The forced separation between female gatherers and male hunters, made them find a new way of relating: storytelling.
In chapters 2 and 3 we saw how the tool-building experience allowed us to abstract the objective being from material reality.
In ch. 4, how that experience could communicate between group members through empathy, becoming socially shared consciousness.
In ch. 5, how the situation to the limit of survival forced the homininos to differentiate the functions of females and males and to separate during periods of days or weeks, on the one hand in the tasks of collection and care of the young; and on the other, in hunting expeditions.
This separation was an added risk to their survival, because being separated, they were more vulnerable to attacks by other predators, which made the group’s extinction more likely. It was also likely that during the separation a baby would die or a hunter would be injured or killed. The return of the hunt was the culmination of this situation of uncertainty, full of opportunities, but also threats.
This separation was an added risk to their survival, because being separated, they were more vulnerable to attacks by other predators, which made the group’s extinction more likely. It was also likely that during the separation a baby would die or die or a hunter would be injured or killed. The return of the hunt was the culmination of this situation of uncertainty, full of opportunities, but also threats.
Previous experiences, which we have seen in previous chapters, placed them in a favorable disposition to share their respective experiences upon return. I have no doubt that they took advantage of this possibility and that this was a new leap forward in their social intelligence and in their ability to imagine and share experiences.
The events that occurred during the interval of separation could now be represented by gestures and imitations before the members of the group that had not lived them directly, but now they could imagine them and thus share them.
Females could represent and convey their joy for the birth of one baby and their pain for the illness or death of another. They could also share fear and courage to defend the base camp if they were attacked by some beast or by other humanoids.
The hunters could represent the moment in which they saw their prey, the cautious approach, the deception to separate a prey from the others, the cunning to corner it; and how the attack concluded and culminated by success. But it was also important to tell when one of the members of the group was injured, the efforts of his teammates to keep him alive; his pain finding him inert and having to leave him.
All these forms of communication could be represented today as practical classes in schools, if we had a little interest in our human condition. History classes could begin by paying tribute to those of our ancestors who, with their courage, transmitted to us the commitment to move forward in extreme situations.
Let’s see now why I say that these representations were true stories. Since the events they represented do not correspond to what Aristotle knows as a story. What is that story they told?
What does a story tell in its slightest expression?
Can you tell a story without words? Yes: a comic can do it. Also a pamper, only with gestures. It is true that all stories cannot be told without words, but some simpler ones can. Among those that can be transmitted without words are the fundamental stories: the ones that matter most. And who was the protagonist of these stories that the homininos told themselves? Often, the actor himself, because he was reproducing his own experience. And in all cases, the main character was the same group: the “ourselves“. Because it was the survival of the group that was at stake. No one could survive long outside the group. If the group was reduced, it disappeared. And if it increased a lot, it also became extinct, due to food shortages. Its existence always hung by a thread: the cohesion of the group.
While everyone was present, the Being of the group was evident: It could be seen and felt through empathy. Especially in these meetings in which everyone shared the same imagined situations with the same emotions evoked by any of its members. But when the group separated, nothing could be taken for granted (nor who was the father of a new member of the group).
Magic of illusion is a performing art in which audiences are entertained by staged tricks or illusions of seemingly impossible feats using natural means. It always implies a story that doesn’t need words.
The first act of story is the presentation of any object.
The second act is the disappearance of that object. This is where the public engages in history.
The third is the reappearance of the missing object. This act is called Prestige, because the relationship between the magician and his audience culminates.
Any story, of those represented in similar conditions, has since then – and also among us – a sense of life that can be transmitted without words: -We had a pending task, you were waiting for us and here we are: we remain the same (1).
Not bad at all, right? Especially for those who had not yet learned to speak.
The next chapter The reencounter with the lost being, will deepen this scenario of stories told, as the origin of human language and conscience.
See Chapter index
Current chapter NOTES
(1) Viktor Frankl: Man’s Search for Meaning.