Wednesday, June 5, 2013

As we did to the Neanderthals, so now we do to ourselves

Neanderthal on the Moon     CC Jean Stimmell
I had a dream last night about a Neanderthal grinning at me from the moon (see image above).

We have long made Neanderthal the butt of our jokes, using the word as a term of scorn and derision to describe anyone lacking in intelligence and creativity. That being the case, why would any self-respecting Neanderthal be grinning back at me?

Reality, of course, is much different from gossip and old wives tales.

The truth is that Neanderthals had a lot going for them: they walked the Earth three times longer than we have to date (up to 350,000 years longer). And they had larger brains than we do, not smaller.

New research suggests that Neanderthals and modern humans living at the same time were culturally equivalent. João Zilhão, an archaeology research professor, says that arguing that Neanderthals aren’t as culturally advanced as humans is like saying “people in the Middle Ages were cognitively handicapped because they could not use mobile phones’."[1]

My thesis is that humans killed off the Neanderthals, not because we are smarter but because we are more blood thirsty and aggressive. It stands to reason, if the Neanderthals were more peaceful and Buddha-like, they didn’t stand a chance.

But what comes around goes around.  I wonder now if my Neanderthal is grinning back at me because he knows he is going to get the last laugh.

Our aggressiveness that killed him off, now intensified by capitalism and high technology, has not resulted in a more intelligent way of life but just the opposite: moral decay, catastrophic weapons of mass destruction and irreversible damage to mother earth and her sacred inhabitants.

Just as we did to the Neanderthals, so now we do to ourselves.




[1] http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/marek-kohn-neanderthals/
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