A Private Reply No 2. Prehistoric Mankind.

February 26, 2014

Man

NOT
woman

Tim, After you wrote this little piece did you not consider what a wonderful natural achievement mankind is. OK not necessarily the best thing that has ever happened in the life of our planet that I will grant you, but certainly one of the greatest in sheer survival.

You start with man the ‘Scavenger Gatherer,’ although I think you should take a look a little further back to man when he was just another item on the menu. Only then can we ever hope to understand the meaning of evolution or the truth behind the term survival of the fittest by natural selection. Given man’s sad lack of talent back then it’s a wonder we ever survived as a species at all.

In those days mankind was just another animal species, slower and weaker than most of the other species. To become man the hunter, we had to learn from those that hunted us, the stealth of the big cats and the organisation of the wolf pack and so on.

Watching and learning all the time that was man’s skill the power of observation and the ability to learn and adapt. I’m not sure invention is the word I would use for man back then, observation alone led to him using tools. Using sticks to reach food higher in the tree than he could reach without climbing might well have led to the intuitive leap of using a stouter stick to fend off a bigger animal before it could reach you. Now imagine Wolf pack tactics armed with big sticks.

Again, there were other easier tactics, ones that involved less physical contact such as stampeding herd animals towards pit traps or over a cliff.
As for fire, back then nature produce more fire and destruction than the sum total of all humanity around, but you are right in the assumption that by harnessing fire mankind was starting to have a greater impact on the world around them. Still is if you look at the mass deforestation going on in various parts of the world.

However, the point I am trying to get over is that at that stage man invented nothing, by observation and simple trial and error they started to develop but the reason and intention was merely the ages old rules of the jungle survival of the fittest who would then go on to procreate.
If mankind had stopped there, they would have remained in harmony with the land and all the other species around them, which if you look at it logically is all that the simple laws of nature demands to maintain balance.

I don’t think anyone ever had the thought to control nature, but as hunting tools improved man would have had more time on his hands. Who knows but I can imagine that one day after a long winter that old and unused grains were carelessly thrown away close to the dwelling. This in turn might well have led to yet another intuitive leap when they noticed the seeds they had gathered actually growing. Of course this doesn’t mean they had invented farming though.

However it is to the development of farming that led to the end of the Gatherer side of the ‘Hunter Gatherer’ life style and led to a stage in mankind’s development that maybe the early beginnings of the things that ails the world today.

A ‘Stay put’ lifestyle demands a favourable location, places to dwell, easy to defend against marauding animals, a source of fresh water, land to develop al within easy distance of good hunting grounds.

Was it this development that led to aggression of man against man? Where it became necessary for the first time to attack and defend territory. Now tools used for hunting became weapons of war and the hunters became warriors.

Mastering the art of the ‘Stay Put’ life style led to surplice production, domestication of certain fowl and animals gave them even more time and the population started to grow beyond the natural order of things.

Now to the bit in your argument that has me confused, you said “I fail to see how religion, regardless of scribbles written thousands of years ago, has anything to do with the destruction of nature.”

You then go on to destroy your own point by giving us the answer :
“Genesis says God told man (Adam) to “…replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth over the earth.”

To me this is the God of the Bible saying to mankind “ I am making you superior over all other living things and it is yours to do with as you like. How else can you define the words subdue and dominion?

Your definition of “Master” versus “Destroyer” is not very convincing when you take in a few more of man’s inherent vices, like Arrogance, Selfishness, Jealousy and Greed.

You see I see nothing more than an extension of the laws of the jungle here, adding nothing more than ‘Aggression’ to the other attributes required for survival.

Of course as in all things it is a matter of interpretation or as I like to put it the three versions of the truth. In this case what the writers of the Bible though they were saying, what the Readers of the Bible thought they meant and lastly what they actually meant.

Take that to the ‘Nth’ degree and you have modern day law where the devil is not in the intent of the law but in the letter. Take as perhaps the best example that still supposedly applies today, “ Thou Shall Not Kill.”

I can’t remember the Bible adding in any exceptions to that rule, yet you go on:
“Since, as you claim, man’s intelligence alone provided the tools of destruction we’re blessed with today, don’t you think it might be a bit of a stretch to blame, even partially, our destruction of nature on religion.
I will concede the Church played a part in many of Europe’s wars before the nineteenth century. But, with the exception of the Crusades and the wars of reformation, it was only a secondary role.”

