Friday, October 16, 2009

The Cannibalistic Phase

The second phase, the Cannibalistic, was an inevitable consequence of famines, and provided the impetus for overcoming the first phase, since those who best hunted and killed other humans or proto-humans also learned to kill stronger animals. It is interesting to speculate on how our ancestors first came to use weapons. Perhaps, after witnessing the killing of another by an animal, an outraged survivor picked up a hard object, such as a rock or stick, and threw it against another hard object, damaging either the thrown item or its target, and drawing the obvious and necessary conclusion- that a hard object could break when hit by a harder one. The first tools were undoubtedly found weapons, such as rocks, sticks, and bones. The most capable hunters (of both humans and other animals) became the leaders of their clans. Hence, human cannibalism, as barbaric as it seems today, provided the means by which humans abandoned their subordinate role as prey to other animals, and became hunters. The totemic identification of clans with animals began during this period, partly as a means of identifying clans with the strength of particular animals, and partly to assuage the guilt that resulted from the killing. Torture also developed during this period- partly as an experimental method of determining physical weaknesses of humans, thereby to apply them to other animals, and partly as a means by which hunters could be psychologically hardened so as to increase their ability to inflict and withstand pain. Cruelty may be seen as a necessary outgrowth of the natural curiosity which exists in all higher animals, useful in expanding a predator’s practical knowledge of its enemies and prey. This is not to say that cruelty is a universal or absolute virtue, but rather that, at certain early stages of human development, it had greater relative value than at later stages, when it’s value diminished to a point where it was defined as utterly vicious and destructive.

(c) Copyright 2009 by A. Rogolsky

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