Were cultural changes aided by cosmic radiation?

“Spurred by genetic mutations that produced a burst of creativity and technological resourcefulness, humans became more skilled predators.”

“ … a benign climate … fostered the invention of agriculture …”

“ … increasing populations led more people to live together in villages and towns … fuelled an almost constant technological boom in many fields, producing … pottery making, metal working, and writing “

The above are excerpts from ‘The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes’ by Firestone, West and Warwick-Smith. More below.

“The era around 40,000 years ago was a period of major change in the evolution of mankind. Neanderthals began to decline, and Cro-Magnon people mysteriously evolved into modern humans.”

“Major changes in species, including humans, occur through mutations … One example that appears to bear this out is the evolution of blood types … Our early ancestors had only type O blood.”

“Evans and his team point out that, at the time of the mutation, art, music, and advanced tool making suddenly appeared to flourish …” “That brilliant burst of radiation silently arranged humankind’s DNA and unleashed a burst of brilliant cultural activity …”

Yet, the authors conclude that “Our current species extinction, overpopulation, and environmental degradation were in fact kicked off 41,000 years ago … and they continue today …”

In the light of our almost universal cultural degradation, has the Sixth Extinction already begun?

Mankind’s progress through cultural change

“ … the first clear evidence of representational painting was not found in Europe but in a cave in Namibia, in southern Africa, dated by its Middle Age context to between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago, thus preceding European painting …” So says Stephen Oppenheimer in ‘Out of Eden: The peopling of the world.’ He makes a clear distinction about symbolic presentation such as scratches, cross-hatching, and notching of pieces of stone or mineral pigment blocks. He also states: “Arguably the earliest evidence of such deliberate patterning of stone comes from sandstone caves in India … between 150,000 and 300,000 years ago.”

Oppenheimer draws upon McBrearty and Brooks (Journal of Human Evolution 39) thus: “McBrearty and Brooks’ composite picture of the first ‘Anatomically Modern’ Africans shows that soon after their first appearance, by around 140,000 years ago, half of the fourteen important clues to cognitive skills and behaviour, which underpins those that eventually took us to the Moon, were already present.”

He then says “With such a perspective of cumulative increments in culture over the past 300,000 years, the concept of a sudden modern ‘European Human Revolution’ 40,000 years ago pops like a bubble.” This appears to be a rebuttal of a claim that Europeans evolved separately from everyone else; part of a multiregional hypothesis of human origins (“A parochial obsession of Europeans with their past … “ – Oppenheimer).

Relying on the genetic clock rather than on radiocarbon dating (with the latter’s 40,000 year ceiling), Oppenheimer states: “ … human (or other primate) culture is first invented, then learnt and added to from generation to generation. Each advance or skill does not come out of a new gene.

Rather new behaviours come first, and the genetic modifications that best exploit these new behaviours come afterwards. In other words, the change of culture precedes the change of body … “

But, what if the new behaviours were influenced by genetic mutation caused by a cosmic catastrophe?

An intriguing but comforting heritage

Typically, you are born into a family. You thereby inherit, mainly through your genes, certain broad characteristics of that family. Strangely, you might additionally display certain personality traits of not only your parents, but also your grandparents and (to my surprise) certain uncles or aunts. That the inheritance pathways for the latter have not been proven is irrelevant; epigenesis (a pathway known to bypass the genes) may fill the gap.

As the real-life limitations of the scientific method are well-known (but beyond the chosen methodology of professional sceptics), we seekers of understanding are free to register and examine all aspects of human existence, as objectively as we can. We also know that the human mind is severely circumscribed in its capacity to explain, even grasp, such intangible (and untouchable) phenomena as consciousness, extra-sensory perception, the control of matter (eg. one’s own body or even electrical switches) displayed by some (rare) minds, and such like.

Since you are born into a collective, certain factors external to your birth family’s genes influence your behaviour. You are conditioned by your nuclear family’s code of conduct, and the associated attitudes and values. These would reflect the cultural paradigms of the extended family (the clan) in Asian cultures; and possibly in other non-Western cultures. Most certainly, in all societies, the values and practices of the tribe, including its religious perspective and linked cultural traditions, will have sway.

