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Sunday June 9th 2019Tim Candler9

 

    There's a general agreement in the more scientific literature that Hunter Gatherers had more leisure, less responsibilities, fairly relaxed sort of life, stories, parties, dancing and stuff. The environment could be tricky, but what with one thing and another you'd do your best and if it happened it happened. Their food sources were very varied which meant they had less reliance upon any particular food source, no abject panic if the larder was absent a sac of Potato or coffee beans. And certainly when our species engaged in hunter gathering there weren't that many of us, we could roam at will, go where we pleased. And you can see this kind of attitude in the joy grandchildren take from being allowed to do pretty much exactly what they want to do, even if it is a terrifying experience for the primary caregivers for whom "a sabre-tooth tiger did it" is no excuse. There are also arguments about whether or not back in those days we were more polygamous than we were monogamous. And it's been proposed by some that bipedalism was an adaption to a monogamous life style, does sound a little suspicious but you can kind of see it if you think it terms of efficiency. Walking easily on two legs, this argument goes, allows people to easily and efficiently carry more, and why on earth would they do that? So boys could take food back to the nest while the girls cared for the offspring. Again there's an argument that suggests that girls of all species are perfectly capably of choosing to mate with weird looking boys on the off chance it might improve their chances. Yet again, there's an argument that suggests we people were forced into bipedalism following a change in the climate that required us to leave the trees and navigate open grassland. It's a rich highly entertaining area of serious thinking, but the reality is we don't know what it was like to be a person in those generations prior to the emergence of agriculture as our prime source of sustenance.  

 

Past

   Isaac was an old man, he was decrepit, his mind drifting, his eyesight appalling, he was dying and he really wanted meat. He called to his oldest son Esau and suggested that Esau might go out into the wild, hunt him some venison and Esau would cook it because he knew how to. Not an easy instruction to obey, venison doesn't grow on trees, he'd have to creep around with his bow and arrow sometimes for a couple of days before he'd strike it lucky. Now Rebecca was possibly a little fonder of her youngest son Jacob who was in every respect easier to be around than Esau, and she didn't like the idea of Esau getting a final blessing from Isaac. So she suggested that Jacob nip out to the flock, slaughter a couple of kid goats, which would be about the size of a Deer and she'd make something delicious that Jacob could then take to his father and by so doing receive Isaac's final blessing. "But Esau is an hairy man," Jacob answered, "And I am an smooth man." Rebecca told Jacob to man up, he could cover himself with the skin of one of the kid goats, and Isaac wouldn't know the difference. You can read the story in Genesis 27, and all kinds of fascinating issues here for our own generation, but Esau and Jacob were on the cusp of a transition between hunter gathering and agriculture. The clan was rich and comfortable because of their flocks and not because of an ill-disciplined hairy man disappearing for a couple of days to hunt a Deer. Rebecca, I'd argue, understood this, and God knows what would have happened to the clan if Esau was in charge. Then of course you've got the whole business of using sneakiness and cunning to ensure the security of something like an agricultural interest as opposed to preserving the more free and easy lifestyle of the hairier Esau. And here, one rather unkind argument suggests that we homo sapien boys are possibly past the prime of our overall usefulness to the enduring progress of our species.

  

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