12/2/12

The Age of Myth – Chapter Three

In review, since discussing the development of language, speech and social progress waylaid the timeline of the evolution of humans somewhat, hundreds of thousands of years before such things as Homo sapiens, Homo erectus had gradually made their way up the Great Rift Valley and out of Africa. Around 400,000 years ago they would be joined by another group of humanoids slowly making their way out of Africa, Homo neanderthalensis, who instead of spreading out through the Middle East and Southeast Asia as Erectus had done, the Neanderthal would make their way their more northwards, in the direction of North Africa, Europe and central Asia.

The Neanderthal’s adaptations were a low brow skull, which was much larger than Homo erectus, and were slightly taller, shorter limbed, barrel-chested, strong, thick bodied and possessing incredible endurance. The reasons for such adaptations were because the Neanderthal became a cold-adapted people, surviving, often times, in a harsh and brutal environment upon an extremely cold landscape.

With no material comforts to speak of, they travelled in small bands of perhaps a dozen in number and were scavengers, hunters and gatherers. And though early humanoids are deemed by our present society as dim-witted cavemen, the realities of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle is the punishment for stupidity was more often than not death.

With the land used jointly with other bands, they never really had any permanent place of residence and would move about seasonally. There was no economic specialization except by age and sex for everyone had to help out and forage for food. They survived with no laws, police or treaties to resolve conflict, were egalitarian, with no formalized or hereditary leadership and no distinction of a lower or upper class. Leadership was informal, based on character, personality, strength, intelligence and hunting skills. Indeed they fought, but there was no such thing as war. If fighting ever did break out, very rarely did anyone die. It was all about showing threat signals like posturing, yelling, and basically creating a scene, much like most all other animals, and as soon as the enemy has been subdued or has walked away it ceases to be a threat.

Considering the dangerous world in which early species of humans lived in, their social world existed entirely on the relationships within their family, indeed most all small bands of early humans would only encounter perhaps a couple dozen or less fellow humans over their entire lifetimes, with each band living in solitude for sometimes hundreds of generations. And though they had no slavery, luxury goods, architecture, nor real language, they were highly resourceful, organized, social and intelligent humans. For indeed what has truly driven human, and primate, brain evolution more than other norms is the complexity of our social world. It still does, though today at a much quicker pace than the normal rate of evolution of our social worlds, which was tens of thousands of years.

Tens of thousands of years, time which is hard to fathom and incomprehensible in its vastness. Especially to us today when we think we have advanced, and evolved, so incredibly much in the past 100 years. There are many I’m sure who believe they and their world around them have advanced and evolved in leaps and bounds just in their own generation, on many levels perhaps. But then there are also many humans today still living in hunger and a dirt shack or cave, if they are lucky. It is hard to get perspective when talking about eons of years, especially when a human generation, the average period between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring, is about 35 years. So to further confuse, ten thousand years represents over 285 generations.

Though having no formal speech yet, the Neanderthal communicated using eye contact, body language, tone and other forms of non verbal communication, and most specifically and important to their survival, by being intuitive and acting by instinct. They might have been able to sense the energy levels of all living things for all we know. Perhaps squat in the forest or upon the tundra and sense things on the wind, listening for a distant sound, smelling the air, the feel of the ground, looking up and studying the sky, clouds, and the position of the sun and moon, noting the behaviour of their fellow humans and the animals around them, sensing the differences and changes in the earth’s energy levels and of each other. Which we can still do today, but such senses are now controlled by others, numbed and dumbed down, or taught to be ignored and not trusted.

But even with such senses, life was still very brutal. Most all Neanderthals never made it past thirty years of age. They hunted large, dangerous animals so they had to work as a group and have a plan, especially since this was before the bow and arrow, and since they had not yet grasped the concept of projectiles, thrusting was the norm, not throwing. Their injuries seem to point this out, with most being to their arms, torso and head, because they had to get up real close to their prey en mass and start stabbing. Four out of every six Neanderthal skeletons found show many of the bones deformed by disease and injury, and perhaps exhibiting that the Neanderthal possessed empathy, many of the skeletons found had injuries that showed signs of healing, which means the lame and crippled would have had to have been taken care of, fed, protected and helped to move by others. They also gave special treatment to their dead in their burial, with the earliest known burial sites dating back 100,000 years.

About 170,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens would begin to drift out of Ethiopia. With a straighter forehead and smaller brow ridges than Neanderthal, they were equally robust, strong, solid and slightly taller, with the oldest fossils of anatomically modern humans found in Ethiopia and dated from 196,000 years ago. Homo sapiens would slowly spread out and as they migrated out of Africa, like all the others before them they would encounter previous human species and rather than destroying them into extinction, most times they were simply assimilated into the newer species.

The warmest time before the last ice age was 125,000 years ago and is known as the Marine Isotope Stage 6.  The planet was covered with coniferous, temperate, deciduous, and rain forests, but also, especially in Africa, much larger deserts. The sea levels were 6-9 m (20-30 ft) higher than modern times while the world’s conditions had begun to deteriorate. Much the land became uninhabitable, forcing the humanoid species still in Africa to migrate. The Neanderthal would settle in Central Asia and Europe, the Archaic Homo sapiens and remaining Homo erectus in Asia, around 90,000 years ago, and after taking over 35,000 years to accomplish it, Homo sapiens sapiens would also finally make their way out of Africa. They would move into the Nile valley, Sinai and the Middle East, with Homo sapiens fossils found in the Middle East and dated from 92,000 years ago.

Ninety thousand years ago the planet began to cool and over the next thousands of years, with the temperature continually dropping and the environment changing, the evolvement of humans continued its snail’s pace advancement. As with social progress, most evolutionary advancements took tens, and in many cases hundreds of thousands of years. The planet Earth also continued to evolve and change, though it had not a care in the world for social progress, the life forms living on its surface or their feelings. And as it often happens, nature makes itself known in not as so subtle means but with changes that are more dramatic, instant, and many times, having a much more profound effect on all things on its surface than anything we humans could ever come up with, though today that could be debated.

According to a theory proposed in 1998 by Stanley H. Ambrose of the University of Illinois, and which today is a much respected explanation for many of the paradoxes of the evolvement of all living things, the super-volcanic eruption 71,000 years ago of Mount Toba, in present day Sumatra, Indonesia, would alter the dynamics of human evolution drastically.

Mount Toba is accepted today as being the earth’s largest volcanic eruption. For context, when Krakatoa, also in Indonesia, erupted in 1883, 11,000-12,000 people were killed instantly; eventually an estimated 36,417 people would also die. With an ash cloud covering about 200 cubic kilometres, the explosion immediately destroyed over two-thirds of Krakatoa Island, sent out an enormous tsunami, and caused the worst global famine of the 19th century.

Sixty-eight years earlier in 1815, and also in the Indonesian archipelago, Mount Tambora exploded with four times the energy of the eruption of Krakatoa. Its explosion could be heard over 2600 km (1600 miles) away. If it had erupted in Vancouver, British Columbia it would have been heard in Mexico. Killing 71,000 people, Tambora is the deadliest volcano to date. A ring of smoke and ash 600 km (370 miles) outwards from the mountain’s summit cloaked the land in total darkness for over two days. The pyroclastic flows travelled 20 km (12 mi). The eruption column reached the stratosphere. Thick ash fell for a couple of weeks while the finer ash stayed in the atmosphere from a few months up to a few years. Before the explosion, Mount Tambora was approximately 4,300 m (14,100 ft) high, after the explosion it was only 2,851 m (9,354 ft) high. Tambora is the largest observed eruption in recorded history.

About 70,000 years before Tambora, Mount Toba erupted, instantly hurling up a sulphuric ash cloud which covered at least 800 cubic kilometres (500 cubic miles). It spread northwest across India blanketing some places by as much as 6m (18ft) deep, and because its location was only two degrees north of the equator; it would have made the dispersion more global. For an eruption’s plume to reach the stratosphere and blanket the entire world with its ash, it would have to be at least 10 km (6 mi) to 50 km (30 mi) high. Mount Toba’s plume reached twice this height. A highly reflective sulphuric acid haze enveloped the earth for six years and a volcanic winter descended over the earth. Sea temperatures cooled, with the global temperature dropping by at least 6C (9F) in the first few years. This cooling period lasted for perhaps a thousand years, with the temperatures colder than even at the peak of the next ice age that was to follow. It likely caused the complete deforestation of SE Asia. How much of Mount Toba disappeared in the explosion? Mount Toba is now called Lake Toba, 100 km (62 mi) long and 30 km (18 mi) wide, 505 m (1666 ft) deep at its deepest and at a surface elevation of 900 m (2953 ft), it is the largest volcanic lake in the world.

The populations of Europe and Northern China were nearly completely eliminated. It is estimated that the planet lost 60-75% of its populations, with the extinction of all human species except for Neanderthal and Homo sapiens. Survivors found relatively safe havens in isolated pockets, mostly in tropical, equatorial Africa and Northern Europe. The human species, as well as many other species of animals, were decimated. Supported theory and genetic evidence suggests that only perhaps 10,000 adult humans survived, maybe less; this is an estimate of ancestors, not of total human population. Isolated human populations that eventually died out without descendants may have also existed in numbers but cannot be estimated by geneticists. Wherever on the planet early humans and other animals lived dictated if they would perish or survive, and rather quickly humanity was thrown into a population bottleneck, which is perhaps the reason people look so different today. A population bottleneck is when a large population is broken up into smaller groups, and causes a “founder effect”, where small, new populations begin to appear and through genetic drift, inbreeding, and local adaptations produces rapid changes to that group’s gene pool, creating similarities only amongst that particular group, with low genetic variation. This is followed by an eventual rapid population increase, innovation, progress and migration. Genetic evidence suggests that all humans alive today, despite apparent variety, are descended from these small populations that survived the eruption of Mount Toba, estimated to be anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs of humans.

As genetic studies have proven, all humans today are descendants of a woman in SE Africa, called Mitochondrial Eve, around 140,000 years ago; mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from one’s mother, with Y-chromosomal Adam, (from one’s father), added to the gene pool about 60,000 years ago. This can be seen in the native population of North America, in that of all the thousands of humans that had migrated there more than 15,000 years ago, only 72 descendants’ lineage has moved on into modern times.

As with all biological bottlenecks, the remaining, separated and isolated group’s development would bring about significant changes which enhanced human fitness, the ability to survive and reproduce. The survivors of Mount Toba’s eruption, once the climate and other factors permitted, began to fan out from Africa and elsewhere. Travelling in small groups they became ever more isolated from one another and would evolve separately. Some would cross the Red Sea, which was not much of a sea at the time, into the near-East, and from there moving along the exposed areas of the continental shelves. With an ice age underway glaciers had formed, crushing the forests and all that lay before them as they slowly crept along. While both, the temperature and the sea levels continued to drop. Obstacles such as the Mediterranean Sea and the English Channel would be easier to cross because they were valleys, with perhaps a river running through them and scattered lakes strewn about the valley floor, same for the Black Sea.

By 65,000 years ago the glaciers had covered about 17 million square miles, with the polar ice caps expanding over the globe, covering much of present day Europe, Britain, Canada, and parts of Asia, including the Himalayas. By 60,000 years ago bands of humans had made their way along the shorelines of Arabia, India and South-East Asia and by 40,000 years ago, some of them had made their way to Australia, others into North-East Asia and China. With Australia and New Guinea always having been isolated by water, even during an ice age, evidence suggests early Australoids were the first to develop some form of boat building.

By the time before or after peak glaciations of the last ice age, 18,000 years ago, other groups had finally made their way into the American continents, and as the ice melted would become separated from the main race and develop in geographical isolation as well, becoming American Indians. These groups of people would eventually spread southward to South America reaching the last place on the planet to be colonized by humans, Cape Horn, around 8,000 years ago.

When the first explorers reached this most southerly point of South America and the islands of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, which is separated from the continent by the Strait of Magellan, they were shocked to find that there were four separate peoples that inhabited these islands and that each group looked different from one another and that they spoke two different languages. It is still a mystery how these original peoples had got there, and from where.

Besides the original Negroid race of human species, the people that had made their way to the north would become the Caucasoid and the ones who ventured into Asia would become the Mongoloid. By 45,000 years ago these three races could be defined as the main races of humans and would attain nearly complete specialization in their respective environments. The early inhabitants of Australia had developed from an earlier, less developed race in isolation from this specialization of the main races and became the Australoids. Thus, from human variation through physical adaptation to their climatic conditions, the races of mankind would form.

In the northern regions, with less and weaker sunlight, humans would eventually become more pale, though the actual process would take about 20,000 years. Our biological body takes vitamin D from the sun’s energy to aid in the proper growth of bones. Living in the northern latitudes where there is less sunshine the skin has to lighten to let more sunshine through. Just like people in equatorial latitudes who get sunshine nearly all the time and whose bodies, needing protection from UV rays, secrete melanin, the body’s natural sun screen, and which we all have, into the skin to darken it. The differences between the races are very much “skin deep”, with the most recent adaptations to our species occurring about 20,000 years ago, and include the parts of us that interact with the world around us; skin colour, immune system, and metabolic changes due to the digestion of unique foods, amongst each race. And because we are one species, originally evolving in Africa, this ensured that racial and ethnic groups were and are biologically equivalent, no matter where they ended up on the planet.

Human genetics prove that any racial superiority is a myth, because intelligence is not a single trait; it’s a huge entourage of abilities. Each race has an ancestral environment that favoured a different set of talents, with each race best adapted to their unique environment. We are all fundamentally different, thank god, and regardless of where one is born, each and all individuals are deserving of the same rights and opportunities. Every one of us brings different strengths and talents to the table, and this is why the most democratic, invigorating, and creative places on the planet are multi-racial cultures.

Some 40,000 years ago, a more complex human culture had spread and sustained itself in Africa, then Europe and Western Asia, and by 30,000 years ago social change had reached south east Asia and Australia. It was the dawn of consciousness, with modern human behaviour slowly emerging, in different regions at different times. Besides changes in human behaviour within a more complex culture, one of the more significant things to alter human history also emerged about 40,000 years ago; now having a larger size brain, the human mind, along with its ego, began to unfold itself.

According to Austrian neurologist, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), there are two functions of our brain that make up our unconscious mind, the Id and the super-ego, and along with the ego, which is our consciousness, are the three divisions of the mind. Though some of Freud’s psychoanalytic theories have largely been marginalized today, mostly because most of his subjects were rich, middle-aged, aristocratic, pent up women, his concepts of libido, drives, the unconscious, and his ideas that we repress or bottle up our feelings, and that our family relationships when we are children determine our adult relationships, have made important contributions to neuroscience. Though the actual benefits of intensive psycho-therapy have been controversial in the past; seeking clues into the unconscious roots of disorders today experts report that such therapy can be effective against chronic mental problems such as anxiety and depression.

Freud believed the Id is the uncoordinated, instinctual structure of our ego and includes selfishness and the need for instant self gratification. It is unconscious and represents the mind of a newborn. It consists of our basic drives, such as food, water, and basic impulses. It is where our libido, the instinctive drive to create comes from. It is amoral, egocentric and ruled by the pleasure-pain principle. It does not have a sense of time, is completely illogical and infantile in its development.

The super-ego is also mostly unconscious and is the organized part of our personalities. It contains our individual ideals, spiritual goals and our conscience. It always strives to act in socially appropriate behaviour. It is what controls our sense of right and wrong and guilt, and allows us to fit into our society in socially acceptable ways. Through symbolic internalization of the father figure, male or female, and cultural regulations, it becomes a part of our personality and conditions us to conform to society’s expectations. The super-ego maintains our sense of morality and prohibits us from cultural taboos.

