Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Cartoon
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Emerging thoughts and gods
I was thinking the other day about nature. Nature, that is, that consists of weather, changing of seasons, night and day, and so on. I was thinking about it in terms of human evolution and how it shaped societies and cultures.
When humans began to move from hunter-gatherer tribes into stable communities, it was because of the development of agriculture and animal husbandry. These two things meant that humans did not have to roam in search of game and edible vegetation. It facilitated the concept of fixed communities. Fixed communities created change in governance, inducing evolution in that facet of human interaction.
There has, since humans gathered into groups, always been governance of one sort or another. In a small clan or tribe, the leader might be chosen by acclamation. The strongest or the best hunter (meaning most successful) or the smartest would be chosen. The concept of leadership is, I believe, deeply rooted in our psyches. Another thing that I believe is deeply rooted in our psyches is a need for belief in a deity. In fact, I think the desire for a leader is intertwined with that need for a deity.
And that brings me back to nature. Humans exist in a world of change that must be navigated. We want to know if the weather will be favorable for our endeavors, especially our agriculture. Seasonal changes are rhythmic, orderly, to a great degree. Observation revealed the approximate periods, what we call seasons, and the time spans of each. Further observation revealed that there were coincidental changes that went along with the seasons.
But we don't just want to observe these changes, we want to depend on them. We also would like to control them. Primitive humans could reasonably be seen as helpless in the face of weather changes and seasonal changes. And it is likely they did not want to feel helpless. So we look for leaders who could explain the changes and who could seemingly influence changes.
Thus were the first religions born. Polytheism seems the most natural form of religion. After all, you have 4 seasons (actually, only two: cool/cold and warm/hot with more or less water/rainfall depending upon region and latitude). You also have night and day, various sky-born objects (sun and moon are prominent), and geological events. Explanations for each and all of these is desired because they impact the chances of survival. Survival is the primary concern of any organism.
So sun gods, moon gods, seasonal gods, were developed by those that saw relationships between the changes around them and certain recurring phenomena. Certain star patterns (constellations), for instance, and their orientation in the night sky would change during different periods of the year. The people who could "read" these signs with some kind of observable accuracy were given power. Those that were granted that power formed alliances with those who were physically powerful in order to retain that power over the community. Thus, the first church and state alliance.
Well, just something to think about. More at some future time... when the mood strikes me.