Friday, November 27, 2009

The Good Old Days before We Knew

While it took an unusual and selfish set of circumstances to snag your interest in humankind's earliest incarnations, your interest has held, even persisted, particularly to the point where you are able to be "there" with them to some degree, sense at least some of their day-to-day concerns, sympathize with the constant need to be on the move, respect their intelligence, and admire their humanity.

The unusual and selfish circumstances come from a short story in the works, lost when that great organ of a computer's interior, the hard drive, crashed.  That was some twenty years ago.  No artifacts or copies of the story have emerged except for names of characters, even some of the actual circumstances which begin in an intriguing enough manner when a hunting party not of the hunting clan--freelancers or wildcatters, as it were--claimed to have brought down a huge woolly mammoth.  The provenance of the animal and its ultimate cause of death were called into dispute by the women set to butcher the animal.  It was alleged by the women to be road kill, by no means fresh.

Because you have sought to retrieve the energy of the story and bring it to a satisfying conclusions, perhaps you will. More to the immediate point is the notion shared in various ways by members of the society of the story, Cro-Magnons all, that the world was going to hell in a hand basket.

They had not yet found cause to invent what we of today would think of a hand basket, but they most certainly had a sense that the world, while filled with some wonders to behold, was not offering anyone a free ride nor was to entirely be trusted.

And so it goes throughout our time line as a species; the world about us, probably because of us, provides us with a level of consternation and bafflement, different from the Cro-Magnon, but proportionally as robust.

The men and women who tried through history to cope with these levels of consternation and bafflement have variously been canonized, insulted, burned at the stake, elected to public office, sentenced to prison, and given platform on television.

The men and women who throughout history have accepted uncomfortable circumstances as their lot have largely proceeded with suspicion and cynicism as they essayed the murky politics of living.

We are a large, boisterous, unruly race, given to behavior that makes our neighbors count their young in alarm and their savings in suspicion; it is seemingly impossible for us to get along with one another just as it is impossible for us to prosper without one another.  It seems that insurmountable issues arise like mushrooms in the sod, causing us to rail at one another over such topics as guns, abortion, racial prejudice,tribalism, religion, fluoridated drinking water, global warming, and evolution.

As writers, many of us see the larger picture, that each character believes he is right.  This is comforting to the extent that it allows some potential for point of view, but as persons, some of us believe in original sin to the point where we accept not only the fact our our own sin but the absolute certainty of yours.  There are as well those who want quits of the notion of sin, and of course those who wish us to tremble in fear of its consequences.  It is all somewhat of a piece with the discovery that the foodstuffs that taste best are those with the most fat, salt, or sugar, an awareness that makes us year for the good old days when sin of that sort was beyond our understanding.

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