Article first published as In the Beginning, Before TV on Technorati.
Recently I was watching the news on television. It was full of stories about this protest and that threat; political candidates and celebrities were involved in public events using fear to stir up hatred. It reminded me of Hitler’s Nazi Germany; I felt a sickening uneasiness spread through my body. I thought we had eliminated that kind of hatred here. Irrational fear was driving it and it was spreading through the media like wildfire.
I wanted to write something about how I felt, but the words were slow in coming. Then I had an Idea on how to make my point in story form. I'll tell it to you as it came to me.
Imagine the Eastern Mediterranean area, 12,000 years ago, when the ice was retreating northward. Three tribal Shaman are having a friendly conversation. They are resting comfortably by the side of a small rippling pond with clear blue water. A small fire burns. One of the men is fishing with a hand line; one eats an apple while the third fills a long pipe with some dried leaves.Ad-a-ma, the man eating the apple, takes a bite. His bite exposes a worm in the remainder of the apple. He slowly chews the piece in his mouth while he contemplates the worm. Swallowing the mouthful he is chewing, Ad-a-ma shrugs his shoulders and bites into the apple again, taking the worm along with some of the apple.
Mo-se, the fisherman, laughs. “Are times that bad Ad-a-ma; you have to eat the worm?”
Ad-a-ma looks at Mo-se, “All this warm weather brings fruit to the trees. Sweet roots grow everywhere and there is more game than I have ever seen. My clan is happy and healthy; they have no need of me.”
Pha-ro, the pipe smoker, leans forward and takes a burning stick from the fire. He lights his pipe and inhales deeply. He hands the pipe to Ad-a-ma, “Smoke some of this; it will improve your outlook”.
Ad-a-ma takes the pipe and draws deeply, exhaling slowly. Then he takes another hit.
Mo-se sits up straight and complains, “Son of a Hyena, can’t you share it”.
Pha-ro laughs and raises a large leather bag for the other two men to see. “Stop bitching, I have enough to turn us all into walking dead men for days.”
Mo-se takes the pipe and hits on it, then he speaks, “I need a good spirit dream, maybe the forest gods will tell me what to do”.
Pha-ro leans back and smiles, “Worry not my brothers, I have a plan that will elevate our status once more”.
Ad-a-ma sits up now, attentive, “Do you want to start another war?”
“No, not a war”, says Pha-ro, “Our grandparents did that and it killed too many of our clansmen. When the fighting was over there were not enough grown men left to hunt for food”.
With a sly look, Mo-se turns to Pha-ro, “What then, dark one”.
With a gleam in his eye Pha-ro says, “I have discovered that if one boils Mundo flowers the liquid becomes a powerful intoxicant”. Pha-ro scratches his privates, “I will give you both some of the liquid. You can slip it into your clan's stew pots. Your people will become delirious and think they are ill.”
Ad-a-ma laughs, “You sly bastard, we will be able to cure them”.
Mo-se is excited, “Yes, I can dance around and shake a bloody eagle’s claw; make a real good show out of it”.
Pha-ro nods his head in agreement, “Yes my brothers, nothing like a dose of fear to get those ignorant savages back in line”.
The three Shaman continue smoking, and laughing, long into the night.
When I finished writing I realized that, for all of our technology, primitive man still walked within our society.