Existential Angst And The God Factor
Mankind was rooting around on the earth for a few billion years, picking his nose, learning how to walk upright and how to wipe his butt with a smooth leaf. At an undescribed time, mankind became intellectually aware of death after watching his mate be the dinner of a large hairy thing with bad breath. This elicited the response: - "Help! Help! I am going to die! And I don't wanna!" Mankind roots around a bit more, makes a spear and sits down and thinks on the rare times that he isn't fodder for a hungry sabre toothed tiger.
After thinking about the tiger, he screams a few more times and gets very nervous in a natural environment which obviously exists to do him in. He begins to develop dependencies and affections for members of his own species who also scream out "Help! Help! I am going to die! And I don't wanna!" a few times as well. They try to comfort each other as best as they can, but seeing no resolution to their impeding deaths, they scream in unision, "Help! Help! We are going to die!" Things start to get a bit tricky at this stage. There is a lot of fear and a lot of screaming and not much spear making, hunting, gathering or cave painting occurring as the fear of their impeding death is becoming an all-consuming reality. The situation begins to spiral out of control, the natural world is strong, powerful, threatening and dangerous.
Enter one of the most frightened members of the tribe. He has screamed out "Help! Help! I am going to die! himself a few times and understands the fear factor. Whilst sitting in the back of the cave one day and feeling extremely hungry because everyone is too paralysed with fear to hunt, he notices a piece of deer meat in his belly button that wasn't there the day before. Now even primitive man knew that deer meat doesn't grow in people's belly buttons, but not being too much of a bright spark anyway, he decides that it must be a gift from the sun, because there was a ray of sunlight shining onto his belly button so that he would find it. The sun must WANT HIM TO LIVE. After chewing the piece of deer meat whilst running his fingers through the sunbeam in thanks, he runs outside to tell his fellow tribesmen of the power of the sun.
The tribesman explains what happened, embellishing it a bit as everyone likes a good story and we shouldn't let the truth get in the way of it. By the time the story has ended, the rest of the tribe are convinced that by worshipping the sun that they will never go hungry. But not only that, but the sun will ensure that if they worship him in the right way, that he will let them join him in the sky after they die. People start to settle down a bit more after that. They start to make spears again, but these new spears have images of the sun engraved on them, to show not only their respect, but to imbue the spears with the power of the sun, the power to provide food. The power to provide food means the power to provide life. And the power to provide life means the possibility of escaping death.
Everyone seems a lot happier, work is being completed, people's bellies are full, the cave walls have beautiful sun pictures and deers on them and people are less afraid of death because of the relationship they have with the powerful sun. The tribesman, who had this revelation about the sun, goes on to become the expert concerning the sun's wants, desires and concerns. Which just goes to show that the best job, is the job you create for yourself. As the font of all knowledge concerning the sun and the tribes lives, he attains for himself a place of superiority within the tribe sometimes equal to, and even surpassing that of the tribal leader.
The people start to demand that the tribal leader consult the shaman (as he will know be called), on all matters concerning the tribes activities, as they wish to be assured that their actions will be pleasing to the sun. They don't want to incur the sun's wrath so that he doesn't make good his promise of life. They also remember those feelings of dread, fear and anxiety before the sun and the knowledge of the sun, came into their lives, so all their activities must meet with the sun's approval.
Unfortunately, sometimes the rituals to the sun don't work. All the chanting, painting of sun pictures around their navels, and food offerings to the shaman (told you it was a good job), don't have the desired effect. The shaman heads off to the back of the cave where he has a special rock with a sun picture on it to do some thinking and talking to the sun. After contemplating his navel for a few hours and the lack of food within, he decides that it is the fault of some members of the tribe, that is making the sun punish them.
He remembers how one of the tribe doesn't make the sign of the sun, (drawing a circle in the air), when he passes. He remembers that one of the youngest members of the tribe mentioned how the moon helped her to find her way home in the dark and that perhaps they should be offering food and chants of worship to the moon as well. There will have to be more rules about what the sun wants. And these rules must be obeyed without question. It is the only way to ensure that the tribe survives. The new rules are accepted without any real degree of questioning, except for the tribe member who is convinced that she is the voice of the moon. The shaman uses his authority as accepted and revered spokesperson for the sun, to insist that the tribe's troubles are the result of disloyalty to the sun. Hence, the offending tribe member is offered up as a sacrifice to the sun, to show the sun that they acknowledge him as the supreme power over their lives. The member of the tribe who was lax in making the sign of the sun, has a sun symbol burnt into her forehead to remind her of the error of her ways.
Now the tribe only has to concern themselves with pleasing the shaman and their sun. Occasionally, terrible things still happen, people are still eaten by wild, hairy animals with bad breath, but at least they get to go and live with the sun as long as they have been loyal followers. People still go hungry, but they have now accepted that it is their fault. It must be because they have displeased the sun in some way, and if they only chant enough, place enough offerings on the sun altar, or ask for forgiveness from the sun, all will be ok. They have become victims of their own creation, but some comfort is better than the thought that they are on their own.
"Help" - The Beatles
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