The super-ego and the ego are the products of the state of helplessness of childhood; for we are born ego-less and have no distinct being, apart from the world around ourselves. This lasts until we are about five years old. At which time our ego and libido begin to develop. What Freud would call the Oedipus complex, the unconsciousness, repressed feelings and ideas we have that are centered around the desire to please the parent of the opposite sex and ignore the parent of the same sex is either, rapidly repressed or not, by how powerful the Oedipus complex was. From about five years onward, by the influence of authority, religious teaching, schooling, and reading, as well as how deeply the repression of the Oedipus complex is, the stricter the super-ego will be over the ego, in the form of having a conscience or an unconscious sense of guilt.

The ego acts according to the reality principle. Its task is to find a balance between primitive drives and reality. Because the Id’s drives are usually unrealistic, instant and short-term, and most times filled with grief, the ego seeks to please these drives of the Id in realistic ways that will benefit long term instead. The ego separates what is real and organizes our thoughts and tries to make sense of them. It also tries to make sense of the world around us and is modified by influence of the external world, reason and common sense. The ego will become defensive if the Id’s behaviour conflicts with reality, society’s morals, norms and taboos, or other individuals who believe in these rules of a culture and expectations.

Many of our problems today are because everything is moving too fast. Where once changes in our social worlds would take thousands of years, generations or decades, today there is simply no time to reflect and ponder. As to our minds, our self-gratification via consumer culture is travelling at an ever quickening pace which is not a problem for the Id. It can easily keep for it does not understand time, while the super-ego is being ignored and left behind in the dust, with the ego simply along for the ride.

After 40,000 years the ego has decided today to be more loyal to the Id than the super-ego, which makes it dysfunctional. Thus, here lies our current state of affairs. The norm has become instant self-gratification of all our desires. We are completely defined by our culture, while early humankind’s culture was the family and there was no time other than the present. Early humans might not have had much of a personality, but they were living in the moment, emotionally, like a child in many ways with nearly no ego to speak of. But as time marched on and became civilized, the ego began to gloss over the fine details of reality to minimize conflicts with the Id, while only pretending to have any regard for reality. Because the super-ego is always watching the ego, it has been punishing it with feelings of guilt, anxiety, and inferiority. To overcome the beating it is taking the ego fights back using denial and displacement; transferring the focus of an emotion to something else, intellectualisation; where reason is used to block out any emotional stress or conflict, regression, fantasy, control, or dissociation; splitting off from main body of consciousness, and in some cases; hysteria, suppression and substitution.

The main two functions of our brain, the duality of the id and the super-ego and their interactions, could have been the basis for religion being invented a few thousand years ago. The sum total of all the sacred scriptures, of all the organized religions combined, is basically about two gods, good versus evil, though in reality and hidden behind some bushes, they are really talking about the two sides of who we are, our nature and the mechanics of the mind; the representations of the human soul.

Within most organized religions there are usually two gods, one being a benevolent, pure in thought, righteous, just, honest, who possesses grace and is humane, kind, and compassionate, promises hope and an afterlife, and is capable of establishing a new heaven and earth. This god is usually all-knowing, an infinite spirit, without limitations, eternal yet everywhere and all-powerful, in other words, a human of good character.

The flip side is of a malevolent god, who is filled with intense, often vicious ill-will, spite and hatred and is selfish, highly jealous and immoral, who grows proud, and desires to be God, who has a flawed ambition, is greedy, egotistical, self-satisfying, who is known as a tempter, accuser, murderer, liar, and a enemy and who is related to inhabitants of bottomless pits, dragons, destruction, ruin, fire, violence, racism and hell; basically a hindrance on society, and an asshole.

Both of these gods are not dwelling in a heaven or in an underworld, or standing towering over us, they are not supernatural beings to be feared and to worship, they are actually residing within each one of us and are the functions of our minds. Earlier humans inherently knew the authority to create and destroy, to either reject or punish, to demonstrate both ecstasy and terror, love, and hate was theirs alone, and understood the responsibility of it and how one’s actions affected others in their group. Organized religions would take this authority and responsibility away from humanity and would become the authority itself, to dictate its own perceived morality and beliefs.

What has changed the most since organized religions took power over us, within the formation of civilizations, is in our personal and collective unconsciousness. Our collective unconscious is the deepest level of who we are and is the accumulation of inherited experiences, while our personal unconscious is the reservoir of material that was once conscious but has been forgotten or suppressed over the millennium, meaning we now live almost totally embedded within our mentally constructed realities, our minds filled with continuous streams of thought and fantasy. It is interesting that of the world’s religions and their concern over our hearts and minds, Eastern religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sufism and Zen, all place much importance on getting past such mental behaviours of the ego and its refusal to live in the present moment and instead try to understand the truths behind them through meditation and reflection, while Western religions and cultures believe that a state of continual mental distraction is just the natural order of things. But before we get too carried away yet once again, we must return to the discernability of 40,000 years ago, and the birth of modern man.

 

 

Photo: Neanderthal man – Dna-humans-genome

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/may/06/neanderthals-dna-humans-genome

 

 

 

 

11/12/12

The Age of Myth – Chapter Two

The Great Rift Valley of Africa runs 5,600km (3,500miles), from the Red Sea and Ethiopia in the north, south to Lake Victoria where it splits off, and from Uganda continues south as far down as present day Mozambique. The Great Rift is where two plates of the earth’s crust are separating and is also where our human ancestry seems to have begun.

The earliest traces of man have been found in the valleys of Lake Turkana in Kenya and the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, between Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti Plain. The Olduvai Gorge itself is a 30-mile long gash in Tanzania’s Serengeti Plain. The area is considered the primary host of all other cultures. Why this is so will be explained as we go.

Evidence of the earliest Humanoids has been found and dated from 4 to 1.6 million years ago in Tanzania, 700,000 years ago in Java, and 420,000 years ago in China. From sites found in the Olduvai Gorge in Africa and elsewhere, these early peoples favoured lakeside camps, rock overhangs and caves for protection from predators and the weather. Their camps were most always near water availability, like rivers and lakes, and close to herds of game and vegetable foods. They would stay in each camp for a few days or weeks before moving on to better land. Many of these sites also contain bones of smaller animals, species less powerful than these early humanoids.

Hunting seems to have been more running down and grappling their quarry to the ground, with scavenging the more important means of getting food, with their weapons most often being made out of wood. These early humanoids were opportunistic hunters, picking over carcasses from predator kills and gathering wild vegetables. At the time, the larger animals were kept at a distance and avoided, for they were not afraid of man yet, indeed to many of the larger predators, early man was inconsequential and often the prey.

These early humans were bipedal, had an upright posture, a high vertical forehead and rounded skull, were about 1.5m tall, and became the species, Homo erectus. For when earlier species had first moved out of the trees and the forests and onto the grasslands they had begun to walk upright, to see over the grass. By about two million years ago, Homo erectus had spread out over Africa, Asia and Europe, with their descendants thought to be the first humans to use fire.

From watching fellow creatures they would eventually develop memory and foresight, and by mimicking the behaviour of the other living things around them they would assimilate such things as trapping; from the spider, basketry; from birds, burrowing from rabbits, dam building from the beaver and the art of poisons from snakes. These early peoples did not think themselves as being different from the rest of the animal world. With no language, they grunted and squawked like everyone else. From copying the other creature’s diets, mostly fruits and vegetables, to watching how they would get their food and how they would store it, they became very adept at exploring their surroundings and keeping a memory of which plants, insects and small animals one could eat and which ones were to be avoided. Their reality was a world of animal, vegetable and human spirits interacting with each other. They could not tell the difference between material and immaterial, imaginary or real, animate or inanimate. With no idea of self, there was little difference of skills, and having no idea about the concept of surplus there wasn’t much difference in status distinction between each other. The sensations that bombarded them daily needed an immediate response, so life was lived very much in the moment with not much thought about past or future. One’s life was determined by one’s actions to what was happening at that moment, at that time.

Because of their intimate connection with the earth, they expressed great care for its well being, for they believed that they were simply one part of the earth’s body and did not distinguish themselves from everything less in nature, thus they did not possess the sense of self, only the concept of their groups survival. Their culture consisted of a father, mother, siblings and extended family members, perhaps a dozen individuals, whose only concern was each day’s survival as a group.

Everything in nature represented a spirit or demon, depending on whether looked at as friend or foe, with animals and trees considered human but simply in another form. And because they did not see themselves as finite mortal beings they did not believe that people died, but rather they went to sleep and their spirit entered a netherworld and/or parallel existence. As to birth they also had no idea, they did not make the connection that sex had anything to do with the birth of a child, instead believing a spirit would enter a female’s body and then be brought forth, with a baby thought of as being half spirit and half human, who remained in contact with the world it came from until which time it grew up and then, sometimes over years, would have to pass through various rites of passage to become a part of the community. Because having too many babies would prove to be a hindrance to the tribe’s survival of having to be always on the move, a woman could only carry one child at a time and until that child could keep up on its own to have another was no doubt forbidden. Biology took care of this issue; women would breast feed their child for two full years, thus enabling suckling to be the contraceptive technique that it is, by repressing the menstrual cycle. The average reproductive cycle of most of the women, over an average life span of about thirty years, was perhaps 10-15 children, though of course we do not know an actual fertility rate.

The evolution of all species is all about natural selection, with many similarities in all living things. For example, creatures known as vertebrates – having a backbone – all share the five digits, skeletal structure of a hand. This appears not only in humans but also in apes, raccoons, cats, bats, porpoise, whales, lizards, turtles and a plethora of other creatures. Dolphins are able, as we are, to call each other by name. At the same time it is curious why many male mammals, including humans, have nipples. All animals share the same basic bodily functions and feelings, such as pleasure, pain, breathing, eating, drinking, defecating, sleeping, the drives to find a mate and procreate, birth, and death. For humans especially, history has followed different courses for different peoples because of different environments, not because of any biological differences between the peoples themselves.

The fact of the matter is, all humans have the same facial grammar; everyone smiles the same, frown the same, uses the eyes to convey cognition or flirtatiousness the same. A laugh is a laugh, anywhere on the planet and when one is angry, everyone knows they are. Don’t you find that human beings are very good looking people when they smile, and so disgustingly ugly when angry? But it’s much more than that, for instance, when people smile, the mouth doesn’t convey the whole truth. A true smile appears in the eyes and it’s no wonder the majority of a human’s muscles are in our faces, which seems to prove how important expression is in inter-personal communication. Then there is the tilt of the head, arch of the eyebrow or where the eyes are looking when communicating that further convey what one is thinking and trying to say or feel. Without eye contact we never truly know what someone is saying because we are not getting the whole story. The eyes are truly the windows into our soul. Even people that don’t understand what each other are saying can look at each other and communicate more than words could possibly describe. In Donald E. Brown’s excellent “Human Universals” he finds that there are about 400 specific behaviours that are invariant among all humans, with the facial expressions of basic emotions truly universal, and shared by many other animals besides humans, whether it is anger, happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise or contempt.

About 150,000 years ago the evolutionary pace quickened when our skull and its contents evolved to the point where we became able to plan more for specific projects or definite purposes. At about the same time the development of speech and a symbolic system of language began, which allowed future cultures a much quicker way to share ideas that enabled them to cope with their environment. As language became more complex it allowed the ability to remember, transmit, and exchange information much more quickly and it allowed for such knowledge to be passed on through the ages, where myths through oral traditions would form, though it would not be until 50,000 years ago that language and culture would really begin to change who we were and who we would become.

Language would eventually give us the ability to create worlds of memories and life histories, and unfortunately, it would make us self-conscious. Before language we could only live in the moment and react to the shifting patterns of our environment, but language brought us the awareness of oneself, in terms of what others expect; humans who sense they are being evaluated and perhaps sensing a negative attitude towards themselves become self-conscious. While being conscious is being aware of oneself and subjectively experiencing each moment and having memory control; where we can think of something and then replay it in our head to examine what we had just thought. Yet we cannot both, think of something and also be self-consciously aware of what we are thinking. Conscious experiences also include inner feelings and thoughts as well as being aware of self and others. Other animals are simply conscious and not self-conscious at all. Yes they are highly intelligent and very aware of the world around them, but they do not look inward and observe the process of consciousness at work. They are not self aware, nor have imaginations, independent will or a conscience, because they are programmed by instinct, genetics and/or training.

There are many views on the origin of language. While it is true that all animals communicate in some way, human language would eventually become associated with the human way of using symbols and speech, while human nature is thinking, feeling and acting, which all humans have in common. Some views state that language is an extension of speech, which all humans have within themselves, with reason the most primary characteristic of human nature. Some believe language developed first, before reason, perhaps explaining many of the negative aspects of human communication. Others believe language and reason co-evolved. While still others believe that reason was developed out of the need for more complex communication, when more sophisticated social structures came about by the gains made by language and/or reason. It is surmised that more sophisticated human behaviour and basic speech both appeared about 164,000 years ago in southeast Africa, beginning with grunts and clicks, with language then evolving at a pace with cultural growth.

Speech evolved from non-verbal mood vocalization signals such as a cry of pain, a scream or a laugh. Other nonverbal forms include the expression of silence, hugging, touching and looking into someone’s eyes. Non-verbal communication is all about tone. While the tone of one’s voice is how the earliest humans signalled one another, speech brought cooperative exchange of information and allowed early humans to refer to objects in their environment. Non-verbal vocalization signals are still very important to us in being able to communicate; in fact they are everything, no matter what the media technology toys of our age tells us. When we cry out in pain, anyone listening can usually tell how severe it is; though with speech we now also add a few choice words along with the cry of pain, adding expression to the experience. Tone of voice is also the reason one can travel to another land and not knowing the language of that part of the world, can still get a reaction and communicate with other animals, even pets, which live there.

The evolution of speech was also connected to the development of the human vocal tract; it’s development allowed a far larger range of sound and the ability to speak more quickly. Our speaking rate has always been connected to the brain, which needs the body to take a breath about every five seconds. The earliest humans that began to speak could say maybe four to five words in five seconds. Today we can get off twenty to thirty-five words in five seconds, in fact a typical human today has a speaking rate of more than two hundred words a minute; three girlfriends chatting could raise this rate exponentially.

Language and speech would alter our brains. In order to operate, the brain needs to understand the inside world of the body and a view of the world outside, to act intelligently and make decisions. Before speech and language the brain relied on the senses. The sense organs would see, feel, hear, and taste to build a consciously experienced picture of the outside world. Sensations such as hunger, pain, and thirst told the brain what it should do to satisfy the demands of the body and because early humans operated on mostly instinct and intuition, the brain allowed rich areas of knowledge to surface in the conscious plane, which early humans would envision, and then do the images that were presented.

Among all animal species we are the only ones who tell stories. Living by the narrative in our communication is important to us because by listening to each other’s stories we are given to needing each other’s companionship and inclined to intimacy, affection, relationships and sociability. Language and speech would indeed change the way we lived and how we were to evolve socially, but at the same time it was when, ever so slowly, we would begin to lose focus on the present moment.

An animal’s mind operates by perception, recognition, simple thought association and environment, and is led by being aware of the moment, much like early humanoids but with language the human mind began operating not only by perception but also with memory, imagination, and more complex habits of thought such as inner-driven attention and self awareness. As humans we are responsible for our own lives, with our behaviour a function of our decisions, not our conditions. The traits of behaviour which sets humans apart from other animals’ starts with self awareness and the ability to think about our thought process, and possessing an imagination, where in our minds we can create other realities. We also have independent will; the ability to act based on our self awareness, and finally we have a conscience, an inner awareness of right or wrong, which we gain from internalizing the moral standards of behaviour of the social group we live in.

Meanwhile, the original groups of perhaps a dozen humans eventually became nomadic bands, basically large family groups of about 25-30 people. Living as hunters, gatherers and foragers, each group would need about 250 square miles (400 sq. km) to support itself. A small band would only have to travel a few miles every couple of weeks, or maybe led by the full moon, move to a new campsite about every four weeks. Most of their travels were just moving back and forth to familiar areas according to the season. In fact for over 95% of our human existence we have lived this way, as foragers and on occasion, hunters. We lived off of what the earth gave us, within daily and annual routines that matched the rhythms of the changing seasons and progressions of each day. Time would be measured only by the sun, the seasons, and the generations.

Most of these early hunters and gatherers diet was made up of nuts, fruits, edible roots, shellfish, insects and eggs, and were dependant on knowing which ones could be eaten and where to find them. To survive they had to depend on their intelligence and knowledge of the land and nature. When available, meat was a welcome addition to their diet whether by spearing big game, snaring small animals, scavenging carcasses left by bigger predators or from fishing. At first they would have had an easy time living off the land; most groups would have been able to gather the food they needed that day in only a few hours.

Beginning with simple wooden clubs, hunting and tool kit technologies would develop further when small game could not sustain the growing populations. These advancements in technologies allowed early humans to go after bigger game. Like the earliest tools, they were still often made from stone, but now would become finer and lighter, with the sharp flakes, broken and chipped from stone, and being used not only for hunting but also for cutting and sawing. As far as hunting, early man found that they could literally walk up to many of the larger animals, for they were not afraid of man. Though during the first million years of our evolvement, early humans were nowhere near being the predator they would one day become. It would take thousands of generations for the larger animals to develop the sense to run or attack when they see or sense a human. As early humans found ever more lethal ways to kill, scavenging was less needed and with the advancement of their tool technologies they were able to start processing the meat and using more of the carcasses such as the skin and bones, to further their advancement along even more and ensure their survival.

Instead of being centred on and preoccupied with oneself and the gratification of one’s own egotistical desires, early humans were more altruistic, where they were unselfishly concerned for and devoted to the welfare of their family. The group needed to be organized and work as a group; even in the pairing up of certain men and women into stable and perhaps loving couples for the better survivability of the child. But then most all animals possess this trait, where the behaviour of an animal, though it might not be exactly to its advantage and perhaps is life-threatening, benefits others of its kind, most often its family. While making up simple tools took a great deal of thought, testing and refinement and was a turning point for human’s evolvement, learning how to get along with our fellow human beings would prove more difficult.

With language and speech, the human ego began to develop and time began to take over our lives. Our thoughts eventually became only concerned with the past and the future. We would begin to rely on our past for our identity and sense of self, while we looked to the future for our fulfilment. This state of consciousness brought forth fear, anxiety, expectation, regret, guilt, and anger into our lives, while our cultures and environments would form whom we have become today, shaped personalities, with our brains filled with a continuous stream of thought. But we should not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Early humans were formed from interaction between only a few people, mostly all family members, the surrounding environment, and their unconscious mind; where the mental phenomena of feelings, perceptions, intuitions, thoughts, habits, and desires, exist. Being an exploratory species by nature, as their populations grew and enough room to forage became intruded upon they would have to move more often, with generation upon generation slowly making their way farther out of Africa.

By about 400,000 years ago, Homo erectus had been joined by another species of humanoid, Homo neanderthalensis and between them had spread throughout Africa, Asia and Europe. Around this time another species would also evolve and enter the mix, Archaic Homo sapiens. Then about 170,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens would arrive on the scene.

First appearing in Ethiopia, these more modern humans slowly replaced all the other populations, while language, speech and more sophisticated human behaviour began to appear, and evolution, brain size and myth would take another slow step forward, though self awareness, lives filled with an almost constant state of mental distraction, and such things as an ego, were still thousands of years away.

 

 

 

 

10/30/12

The Age of Myth – Chapter One

“They must find it difficult . . . those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.”   G. Massey, Egyptologist.

 

The basic truths of human nature are the principles within us, which are the natural laws of the human dimension and include fairness, integrity, human dignity, service, and potential. These are the guidelines for human conduct. We all possess these truths and are creatures subject to all the basic laws of animal behaviour, because morality was inherent in humanity long before we achieved reason.

Too many of us think we are above these biological controls. That somehow thousands of years of genetic legacy is now beneath us because we think we have evolved so much, just in the past few hundred years, that we now reside above all those who came before us. Yet many people today are living unfulfilled lives because of such grandiose new motives and self-conceited ideas, which try to make us seem to be so much more than just a biological species. Our day to day lives get acted out, but it often seems something is missing, yet many of us feel we are more powerful, more innovative, smarter, and more financially well off than every other creature on the planet that has ever been. Our attitude has changed to where we now feel that reflecting on the past as being somehow offensive and hurtful. Meanwhile our character, the spirit within us, is being replaced by personality. We think we are growing and developing, but find ourselves ever the more disappointed and frustrated. We stopped listening to whom we are sometime in the last century and have become ignorant to our human nature.

Even before civilizations and organized religions, we knew that to attain love one must give their love to others to know what love is. That one could only be creative if they shared their creativeness with others; that only through the act of giving of something could one experience having; and to kill a fellow human being was wrong, no matter the reason. These are the fundamental truths that have guided us but are now being held suspect, by fear, faith, consumer-capitalism and even ourselves. Slapping one’s knee and shouting “I knew I shouldn’t have said that!” or “I knew that was going to happen” are cop-outs. We ignore our gut instincts and allow them to be shaped by others. Reality is we are an exploratory species now living in sedentary tribal groups, which stultifies our growth because our cultures and religious beliefs follow rigid patterns of behaviour and thought, thus restricting development and only promoting more needing and wanting. Such suppression of our fundamental urges is what is currently eating away at our souls and making us physically, mentally and morally sick. So much fear, spin and doubt has been cast into our hearts and minds that it keeps us illiterate functionally and spiritually.

Civilization has become a consumer and corporate world, with many religious beliefs continuing to hold onto the premise that their God is a supreme being who created the world in six days and who is to be feared. If indeed this is the case and that creation was the final goal, why was it not reached right away, all at once? Why was perfection not realized at the beginning? It could be because God is not a supreme being at all but instead is simply a word representing the definition of life.

If the adage “by our nature we are moral beings” is true, when did it all start to go askew? Perhaps when we stopped listening to the basic principles within ourselves and instead focused on the voices in our heads. Many believe, everything started to get confusing at the dawn of civilization and the invention of writing, five thousand years ago. It was a time when the human ego and the ability to view oneself apart from nature began to develop even more, where our mental processes started to separate from instinctive ones. Communication and dissemination of knowledge became symbolic and took the form of myth; though within these myths lay absolute truths concerning the processes of the natural world.

A myth is not always a lie, it also expresses something fundamental about how we perceive the world and human life as it really is. It also communicates to us our values and how we should live in the world and finally, myths show how we do in fact live in our worlds, through our lifestyles. Prominent anthropologist Clifford Geertz, formulates that a myth, in effect says “we live (or ought to live) the way we do because the world is the way it is. And because the world is the way it is, living as we do (or ought to) is uniquely satisfying and fulfilling.”

With civilization and the written word we became citizens and workers, and our villages became cities. And because politics, art, religion and even history are conscious, self mediating processes, they each dwell between the realms of spirit and life, idea and reality, just like our personal worlds do.

Pre-history, before the written word, is where our cultural origins are found, through science, archaeology and oral traditions, and is where the collective cultural heritage of all of humankind lies. Up until the mid 19th century some believed the Bible’s version of the world to be about 6,000 years old. By the end of that century the first humans were believed to be about 100,000 years old. Today, according to modern scientific archaeology, natural sciences, geneticists, and geology, and using radiocarbon, radiation exposure, and potassium argon dating techniques, we emerged in East Africa at least 2.5 million years ago, while the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, with the first life-form appearing on its surface within a billion years.

The dedicated work of anthropologists; studying humanity and it’s culture, archaeologists; systematically studying the lives and cultures of ancient humankind through the use of scientific and controlled techniques, physical anthropologists; studying the evolution, behaviour and biology of humankind and geneticists; opening up new doors nearly every day concerning what we are made of, where we are from and that we are all related, have all combined in teaching us much of our collective past, and with the laws of association and superposition, are revealing many truths of our history. Like Newton, Da Vinci, Hugo, Galileo, Einstein and all the others that came before and since, they believe that the importance of seeking truth is not in the divinity, but rather in the belief of the supremacy of direct knowledge over faith. What has come more into the light is the importance of culture as the distinctive adaptive system used by humans to evolve. It is humankind’s way to adapt to our varied environments, instead of being rigidly held in check and suffering.

All animals, including humans, adapted to their environments through biological evolution. If it adapted it survived, if unable to, it evolved into a new species, moved away or died. With humans, culture is the traditional system of belief and behaviour that is understood by an individual. Culture is both, our own version within a social group and the version shared by everyone collectively as a group. When animals die, their experience dies with them, with humans, when we die our experience continues on in our culture. The ongoing phenomenon of culture usually changes very slowly over time, which is what has allowed us as a species to adapt and evolve. Today, culture has reached such a fast pace that we, as a species, are finding it ever more difficult and confusing, because we can no longer adjust or keep up to it.

Though the strides in scientific, psychological and social disciplines in the last ten years have been incredible, we should be moving quickly to retrieve what knowledge we may find of our past before we continue to blindly, and at an ever quickening pace, “pave over paradise” amidst a global climate crisis.

In the first century AD, the most valuable library in the world was in Alexandria, in the north central part of Egypt, on the delta of the Nile River. It held more than half a million papyrus scrolls, in several temples which contained much of the wisdom and science of the previous thousand years, including the works of the Egyptians, Babylonians and the writings of the Greek philosophers. A Christian bishop entered these greatest of libraries and put them to the torch, destroying everything, because he thought himself to be expelling paganism. From 16th century Catholic missionaries destroying all records of the history and cultures of the peoples they exterminated in the Americas, to today’s industrial activity, road construction, urban sprawl, strip mining, deforestation, archaeological looting, bulldozer, crane and plough, we are erasing untold truths and more comprehensive knowledge of our past. In 2001, the Taliban destroyed two statues of the Buddha, both more than 38 meters tall and carved into the side of a mountain, nearly two thousand years ago, at Bamiyan in Afghanistan. It seems curiosity about our past will always outstrip our ability to find out more as time goes on, and more is lost.

Archaeology in the past few decades has made some truly “worthy of belief” discoveries. Advancements made via technology are opening chapters of history that we did not know about, with archaeology finally reaching depths that we have not reached yet, raising new answers of what we know of our past. This is why history is important. If we forget or not try to understand what the past tells us, it has been proven time after time, like a big carousal, we will continue to make the same mistakes.

The Achilles heel of archaeology is that only a tiny fraction of all organisms leaves fossil traces anywhere. Most fossils of Hominoid specimens come from sediments dating back a few million years ago, but in many areas where fossils may be, their access and discovery are blocked because of the continuing movements and cracks of the earth’s surface. There is also much evidence hidden beneath dense plant growth, forests, jungles, and man-made structures, and considering that at the height of the last ice age, 13,000 years ago, sea levels were about 350 feet lower than today means many traces of human presence is deep underwater. Finally, there is the reality that anything from the past, if it wasn’t a rock, has dissolved back into the earth.

As to human fossils, they give us evidence of size, proportion, and muscular development. Studying fossils has given us an understanding of the three most important phases of human evolvement; walking upright, a mandible thumb and increased brain size. What they cannot give us, and is based on an informed hypothesis, are facial features and how they thought, which is the most important to us.

To understand the evolvement of humans spiritually and culturally, one has to look back farther than when we first became citizens of civilizations, back to when we were still small families of hunters and gatherers and eventually farmers. Back to a time when the wisdom we desperately crave today, was ripe and fertile. Back to where everything that happened and existed was born of the same energy. Life was moment to moment, where a human being was not separate from creation but one with it and held great respect for nature; where life was brutal but not necessarily portrayed as such, for it was life. Back to the time before the development of the human ego, where a newborn child, a flower and a shiny rock still brought smiles to our faces and we were not criticized for doing so, nor did we feel guilty.

To be continued………..

 

10/19/11

The Occupy and Fed Up and Can’t Take it Anymore Movement

“Evolution does not unfold in a neat, linear fashion; it is a messy complicated affair.” Palaeontologist Adam Yates

 

The Occupy Movement that is spreading around the world is the merging of people concerned about globalization, concentration of wealth and power, erosion of basic human rights and the economic and social marginalization of the majority. Our once progressive nations are now becoming regressive, where our current economic system isn’t working for the majority anymore.  Since we became viewers instead of doers and consumers instead of citizens the road that our governments are pushing us down is the road to totalitarianism, where sooner than we think, most all aspects of our lives will be subject to state control.

The issues driving this protest are diverse; corporate greed, environmental sustainability, social inequality, income disparity, homelessness, poverty and the erosion of fundamental human rights. It is a rising up against a system that benefits the wealthy elite at the expense of the working class, with citizens feeling excluded from the decisions that are extremely important to their lives. It is about the financial mismanagement that continues to push us further into economic recession and how corporations control and influence the political agenda, for any system that promotes greed does not include accountability, with the underlying issue being the lack of morality and no ethical leadership.

This is why many, especially anyone making over one hundred thousand dollars a year, are not getting it and are confused over why the protests are happening at all. It all comes down to basic human nature and the ego. Many of the top 1% who possess the majority of the wealth,  besides thinking irrationally that no matter the problems with our societies or of the degenerating environment, they will be insulated and unaffected from it and will be able to buy their way out, also possess unhealthy, excessive pride, which gives them over-confidence, arrogance and contempt. They are overly vain and become snobs, because they feel they are above others, who are to them “lesser humans”. This excessive pride does not acknowledge that others outside of their immediate circle are of equal worth. On the other hand, natural and realistic pride gives a person the confidence to recognize that the world contains natural hierarchies of both aptitude and attitude.

Many of the problems today, whether social or environmental, are caused by the globalization of market forces, which also drives income inequality. The riots in Britain this past summer were caused mostly from the barely contained anger of an unequal society. The crashing of global markets in 2008 was caused by greed and bad decision making by the principle players, by not understanding the moral implications of strategic decisions. Their problem was how they viewed their roles and as the 2001 accounting scandals that brought down Enron and others proved, they have no ethics either.

The super-rich of the 1920’s lived on income that came from holding assets; today the super-rich accrue their wealth from paid compensation. According to a survey carried out in Canada, in April/2011 by BMO Harris Private Banking, 94% of respondents with investable assets of $1 million or more said they have made their money on their own, either as self made professionals and/or business owners, with only 6% inheriting their wealth. Nearly 80% said  that they enjoy greater wealth than their parents and 70% said they are currently the same or better off than they were before the 2008 financial collapse. Surprisingly, less than 58% felt their children would be able to manage their inheritance.

In 2009 Canada’s highest paid executive. Aaron Regent, the Chief Executive Officer of Barrick Gold, earned over $24 million in wages. The same year the median income for a single Canadian was $22,800. Over the last 20 years, the income of 80% of Americans has stagnated while the top 1%’s income has nearly doubled, with the richest 1% of Americans taking in 25% of the income and controlling 40% of the wealth. Startlingly, the pace of widening between those who have and those who do not is rising faster in Canada than in the United States.

In Canada, over 33% of the wealth created in the past 20 plus years has gone to the richest 1% of Canadians, about 246,000 people, with most of their wealth gained from 1998-2007. But then the bubble burst, which it will always do, for as far as capitalism goes its flaw is that it is a system based on unlimited, infinite growth working within a finite framework. Canada’s once progressive approach to social programs and tax policies aided in keeping the disparity in income in check. Now that we are becoming more regressive, minimum wages have stagnated, with real income after inflation barely increasing. Unionization is decreasing. There is tighter access to unemployment benefits and lower welfare payments, while the tax rate for the richest 1% has dropped from 80% in 1948 to about 38% in 2009, with them paying about 18% of total taxes paid. From 1976 to 2009, the richest 20% of Canadians doubled their income difference over the poorest 20%, from $92,300 to $177,500, while the median income of the other 80% of Canadians rose only 5.5% over the same timeframe. With the top 20% of earners receiving 51% of total income earned.

In a nutshell, the 246,000 Canadians whose annual income is $200,000 or more are the richest 1%. One-tenth of a per cent of these individuals make over $2.8 million a year. Anyone earning $100,000 or more annually is in the top 5%. Globally, anyone making $53,000 a year or more is included in the richest 1% of worldwide income earners.

A huge fallacy has been countries using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to show that an economy is doing well. GDP is used to measure a country’s total economic value. It measures total output produced within a country’s borders, whether produced by that country or not, in a given period. GDP per capita is not a measurement of but is considered an indicator of a country’s standard of living.  Countries base many of their legislative, financial, social and economic decisions on the GDP which seems ludicrous considering the facts that the GDP does not include assessment of quality of life, does not indicate growing economic and social inequalities or for variances in income, or for such things as household production, volunteer or unpaid services. It does not account for any “underground” economies or account for the value of all assets in an economy. It also does not account for amassing objects of value, increase in wealth or creation of wealth. It does not adjust for quality improvements or new products, does not include environmental and social impacts, costs for environmental clean-up and restoration nor for births and deaths. The GDP is what props up the world’s financial plutocracy and the concept that with capitalism, especially in the banking sector, people don’t matter. It robs us of any financial democracy. But then we are in societal denial about many things, especially thinking that we can continue to try to fit the square peg of our self-indulgent, consumer society into the round hole of the environment.

During the first decade of this century, under the guise of the GDP indicating a rising standard of living, steady growth in the world’s economies, very little oversight and hardly any reform 2008 came along and the proverbial shit hit the fan. The global financial market imploded. Corporate controlled media had been giving the story that we were in an age of wealth, while in reality it is the age of debt. Marketing, spending, entertainment, sports and politics have kept our eyes diverted, while drugs and alcohol keeps us occupied and complacent. It is no wonder that the worlds #1 health problem will soon be the state of our mental well being.

There was no public inquiry into the causes of the crash and no calling to account of those responsible. They were allowed to simply walk away from the crash, uninjured and would be actually compensated very well for their inferior and irresponsible driving. To bailout their greedy and irrational behaviour they were paid from tax revenue diverted from medical care, education, social security, jobs creation and addressing climate change. Many corporate leaders were given multimillion dollar bonuses, with the added dividend that the speeding up of the dismantling of public service resources makes populations dumber and more controllable. Incredible amounts of public money were paid to save the system without fixing it. The United States bailed out their villains on Wall Street to the tune of $700 billion, about the same amount they spend on their defence budget annually ($670 billion), and about the same amount they owe China, their largest foreign debtor.

Believing that some of the bailout money would trickle down is sheer fantasy. Left to the current devices of capitalism money always floods upwards. Politicians simple become cheque writers and do not have the will to stand up to global finance or the wealthy because those are the people they actually work for and represent. Much like all the empires throughout history, as they fall there is inherent corruption within the system. Members of a political party do not follow the concerns of those they represent, they follow the concerns of the party and what the corporate lobbyists, who wine, dine and play them, tell them what the concerns should be, in confidence of course.

The Canadian Government, currently called the Harper Conservative Government received 39% of the votes in the last federal election yet rules by a large majority of the Parliament and is every day becoming a classic case, which time and time again has proven, will eventually rot  from within from apathy, smugness and placidity. Politicians are no longer men and women of the people but men and women of the governing class who preside in the realm where honesty and openness are rarely seen and their false vanity soon becomes cynicism. Eventually they will very nearly believe they have been placed in government by god himself. This has happened more often than not over the past few thousand years.

On certain levels, we the people knew this was going to happen because we could feel the changes in our personal lives. The huge majority of people do not live so grandiose lives as do those in the corporate world. For most of us life is earning enough to eat, having a decent job and having a modest home to live in. Our lives are the daily contacts we have with our fellow human beings, our interactions and our relationships. This year (2011), polling has determined that well over 60% of Canadians are living pay check to pay check.

Politics in Canada and the United States is an affair where few actually vote, especially among the young. Elsewhere in the world people are literally sacrificing themselves, and often dying for even the right to vote. When we do vote we are voting for a party instead of whom one represents.

The Occupy movement is being accused of having no leadership or definition. Instead, so far it is being led by everyone standing up and being allowed to voice their concerns. Though the powers that be have the media clamouring for a definition, they must remember that our current modern age began over five hundred years ago, when our need to understand led to definition. To get the Occupy movement to announce a definition of what they represent now would be clearly skipping the understand part. And once defined, accurately or not, would put itself in the hands of the richest 1% whose primary activities are transaction and consumption, and at which time the cool-aid would be then passed around.

What the world needs now and is craving, is ethical leadership. Unfortunately in the past whenever great ethical and empathic leaders would appear they would eventually become marginalized or killed off.  But that is changing, for there are many wealthy people today who are very concerned about their fellow humans and the environment, there simply is not enough of them. Our banks and our economies may soon sink into bankruptcy, but we should not allow ourselves to become morally bankrupt at the same time. One can only imagine the difference if more corporate leaders, bankers, traders and political lobbyists were actually morally enlightened. Corruption, the stink of capitalism, would be rare. Imagine politicians speaking for and representing the people that they live alongside in their communities and regions instead of living in fear of speaking out against the party and being just puppets, putting in just enough effort and time to receive obscene pension packages. A far changing difference would be having the 10% of humanity who manage the various societies for the wealthy, continue to be educated in accounting and economics but also in the values of self reflection and the study of virtues, such as humanity, justice and courage. Developing responsible business ethics is not the answer we need now, but might be what’s needed to prevent any future damage.

The leaders that are needed today are men and women of good character. Leaders, who will admit their mistakes, humbly seek advice and retain their personal integrity. Such corporate leaders today have led companies that are holding their own through the current financial crisis. They possess a strong value system and with an ability to reflect on these values and tendencies have encouraged better communication and more transparency in their business transactions.

What started as a global financial crises became a debt crises for individual nations, which is now seeping back into the financial system causing further bailout plans. But austerity measures won’t work and will probably simply speed up the downward economic spiral. The Occupy movement has many issues that are important to humanity and how we do things, as well as issues vital to the earth’s deteriorating environment. They don’t have the answers but do agree that something has to be done now, today. And that everyone must start making a difference equally. We have arrived at the point in time of our history where we have become aware that communism and capitalism don’t work. As to what will work is what we need to find out, but we must first understand what we need before defining what it is we need.

There are a lot of sound ideas out there on what should be done. A huge step in the right direction would be getting away from global and national banking. The enormous profits big banks make do not create new jobs, fund the renewal of our infrastructure, build a new green economy, eradicate poverty or tackle climate change. The new money that is created only enriches the wealthy. Far too many of us are becoming slaves of distant lending and credit card companies. Household debt is climbing drastically, even though we can’t afford it; student fees rising to life-long debt levels, rents and a housing market that is becoming as fantastical as thinking one will be alright as soon as they win 20 million dollars on the lottery. Instead we should perhaps ponder about having local, public savings banks which support small business and ordinary people.

Another need is for more dispersed ownership and control of a nation’s natural, human and financial capitol, whereas the financial industry returns to a more mutual ownership. For example, all print, whether newspapers, books or magazines; publishing houses: television, film and radio is all owned, in Canada and the US, by about 2-3 corporations, which is very scary close to being all owned by just one.

Instead of hiding behind the curtain of the GDP perhaps each community could discuss what each sees as its future and what opportunities are there for locally based businesses and lasting, stable jobs. And to also incubate initiatives among diverse groups that perceive and think ahead to future dangers and make long lasting decisions to correct its course.

As to the gap between rich and poor, the reality is that when equality is greater in a society it brings about such things as; with everyone having at least a decent standard of living with their basic necessities taken care of, it brings about the elimination of poverty, which translates into better physical health thus less health costs. More education would bring higher levels of trust between peoples, which would reduce imprisonment and prisons and also bring about less drug abuse and less obesity.

With rising health costs and the fact that in North America in 2011 the largest wave of the wealthiest, most educated and professionally accomplished people in the history of mankind, the proponents of what is happening today, as well as a majority whose illusions of retiring to a life of leisure is now compromised, reached the age of 65 yrs. This generation has been very lucky in that most of their wealth was gained from a housing boom that saw the average home value rise nearly 80% over their lifetime. Housing values over the next decade is forecasted to either go sideways or decline. The new generation are already in debt and their future will be living in a debited society. With the majority of people in Canada now elderly, it is interesting to note that of the factors determining our health in Canada, only 25% of the quality of the health care system accounts for our good health. For 50% of us Canadians the factors determining our health includes childhood development, education, social status, community connection, income and work history. While for 25% of us our health is determined by biology, genetics and physical environment.

The Occupy movement started with people looking around empathically and finally standing up and saying enough is enough. With lists of issues and needing answers, the dialogue already created is going a long way and is growing with each passing day. The movement is global, for the gap between those that have and those that do not is widening everywhere. People are simply fed up and it’s not that they won’t, it’s that far too many cannot take it anymore, not just what the world has become now, but as to what it will be like for our children and their children. Far too many of us continue to believe in the naive concept that, “My father did better than my grandfather. I did better than my father, while my children, i hope will do better than me”.

The wealth, prestige and respect of a few leaders gives them the freedom to go out into the world and instil change, to care and to stand up and speak for their fellow humans no matter where they were born on the earth. This is their passion and who they are, but as mentioned earlier they are but a few. Others who have wealth have passions as well but it is for the need of more wealth. Instead of being an important person to their family, community and the world they are simply trying to buy themselves the title and the respect that comes with it. The rest of us only want a fair shake and need to realize that for about 70 to 80% of the world’s population, any changes will have to be done collectively and individually.

The irresponsibility and greed of the super-rich have already caused one crash but we the public bought them a new vehicle, which we are once again standing on the sidelines, watching as it speeds headlong for the edge of the abyss sucking everything along with it, with all the principle players fighting over who is going to steer or at least who gets to sit up front.

The collective consciousness of our world is what must be changed and has nothing to do with where and to which environment we were born into. All wise men and women, who we have deemed as being true prophets, throughout the history of humanity, have always stressed the point that each person must strive to create positive change only into their own lives to affect change globally.

 

 

 

 

10/6/11

Resource Materials – Grand Deluges

Fresco, Jacque and Meadows, Roxanne, Designing the Future, Copyright 2007.

Sale, Kirkpatrick, The Columbian Legacy and the Ecosterian Response, People, Land, and Community, Yale University Press / New Haven and London, 1997.

Watson, Peter, Ideas: A history from Fire to Freud. , Phoenix/Orion Books Ltd, London 2006

Matthews, Samuel W., Under the Sun – Is our World Warming? , National Geographic, Vol.178, #4, October 1990.

David Rohl, From Eden to Exile, Arrow Books Limited, the Random House Group Limited, London, 2003.

David Blair, Daily Telegraph, Starvation fears for 600 million Africans-Agriculture?, The Vancouver Sun, July 11, 2009.

Ancient Civilizations, The illustrated guide to Belief, Mythology, and Art, General editor: Prof. Greg Woolf, Duncan Baird publishers, London, 2005.

The Holy Bible, New International Version, Zondervan Bible Publishers, New York International Bible Society, 1978.

Samuel Noah Kramer, Cradle of Civilization, Time-Life Books, New York, 1967.

Wilson, Colin, Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals – 100,000 years of Lost History, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont, 2006.

Hapgood, Charles, Maps of Ancient Sea Kings, Chilton Books, Philadelphia, 1966.

Flem-ath, Rand and Rose, When the sky fell: In search of Atlantis, St.Martins Press, New York 1995. Daniel Pinchbeck, 2012 The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Jeremy P. Tarcher, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, 2007

Malkowski, Edward F., Before the Pharoahs – Egypt Mysterious Pre-History, Bear & Company, Vermont, 2006.

Fagan, Brian, The Great Warming – Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, Bloomsbury Press, New York, 2008.

Lajeunesse, Patrick and St-Onge, Guillaume, The Sub-glacial Origin of Lake Agassiz, Ojibway Flood and Final Outburst, Nature Geoscience. 2008.

Boswell, Randy, Agassiz Outburst, Canwest News Service, Times Colonist, Monday Feb.25, 2008, PgD4

Parfit, Michael, The Dawn of Humans: Hunt for the First Americans, National Geographic Society, Washington D.C., Volume 198, #6, December 2000.

http://en.wikipedia.org

Hawkes, Jacquetta, The World of the Past, Touchstone Books, Simon and Schuster, New York 1962

Johnson, John, Evolution: study suggests when, how earth started sustaining life. LA Times, Vancouver Sun, Sat. June 6th, 2009 Pg B4

Court, Richard, Imperial College, England, 2009.

Mayor, Adrienne, The First Fossil Hunters + Fossil Legends of the First Americans.

Sachs, Jeffery D., The Deepening Crisis, Scientific American, Sept.2010.

www.earth.columbia.edu

Weyler, Rex, How to change the world., Vancouver Sun Saturday Feb.17,2007 PgL16 www.rexweyler.com

Hume, Stephen, Enlist in the War on Climate Change, Vancouver Sun, Sat. Feb.17, 2007 PgC4.

 

 

08/18/11

Some Creation Stories Part 3

Part 3 of 3

Incan – Judaism/ Christianity – Mandinka – Islam – The Big Bang and Darwin – Summary

 

The Inca

There are many different versions of the Inca’s creation as their empire was ever expanding, with each tribal community having their own idea of how and when they were created. Most all share two basic and similar foundation stories, that the world was created around the Andes mountains and that the source of all life came from the sacred waters of Lake Titicaca.

In the beginning the earth was covered in darkness when the “Creator of All Things,” Wiraqocha ( Viracocha) Pachyachachic, emerged out of a lake called Collasuyu ( Lake Titicaca). Wiraqocha quickly began creating humans, with the first beings made from gigantic solid blocks of stone, Wiraqocha soon realized that these first people were way too large. So he then created a new humanity in the form we are today. He ordered these new people to live together peacefully, but before too long, pride and jealousy appeared and the world became embroiled in greed and conflict. These first peoples lived in darkness, for Wiraqocha had not created light yet, and were very primitive; not really knowing how to do anything, including not knowing about clothing or building shelter. Their behaviour soon enraged Wiraqocha. He turned many of them into stone, then sent down rains for sixty days and sixty nights and a great flood washed away all traces of the beings of his earlier creation. He kept only two people alive, which were to act as his servants.

Wiraqocha felt one of the reasons the first humanity had become so immoral was because they lived in darkness, while the earth consisted of only rocks and mountains. Still determined to create humanity, he felt these other matters should be dealt with first before he would attempt to create people again. So he created light at the lake Collasuyu, calling forth the sun (Inti) and the moon (Mama-Quilla) from the waters. He set them in the sky and told them to take turns decorating the earth with light and darkness. In the beginning the moon was the brighter one, but the sun took offense, throwing ashes into the moon’s face and ever since, the moon is the paler of the two. Wiraqocha then began to create humanity a second time.

