have become used to being beaten with leafy branches, thorny bushes are substituted. (p. 225)

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Dominant Societies Try to Instill Fear of the Supernatural to Control Their Underlings

He also explains the villagers beliefs concerning this rite of passage and its effect and purpose:

The villagers believed that the initiate, Pygmy or otherwise, is everlastingly bound thereafter by all the laws of the tribe, sacred and secular. He is put into direct relationship with the supernatural, whose representatives on earth are the villagers themselves. If any Pygmy initiate offends a villager, therefore, he is also offending the supernatural—the ancestors—and will be duly punished by them. The villagers live in such fear of the supernatural, with its power to bring down on an offender the curses of leprosy, yaws, dysentery and other diseases or to cause him to be injured by a falling tree, that they cannot conceive of any initiates daring to offend the ancestors. (p. 224)

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But Primal Folks Laugh at the Fears of “Domesticated” Humans and Delight in Flaunting Their Customs

But offend the ancestors they do, these Pygmies, and with apparent relish. They do not share the villagers fearful view of the world. They cannot imagine any good reason to inflict these tortures on each other and laugh, secretly, behind the villagers’ backs, at them. Turnbull (1961) writes,

Both the boys and their fathers enjoyed the chance to make fun, in a friendly way, of the villagers, but that was not their sole reason for deliberately breaking all the taboos. They behaved as they did because to them the restrictions were not only meaningless but belonged to a hostile world. The villagers hoped that the nkumbi would place the Pygmies directly under the supernatural authority of the village tribal ancestors; the Pygmies naturally took good care that nothing of the sort should happen, proving it to themselves by this conscious flaunting of custom. (p. 224)

Ituri Forest Pygmies

Ituri Forest Pygmies

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Building the Better Human – Entry Into Adulthood

To the Pygmies this all seems harsh and unnecessary, and as far as their own children are concerned they keep a strict watch over them to see that the villagers do not go to the length that they sometimes do with village children, even if this brings them into some contempt. But to the villager this toughening-up process is essential and does not come naturally in the course of village life. The child has to be fitted for adult life, and this is what the nkumbi sets out to achieve. In a few months a boy becomes a man, tough and strong, physically and mentally. The process is not a pleasant one, but it is the only way in which, under tribal conditions, the goal can be achieved.

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The Pygmy can understand and appreciate this, but the very nature of his own nomadic hunting and gathering existence provides all the toughening up and education that are needed. Children begin climbing trees sometimes before they can walk. Their muscles develop, and they overcome fear in a number of daring tree games. Adult activities are learned from an early age by observation and imitation, for the Pygmies live an open life.

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Their life is as open inside their tiny one-room leaf huts as it is in the middle of a forest clearing, and so the children have no need of the sex instruction which forms so large a part of the teaching given to village boys during the nkumbi. (pp. 225-226)

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Far from illustrating the dependence of the Pygmies upon the villagers, the nkumbi illustrates better than anything else the complete opposition of the forest to the village. The Pygmies in the forest consciously and energetically reject all village values. When they are in the village they temporarily adopt its values and customs, not wanting to desecrate their sacred forest values by bringing them into the village. That is why they never sing their sacred songs in the village the way they do in the forest, and why they refuse to consecrate the nkumbi with special music, although every other event of importance in their lives is marked in this way. There is an unbridgeable gulf between the two worlds of the two peoples.

The Pygmies have their own way of growing naturally into adulthood. A boy proves himself capable of supporting a family when he kills his first real game, and proves himself a man when he participates in the elima. (p. 227)

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By Adolescence in “Civilized” Societies Most Children Have Had the “Still Small Voice” Programmed Out, Whereas in Primal Cultures It is Valued

Aminah Raheem (1991) gives a final example of how this stage can be different in other cultures:

By the onset of adolescence, most children are intricately programmed into the cultural complex of their time and place. The “still small voice” of the soul is rarely heard and, when it is, it is usually discarded as fantasy or nonsense. For example, when I worked with late adolescents, I found that they often received deep soul promptings through dreams of visionary experiences. These numinous events seemed to contain valuable guidance for direction in their lives, but usually they were discounted by the dreamers and their peers as fantasy. By contrast, in American Indian culture such experiences are valued as clear messages of life purpose, especially when they appear during puberty. (p. 29)

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Continue with What Does the Natural Self Look Like? The State of Not Losing the Soul Is Emotional Openness and Joy, Being Equally Free in Tears and Laughter

Return to Return to Grace, Part Three — The Primal Scene and the Divine Child: Hierarchical Societies Demand Conformity All the Way Down the Line

People of Programming … “Civilized” Ways

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People of Nature … “Primal” Ways

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Continue with What Does the Natural Self Look Like? The State of Not Losing the Soul Is Emotional Openness and Joy, Being Equally Free in Tears and Laughter

Return to Return to Grace, Part Three — The Primal Scene and the Divine Child: Hierarchical Societies Demand Conformity All the Way Down the Line

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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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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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”

To Read the Entire Book … on-line, free at this time … of which this is an excerpt, Go to Falls from Grace

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The First Retreat from the Natural Self Was Matriarchal Consciousness; It Should Hardly Be Our Goal: You Cannot “Balance” a Duality … You Can Only Transcend One.

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Matriarchy Is Not an Answer to Patriarchy: Is “White Man’s” Pride and Prejudices Keeping Us from Seeing Our Real Solutions, Our Primal Return?

