Wednesday, May 03, 2006
What Would Granny Do?
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Sorry about the green pollen on the porch rockers. Sit a spell anyway!
Well, Anne's no good at math, so let's just say this picture is our mutual Granny, circa 2 million years ago, give or take.
Okay, she's not much to look at. But I'll bet her mate thought she was all that, and her kids thrilled at the sight of her coming back to them with a Hostess Twinkie.
I've been thinking about Granny. (Yeah, I know, I know, Anne should never think!)
This is what I've been thinking.
Trainers can teach chimps sign language and sophisticated behavioral tricks. Sometimes the chimps become so good at signing that they make spontaneous sentences. (Famously, one chimp didn't like a certain scientist, and the chimp learned how to combine the word for "potty stuff" and "scientist," and that's what the chimp called the offending researcher. Time after time.)
Chimps are pretty smart. And they're even smarter in the wild, where they make tools, solve problems, nurture their youngsters, and protect their turf.
So where does that leave Granny?
What could we teach her? How much smarter was she than, say, a chimp? Could we teach her to sit at a table and eat tacos? To use a powder room? Sign language?
I doubt if we could get her to do our income taxes. But hey. This is Granny! We wouldn't ask that of Granny anyway!
I ponder this because I believe in evolution, and I wonder how far back we have been communicating with the bored gods. Doubt if Granny did much praying, but I bet by golly she mourned like crazy if a lion got her baby. Also bet she and the hubby did all they could to keep that lion from getting its meal.
So let's leap forward a million years to a critter we could certainly teach to hail a bus and stroll through the Strand bookstore. Think how bored the gods must be who served this gal! Most of our modern deities are a few thousand years old. (I think Queen Brighid the Bright goes back a lot farther, but she wears it well.) How long did bored gods last with these ancestors? Or did they have bored gods?
When did the whole god thing start?
And that's the wrong question by a country mile, because 99 percent of the most ancient Stone Age carvings are of women. That can't just be dumb luck on the part of archeologists. Had to have been a day when the Goddess ruled just as completely as old Father God does now.
So when did the goddess thing get underway?
Granny, if we give you another piece of crumb cake, will you tell us?
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS