Primitive Perspectives

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Excerpts From “The Gods Must Be Crazy I”

 

“For the first time there was something that could not be shared because there was only one of it. Suddenly everyone needed this thing and the thing became a necessity. Unfamiliar emotions began to stir – a feeling of wanting to own and not wanting to share. And other things came: anger, jealousy, hate and violence.”

 

Xi (pronounced “key”) was angry with the gods. He shouted,

“Take back your thing we don’t want it. Look at the trouble it brought.”

 

 

But the gods did not take it back. He shouted again,

“You must be crazy to send us this thing, take it back!”

 

The gods did not take it back so Xi carried the thing and buried it away from the shelter.

“That night the family was very unhappy. A strange feeling of shame had come upon them. They began to talk about this thing which had come into their lives. They did not have a name for it. They called it the evil thing.

 

Gaabu said:

(a) Perhaps the gods were absent-minded when they dropped the evil thing on the earth.

 

(b) They have always sent only good things like the rain, trees, roots and berries to eat

      because we are their children and they love us.

 

(c) But now they’ve sent us this evil thing.

 

 

Xi said:

(d) The thing does not belong on the earth. Tomorrow I will take it to the end of the earth

     and throw it off.

 

 

Goobu said:

(e) I think the end of the earth must be very far. I think you may have to walk for twenty

    days, perhaps forty.

 

 

Xi said:

(f) I will start walking tomorrow.

 

Here, one will notice how the primitive men dealt with the problem of evil. If there is a single benevolent God, from where, then, comes evil? The bushmen believed that the gods who gave them good things also occasionally sent evil unto the earth. Their gods were dual-natured and to me it sounded like even they, detected, something of the internal dialectic in matter. In behaviour, they were also far more humane than their civilized counterparts. If you watch the full movie, you will agree with me. I have often felt that to understand the universe, one must trace the evolution of the human thought from the earliest Neanderthals to us. If only that’s possible. I am not even sure if the stories told by these discoverers are accurate.

The interesting is this: since the “evil thing” was interfering with their happiness, they didn’t blame or wait for the gods. They figured a practical solution was to get rid of the thing at the end of the earth themselves. To them, the end of the earth was a steep valley where the evil thing, once thrown in, could never come back again.

One other question which had always been on mind was this: why was it always necessary to ascribe human qualities to the gods or God if they are different entities from us?

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2 thoughts on “Primitive Perspectives

  1. I haven’t watched that movie in so long. It is definitely time for a re-watch.

    I like your perspective here, and I hadn’t thought of this before: rather than continue to suffer with the evil thing, and decide that if the gods sent it, they must endure it…the people decided to correct the problem. They knew what to do to restore balance, and that became the plan. It is a good lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly my friend! There is nothing to be gained from worrying about what the gods have or haven’t done. I found it very interesting myself that the Bushmen didn’t accept resignation. Somehow they knew happiness was the ultimate. In the civilized world, most people don’t even know what true happiness is. Thanks for your input. Be well.

      Liked by 1 person

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