With the help of his two servants, he made statues and images of all the people from stone. They were painted distinct colours and had costumes that each community would wear. After this was done Wiraqocha then instructed his servants to memorize each new persons’ name, their countries, and the prominent landmarks of where they were to live. He then brought them all to life by reciting their names. He sent one of his servants to the ocean in the west, the other he sent east into Amazonia, while Wiraqocha himself stayed in the Andes, where he called forth to all his people and told them who they were and named every peak, cave, lake, and stream. Later, Wiraqocha came to a place he named Pacariqtambo, the “Inn of the Dawn,” a cave from which he summoned forth four brothers and four sisters who would be the parents of his new race.

The first to emerge would bear the title, “the first Inca,” his name was Manqo Qhapaqh (Manco Capac), the “first Rich Ancestor.” Next was his sister, Mama Oqllu ( Plump Mother), who Manqo Qhapaqh quickly married. With them came Ayer Awka and his consort Mama Waqo. Then Ayar Kachi and his wife, Mama Kura, arose, with Ayar Uchu and Mama Rawa arriving last. From these eight siblings the entire Inca nation would descend and from their beginning they believed their destinies were to be the conquerors of a great empire. As Mama Waqo soon told her brothers and sisters, “We are born strong and wise and with the people who will here join us, we shall be powerful. We will go forth from this place to seek fertile lands and when we find them we will subjugate the people and take the lands, making war on all those who do not receive us as lords.”

Wiraqocha then made his way to the Pacific Ocean where he addressed his people for the final time. Wiraqocha was content with what he had done, feeling everything was in its rightful place and rightfully named. He told his people he was returning to the celestial realm, but from now on the ruler of the heavens was to be his son Inti, the god of the sun, who lit up the sky, made life possible, warmed the earth, and allowed crops to grow. Inti was to marry Mama-Quilla, goddess of the moon, whose natural rhythms would form the Inca calender. Wiraqocha also told his people that one day he would send them two messengers and that they were to always beware of intruders. When he was finished speaking, Wiraqocha, with a few servants at his side, strode out across the ocean, walking on the crests of the waves until disappearing over the horizon. From then on, though the people never really worshipped Wiraqocha, they forever honoured him.

Another foundation story of creation was that a great being, Con Tiqui (Viracocha) emerged from Lake Titicaca, bringing  human beings with him.  Con Tiqui (Viracocha) quickly created the sun (Inti), the moon, and the stars to light the world. Out of great rocks he created more human beings, many of them women who were already pregnant. He sent these people to the four corners of the world, keeping a male and female with him at Cusco, “the navel of the world,” near the sacred place,  Machu Picchu. The founder of the first dynasty of the kingdom of Cuzco was Manco Capac. In one legend he was brought up from the depths of Lake Titicaca by the sun god, Inti. In another he was the son of Con Tiqui Viracocha. However, commoners were not allowed to speak the name of Viracocha, which is possibly an explanation for the need for two foundation legends that follow.

In one myth, Manco Capac was the brother of Pachacamac, both were sons of the sun god, Inti. Manco Capac himself was worshipped as both a fire and a sun god. He and his siblings were sent to the earth by Inti, by way of the cave, Pacariqtambo. Carrying a golden staff called ‘tapac-yauri’, Manco Capac and his brothers and sisters were instructed to create a “Temple of the Sun” in the spot where the staff sank into the earth at Cusco. They combined their efforts and built such a temple where they could honour their father, the sun god Inti. In another version of this legend, instead of emerging from a cave in Cuzco, the siblings emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca.

In the Tici Virachocha legend, Manco Capac was the son of Tici Viracocha of Pacari-Tampu, just south of Cuzco. He and his brothers – Ayar, Anca, Ayar, Cachi, and Uchu, and sisters – Mama Ocllo, Mama Huaco, Mama Raua and Mama Cura, lived near Cuzco at Paccari-Tampu, and united their people to conquer the tribes of the Cuzco Valley. This legend also incorporates an ornate golden staff, which is thought to have been given to Manco Capac by his father. Accounts vary, but according to some versions of the legend, the young Manco jealously betrayed his older brothers, killed them, and became the sole ruler of Cuzco, the capital of what would become the Inca Empire.

Besides the many differences in their creation stories, the Inca people universally believed the creation of humans and the creation of the earth were two entirely different things. Their early consciousness was developed around their relationship with their environment; the rocks and mountains of the Andes, and believed that no Inca should ever feel the need to subdue or master their environment. They felt they did not just inhabit their environment, but instead the landscape inhabited them. They felt the rocks, nature and the mountains of their world were firmly established and could not be changed, much like the eternal divine presence of life itself and humanity. They believed that the creations of both humans and the earth existed in endless cycles of tragedy, upheaval, and re-creation, with each cycle lasting one thousand years. Though each cycle brings about both hope and fear, each one also brings about an improvement in the human condition.

The first creation was when Wiraqocha created the giant stone people who lived in darkness. The second creation cycle was when the sun appeared and the new people learned to clothe themselves, build shelters, and begin to farm. During the third cycle, systematic agriculture, spinning and weaving, mining, and metal working would evolve, with gold coming from the sweat of the sun and silver from the tears of the moon. But rivalry between communities also came into play. The fourth creation was filled with conflict, suspicion, animosity, and war. Tribal divisions began to form. The fifth creation was the thousand years before the invasion by the Spanish in the 16th century. It was a golden time; a classical age of order and stability. But then Francisco Pizarro and Christianity appeared, and nothing in the Incan world was ever the same.

Judaism and Christianity

The book of Genesis in the Bible tells of two different accounts of creation; each perhaps simply a difference in perspective on creation. The first account being gods’ perspective, when the earth and heavens were created, and the second being, humanity’s perspective.

The first account tells that in the beginning, Elohim (God), created the heavens and the earth, but the earth was nothing more than a formless, dark void. So Elohim created light and the earth appeared. And since this was the first day, from then on, before each new day he would create morning and evening anew. On the second day he created the waters and the skies. Then on the third day he separated the waters from parts of the land and upon this dried earth sprouted vegetation, plants bearing seed of their kind and trees bearing fruit, with seed within the fruit, of their kind.

On the fourth day he began to populate his creations, and created heavenly bodies for the night and day skies. There were two great lights, a greater light to govern the day, and a lesser one that would govern the night. The next day, the fifth day, he created birds to fly above the earth, and told them to be fruitful and to multiply and fill the skies. Then he created all the sea creatures, including the Leviathan and the Rahab, and told them to also go forth and fill the seas.

On the sixth day Elohim created animals, “living creatures and cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth.” Lastly he created man and woman in the image and likeness of himself, the one god, Elohim. And he told these first people they also should go forth and multiply and to be fruitful. They were to fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over all the fish, birds and animals. They were to use the seeds of the plants, and all the vegetation and fruit was to become their food. And Elohim stood back and looked over all that he had created and saw that is was very good, so the next day, the seventh, he rested and blessed and sanctified this day as a day of rest, for in six days he had created the heavens and the earth and all their inhabitants.

The second account of creation begins after the moment that the earth and heaven had been created. In the beginning there were heaven and earth. There were no plants, shrubs or trees yet because Yahweh Elohim (Lord God) had not sent rain upon the earth, nor a man to cultivate its fields; but a mist arose from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Yahweh Elohim then formed man from dust off the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils and man became a living being. Yahweh Elohim then planted a garden in Eden, and out of the ground grew trees which were both, pleasing to the eye, and could be used for food. One great tree grew out of the middle of the garden, the Tree of Life. Another nearby tree was called the Tree of Knowledge, of good and evil. He then created four rivers; the Pishan, that flowed around the land of Havilah, where gold, bdellium and onyx were; Gihon, the river that flowed around the land Cush; the Tigris, that flowed east out of Assyria; and the river Euphrates. All becoming the great rivers of the Middle East. He then set the man upon the earth to cultivate it and care for it, and told the man that he may eat from the garden freely, except for the Tree of Knowledge, where both good and evil lay. From this tree the man should never eat for if he were to, he would die. Yahweh Elohim then thought how lonely it must be for this one man and that he needed a helper, so he created every creature on the land and every bird in the sky. He allowed the man to name each creature and as he did, they became living creatures. But the man still seemed lonely so Yahweh Elohim put the man into a deep sleep. And as the man slept he took out one of the man’s ribs, then healed the flesh there. And when the man awoke, Yahweh Elohim showed him what he had created and told him he had used one of the man’s ribs.

Naming this new human was left up to the man and he decided to call her woman, for she was taken out of himself. “The bone of my bones, and the flesh of my flesh.” This first man and woman coming together, represents that from then onwards when a man takes a woman he shall leave his father and his brother, and take her for a wife, and they become one flesh. Man and woman lived in the garden of Eden. The man toiled in the fields and though they were still naked they were not ashamed.

Of all the creatures created, the serpent was the most crafty and one day he told the woman that if she were to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge she would not die, but instead have her eyes opened and like the, Lord God Yahweh Elohim, she would know good from evil. When she saw that the fruit of this tree would be good food, and that eating the fruit would bring her wisdom, she plucked one of its fruits and ate it, giving a piece to her husband, who ate as well. Suddenly, the man and woman saw that they were naked and they quickly sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. Yahweh Elohim confronted man and woman, asking why did they eat from the Tree of Knowledge. The man admitted that his wife had picked the fruit but that he had also eaten. The woman blamed the deceiving serpent. Yahweh Elohim went to the serpent and vowed that because he had done this, forever shall he be cursed and onto his belly he will go, to eat the dust for the rest of his days. To the woman he said; from now on a woman’s pain in childbirth will greatly multiply and only with this pain will you bring forth children. Woman will also be forever cursed with the blood of menstruation, and her only desire will be for her husband, and that he rule over her.

Yahweh Elohim then turned to man and told him that because he had listened to his wife’s voice and had eaten from the tree, he would forever be a slave to the cultivation of the fields, all the days of his life until he dies and returns to the ground, “For you are dust. And to dust you shall return.” The man would be named Adam, the woman, Eve (mother of all living). Yahweh Elomin made garments of skin and clothed them both. He then sent them out of the garden of Eden and out into the fields to cultivate the ground  from which man was originally taken. By eating from the Tree of Knowledge, man and woman now knew good and evil and to prevent them from eating from the Tree of Life, Yahweh Elohim placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard it. Adam and Eve headed off into the fields and before long, began to have children, who would eventually populate the earth.

The primitive, innocent world came to an end with Adam and Eve. The temptation of the unknown, the all too human quest for knowledge had become the “mortal sin,” and started mortal man’s struggle and suffering in the descendants of primeval Adam.

Adam and Eve named their firstborn Cain. Their second child, Abel. Cain became a farmer of the fields while Abel became a herdsman over his flock. One day Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil to Yahweh Elomin. Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. It was no contest. Yahweh Elomin preferred the fat over the fruit, which enraged Cain. Later that day he ambushed his brother and killed him. Cain was banished and became a nomad. While wandering Cain found a wife and they had a child, which he named Enoch and soon after settled down to build a city, which he would name after his son.
When Adam and Eve were 130 years old they had another child, Seth, born in the likeness and image of Adam. Adam would live for 930 years and would father many sons and daughters. Seth would also have many children and lived for 912 years. Each generation afterwards would last hundreds of years, with Methuselah the last to live over 900 years. One of his sons, Lamech, would also have many children and when Lamech had lived 182 years he fathered a son, Noah.

It had been thousands of years since the creation and man had multiplied and covered the face of the earth, But Yahweh Elomin saw the wickedness of man and that the intent of their hearts was only evil. He saw how violent and corrupt the world had become and was sorry he had made mankind and was grieved by it. So he found a righteous man, Noah. After Noah was 500 years old, he fathered three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. One hundred years later, Yahweh Elomin instructed Noah and his sons to build an ark and to fill it with all the creatures of the sea, sky and land. At first he told Noah to gather two of every living thing, male and female. He then changed his order to say gather seven of every clean animal, including  a male and female, and Noah was to also include a male and female of every unclean animal. They were all loaded onto the ark, including Noah, his wife, their three sons and their son’s wives.

To destroy the evil in the world, Yahweh Elohim then sent a rain that didn’t stop for forty days and forty nights. All the flesh that moved on the earth perished, whether man or beast, with all living things being blotted from the earth. The water covered the highest mountains and after the forty days and nights of rain, the earth was flooded for a hundred and fifty years. The waters then began to subside, but it would take months before even the mountain tops would become visible. After the ark had come to rest on the side of a mountain, Noah sent out a raven which flew back and forth and dried up much of the earth. Then he sent out a dove, but the dove returned, unable to find anywhere to land. Noah waited seven days then sent out the dove again. This time when the dove returned it held a freshly plucked olive leaf in it’s beak. Waiting another seven days Noah sent out the dove a third time but this time the dove did not return.

After the flood had subsided entirely and the earth was dry once more, Yahweh Elohim made a covenant with Noah and blessed him and his family. He then told them to go forth, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and from then on the fear and terror of man shall forever be on every beast, every bird, everything that would creep on the ground and all the fish in the sea. Every moving thing that is alive and all the green plants were to become man’s food. And that from this day onwards man was to worship Yahweh Elohim, as the one true Lord God.

The descendants of Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth would go forth and populate the earth. One of these groups of people would become the Hebrew and be led by men such as Abraham, Isaac, Moses and Joshua, who would eventually make their way to Palestine and conquer the peoples living there and claim the land as theirs, the land promised to them by God.

The Mandinka

The Mandinka was the largest ancient West African empire and today makes up the majority of the Mande people. They believed their creation began with the god Mangala, a singular, powerful being who was perceived to be a round, energetic presence who resided in a vast expanse of nothingness. Within Mangala existed four divisions, which would become symbolic to many things, including the four days of the week (time), the four elements (matter), and the four directions (space).  Mangala felt bloated all the time and was tired of keeping all of this matter inside. Mangala removed all his insides and compressed it all into a seed. This represented the creation of the world, but the seed was not strong enough and could not hold all of creation within it and eventually exploded. Disappointed, Mangala destroyed the world he had tried to create, but did not give up and decided to give it another shot. This time Mangala used two sets of twin seeds, planting them in an egg-shaped womb. As the original sets began to gestate, Mangala kept adding sets of twin seeds into the womb until he had eight sets of seeds. Over time the gestating seeds transformed into fish, the symbol of fertility in the Mande world. Mangala saw that this time creation was going to be successful and concentrated on maintaining its perfection. But soon enough chaos slowly crept in and caused one of the male twins to become ambitious and he tried to escape from the egg. This chaotic character called, Pemba, was a trickster figure whose first trick was to steal a piece of the womb’s placenta and throw it down into the void where it landed and made the earth. Next, Pemba  tried to re-fertilize what was left of the womb, but he could not find it. Mangala had taken the remaining pieces of the placenta and had used them to form the sun. So Pemba stole male seeds from Mangala’s clavicle, and took them to the barren earth and planted them there. Only one of them could germinate in the dry earth, a male eleusine seed which grew in the blood of the placenta. But because Pemba had stolen the seed and it germinated in Pemba’s own placenta, the earth became impure and the eleusine seed turned red. Darkness and the night would become associated with Pemba.

Mangala was very upset about all this and decided to sacrifice Pemba’s twin brother, Faro to save what was left of his creation and to purify it. Faro was castrated then cut into sixty pieces which fell to the earth where they became trees. Faro was then raised from the dead and transformed into a human being and was sent down to earth in an ark made from his placenta. With him came four pairs of male and four pairs of female twins who became the original ancestors of mankind, all made from Faro’s placenta. The ark also held all the animals and plants, which also carried the male and female life force. Faro was then taught, by Mangala, the language of creation. Faro’s knowledge of words would become very powerful and was the tool he used to defeat Pemba’s mischief. Faro and the rest of the newly created twins then came to earth and soon married other humans, apart from themselves. A being named Sourakata, then arrived from out of the sky with the first sacred drum, made of the sacrificed skull of Faro, and a hammer. Sourakata began to play on the drum and sang for the first rain to come. But the rain would not arrive, so the ancestral smith came to the earth and grabbing the hammer, struck a rock. Only then did it begin to rain. Sourakata was a magical being who could control nature, and he taught Faro and his followers how to achieve this to their benefit.