Now here we really come to the nub of the whole thing. You mention the destruction of the Roman Empire, to be correct that should be ‘Holy Roman Empire’ and who said it was destroyed? True greed, corruption and in fighting might well have led to the downfall of a Military Empire but it was quickly replaced by a Religious one. Where do you think the Roman Catholic Church came from?

Was it not the Popes who instigated the Holy Crusades? And you would be wrong to suppose that those crusades are a thing of ancient history. Our Western Governments may supply lots of excuses as to what and why we are fighting all over the Middle East but if you ask the average believer in the Muslim faith you will undoubtedly get a very different answer.

I notice too you gloss over the Christian churches involvement in world conquest, the greatest land grab in the history of mankind, ignoring the rights of all and any human life forms with a prior claim on the land as being sub human ignorant savages.

Wasn’t it Jean Rostand who said “Kill one man and you are a murderer. Kill millions and you are a conqueror. Kill all and you are a God.”

I think when you say religion and talk about the influence of ‘scribbles’ written thousands of years ago you under estimate the power of those words so often repeated over the same thousands of years. Enter any religious assembly point, irrespective of faith, and you will hear the same century’s old rhetoric repeated today.

Even within your own religion of Christianity how do you account for the Creationists or the Seven Day Adventists who have more in common with other beliefs such as Muslim and Jewish when it comes to the first five books of your Bible.

As to your final point, I am not a as you call me a ‘Modern Day’ Pagan, I just prefer to believe in the values of mankind as part of a whole with nature rather than at war with it. I say Pagan to disassociate myself from the Atheist’s who believe in nothing.

After all is said and done, all Pagan means is Rural Dweller, it was the Romans who first used the word in a disparaging way to describe those who refused to bow to the one true God of Rome after Christianity became the official religion of the Empire, by Law. As an outside observer I see nothing of Christ in what went on to become what is now called Christianity any more than seeing the current practice of fanatical Islamic followers coming from the Koran.

I never tire of saying this but Paganism is not, and never has been a religion, that is the realm of the Neo Pagans, or Neo Druids, who I tend to look at those who are disillusioned with Christianity but not yet ready to embrace the fact that there is nothing to follow death.

I am not on a one man mission to convert or change the world, I know how stupid it would be to try and make millions of people give up a lifestyle they now take as theirs by right, irrespective of cost.

Therefore as a realist I have to admit that I am almost as bad as they are. I say almost because I am a rural dweller. I hate large towns and cities as being unnatural. When I was married we had a large area of ground at our disposal and we grew much of our own food, especially fruit and vegetables. A lot of the harvest was preserved for winter use. Where possible we bought and supported local produce, a practice I still uphold where possible. I shun processed foods if at all possible.

However, now that I am single once more and retired living on a fixed income it is difficult to maintain a lifestyle I would like. So yes I live in a modern flat with all the comforts of home.

I can be somewhat reclusive in nature so I would not find it too difficult to live in a self sufficient like minded community if there was such a thing and I could happily give up travelling around even although I enjoy it.

In other words I am not yet willing to become a Hermit living in a cave trying to convince mankind of the errors they are making that if I am right can have but only one conclusion.

If that makes me a fraud then so be it, I have learned many things over my life and one thing is few people will listen to anyone suggesting personal sacrifices be made and I’m not sure I am the stuff martyrs are made of. So for the sake of mankind as a species perhaps we had all better hope that science can come up with a solution before Mother Nature does, somehow I don’t think we will like what she has in mind.

Who knows given the unusual current weather patterns perhaps she has already started !

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3 Responses to “A Private Reply No 2. Prehistoric Mankind.”


  1. Well said Merlin. I agree wholeheartedly re the start of agriculture. Then man needed armies, fences, cities, more laws than you could poke a stick at. Organised religion became necessary to account for the seasons and crop failures etc. Then you have to have a sacrifice for spring to make sure the crops grow. The mystique grows, thunder gods abound and man looks to the skies for an answer to all his problems. There were many cults at the time where a god born of a virgin ended up being sacrificed. If Constantine didn’t convert to christianity on his deathbed, then Mithra, the soldiers god would probably be the go-to guy.

  2. merlinfraser Says:

    That’s a pretty fair assumption Laurie, like many of the Kings that followed him Constantine only converted to hedge his bets.

    What the vast majority of so called Christians, fail to consider is how radically their religion changed after Rome adopted the religion.

    The stupid thing is, if their saviour was ever to return and take a look at them he would probably chase them all up a tree and set fire to it !

  3. Raani York Says:

    I like to read your posts and follow your thoughts, Merlin. You are such an excellent thinker. At times a little tiny abstract – but that’s what I like!!
    Very well done!


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