Tuesday, August 30, 2011
THE NEANDERTHAL SEQUENCE
When I was a teenager I was often called a Neanderthal by Mr. Rapazzardi, who generally sat on his front stoop keeping an eye on that nice front lawn of his that I used as a shortcut. For my part, I felt that Mr. Rapazzardi was the Neanderthal. Turns out we were both right.
Later, in my college years, I smirked at the academic puzzlement over whether or not the noble Cro-Magnon, crafter of superb arrowheads, pure high-browed ancestor of those strong-jawed subjects of highest nobility, known as "us," had ever, ever deigned to couple with the bestial, low-browed hairy chipper of nothing but hand axes: the Neanderthals next door! I smirked because, well, I was in a fraternity; we were much closer to how reality actually worked.
So all these decades later I was not shocked when the scientists announced that, like all non-Africans, I am part Neanderthal, and so was Mr. Rapazzardi. There have always been certain ancient cave-dwelling propensities, have there not, certain primal feelings in taking a risk, hefting a stone, sighting a wild animal, gathering around a fire, spotting an untrod lawn...
So what does this mean for us modern human folk, this Neanderthal quality so many of us share, even without reference to certain reality tv programming? It could explain some major anomalies, such as creationists, Wall Street financiers and certain folksy politicians, who are torn between the progressive abilities of one ancestral line and the inviting stolidity of the other, between malignant greed and staunch integrity, complexity, simplicity, pride, humility, the list can be found in any "holy" book, whichever from wherever. Familiar mixes that are especially stressful to politicians and financiers, for example, who as a way of life must appear one way while acting the opposite.
No real need at this point in these exciting revelations to mention that I am also very likely a descendant of King Tut, who was probably also part Neanderthal, as are you, maybe you have the Tut part too, all of which means more to me, such as it is, than the Adam and Eve agenda I was heir to, but there you are-- people are impressionable are they not, yearning as they do for admittedly mythical roots, even as they carry the actuals in their very genes, with far more lineage than any mere king.
So now, thanks to science, we mongrels can at last perhaps begin admitting who we all really are, begin finding, studying, facing and accepting the many gifts and glitches we have inherited from the Cro-Magnons, Neanderthals and Denisovans, among all our uncounted forebears - including King Tut, where applicable - and so get past the dark sides of politics, finance, other bipolar activities and evolve at last into the beings that have been trying for so long to be.