28 March 2007

Breaking Free

Edited April 2nd. My video didn't work, so here is a photo of Gonz at Alcatraz instead. Photo by Bryce Kanights.

Neanderthals did not paint their caves with the images of animals. But perhaps they had no need to distill life into representations, because its essences were already revealed to their senses. The sight of a running herd was enough to inspire a surging sense of beauty. They had no drums or bone flutes, but they could listen to the booming rhythms of the wind, the earth, and each other's heartbeats, and be transported. -James Shreeve 1995

Back in The Golden Age, there was no need for art, literature or music. There was no need for sport or play. From our standpoint, this seems a less than desirable place to be, for art, music, hobbies and play are often our passions; activities that make modern life worth living.

Yet, in The Golden Age, life was art, and survival was play. There was little need of symbolic culture.

Did this Golden Age ever exist?

More and more anthropologists and scholars seem to think that pre-agricultural societies were far more egalitarian with a better quality of life than many of us today, in both 'third world countries' as well as 'advanced industrial' ones. Not to mention a more 'connectedness' to the earth. Writers, activists, psychologists, primal people's and more, are increasingly suggesting that our lack of connection to the earth is responsible for the fragility of both our individual and collective mental health.

Civilized life is complicated as hell but does it need to be this way?
It seems we can never rid ourselves of the primal urge to get wild. And most of us seek more and more demented ways to satisfy that urge and keep ourselves sane... relatively. Sometimes, we are able to thread through the chaos of civilized life and get a glimpse of our primeval selves.