Faro would go on and create all the world from the descendants of Mangala’s original egg seeds. Then one day he caused the land to flood, to once and for all wash away the impure seed of his brother, Pemba, and to rid the world of everything that had gone bad. Sheltered on Faro’s ark, only the good were saved.

Islam

The creation story of Islam is split among many verses in the Qur’an, which is written in Arabic and is considered authoritative only in that language. So please excuse my ignorance. The myth is similar to the Judaism-Christian accounts of creation, since the Islamic creation myth was recited, then recorded after the Old and New testaments had been written, over five centuries earlier.

In the beginning the sky and the earth were separate and stood apart from each other. After going through a phase where they were covered in smoke, they simultaneously came into their present shape and joined together to become one, the “unit of creation.” The whole process had taken six days or eras. The one all-powerful god, Allah “The God”, spread out, stormy, wind swept waves across the earth and created the depths of swollen seas. Though the waves clashed, surged, and tried to leap over one another, Allah subdued much of the agitation by pressing down the weight of the earth with his chest. When the chaotic seas reached his shoulder blades, they meekly submitted and became tame and obedient, forever becoming the prisoners of disgrace. The earth continued to spread itself out and became solid in the depths of the waters. Continuing to spread, it became solid even in the stormy depths of the water. At which time the earth finally ended the feeling of pride, self-conceit, and superiority the waters had held. The earth then gained control over the strength of the water’s flow and it became less of a disturbance.

The waters subsided around the earth’s sides and beneath the weight of the high mountains that Allah had placed upon it, and then from these mountains Allah flowed springs of cool water and distributed them throughout the plains and low places, and then controlled their movement by placing rocks and mountains along their routes. When all the trembling came to a standstill, high mountains stood on the plains, and deep valleys were formed from the mountains that grew downwards. Then Allah created a vast atmosphere between the earth and heaven that held blowing winds. Thus, the world and the cosmos were created.

Allah then created all the creatures of the earth and the water. Some he made to fly, some swam, some slithered and some crawled, and some walked. He next created the angels, and then the sun, moon, and stars, which would all reside in the heavens. He then made one big cloud, by collecting together a bunch of smaller clouds. When the water was heavy within this one big cloud, lightning began to flash around it and Allah brought forth strong winds to push against the great cloud and it began to rain. By the time the great cloud reached the ground emptied of its water, vegetation began to grow on the plains of the earth and herbage on the slopes of the mountains.

The rain, which had poured down in torrents had broken up the soil and brought forth the corn, the grapes and olive, palm, the fruit trees, the grass and all other vegetation. When this was done, he told the world’s creatures to spread out over its surfaces. Then while looking around, Allah noticed that there were still places, barren tracts of the earth, which did not have water to feed its life, so he created floating clouds which would regularly nourish these unproductive areas with rain. The earth finally felt at peace, being so decorated with gardens covered in soft vegetation and the beauty of its blossoms upon it. Allah had created all these things as the means of sustenance for the people that were to come and feed for all the creatures.

Allah then took clay, earth, sand, and water and mixed them together, which he then used to mould a model of a man. He breathed life and power into it, and it immediately came to life. This first man was to be named Adam. Allah then guided Adam to a beautiful, wondrous garden called paradise, where he created Eve (Hawa), the first woman, from out of Adam’s side. He then taught Adam the names of all the creatures and brought him to the angels, where he had them all bow down before Adam. Allah then told Adam and Eve that they could eat whatever they wanted from the garden, except the fruit of a forbidden tree. But Iblis (Satan) tempted them to disobey Allah and they ended up both eating the fruit. When Allah found out that they had disobeyed him he cast them out of paradise.

In the creation myth of the Old Testament, much of the blame of this “original sin” was placed on Eve, and both she and Adam were kicked out of Eden, forever. Their god also told them that from that time forward, death would be the wage of sin. Allah would treat the situation very differently.

Allah did not blame Eve and eventually forgave the pair, and also stated that death is not the wage of sin, it is a reality. Death does not happen because of misbehaviour, but because all humans are to be tested throughout their lives, by life itself, and then will be brought back to the one god Allah, through death, and only then, will they be judged.

All events in a person’s life would be seen as a trial. All the circumstances of human experience, no matter how one perceives it to be, are preparations for the eventual encounter with Allah. From that moment on life would be proclaimed to be only a test; for Allah’s believers have no reincarnation or son of god. Their reckoning is with Allah alone and each person is held accountable by their choices and actions. That success in life will not be in the accumulation of material goods, or in self-gratification of one’s physical desires, or their seemingly, virtuous actions. Actual success will be defined as being able to turn away from anything that causes one to lose sight of the will of Allah; in other words to ignore and turn away, from the temptations of the world and any self-centered approach to life. This daily struggle with life and one’s own faults and worldly desires would be called jihad, for all that Allah required of humans is both moral behaviour and devotion.

The rest of the Islamic creation myth is intertwined with the Judeo-Christian story. Islam, roughly meaning “submission,” as in to god, but also means “peace,” believes that Abraham, Moses, Noah, and Jesus were all prophets of God, which to them was Allah. But the most important prophet of Islam was Muhammad, who would be the instrument through which Allah would pass on his divine revelations and scripture. This would be achieved through visions that Muhammad would have. Whatever Allah had said to him, had to be memorized and recited out loud by Muhammad and his followers. This would later be written down and become the Qur’an. The people of Islam would become Muslims, “those who submit” to their gods will.

The Big Bang and Darwin

In the beginning there was nothing and then at a finite time in the past, there formed a very small, infinitely hot, and infinitely dense dot, about the size of a period on this page. It held four forces of nature within it. The “weak force,” what keeps the particles of an atomic nucleus together; the “strong force,” which allows particles (quarks), that make up the protons and neutrons in a nucleus to stick together; “electromagnetism,” which keeps solids from falling apart, and “gravity.” All four forces of nature compressed into a single force, the “grand unified force.” There was really no explosion but more of an expansion and as the dot began to expand, it also began to cool. The gravitational force separated from the grand unified force, then the strong force separated and finally the weak force separated from the electromagnetic force. This all happened by the time the universe was only about one-ten-thousandth of a second old. At this point the temperature is calculated to have been more than 100,000 million degrees Centigrade.  At one-one hundredths of a second and with more happening in that time than in the next million years, the universe had expanded to about the size of a pea, and by 60 seconds the temperature had fallen to 10,000 million degrees. Then quarks began to form and combined to form particles. In comparison to today, the universe’s average temperature was -270 degreesC (-454 degrees’ F), just three degrees C (four degrees F) above absolute zero, the lowest possible temperature. By the age of 100 seconds, the first nuclei had formed and the dense expanding mass became matter, with the dominant form being cold dark matter. A few minutes after the beginning, neutrons began to combine with protons to create Helium and Hydrogen nuclei.

This new universe of space, time, matter, and energy continued to expand and cool and it wasn’t until about the 300,000 year old mark that the universe cooled down enough to become transparent. Around this time much of the incredible heat began to cool and a form of radiation called cosmic microwaves, began to expand outwards. This cosmic background radiation, a remnant of this beginning time, still blankets the entire universe to this day. One hundred thousand years or so later, electrons and nuclei combined to create atoms, mostly Hydrogen.

A billion years after the beginning, the denser regions of the ever expanding, unevenly distributed matter, mostly Helium, Hydrogen and a variety of subatomic particles, gravitationally began to attract nearby matter and grew denser, forming gas clouds, quasars, stars and galaxies. Then began to move away and outwards from the starting point at unbelievable speeds. Still, to this day, all the galaxies and stars are heading away from us, with the farther away they are, the higher their velocity, though at the same time there is no geographic center to an expanding universe.

Because of the incredible pressure that formed within these stars, the original two elements of Helium and Hydrogen evolved into the other 88 naturally occurring chemical elements of the universe. These complex chemical elements evolved within the ancient stars and when these stars would end their stellar lives and die, the elements would be released as great clouds of swirling compounds. These clouds of chemical elements formed solar systems, including our own.

About 4.5 billion years ago one of these molten masses of matter became the earth and as it cooled off it became a solid, dry rock. Because of its heat and the cooling of the universe, moisture formed and rained upon the earth with vapour being brought in from impacts of asteroids and meteoroids for millions of years. Eventually this process would form great oceans. The first atmosphere was about 80% water vapour, 10% carbon dioxide, 6% hydrogen-sulfur with traces of many other compounds. With the earth nearly, entirely covered in oceans, the water would enrich carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and various other inert gases. These oceans also contained sorts of ammonia, methane, phosphoric salts, light, heat and electricity. Eventually within this soup of water and dissolving rock, the first self-replicating organic systems spawned and produced simple single-celled organisms, and the very slow process of evolution began.

Before Oxygen (in the form of ozone) the earth had no protection from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and the primitive compounds were bombarded with huge amounts of radiation from the sun. This form of energy promoted the self organization of simple molecules into organic compounds, which formed themselves into proto-cells, then eventually into true organisms. These micro-organisms gave the earth an oxygen rich atmosphere about five hundred million years ago.

The evolution of the cell, the basic unit of life, began with prokaryotes, single-celled organisms, or bacterium, which had no bound nucleus and their DNA was not organized into chromosomes (the hereditary information necessary for life). They inhabited the Earth approximately 3–4 billion years ago.

Over the next three billion or so years, through variation, reproduction, and selection, the inherited traits of groups of these organisms changed from one generation to the next, with new traits (genes) arising through mutations in the genes or transfer of genes between groups and between species.  Each cell would become a small, miniaturized factory containing thousands of pieces of molecular machinery and made up of thousands of millions of atoms. Nearly all life was now made up of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), meaning a full set of chromosomes with all the inheritable traits of an organism. The DNA molecule had become an incredible micro, digital, error-correcting, redundant, self duplicating, information storage and retrieval system, with its own inherent language, that had the potential to develop any organism from raw biological material. Basically, the DNA contained all the instructions for making and controlling every living thing and very tiny DNA changes could make profound differences.

Within cells are strands of DNA that associate with proteins to form condensed structures called chromosomes. A specific location within a chromosome is its locus. Genes on the other hand are parts of the DNA molecule that can be deemed the units of evolution. The mechanism of evolution are natural selection, mutation, and the influence of the environment it lives in, which gives such diversity of life on our planet. It is not the number of genes that give all life such diversity, but how they are used. The genetic code for all living things consists of four letters, which in unlimited combinations make up each being’s genetic code. Codes which make all living things grow and survive. Our species have three billion letters in its genetic code, while our human genome has 23,000 genes. Strangely enough, the same number of genes as a chicken, and actually less than an ear of corn.

Inherited traits of an organism are controlled by these genes, and together make up that organism’s genome, with the complete set of genes within an organism’s genome is its genotype. These inheritable traits are then reproduced between generations via the DNA molecule. Each gene specifies a single functional unit.  The complete set of observable traits that make up the structure and behaviour of an organism is called its phenotype.

Multi-cellular organisms first appeared in the oceans, then on the shores, and included sponges, brown algae, Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), slime moulds and myxobacteria (a gliding bacterium). The oldest existing fossils found are from this time.

About 600 million years ago photosynthesis had caused the level of oxygen to rise on the planet and its accumulation was probably somewhat accountable for the single cell evolving into remarkable biological diversity. And from these earliest beginnings nature would prove that nothing happens in isolation, that one event or action affects another and that the activity of one living organism will change the lives of other organisms. The world would now become a very complicated place.

Amid all the complexities of the evolving world, all living things on the planet earth, human or otherwise, would share common processes and traits, such as everything would have to feed, which in most cases causes growth. To assist in converting the food eaten into energy, all living things respire to take in and use the gases found in the air and water, and all living things excrete their waste material. They also reproduce in order to carry on their species, and all are sensitive and react to outside stimuli. And finally all animals, as well as most plants, have the ability to move.

Plants and fungi colonized the land, and were soon followed by arthropods and other animals, with some of the life forms of this time appearing in fossil records. These more complex creatures and plants began to evolve slowly over millions of years, by random genetic mutations that occured within an organism’s genetic code. The beneficial mutations were passed on to the next generations and over time these beneficial mutations accumulated and resulted in an entirely different organism and species, with the record of evolution remaining in an organism’s genome which revealed when species diverged through mutation.

Geographically, the surface of the earth was mostly water, except for the super continent of Pangaea, the Greek word for, “all the earth.” The single great ocean that surrounded it was the Panthalassa, Greek for “all seas.” Much like the fact that all living things contain a large proportion of water, a simple compound of oxygen and hydrogen, the earth also was and is mostly water.

Around 300 million years ago Pangaea began to slowly move and break apart through continental drift. Hundreds of a million years later it would form the current configuration of the continents. And still today, very slowly, its crusts continue to shift upon the earth’s surface creating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The earth also changes through cycles of weather patterns and ice ages, with most all ice ages usually lasting about 100,000 years. There were brief warm periods in between, lasting anywhere from 10,000 -20,000 years. Changes are also brought about by all sorts of other natural occurrences, such as impacts from celestial objects. All these factors combined, have been what dictates the growth and evolvement of every species on the earth.

Amphibians first appeared around 300 million years ago, followed by early amniotes (vertebrates with an embryonic sac), then mammals around 200 million years ago and birds around 100 million years ago (both from “reptile”-like lineages).  The age of the dinosaur began about two hundred and fifty million years ago, and ended in extinction 140 million years later. In their one hundred plus millions of years of evolving, the dinosaurs would go from two legged herbivores, called Prosauropods, who were smaller grazing animals to creatures who would dominate the land. These earliest dinosaurs would eat so much that over time their bellies would grow and eventually they would evolve to where they would drop down on all four legs, to support the weight. These were the Sauropods with huge bodies, four legs, a small head at the end of a very long neck, and who consumed huge amounts of foliage, especially trees. Twenty million years ago the monkey appears and evolves, branching off into different directions until about 14 million years go by, and then a fully walking, upright, bipedal, tool-making humanoid appears on the scene. The humanoid, Ramapithecus, was the first ape-like creature who had fingers and could grasp things; who had a thumb that was able to swing around and “oppose” the other fingers, and also had a more rounded tooth area, allowing for a better diet. American physical anthropologists Richard Wrangham gives the name, Pan Prior, for the species from where we and the chimps descended.

These new creatures would come out of Africa, the birthplace of man, humanity’s garden of Eden, and were dark, hairy, and ape-like. About two million years ago, tools are invented and when the human species, Homo-erectus appeared, about one million years ago the technology of fire was mastered. About 400,000 years ago the first shelters began to be built, with the short-limbed, thick-bodied, and cold-climate, adapted Neanderthal man, showing up about 200,000 years ago. At 100,000 years ago, we began to hold burial ceremonies and before 50,000 years ago art and language would  appear. Outwards from Africa the evolving humans spanned out over the planet. Anatomically modern humans, Homo-sapiens, became the predominate species and began to blanket the globe 100,000 years ago. They migrated to Asia and Australia 65,000 years ago, Europe 32,000 years ago and finally into the Americas about 15,000 years ago. For thousands of years Neanderthal and Homo-sapiens would alternately occupy the Middle East and parts of Europe until about 30,000 years ago, when the Neanderthal became extinct due to either being killed or they died off due to decreasing numbers. More likely they were simply assimilated into the species Homo-sapiens.

Being so spread out humans soon began to develop their own cultures, language and way of life, according to the environment that they lived in. And through human variation through physical adaptation to their climatic conditions, the races of humanity would begin to form and continue to evolve.

In the northern regions, with less and weaker sunlight, the humans there would become more pale. To aid in the proper growth of bones, their body took vitamin D from the sun’s energy. With less sunshine the skin had to lighten to let more of it through. Conversely, humans in equatorial latitudes needed more protection from the sun’s UV rays, so it began to secrete melanin into the skin which is the bodies’ natural sun screen. The effect of the sun on skin affected our DNA and caused the skin to protect itself by becoming thicker and browner. This sun screen reaction is, in reality, an anti aging product of the human body. The whole process of a black human becoming a white human or a white human becoming a black human takes about 25,000 years.

Burial ceremonies would become important and beliefs in an afterlife would evolve. The original gods were the sun, the earth, and all the life that dwelled upon it. Before civilizations and religions, the inhabitants of the earth had what we now call pagan beliefs. Wherever on the planet, modern humans migrated, they worshipped the sun and lived their lives according to the cycles of seasons that the celestial realm provided them. The seasons determined their ability to survive, and represented life, death, and rebirth.

The time when the earth goddess was reborn as an infant, and the darkness of night represented the womb became the winter solstice. This, the shortest day of the year, was worshipped for representing renewal and the rebirth out of the darkness of winter, for after this day, each day’s light would grow.

Then came the spring equinox, where daylight and darkness are in balance. It is the time when plants and animals awaken from the death of winter. It would be then followed by the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and represented the earth goddess at the peak of her fertility, sexuality, and power. It was the time for commitment to one’s beloved and where the hope and promise of a new life were to be found. At the same time the summer solstice would also represent a time of mourning, and worry for the often murderous heat, and killing drought that were to come.

The fall equinox would complete the cycle of life, representing the harvest was complete, and that the earth would no longer bear fruit. The earth goddess was seen as passing into a menopause. It was the time for giving thanks to the harvest and hope that it would be enough to see the people through the coming darkness of winter.

These early modern humans would prosper and would eventually build great cities and develop incredible technologies, invent music, art, and the written word, all by themselves, with no outside assistance from any gods whatsoever. Where once they used sticks, leaves, and mud to build their homes, like the birds and the beaver, they would eventually build majestic skyscrapers, apartment buildings, and sprawling suburbs, like the bees and ants.

However, despite the evolution of all the larger animals, including humans, the smaller organisms, similar to the types that evolved early in this process, continued to be highly successful and dominated the earth. The majority of both biomass and species covering the planet today are single celled organisms and bacteria.

All organisms on the earth are descended from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool, all related, in the fact all living things share the same set of nucleotides (having the basic components of DNA) and the same amino acids. For instance, all human DNA has forty-six chromosomes, arranged in 23 pairs, and oddly enough, the largest human cell is the female egg cell, which can be seen with the naked eye as a tiny dot, while the smallest human cell is male sperm.

The diversity of the current species that makes up the planet, is firstly because of a long series of speciation, meaning the formation of new species as a result of geographic, physiological, anatomical, or behavioural factors that prevented previously interbreeding populations from breeding with each other. Secondly, the many extinction events that occurred over the millennia. In a nut shell, all things on the planet have adapted to their environment through biological and natural evolution, with the mechanism of evolution being natural selection. If it was able to adapt, it survived. If it was unable to adapt, it either evolved into a new species, moved away, or died.

Today there are about 1.8 million species of living creatures. Nearly 95% of animal species, more than 1.2 million species, are invertebrates, animals without a backbone. All told there are one million species of insects, 59,000 species of vertebrate, 30,000 of fish, 8,240 of reptiles, 10,000 of birds, 5,415 of mammal, and one species of human. Though the largest populations of living organisms on the planet, by far, is the 5 to 10 million species of bacteria and the 74,000 -120,000 species of fungi.

It took Albert Einstein to come up with the theory that time and space do not have an existence independent of human experience. If all material things, like the stars and the planets, including earth, were to disappear out of the universe, it was formerly believed that all that would be left was time and space, but according to his Theory of Relativity, time and space would disappear too, along with everything else. It concludes that there are incredible and vast energies contained within a single atom and that all matter is nothing but another form of this energy.

The energy represented in the atom is the energy of the sun. It provides the synergy of all living things, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Its essence is the value in its differences, which should be respected, for synergy builds on strengths so that they can compensate for weaknesses. Nearly all of our energy comes from the sun. Nothing can live, move, grow, give off light, heat, or make a sound without energy.

It begins when sunlight touches a plant, which converts the sun’s energy into chemical energy and stores it in its leaves through the process of photosynthesis. We humans then eat the plants and/or other animals who have also fed on them, and store that chemical energy within our bodies. The energy is then released through chemical reactions that occur within our bodies. This process is performed by mitochondria, which are parts of the cell, called organelles, that break up food to make energy. These reactions need oxygen, which is why we breathe in air. When we exert ourselves, we get short of breath, because the body is turning chemical energy into kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion. This same chemical energy that reacts in our bodies is also stored in food, fuel, batteries, and many other forms. These chemical reactions are then able to become electrical energy, which can be converted into light, sound, or heat energy.

Though in reality, it seems that human behaviour is often far more complex than events in the natural world or the energies that created the universe, and that the six billion people living on the earth today are members of a single biological species, Homo Sapiens. We all come from the same place and from the very beginning strived to just get along and love each other, which we are still trying desperately to do today. Because of this, it has been said  that compassion will test our ability to survive as a species, not cleverness.

Summary

There are hundreds of creation stories, most all are supernatural, mythic-religious tales, explaining the beginnings of humanity, the earth, life, the universe, and representation of the stars and planet’s movements. Putting the shapes and movements of the sky into rhythms which humans could relate to; stories that try to explain these movements in reflection of own lives.  They share the same themes, such as, the forming of life out of primordial chaos, or the earth emerging from an infinite and timeless ocean, or simply from a  creation out of nothing at all. This is very similar to the fact that, beyond a reasonable doubt, astronomy and physics have also shown that indeed we had a beginning; before which, there was nothing, and then afterwards, there was the universe.

There are even creation myths in existence that include the beliefs that aliens from space, another species, landed here once, and perhaps still do, and over the millennia, have tried many times to create life on earth. The myths insinuate that millions of years have been spent trying to grow different life forms which would survive on a planet of rock. These aliens then gave the earth’s core an energy source that permeates through all things on the surface, while celestial objects do the same from above. And maybe, they began to get it right, after a meteor extinguished the dinosaurs. They then created one species, humanity but had to re-create them a few times to get it right, at least something which they were happy with. That would be modern man. Then about 12,000 years ago they would give us food. We quickly ate up all the big game, so they had to return and bring more food, the four basic food groups we still survive on today and that which we can grow ourselves; wheat, rice, corn, and potatoes. But maybe they were just trying to find out where they themselves, came from.

The most interesting thing about creation myths is that most became prominent about 5,000 years ago, when the first civilizations were arising in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Mediterranean, India, China, Mexico, and Peru. Cities were being born, populations expanding and the written word came into being. Many of these civilizations were geographically separated from one another, yet half of them built themselves up from nothing, with just as many not suspecting there was another civilized race in the world. Though there is still so much we simply don’t know about or have found yet as to ancient history.

What we do know is that just as the earth’s population exploded, with many new technologies and inventions, cities grew ever larger and creation myths appeared. Strangely enough, it is also the time when the ego of humans began to dictate the way things were going to be.

Some creation myths seem quite absurd or extremely fictional, if not illogical. But though they may or may not be factual, in the literal sense, most of them do pass on certain basic truths about the meaning and purpose of life on the planet earth. Most are not, religious in nature, and more often than not, they are related to worldly things that are not even connected to religions or sacred meanings. They are myths created by humans and not supernatural beings and/or mythological figures. But because we are a symbolic species, our reality is not necessarily action or feeling, but meaning. The majority of people perceive the world only in terms of the symbols that represent their language and culture. Any symbol that represents a particular meaning or ideal, recognized by the people who share the culture, becomes a belief.

This belief defines our identity to ourselves and to others by shaping what we believe into something that may be true, and then through the use of ritual practises, the belief then is transcended beyond the limits of our knowledge. The symbol then becomes sacred, thus, it becomes magnificent, high and mighty, and people become filled with awe. This is the main reason why many creation stories are very closely linked with the belief systems and religions that arose from them; for creation myths are the seeds of creation for such beliefs and religions. Though the problem that has forever been is unfortunately an idea which turns from a philosophy into a religion. It becomes extreme in one way or another, and most always brings only conflict.

The idea that all creation myths are somehow interconnected is common, even among most of the largest religions of the world.  Some people interpret creation myths as poetic descriptions of the sun, moon, and stars’ behaviour, which has been distorted over time into tales of gods and heroes. Others are leery toward creation stories because they are suspicious of the broad viewpoints of myths, “particularism.” Then there are others who surmise that perhaps, Enki, Atum, Kinich Ahau, the Grand Unity, Purusha, Brahma, Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Odin, Hah-gweh-di-yu, Wiraqocha, Elohim, Yahweh, Mangela, Allah, the Great Creator, the Great Ruler, Mother Earth, Father Sky, and a tiny, incredibly hot speck are all different manifestations of one single god and that they are all one in the same.

Many of the creation myths are also very comparable, in that most all have a flood story of their local area, and which is viewed as a punishment on a previous people for their disobedient behaviour. There is most always some sort of creative sacrifice, with a god dying then being reborn. Nearly every creation myth includes a life-death-rebirth god. There also seems to always be a most supreme being, who after he creates the world, and especially if he was also a life-death-rebirth god, cuts off contact with humanity and becomes “deus otiosus,” an idle god. Obviously proving the process of creation is an exhausting enterprise. These supreme beings are then sometimes replaced by a stronger and younger group of gods, called a titanomachy, who most often would gain their powers by either struggling with or conquering an older group of gods who usually represented some sort of chaos. Shamans and priests then created a belief system based on what all creation myths are based on and that is a founding myth.

A myth becomes the origin for the customs, rituals, and identity of people. There were and are many ancient and traditional societies that justified their actions and customs by claiming their gods were the ones who established them in the first place. Ignoring the fact that they were actually created by man. Even today, many cultures are still based on belief systems created  thousands of years ago, with Evangelical Christians and Muslims especially, acknowledging that their core directives are timeless, and to this day, read their respective scriptures the same way, literally. The Bible and the Qur’an, are both deemed to be the direct word of god and the absolute truth handed down for all time.

Most all creation myths also have an “axis mundi.” A place or thing, where north, south, east and west meet, as well as being the point where contact with the other levels of the universe can be made. The “axis mundi” is represented as either, the Sacred or Cosmic Tree of Life, the center of the world or its navel. Each culture has its own impression of where the center is, and it appears in many different forms. Many times it is a place, like a mountain, or a temple, or even a pile of rocks. Most times it appears as a tree, sometimes a vine. The Tree of Life in the book of Genesis, grows in the center of the garden of Eden, from which four rivers flow and nourishs the whole world. The Mayans had their World Tree, even the beginning of the big bang theory has a center.

The “axis mundi” could also be a god or human figure, like the Buddha. It would also be represented in the hearth, and the altar. Our earliest dwellings, besides caves, were circular structures most often with a central pole holding everything together, the hearth at the center dug out of the earth. Then it progressed to square homes with the hearth in the middle and from there to square homes surrounding a fountain and a courtyard. Simple altars became the pyramids and great cathedrals. These are all “axis mundi” centers, and are continuing to be built on an ever more massive scale with today’s “axis mundi”  represented in our landmark skyscrapers, which are even sometimes called centers. Other representations are the remaining ancient stone formations or mounds, in various locations around the world. In many cases, humanity is obsessed with always looking somewhere else for the center of the world, when in reality all they have to do is to look within. This then brings us to mono myths, the hero’s story. Nearly every single creation myth possesses the same or similar structured, classical stories of the hero. It is characterized in many different ways and has been and still is, the basic story line in much of our present day art, music, literature, poetry, religion, and film. It is also a story that is representative of a human’s life, though there never seems to be enough people willing to follow the path that leads to true peace, like heroes do.

Usually, after a miraculous birth, and after maturing into adulthood, the hero ventures out from the ordinary world into a supernatural realm. There they face fantastical forces, but are eventually victorious. The return journey is just as adventurous and filled with toils and troubles, and upon the hero’s return, he shares the knowledge and powers he has attained with his people. The story is of departure, initiation, and return; a very familiar tale of life, death, and rebirth.

They all begin when something or someone causes the hero to become aware of a new situation, an adventure he did not know about. They are told that they are desperately needed, that the life or death of humanity and/or creation is at stake. At first they refuse to help out, using the excuses of a sense of duty, obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy perhaps, and even love. Suddenly the hero becomes a victim to be saved. But once the hero commits to the journey there soon appears, consciously or unconsciously, guides that will assist the hero. It is usually an old woman or an old man. Their knowledge makes them representatives of the protecting power of destiny. Soon the hero realizes that all the forces of conscious, even mother nature, are at his or her side. The hero leaves their known world and departs from their self, and who they thought themselves were. The hero nearly dies, but is healed and/or reborn. They are then put through trials or series of ordeals or tests, usually three of them. Afterwards the hero feels unconditional love for the first time with a fellow human. The experience is overwhelming, and makes them feel very complete. Then comes some sort of physical or material temptation of life, such as morality, lust, cruelty, or greed.

The high point of the story is now reached, with the hero confronting whomever or whatever holds the ultimate power in the hero’s life. Many times, it is the father or a father figure who possesses powers over life and death. The hero is now faced with the hardest part of his journey, forgiveness and redemption, which requires the abandonment of the attachment to the ego. This is what is so very difficult. But when attained, the hero experiences a period of calm fulfilment and peace with their inner spirit. They come to realize that the immortal, indestructible being they just overcame was not what they were after at all. The benefit of achieving the goal of their quest was actually not the being itself, but the power that sustained it, and its grace, conscience and virtue. Much of Eastern philosophy is based on this principle. “We seek not to imitate the masters. Rather, we seek what they sought.

Having realized profound bliss or enlightenment, many a hero refused to return to the ordinary world. Some even stay and become immortal, others stay and die. The ones who decide to return often need help in the journey, for though they are at peace with themselves they are, more often than not, wounded or weakened in some way. Rescuers or guides appear to help them along their mythical flight home. This represents the classic and all too common, chase scene.

When the hero finally makes it back to their normal world, it is usually a very difficult time for them. They ponder how they are to integrate back into a normal life. The wisdom they have gained has changed them. They are masters of comfort and competency in their inner world, as well as the world around them. And because of their atonement, they are able to give up the attachments of their own personal limitations, traits, hopes, fears, and no longer are willing to live their lives by just going through the motions. The hero is now  willing to settle down and relax in the present moment, and whatever they may face – they deal with life as it happens. They contribute to their communities and to everyone they meet. They have come to understand that one earns respect by respecting others, which then gives peace of mind. They neither anticipate the future nor regret the past. They simply make each present moment count. And this is why the true heroes of the world are usually kind, generous, and patient. They understand that no one is perfect and that no one will ever know everything, and that all there is, is how one acts right now in the present moment, and they understand the power and importance of forgiveness. They achieve such awareness through the disciplines of body, mind, and spirit. Their heroism becomes simply, grace under the pressures of life, and their own conduct during times of temptation. They become beings with moral character, who put the interests of others above their own and possess the divine with reserved dignity and patience.

