The Journey of Man

Excerpt from “The Joinings“:

As we were born into new bodies and new capabilities, we walked upright and surveyed our world.  Our instincts and intellect drove us forward.  We built tools and fire.  We mastered the planet and its creatures.  We became self-aware and questioning.  We formed tribes and worked together to build homes and families.  We hunted together, collectively sensing the mystical forces at play in the universe.  Our early cultures honoured our elders, worshipped the beasts that we killed, developed cunning and resourcefulness, as well as a spiritual sense to help us not only survive but thrive in an untamed world.

But as our populations grew and agriculture led us to create permanent homes and settlements, our aggressive tendencies turned us away from our instinctive, spiritual natures and instead forged warriors and conquerors.  We built empires and dominated those that were weaker physically.  Groups that remained in the more primitive, mystical world of the past became easy targets for slavery and slaughter, oppression and cruelty.  Individual power became an ambition of man, overcoming the clan lifestyle.  The value of human life was low if it stood in the way of progress and domination.  Instead of honouring the natural world and the creatures that sustained us, we created new gods, powerful ones that would lead us forward in our quest for domination.

Ultimately, we awoke to a more sophisticated age and began to move away from the barbarianism of the past.  We formed governments and religion.  We created classes and rulers.  Laws governed our behaviour in society; religious leaders dictated morality.  The human consciousness imagined exultant possibilities and followed the new orders without question.

But our curious minds would always lead us to new territory. While authority and discipline, piety and unquestioning belief in a higher power may have been necessary at a particular stage to drive us forward, eventually, it became oppressive.  Despite the answers to life and creation offered by religion, we dug deeper.  Science and astronomy, philosophy and art triggered a renaissance of new ideas and new abilities.  We discovered ways to manipulate our planet’s resources, asked new questions about our existence, and uncovered previously unimagined answers.  Humanity’s progress could not be stopped.  Prosperity and technological advances transformed our way of life at an increasingly rapid pace.  Empire-building again became a focus but we discovered that war was not the only way to dominate other cultures.

At each stage in the development of our culture and our consciousness, the life conditions of previous stages influenced our direction, in some cases as a negative force.  We reacted to that which seemed wrong instead of out of pure creation and conscious choice.  Not all areas of the world progressed at the same pace and within regions one might find evidence of past and present cultures.  Yet, overall, our progress was steady.

A natural next stage was a revolutionary worldview, an understanding that many of our advances were endangering our planet.  For peoples who had been born and bred in a prosperous environment free of war and struggles, many grew more sensitive to less fortunate citizens of the world.  They understood the effect that man’s rapid progress was having on our natural resources.  They fought to bring harmony and spirituality, a return to more primitive principles when the earth was worshipped for sustaining us – not destroyed and used without concern.  This led to a philosophical merging of all great wisdoms, religion, and spirituality and a natural disdain for past structures that still sought to dominate the planet.

But a power struggle remained and for those cultures left out of the prosperity and advancement curve, still rooted in past cultural stages, resentment and violence brewed – particularly towards those who dominated the world stage. 

And it came to pass that with so many disparate cultures and worldviews, with violence and unhappiness rampant in some areas of the world, that a relatively small percentage of the human population were able to instigate unprecedented death and destruction upon the entire planet.

Copyright © Eden Remme Watt 2010

Eden

With a professional background and education in enterprise software but a lifelong love of the arts, I published my second novel, "Vision Speak", in 2010. Over the past several years, I've explored photography, film production and screenwriting. Along the way, I've questioned my obsessive pursuits - am I crazy? Perhaps this quotation from Thomas Merton serves as explanation. "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” I'm still searching... 

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