Then, things can happen to some people – and which are not part of the paradigms I have delineated above. For example, a significant number of children from all over the globe have, over many decades, remembered their recent past lives accurately. These memories would surely remain with them throughout their lives – even if deeply overlaid in time. As well, some people have strong intimations, which surface repeatedly, of a past life. The implication of these two examples is that the individuals affected have some capacity within them to remember, vaguely or clearly, temporarily or permanently, one or more experiences from another time and place.

This facility is traditionally attributed, in much older societies, to the human soul. The soul is believed to be an on-going entity, occupying a series of human bodies over an extended period of time. The soul seems to be capable of carrying memories – in the way instincts are believed to have accumulated in humanity. Thus instincts and soul memories would represent accumulated learning. This may also give credence to the concept of a collective memory of the human species.

Would a collective unconscious follow from this? Is this also why Hinduism claims that the human mind is only an instrument of Consciousness – which permeates all existence!

This would place the mind outside the brain. Indeed, as demonstrated by the spirit of the long-dead uncle who manifested himself to offer me certain advice, the soul (or spirit) can retain the mind it had displayed on Earth, together with the memories seemingly embedded in it.

The unavoidable and comforting conclusion arising from all this is that we humans carry a wondrous heritage, traversing both time and space.

Why ignore or deny available evidence?

Stephen Hawking has apparently claimed that humans have only one life each. That is, of course, correct. What then of reincarnation? Are we reborn on Earth, occupying a different body on each occasion? Those who reject reincarnation are surely ignoring or rejecting the evidence, as inconclusive as that might be, that some little children (up to about age 6) have remembered correctly their recent past lives. Closing one’s mind (or eyes) to that which one fears will not make it go away, will it?

Yet, reportedly, those who took over the newly-established Christian church (originally an offshoot of Judaism) decided that any belief about an afterlife (apparently held by peoples everywhere in one form or another) had to go: they would intercede between the individual and God, and not have past lives, the spirit world, or even the individual, influence the direction of life on Earth. That was, of course, nothing more than a power-grab! Theocratic control continues, although waning in influence.

The spirit world is rejected by those who claim a belief in the Old Testament, no matter that there is evidence that the souls of some former human beings have manifested themselves as beneficial spirits. I am one of the beneficiaries. Should we not, as intelligent human beings, judge the writings of other human beings, whether originating in the desert, or on mountain tops, or in some forested land, and whether of recent or historical origin, according to their relevance for life today, and also according to the open-ness of the guidance or knowledge offered?

Revelation may also have outlived its relevance. Ram Krishnan, a sage of Hinduism, might disagree. Look up his life and his commentaries.

Cosmic catastrophes had been denied until Velikovsky’s challenge. All change on Earth (and in the heavens?) was believed to be gradual. The disappearance of some species of life on Earth, or the sudden appearance of some new and complete forms of species, and the probable burial or drowning of early advanced human civilisations, most likely caused by cosmic cataclysms, tended to be covered by sophisticated denial. ‘Where is the evidence?’ is no excuse for a closed mind.

Lamarkism was accepted by Darwin. But, with the acceptance of gene expression, all biological change had to be genetic in their pathways. Now Lamarkism seems to be back in the form of epigenesis, which apparently bypasses the genome. Learning, leading to physical or behavioural change, might take many forms. Will the stakeholders reconsider?

Many church-goers fear death; so they have indicated to me. Some of them are not sure about what might happen after death; they would rather extend their lives, even through a regime if pain. How sad!

Is it fear or ego which leads some to ignore, even deny, any evidence or even knowledge which they find emotionally or ideologically challenging? Is an open mind that difficult to acquire and hold? I am reminded of a former colleague who said that his church denied meditation. The reason? That one’s soul departs the body during meditation, allowing evil spirits to enter.

At the highest level of Hinduism, it is believed that the human soul, that ongoing entity which occupies a series of bodies sequentially on Earth through reincarnation, resides in one’s heart. That may explain why some who have had heart transplants develop interests and likings which were not present with the discarded heart; a different personality may emerge. This is a fact.

I do hope that Hawking will return to Earth repeatedly, contributing his great mind to future generations, through widening his perspective to include neo-ethereal paradigms. For, it is said that learning is accumulative over lifetimes. So mought it be!