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A Golden Age

The question that naturally arises from the preceding chapter’s conclusions on the current state of affairs and their unfortunately intractable response is, What can be done about the present crisis in consciousness? But in order to do anything about our situation, we must delve a little deeper into understanding this state of consciousness and into how it has come to be that way. A more thorough exposition of exactly that endeavor can be found in several other works of mine (The Great Reveal, Apocalypse Emergency, Apocalypse—No!, 21st Century and Its Discontents, and Adzema, 1993a, 1993b).

From Ancient Greece?

images20120115-195400For our purposes here, I would like to point out that similar conclusions to what we have arrived at about our crisis have been coming forth from many quarters of our culture in modern times. Examples are Rupert Sheldrake’s The Rebirth of Nature, Marilyn French’s Beyond Power, Theodore Roszak’s  The Voice of the Earth, Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, Richard Tarnas’s The Passion of the Western Mind, John White’s The Meeting of Science and Spirit, and Ken Wilber’s Up from Eden. Nevertheless, what almost all of these perspectives lack is a well-grounded anthropological perspective (Beyond Power being the notable exception). Their analysis of the historical process that has brought us to this pass is often heavily conditioned by a Western bias towards history which sees humanity as beginning in ancient Greece during a matriarchal “Golden Age.”

Completely overlooking, in this way, the full 99% of our specie’s history that occurred prior to that time — when we truly did live in harmony with Nature, as foragers and then hunter-gatherers — these theorists naturally come to the conclusion that our problems in consciousness arose when we switched over from a matriarchal mode of existence to a patriarchal one: That is, with the advance of nomadic patriarchal conquerors over the pastoral and agricultural “matriarchal” cultures of the Hellenic period of ancient Greece.

Matriarchal Is Not an Answer to Patriarchal

This is unfortunate because to seek to find a Golden Age in the matriarchal period has required of such writers that they completely overlook many of the obvious shortcomings of the matriarchal view. This is not to say that the matriarchal cultures may not have been more harmonious with Nature … and with their inner natures … than their patriarchal successors. That they were less violent is also true. Therefore, that matriarchal cultures were less “fallen from grace” than patriarchal ones is not something I would dispute.

What I think is crucial to make known, however, is that the matriarchal cultures themselves were also “fallen from grace”: from a previous, even more “golden” state — one which was even less violent and more harmonious with Nature. [Footnote 1]

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Is “White Man’s” Pride and Prejudices Keeping Us from Seeing Our Real Solutions, Our Primal Return?

But the writers in this area are apparently unaware of the true conditions of cultures outside of or prior to the Western “royal” line. Evidently, they are still to some extent influenced by the Western conditioning which has us scapegoat and denigrate such cultures and viewpoints as “primitive,” “savage,” and “uncivilized.” Thus they have us begin our history with a supposed “Greek miracle,” where we are said to have just “awakened” from a prior collective addiction to superstition, magic, and violence.

Lawlor_iconRobert Lawlor, in his book, Voices of the First Day, is one theorist who has not made such a mistake. In fact, Lawlor’s depiction of the aboriginal Australian world view demonstrate exactly the kind of “unfallenness,” “higher consciousness,” and harmony with Reality that most “matriarchal” theorists think they are espousing. It is one that is more truly in line with what might actually be our Reality — as the cutting edges of our sciences are finally telling us … despite themselves. It is interesting how we have come full circle in this way.

The First Retreat: Matriarchal Consciousness

Nevertheless, in response to the popular “return to the matriarchy” view, it is important to point out that it is not necessarily a good thing to go to matriarchal consciousness as a way of correcting patriarchal consciousness, even if it does represent a marginally better state of affairs.  For one does not correct the problems inherent in a duality by swinging to the other end in that same duality.

You Cannot “Balance” a Duality … You Can Only Transcend One.

That approach simply reinforces that particular split, that particular duality. After all, one would not think it a good idea to go from a period of totalitarian fascism to one of complete anarchy, for example. That would only put in play the forces to create another extreme crackdown. Neither would one consider it wise to swing from an extreme of hedonistic behavior to one of anal-compulsive repression; nor would one wish to order up a period of flood to counter one of drought!

“Balancing” Opposites Is an Impossible Struggle. Only a “Conjunction of Opposites” Brings Transcendence.

Though this pendulum-swinging tendency is often observed, it is hardly a desirable thing.  So, as it turns out, neither is it an ideal solution to go from patriarchality to matriarchality — just to “balance the opposites” . . . as some matriarchal advocates espouse. For doing either of these extremes sets up and reinforces the forces at the opposite extreme, readying them for the next wild swing in the other direction! No, one can only correct a duality by transcending that duality. And transcending, by the way, involves a synthesis — that is, either a going beyond, or a going before, to a state where both elements are not opposed — to a state where there is a “conjunction of opposites,” not their continued opposition.

Primal Consciousness

Hunter-gatherer consciousness — termed paleolithic consciousness by one researcher — and especially the even earlier forager consciousness was characterized by just such a, relatively, non-dualistic acceptance of That Which Is … for the most part. Its way of life, corresponding, has been called the “original affluent society,” in that it is estimated that only four hours a day were needed for attending to survival concerns.

But a mistrust set in.  Fearfulness and intractability in the face of change followed; and hence there arose the desire to attempt to control Nature, rather than to follow Her and conform to Her rhythms.

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

Return to “Why Did He Do It? White Man.” It Is Only Now That His Own Demise Is at Hand That Rational Man Stops to Reflect — The Primal Return

Footnote

1.  See also Matriarchy: a real solution to the shift in consciousness?

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

Return to “Why Did He Do It? White Man.” It Is Only Now That His Own Demise Is at Hand That Rational Man Stops to Reflect — The Primal Return

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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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