Jun 6, 2014

all of humanity

Chicago, after a day at the Field Museum

Why is it that in almost every tribe in the world across time, in every civilisation and little village alike, people cover up their privates? It doesn’t act as a security feature, it merely hides. A hairy bush isn’t all that sexy, and it serves a function just like all the other parts - so why is it the only part that’s universally clothed?

Isn’t it crazy how similar we humans are, across time, civilisation and geography? We seek to possess, to dominate. Greed, lust, covetousness and envy; joy, anger, sorrow and love; ambition and emotion bind all of humanity. Fear is an enormous monster, but we are each sustained and driven by hope, irrational hope, the blasted food on which our souls depend.

And we all make art. Isn't it curious, this practice that requires much effort and offers no practical value? Even primitive daggers have beautiful handles; cooking wares are painted with patterns; we sing; we have jewellery made of stone, animal teeth, wood, beads. Women are adorned, made up and beautifully dressed. People record events in words or drawings: look at humanity’s desire to immortalise. Every early tribe or civilisation has a tradition, and a belief - a curiosity for what is beyond; a speculation that there is more to life.

Why are culture and tradition always so precious? Because it’s a part of our identity? Because we need to be connected to something bigger than ourselves? We’ve known the joys of sex since the first of humankind; we all find our ways to make alcohol, and we all love our drink. People everywhere also recognise that we can’t live exactly how we want, and we devise systems of morality, speculations of a greater justice, the concept of evil; we also build trust, trust that the friend will not abuse his desires at our expense.

All through time, people have loved stories, and the human imagination has never died. And wherever humans are, with whatever we have, we make music.

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