The habits of Nature

What I like about Sheldrake’s thesis, that memory is inherent in Nature, and that each species has a collective memory, is that it is presented as a possibility. Nothing hard and fast here. Better still, he develops his case in some detail, reflecting an erudite intellectual capacity. Scholars whose work is impacted by Sheldrake are presumably examining his theory objectively. For, our progress in understanding ourselves and our universe requires open minds; indeed a capacity to go beyond the observable and measureable into the virtual – however initially uncomfortable that is. Sheldrake’s theory is exciting, while subjectively appealing.

The following extracts from ‘The Presence of the Past’ are from the chapter titled ‘Introduction’.

“This book explores the possibility that memory is inherent in nature. It suggests that natural systems such as termite colonies, or pigeons, or orchid plants, or insulin molecules, inherit a collective memory from all previous things of their kind, however far away they were, and however long ago they existed. Because of this cumulative memory, through repetition, the nature of things becomes increasingly habitual. Things are as they are because they were as they were.

Thus habits may be inherent in the nature of all living organisms, in the nature of crystals, molecules, and atoms, and indeed in the entire cosmos.

A beech seedling, for example, as it grows into a tree, takes up the characteristic shape, structure, and habits of a beech. It is able to do so because it inherits its nature from previous beeches; but this inheritance is just not a matter of chemical genes. It depends also on the transmission of habits of growth and development from countless beech trees that existed in the past.

Likewise, a swallow grows up, it flies, feeds, preens, migrates, mates, and nests as swallows habitually do. It inherits the genes of its species through invisible influences, acting at a distance, that make the behaviour of past swallows in some sense present within it. It draws on and is shaped by the collective memory of its species.

All humans too draw upon a collective memory, to which all in turn contribute.”

Is memory inherent in Nature?

“Why are rabbits rabbit-shaped? Once blue tits began pecking the tops off milk bottles, why did the habit spread magically across Europe? After Roger Bannister ran the four-minute mile, why did it begin to be broken everywhere?

In ‘The presence of the past’ Rupert Sheldrake’s explosive scientific theory provides a new and radical solution to the conundrums of life. Dr. Sheldrake’s hypothesis is that memory is inherent in nature – all natural systems from crystals to man inherit a collective memory of their kind. Thus, rabbits are rabbit-shaped not only because their DNA encodes their proteins, but also because nature has a ‘morphic field,’ in their case, a rabbit-habit, that informs their growth and instinctive behaviour.

According to Dr. Sheldrake’s theory of ‘formative causation,’ this inherent memory depends upon ‘morphic resonance,’ a process that involves action at a distance in both space and time. Far from being stored as material traces within our brains, our own memories result from our tuning in to ourselves in the past.”

(The above extract is from the back cover of Dr. Sheldrake’s book. In this book, the author offers an explanation of the kind of learning being displayed by birds and humans which spreads quickly across the globe autonomously. He suggests that there may be a mechanism in Nature which enables a collective memory – a capacity shared by both humans and other species – underpinned by a causal field referred to as a morphic field.

Some definitions are now called for. A field is a region of physical influence. A morphic field is a field within and around a morphic unit which organises its characteristic structure and pattern of activity. A morphic unit is a unit of form or organisation. Morphic resonance is the influence of previous structures of activity on subsequent similar structures of activity organised by morphic fields. Morphogenesis refers to the form-shaping fields NOT inherited through genes.

Something like morphic resonance is necessary to make sense of inheritance, the evolutionary nature of Nature. So says the author.

This challenging and interesting approach might be worth examining. The definitions above are from the Internet.

An exquisite derriere

She had been rigorously selected to be the bride of the crown prince of an Arab state led by shamans. The state was famously rich, and would remain famously rich for centuries. The prince was a very handsome young man who wanted the best specimen of womankind to create a dynasty of beautiful rulers.

Mercedes was to produce girl babies, all of whom would be expected to possess, in time, that fabulous derriere. Eventually, there would develop a dynasty of derrieres so delicious that princelings and princes everywhere would sell their souls to marry these girls – and to start their own dynasties of delicious derrieres. These princelings and princes would culturally be part of a federation of shaman-led states, with at least one end in mind.

