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It is appropriate to note at any time that humanity has lived over 99% of its existence in primitive society. Without even the benefit of laws, our ancestors were able to rest their arses on logs and cook over open fires. Without encyclopedias people raised cattle, made, cheese, drank wine. It is even thought by some anthropologists that uncivilized people made love and made music without the religious benefits of stereophonic machines!
We have proof that both Nean`derthal and Cro-Magnon man had larger brain capacities than 1977 variety of homo sapiens. Without trying to seem like an ad for the past let us admit, at least, that people have not only survived well without civilized institutions but that Civilization is recent, admittedly fragile and incredibly sloppy…
Nay, you are miserable enough already. And indeed I can’t see how you can be more such. What sort of Men must the Europeans be? What species of creature do they retain to? The Europeans, who must be forced to do good, and have no other prompter for the avoiding of evil than the fear of punishment?
“Everybody seems to be criticizing traditional roles: women’s roles, men’s roles, workers’, bureaucratic roles, Rolls Royces. If they would think of roles as categorical relationships, they would have to admit that at best they are trying to fatten up their own little slot. It’s all still divided and defining.” Jasmine folded her newspaper and put it on her lap, then she took a shot at the mailman, mistaking him for the meter-reader.
So far as we know, nothing like human intelligence appeared on Earth before a few million, or at least a few tens of millions of years ago. But that is a few tenths of a percent of the age of the Earth, very late in December in the cosmic calendar.
“There are three kinds of despots. There is the despot who tyrannizes over the body. There is the despot who tyrannizes over the soul. There is the despot who tyrannizes over the soul and body as well. The first is called the Prince. The second is called the Pope. The third is called the people.”
“The body is a political system. In most people it is a dictatorship. It is genital tyranny.” Society restricts sexuality to genital acts, but even if some people pretend that they have had the “true perfect orgasm” and have “orgastic potency,” by a mysterious form of erogenous voodoo the truth still eludes them if they do not extend their sexuality into their lifestyle, into their dwellings, their “work relations,” etc. It is our own natural spontaneity which is the starting point and the ultimate destiny of our indigenous sexuality and we are the sex organs of the world.
As friendship, goes (between tribes) trade goods remains its theme. Indeed, one group may stop producing things it needs—just to get them from another. With such “specialized production” go claims like this, “Oh, we don’t know how to raise cotton, we get that from the Momariboweiteri.” When these people turn hostile they promptly “remember” how to raise cotton, or make baskets, or whatever.
“The great man continues the work of nature in the human world. What are laws of nature and what are laws of man? Upholding the first is delightful when going against the latter.”
As in other primitive societies, children acquire virtually all their learning at play. They play near adults at work, and with the implements that adults use. On my first visit to the Mbotgate I saw a woman give her infant son a sharp knife to play with; startled, I had to suppress an impulse to intervene. Now I have concluded that such incidents are commonplace here.
What started out as a softball league among several area factories soon became a serious, if temporary, effort by some people to realize some collective projects. The “plastics” people devised several enormous greenhouses which already provided salads, corn roasts and bread for those people. But now there is an attempt to recruit materials and people to cover the whole area of what used to be Clawson, Michigan in a Controlled climate garden and home project. Similar, in a way, to some of those fancy football stadiums with domed roofs, the project could eliminate, largely, the dependence on oil or other heating fuels. I don’t know if they can do it, but they’re out there getting high and trying.
Mpo thinks that about 30 percent of Batammaba men know how to build such a house—a tekyete. The others must enlist the services of men known to be particularly skilled. But the homeowner-to-be must first cut and carry home the heavy tree trunks for the framework. This is done a year before, to allow the wood to dry; it is then he gives his first party—a banquet copiously wet by mena, the ubiquitous and excellent sorghum beer.
When the wood is dry, the claywork begins. Men raise the walls about ten inches and let them dry before shaping the next course. Then they mount the frame and place the ceiling; women fetch water to mix clay—and a second banquet is held.
The final feast is given by the wife (or wives) to women who pack the earth floors and plaster walls. Thus many hands accomplish a major work.
The instinctive aim of humanity is to recover its childhood. The split in humans is the signifying mark of adulthood in our modern society. When our pleasure principle (what we want to do) is divorced from the reality principle (what we have to do), we have been sufficiently socialized; we are mature adults in a competitive world, we are neurotic, we are successful. This split is the cause of repressed society, leading ultimately to its disintegration; though it, ironically, is the main factor in its alleged success.
Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
“I don’t know if they will get far with that thing, but at least there isn’t any other traffic to go against.” Johnson pointed with alacrity at the sixty-foot, alcohol-powered vehicle that was filled with thirty people on their way from Detroit to Ann Arbor. The fuel was made from fermenting anything from newspapers to socks, and the body from joining two truck frames and a Cadillac. The sides were elevated and painted with elaborate abstract designs.
Strange enough already, but the makers of it—two mechanically inclined and revived winos—added totally useless, but distinctive, wings and a huge Oven’s head protruding twelve feet in front.
“But staying rich—that is the problem. You must drive your children to herd. If you don’t watch your sons all the time, they grow idle. They want to be at dances with girls. They want to sing their songs. They just want to play. Then the animals get lost. Or a wealthy man decides he will eat meat all the time. And his people want things. So he sells his animals to the Somali traders. He uses up the livestock. It’s hard to stay rich.”
“I never taught my people to trust Americans. I have taught them the truth—that the Americans are great liars…If the great spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place…Each man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for eagles to be crows. Now we are poor but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights.”
Oscar Wilde’s lyrical adoration was fast becoming a frenzied madness. A fatality led him on: he would not and he could not withdraw himself from it. He seemed to devote all his zeal and all his worth to overrating his destiny and overreaching himself. “My special duty,” he used to say, “is to plunge madly into amusement.” He used to make a point of searching for pleasure as one faces an appointed duty.
We were hypnotized, at first, by our awesome and rapturous ability to take the city apart piece by piece and do something new. Some people merely created space. Not surprising though, was the total uprooting of the Freeways, after all, those were the usual routes people used to take to work. “Fertilize the Freeway” signs advertised, and in no time at all night soil was deposited—by the bag and also live and in color. It was simple to push the dirt hills over the pavement, but planting was almost difficult; you see, people were fighting to plant seeds.
Patients who have had prefrontal lobotomies have been described as losing a “continuing sense of self”—the feeling that I am a particular individual with some control over my life and circumstances, the “me-ness” of me, the uniqueness of the individual. It is possible that lower mammals and reptiles, lacking extensive frontal lobes, also lack this sense, real or illusory, of individuality and free will.
“I had learned many English words and could recite part of the Ten Commandments. I know how to sleep on a bed, pray to Jesus, comb my hair, eat with a knife and fork; and use a toilet…I had also learned that a person thinks with his head instead of his heart.”
Furthermore, the offenses had a ritualistic flavor to them, not spontaneity. The common shoplifting technique was to hunt for frills, such as cosmetics. The thief would pluck the item off the shelf, move an aisle or two down, furtively peek around for witnesses, hide the item, then buy something else and innocently depart the store. Professionals who work with the elderly advance a number of possibilities for the aging thieves. “People become hostile and angry when they grow old and are treated as second-class citizens, and when they become angry they become antisocial.”
“We did not ask you White men to come here. The Great Spirit gave us this country as a home. You had yours. But you have come here; you are taking my land from me; you are killing off the game so it is hard for us to live. You tell us to work for a living, but the Great Spirit did not make us for work, but to live by hunting. You white men can work, if you want to. We do not interfere with you, and again you say, why do you not become civilized. We do not want your civilization! We would live as our fathers did, and their fathers before them.
In practically every civilization code law originated from the conquerors of an indigenous—”primitive”—people and replaced tribal custom, or “the ways of our people.” Imperialism is surely the legs of law as much as Religion is the ass end, coming behind and hanging over.
“In the meantime, the barbarians dispatched messengers to all parts, and reported to their people the small number of our soldiers, and how good an opportunity was given for obtaining spoils and for liberating themselves forever, if they should only drive the Romans from their camp. Caesar, when he perceived that his soldiers were fighting on unfavorable ground, and the enemies’ forces were increasing, being alarmed for the safety of his troops, dug holes in the ground and prepared his defenses there.”
Sources used in quotations
Detroit Free Press, The Portable Oscar Wilde, Caesar’s Gallic War by J. Caesar, Primitive Worlds (National Geographic Society), Love’s Body by Norman O. Brown, and Touch the Earth (Indian Quotes) by McLuhan. The rest was invented.