Anthropology - Other


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Go ahead and assume that you don't know s*&t about s%t. You may have never had an original thought in your pretty little head all your life. Maybe, you've just been regurgitating what you were taught all those tender innocent years in childhood. Perhaps you've been behaving an awful lot like a biological robot since you reached young adulthood.

Consider for a moment that it's highly likely we're all just domesticated primates floating on a rock in space. How about the idea that we're almost genetically identical to chimpanzees and gorillas. What do these things mean to you? When I look in the mirror, I see a fairly intelligent ape. I see an animal. Why do I see an animal when I look in the mirror? Because when I look out into the world, I can compare the way other creatures act to the way that humans act. It's that simple. Most other animals do not have the cognitive abilities we humans possess in order to breakdown comparisons between species. In this way, they are blind to their own nature, instead acting and thinking based purely on instinct by showing a natural sort of aversion to other creatures. It is our ability to look at things that are not us, and draw comparative conclusions that lead to the sciences that try to explain human origins.

It is my opinion that before one could hope to gain some insight into themselves, that the simple realization that we're apes at our core is essential. The idea that we have evolved from primates is clear in all our behaviors if one cares to look deeper into the frame of our society. We are very territorial, vocal, and sexual in much the same way that other mammals, especially primates, are. If you strip a person of all their clothes and devices, what you have left is a shivering, naked ape.

Some humans still hold tight to the belief that we are not animals. How they hold this belief is beyond me. Screw the evidence of evolution, just look around us. Humans murder, rape, cannibalize, imprison, and torture each other on a daily basis all over the world. Right now, any number of power hungry warlords and their armies are tearing through villages in third world countries everywhere, killing babies and hording food for territory. Right now, some redneck with an I.Q. equal to that of mayonnaise is raping a helpless relative in the Southern U.S. Right now, thousands of people are on death row here in America, awaiting their own systematic murder to appease some other people's notion of justice. Right now, someone is eating another human being and deriving some sense of reverence from the act. On the other hand, humans are simultaneously displaying deep affection for one another all over the world. Organizations seek daily to feed and clothe those of us who haven't the means themselves. Certain members of the human race strive their entire lives to cure diseases and treat illnesses no matter how hopeless it may seem at any given time. These people seek to strengthen the mammalian bonds we share by ensuring long life and health. Both types of extremes fall within the realm of animal behavior. All animals kill. All animals nurture.

How a person could look at another ape and not see a close relative is amazing. Most indigenous peoples the world over held the belief that all animals were related through a complicated and varying anthropomorphic lineage, considering themselves cousins of nature rather than conquerors. I find it ironic that they sensed intuitively thousands of years ago, what science is just now starting to get a grasp on. The religious superstructures that helped support and create all the civilizations since the first, also suppressed the idea of mere animal origins and replaced it with the divine. The idea of divine right of ownership over all things inherent on the Earth is useful in that it allows culture the freedom to utilize any tool or means neccesary in order to sustain itself without consequence. Fearing no retribution from nature itself for any trespass against her, humans only had the wrath of the unseen gods to fear. Since only a chosen few of society are supposedly able to converse with the divine outright, the rest of us have been left to comply with what is handed out to us. For most of recorded history, only priests and other holy men knew how to read and write. This allowed them the freedom to simply choose what information was important for everyone. Throughout the ages, the most fervent opposition to scientific advancement has always been religion. I feel this opposition stems from the fear felt within the heart of religious leaders that science threatens to destabilize the dogmatic belief structure that religion reinforces. Science seeks to solve the mysteries of the universe in a way that can be measured, recorded, and compared. Organized religion seeks to suppress the urge to ask too many questions and experiment to deeply, as the answers are not ours to know unless it is the will of the gods. Supposedly, the various gods and goddesses have passed numerous and varying texts and signals to guide us down a path through history that has already been determined for us. If all things are predestined, then there is no need to question the path. The unknown things are unimportant if the discovery of new information changes nothing.

Most fundamental religious leaders were in opposition of Charles Darwin's theories of evolution. Darwin himself was a deeply religious man, often quoting the Bible during his famous five year voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle. This journey would take him all over the world and lead to his theory of natural selection. By the time he returned to Britain, though, he was critical of the Bible as a literal history having been exposed to so many different cultures and new species. He also admitted that his own theories were incomplete and that there were huge unaccounted for gaps in the common descent of certain species due mostly to the incomplete fossil record and inaccurate dating techniques. Intuitive conclusions had to be drawn in order to see the ramifications of natural selection. All these conclusions led to questions of human origins but were only hinted at by Darwin in his book 'Origin of Species' published in 1859. Over time, his colleague and "co-discoverer" of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, began to draw from a more spiritualist school of thought to help explain the complexities of the human mind. He argued that our brains were far to advanced to have evolved gradually and therefore displayed some sort of divine phenomenon in the higher functioning of reason and emotion. The ideas posed by Wallace of the non-material origin of our mental prowess, stirred Darwin to respond in his 1871 work entitled 'The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex', where he argued that all of our higher human functions-morality, beauty, sympathy, and music-that seem to be so far beyond that of other animals, can be found to some degree in other animal species. Using apes, monkeys, and dogs for comparisons, he concluded that the same kinds of functions were present in all the higher animals at varying degrees.

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that most people aren't aware of our primate ancestry if you consider the fact very few animals are self aware. Indigenous people had only an abstract grasp of our animal origins with almost no scientific method to prove it. Species survival isn't dependent upon self-awareness or intelligence. Sheer numbers often lead to evolutionary triumph especially in insect and rodent species. The vast majority of our intelligence stems from feedback from our own social structure, which rewards and reinforces the use of our own specific brand of primate intelligence to navigate the world, rather than the outside influence of environmental systems. One can often ignore the world outside of our human construct of order entirely, and still get along with a fair amount of success in their lifetime. The way we have bundled ourselves up inside a complex structure of popular culture and concrete, it's easy as hell to forget the fact that there is a larger world out there we're connected to, teeming with life and consequence.

So, it must be said that I am no one of consequence. I have a G.E.D. level of education and am in no way qualified to lecture about these subjects. If you disagree with anything contained here-in, the diversity of opinions is welcome. I urge [expletive deleted] out there to Read All About It before they decide anything for sure. Nothing is true, everything is permissible.

More about this author: Jonah Hexx

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