The opposite to the heros’ story is what too many of us have become over the years, and that is, individuals strutting around thinking a spotlight and camera are following us. Indignity is now all the rage. Human nature has now become rarely unbiased or unprejudiced. Instead it is always operating in the extreme, either to the right or the left, and not very often in the middle way with compromise. We’ve become opinionated, rash, angry, and loud. Living lives of illusion.

Besides the themes already mentioned, there is much to be learned from creation myths. The main problem has always been in how they have been interpreted. Like the foolishness of thinking we are here to rule and subdue the planet and all that dwell on it and to strip it of its resources, instead of the ideological viewpoint of favoured living in harmony with nature and our fellow human beings. But then that is the main problem with language and deep human thought, both are limited only by the metaphors available.

Thousands of years ago a simple group of people, after the men had returned from hunting down some game and the women had gathered up roots, berries, and grubs, they would sit around the fire and watch, listen and tell stories about their adventures of that day. They used various tones of grunting, body movement, gestures, and facial expressions, like smiling or titling the chin or rolling one’s eyes to explain their adventures. Or maybe the group would just sit back and with a clear focus, whittle away on a bone and make it into something or chip away at a stone to make an arrowhead. And then perhaps they’d just lay back upon mother earth and stare up into the expanse of space and wonder about all those twinkling lights. Then over time, some of them, at first with just their finger then a stick, would draw in the dirt and sand, and later hand paint the walls of their caves. Eventually scratching and carving the stories in shapes and symbols representing their tribes’ sign, on stone and pieces of bark, would detail the oral traditions and legends that would be passed down over generations. They believed that they were one with nature and that they would progress forever forward by simply continuing to share and compare the knowledge they gained.

Scribes and priests would begin to record these stories, transforming language into the written word, using their own interpretations and then creating world-views. Many of the first civilizations would then use these stories on which to base their beliefs, tenets, rules and hierarchy. Everyone would soon succumb to the fears presented to them, which these institutions would then distort into an unconscious need to conquer, defeat and impose their own way of life onto others by force. For a few thousand years the first civilizations would be only concerned with growth, expansion, war, and mega-projects, while the majority of the ever growing population’s concerns were strife, famine, and drought. Illusions would be created and still are, illusions that enter our minds and become realities, for indeed we are simply myth making mammals.

Creation myths aside, every single life form on the planet behaves in uniform, species-specific ways, most being guided by instincts, such as biological programming. However compared to all other living things, a human’s creative power is vast. But we now rely on culture, rather than instinct to ensure the survival of our kind. At one time, though rare today, we had biological forces within us, called instincts. This is where our soul resides. Where once we listened, we now most often ignore that “gut feeling,” and go in the direction our ego wants to go. Our souls have become cloaked in our egos, capes woven from our reactions to being in the world. This has translated into suffering, struggle, attachments, vulnerability, fear, insecurity, and anguish that comes from our particular society.

Our soul is the core of our being. It is the energy that is held there, a frequency if you will, but which is voiceless. It is where peace, calmness, composure, love, concern, and unlimited understanding reside. Though we have become beings that have gained tremendous mental power, we instead occupy ourselves with fashioning the natural environment into something self-serving, to ourselves and to our culture, according to where one happens to have been born and raised. Today it seems, far too many people have forgotten that they even have a soul and for various reasons, all created by the ego, far too many people are willing to forever be victims. The willingness to no longer be a victim comes from the soul, it allows us to either be free to suffer or free to stop suffering. The ego, creation myths, and many religious doctrines, cloud this truth and want us to be unaware that we have this choice. They try to dictate what our conscience is to be, because the act of thinking is what enslaves the soul and our conscious freedom. If one’s soul is free, they are able to meet suffering, to be aware of it, and then consciously choose to let it go.

When it comes right down to it, most all creation stories are make-believe, but where do they end? Will it be extinction, enlightenment, or evolvement? We are the first species, which we know of, to have the ability to stave off extinction, if we decide to. Enlightenment would lead to a better way of living allowing us to make the proper decisions, based on the realization that to stay alive, we need to keep the planet alive. This would be by creating a world of limited, earth-friendly consumption, with technology working for us, as a friend, and not working against us like the enemy much of it has become. So basically, evolvement can go either way, enlightenment or a world overpopulated with robots, drones, and worker bees. A world where the privileged few defend that privilege with obese establishments of weapons and propaganda, while the majority of the world faces poverty, desperation, and death. A world of  food and water rationing, with the food that is available, genetically altered. A world where many live indoors or underground when the sun is out. A world of acid rain, rivers and oceans. A world where people are wearing paper-masks when meeting other people, with our thoughts and behaviour dictated by big brother and the corporate elite.

Perhaps we should learn to once again, respect the characters of the creation myths that created such myths. The true creators of life are the sun, the moon, earth, water, the sky, and nature, who don’t care what we call them. At this stage of our history the only way to achieve this is through community and to return to family values, a sense of self, and awareness, for this is where love is found, as well as through mutual cooperation and respect, instead of our present values of corporate greed, television, and egotistical materialism.

Some people will hold their belief in their own particular creation story. Each one based on religion or science. Indeed creationism and evolution have become major issues with many people. The war between religion and science has been at the core of many disputes ever since creation stories came to be, with each side proclaiming the truth. While in reality, the truth happens when true science and true religion are in harmony with each other.

Scientific knowledge and modern technologies are racing forward at an ever quickening pace, yet our societies are still based on concepts and principles created centuries ago. In far too many ways humanity and its morality are being left behind in the dust. Present human activity and all its effects on the planet, the atmosphere and ourselves has been shaped by thinking patterns that are based on structures, needs, and values used by our ancestors six thousand years ago. Our present day societies are burdened under the heavy load of  traditional religions, or otherwise considerations of the past. The bulk of scientific knowledge that we have gained has only contributed to environmental degradation and has given us the illusion that our world is better because of it. When instead, science should make our lives better, with the driving force being concern for our welfare and the protection of the environment. The problem with science in the last few centuries is that all its focus has been on the sciences of matter, which do nothing to change the natural conditions and spirituality of life itself.

Up until recently the focus of the sciences of human behaviour have been primarily on people themselves, and not on the environmental conditions that created that individual. But we must continue to develop all the sciences of life and start to allow our inner being to make its way from beneath our manufactured, conditioned, personalities. Biology, physiology, and psychology are the only courses that could lead to positive change in our quality of life, not the fabrication of yet a bigger screen television or a faster car or an ever more powerful god. Just studying the individual does not identify the factors regarding that person’s behaviour. It is not human nature, but human behaviour that we need to be concerned with. And up until now, much of our behaviour is based on religious thought, cultural influences and the belief in creation myths.

I’ll end this essay with some interesting ways of looking at science and the world, for I believe the future does not just happen, other than natural events of course, but instead comes through the efforts of people and is determined by how well we are informed, of both sides of the story. There need not be so much polarity between us. There is absolutely no right or wrong, instead there are only points of view. If what we want to create, are fairness, balance and understanding then we need to give these things to others.

One of the most recent belief systems to have emerged in the world, one of the youngest of all religions, is the Baha’i faith which believes that humanity is indeed a single race and has the fundamental belief of the equality of men and women. One of its fundamental principles is of the harmony of religion and science. They believe that religion without science is merely superstition, and that science without religion is materialism. They believe truth to be one entity, the unity of science and religion. They  cannot be opposed for they are both aspects of the same truth. As Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame, while religion without science is blind.”

The Baha’i faith believes that a human’s reasoning power is all that is required to understand the truths about religion and that whenever conflict arises between religion and science it is always due to human error, either through misinterpretations of religious scriptures or through the lack of a more complete understanding of science. Religious leaders who only accept the truth by what has been written in scripture many centuries ago, could learn much from scientists who are mortal humans also seeking the truth. The difference though is that the most important trait a scientist must have, is to admit when they are wrong, which then enables them to go on and find perhaps the right conclusion.

The written word of divine scripture is based on one of the main problems with language since it was invented, in that it is extremely limited because it is based on metaphors and comparisons. Most scriptures are interpretations that, more than likely, have nothing to do with the original texts that they are taken from, nor have they survived intact through the multiple translations. Many of them are primitive tales of legend and superstition. Another problem with a lot of scripture is that many people believe it is a goal, when instead, the words that are contained within are actually tools. Though there are some religions that do understand that most all scriptures are human attempts to try to understand the incredible actions of the universe, but their attempts were limited by the particular time and culture, in which they were originally written down, more than two thousand years ago.

In most all faiths, when a person’s perception of themselves becomes fundamentally separate from other people, things and obstacles that they encounter, and even separate from the divine, it becomes very difficult to attain spiritual growth. They create limitations upon themselves. For developing a meaningful and personal spirituality takes work, and is an ongoing job. It is a way of walking, not talking.

The powers of logic and reason are also just as limited as is language, when it comes to a belief, for true realization in a faith comes from something that is far simpler and more innocent than logic. The ancient Greeks came to believe that logic (logos), the reasoning side, was only one of three distinct parts that made up a human being and in no way was the most important. There are also the positive and absolute, the (pathos), from where feelings come and which is based on our relationships. And finally, there is character (ethos), our integrity and the trust that one inspires.

As to logic, no matter what our ego thinks, we are not inherently rational. Formal logic is a very recent creation of humankind. It was brought about so that humans could ignore inner knowledge. Our more natural methods of thought is doing what feels right, based on experience and custom, intuition and instinct, and simple gut feelings. We modern humans seem to be happier and feel more comfortable talking about the logical reasons for doing something, instead of being honest and admitting that many times we simply don’t know and go with what we feel. For seeking to understand requires consideration, while seeking to be understood takes courage.  Once again we return to Mr. Einstein who stated,  “I didn’t arrive at my understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe through my rational mind.”

Einstein thought of himself as an agnostic in that he did not believe in a personal god, for he felt god was simply an expression and product of human weakness. But he felt himself to be very religious, as he once explained, “If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitutes the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.” He believed that there were
three styles of religion. The first being fear with the weak understanding of causality, of cause and effect, which then creates yet more fear, and the invention of supernatural beings. The second style is the desire for love and support, which then creates a social and moral need for a supernatural being. The third style does not have a concept of god per se, as in a non-human creature or a being that has human characteristics, but instead, “The individual feels  . . .  the sublimity and marvellous order which reveal themselves in nature  . . .  and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole.” As Einstein, and countless others before him were able to do, and which we must do today, is to give ourselves the freedom to rise above our present realities and seek new and creative ideas, to get past the log jam that we have created.

One way to do this would be by pulling our heads out of the sand, shutting up the voices in our heads, living and understanding the moment, start looking out for one another and find the lost emotion of empathy. Far too many of us feel we must believe in an almighty protector and saviour, and that this deity’s divine power is the source of help and support, and makes us feel secure in the thinking there is someone watching over us. Reality may be that we simply start showing just as much compassion to our fellow members of the human family, as we do to a god, that may or may not exist, we will attain help and support, and always have someone watching over us.

I myself try to understand all sides and enjoy doing so, and believe that society is not fixed by a god’s will or by human nature. It is a system that we can study scientifically and based on what we learn about our world and its nature; we can act deliberately to improve, whether it is us or our planet. And yet the flip side of this coin is that many scientific findings are based entirely on mathematics and cannot be practically tested or proven. So one then has the choice of believing or not. Thus, in many ways, science could also be defined as a belief system.

It seems that the essence of the universe is the same energy that we all share, and it is this which we need to become more aware of. To realise that we are all a part of and share the energy source of the atom and therefore we all share the same soul and that our imperfections are what makes us the beings we are. As the revered Leonard Cohen so wrote and sang, “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

If indeed there is a creator, a supreme god, or even a group of gods, whether male or female, mortal or supernatural, man or animal, I can only imagine what they would be thinking as they look down upon their creation today. I wonder if its sadness, disappointment, or embarrassment? Or maybe they have no thought on the matter whatsoever, knowing that regardless of the ignorance of humanity, the future will force us to behave differently, whether we like it or not. If it is true that they can see everything, do they notice that much of the life that they created is gone from the earth, with the remainder abused, used, assaulted, and raped? Do they not see that untold numbers of plants and wildlife have become extinct from their creation? What do they feel about our madness in soiling our own nest, the earth? Are they downcast and shaking their heads because we failed to understand that each living thing on the planet has the divine essence within it or that the messages hidden within their scriptures were not interpreted properly or maybe ignored? Perhaps they are rolling their eyes at us, and trying to figure out why we did not just listen to our inner being. Our spirituality is the wisdom that we each carry within. What do they think about when they see that the world they created has been re-created by a very few, for the many? Or is it that good and righteous are more often than not, overshadowed by evil and immorality. From their vantage point, I’m sure they notice that the majority of us are living lives that have not changed since the first civilizations. We continue to make lies truths, and that we dream and don’t act, and that far too many of us are moving through our lives on paths of least resistance and distraction. Most people are simply being functions of their culture, living out scripts, based on opinions, perceptions, and standard patterns written by parents, friends, the church, and society. They must feel embarrassed seeing their own followers, the ones that believed in them, more concerned with their own salvation than the planet on which they live or their fellow human being. This to me, seems somewhat of a paradox.

No matter how evolved or sophisticated we think we are today, much has stayed the same for us since creation, though in many other ways we have digressed. No longer believing we are all interconnected, we first separated ourselves from nature. We then separated god from creation, ourselves from other groups of humans, and then went a step further where we separated ourselves from our own families and even our own selves and now find ourselves believing we can do anything we want for our own reasons. We spend our time wandering around looking for the right person, when we should in fact be trying to be the right person. It was a shocking point in time for humanity when it was discovered that the earth was not the center of the universe, though today, we have come to believe as individuals we are the center of the universe.

Too many of us have lost our relationship with our inner selves, our souls, and need something to fill the void. Our soul is the representative of the natural energy that all living things share. Organized religions and the perceived values of our cultures are what usually fills this void when our soul is forgotten and/or ignored, or just missing and lost. They fill the void by dictating how we are to live, how we should feel, and what we are to think. While those without a soul at all and who only listen to the voices in their heads, eventually become ever more greedy and violent. Creation myths and most organized religions are based on these dualities of humankind. Ego represents evil, and good represents the divine, that is within each one of us.

In reality we humans do not need much to seek and develop our true spirituality, which when realized, should benefit all. We need few things, one being to live peacefully, in comfort and ease; secondly, the ability and freedom to explore. We need to test new frontiers, challenge some myth, work on becoming more aware, try new foods, try once in awhile to think outside the box, and be free from the drudgery of regular routines. And finally, we all need a support system to keep us in check whenever we wander, and to believe wholeheartedly, that though we may not be able to control our thoughts all the time, we can act and control our actions.

Besides creation myths, one could look back over the short time we humans have resided on the earth and agree that we have created and re-created our worlds and ourselves, in countless ways and continue to do so, each and every day. Which direction we go in from here, is simply up to us. Should we even worry about where we came from? Should we learn what has already been taught and seek further knowledge by placing the greatest importance on simply being concerned for what we do today? This is only going to happen but once, and will dictate what happens tomorrow. As for yesterday, well, it already happened, lets learn from that.

As a species we will eventually homogenize and all start to, no doubt look the same, but it will be a very slow process, controlled by our genes, language and cultural, financial and economic choices. But we should always continue to discuss and never lose sight or perspective, that all individuals, no matter the race, are deserving of the same rights and opportunities. And that no matter the where, how and why we were created, or what creation story one happens to believe, we were created at the same time, from the same place. Living together on one planet among many revolving round the sun and that if we were to die off as a species the earth and life would continue.

“History is not what was, but what is.”  William Faulkner

 

 

 

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/osvaldorove/5976998701/    (Machu Picchu)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilspicys/2349783572/sizes/z/in/photostream/      (Waterfall)