Are We Aborigines?

Many years ago, I watched a documentary of an anthropologist who was traveling with a group of aborigines.  They were trekking across some stretch of land, I don’t remember where. The purpose of their trek was to find food.

There were women and children in the group and the tribe’s leaders noted that signs of  weakening were showing up so it was imparative that food be found soon.  In the evenings, the groups elders or leaders would sit around in a circle and discuss things.

The part of the video I remember was the evening meeting after a long hike and a luckless search for food.  The direction of the aborigines’  discussion that night was the question of why they had not located food.  More specifically, the question was, “Why hasn’t god (s) provided us with food?”

Various leaders gave explanations.  A consensious was reached that food had not been found  because the group had displeased its god.  The god had been displeased over something the group was doing or saying, I have forgotten what it was.  Anyway, this consensus raised the spirits of the group considerably.  Now that they knew what the problem was, they could correct it and tomorrow would be a much better day.

The antropologist’s  comments were that this was a wonderful thing to watch–the ability of  the human mind to manufacture a fictional source of a problem, then come up with a fictional solution. By creating this fiction,  people’s spirits rose.  The optimism probably generated energy  and energy was needed to overcome the adversity.

Do we do anything similar to these aborigines?  In my opinion, yes.  The adversity we all face is our inevitable death.  We are able to overcome the effects of this fact on our states of mind by pretending it does not really happen at all.  We just move to a “better life”.  While not all of us (me) are able to move our heads into this fictional realm, it it still a mavel how the human mind can figure out a way around the most formable obstacles.

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