Mercedes liked the idea of becoming the queen of a realm whose dynastic descendants would reflect her own beauty. She remembered that this practice of breeding good-looking descendants had been proven successful in recent centuries by British royalty. The breeding stock had to have good looks, and the necessary physique. Some intelligence had been considered a bonus. Royalty, Mercedes realised, needs to have a solid foundation to build on.

She therefore accepted her present position as promising a durable future, whereas Royce, Bentley and Ford Ascot might not do as well, or even survive. She also knew that, from time to time, all that she had to do was to don that suit, to disappear for a short while – but only for a short while. It would suit her well indeed to commence that dynasty that her Destiny had deemed desirable.

(These are the end paragraphs of a short story titled ‘A derriere mysteriously suited’ in my book ‘Pithy Perspectives: a smorgasbord of short, short stories.’ It is another one of my bicultural stories.)

Combining career and family responsibilities

A young mother was shown on a tv program as delivering her 3-week old baby to daycare; then she went to work. On this program, which I watched only a few years ago, this young woman and a few of her friends were reported as claiming that they were successfully combining their careers with their family responsibilities.

As caring as childcare workers are, could they compensate for the baby not receiving the scent of the mother’s body during the day, and the extra stimulation generally available from mothers?

In my retirement district, a low-employment area with lots of young families, one sees young mothers and little children in public spaces, including our friendly community library. Watching the little ones point and ask questions, or telling their mothers about something obviously important, is a joy to those of us who were brought up by our mothers, and who also appreciate the learning which is taking place.

Childcare, of course, adds to this learning – socialisation, skill in manipulating toys and other materials, co-operation, and a certain self-sufficiency; however, could there be an intuitive awareness at times in a child of an unmet need for parental love?

Of course, grandma can be an effective substitute for a mother, as has happened within my extended family. But, a mother who is absent from 8am to past 6pm does result in some expressed unhappiness or concealed subliminal anger, as I have observed. Extended childcare has indeed been shown in a study to result in angry unco-operative children; why would that be surprising?

Little children missing their fathers – for one reason or another – are sad to observe as they reach out to other men.

Has the significant subjugation of children’s needs to adult wants in developed nations in modern times led to the societal alienation of some youngsters, and thus to broken families, and possibly to anti-social behaviour? Could this then lead to aggressive behaviour in adulthood, fuelled by a latent anger, the source of which would not be identifiable by the aggressor? The ‘one-punch’ men who seek someone to beat up with one ‘king hit’; those who, in a gang, attach innocent passers-by; violent young women; men who physically injure young children belonging their partners or behave with violence towards their wives; are many of such behaviours explainable in terms of unintended childhood alienation? That is, through some parents not realising the psychological needs of their own children?.

Crow mortality (fiction?)

They just recently found over 200 dead crows near Halifax N.S., and there was concern that they may have died from the Avian Flu virus.
A Bird Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows, and he confirmed the problem was definitely NOT Avian Flu, to everyone’s relief.

However, he was also able to determine that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with large trucks, and only 2% were killed by car impact.
The Province of Nova Scotia hired an Ornithological Behaviourist to determine the disproportionate percentages for the large truck versus car kills.

The Ornithological Behaviourist determined the cause in short order.
When crows eat road kill, they always set-up a look-out Crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger.
His conclusion was that the lookout crow could say “Cah”, but he could not say “Truck.”

Now you know!

Did cosmic radiation affect mankind significantly?

Some of my previous posts referred to the following claims by various authors of renown.
• Rock and cave art suddenly appeared about 35,000 years ago.
• About 37,000 years ago, advanced toolmaking, music and art appeared to flourish.
• Humans were born with larger brains. This may have given them some advantage relative to earlier humans, such as more complex thinking, without necessarily equating to an increase in intelligence.
• Cro-Magnon humans appeared suddenly. They were like modern people.
• Dogs were domesticated from gray wolves.
• Sophisticated speech may have arisen.
• Massive extinctions of humans and other life forms occurred.

A major flood of cosmic radiation, occurring about 41,000 years ago, has been suggested as the cause of the above developments through genetic mutation. It takes only about 2,000 years (about 70 generations) for the survivors to display new characteristics; and to propagate them into posterity.

Other bursts of radiation have been postulated at 34,000 years, 16,000 years, and 13,000 years ago. These would have caused more radiation, while contributing to yet more genetic mutation.