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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Looking forward, looking back, is one of our folk songs, by Slim Dusty. I feel one of the greatest discoveries of my lifetime is that of the human genome. The theory of modern human migration is still evolving, but the general "out of Africa" principle is still current. The Kenyans seem to get this, promoting their home as the cradle of humanity. Seems as though the maternal ancestor of the whole human race outside of Africa probably lived along the banks of the Limpopo. So in terms of relationships, we are all cousins, and all Africans under the skin. Ethically, this surely changes the whole concept of race. It's a non event. Each and everyone of us is at least a fiftieth cousin. Cousin Barak, and Cousin George, representatives of our fine family of political animals.
Humans have separately evolved archery in various forms all over the world, and presumably independent of each other. The biological definition of all of us is apparently "social predator" and our preferred way of surviving is as hunter/gatherers. The club was probably the first hunting weapon, followed by the spear. My native people refined the art of the spear by adding the woomera. Next came the bow, apart from my people. Hunting is literally in our DNA. Lot of people don't get that now. I wonder why? Is it because shopping is also in our DNA? I wonder what would happen if the supermarkets closed?
 

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Nice post, blakey. I'm sorry I didn't catch it sooner. I wanted to ask you if the "woomera" was what I imagine to be an atlatl? A short length of wood or bone that, in effect, increases the length of the throwing arm, providing a bit of mechanical advantage and increasing the cast of the dart?

I bowhunt along the San Pedro River, in southeastern Arizona, within sight of the Mexican border. One of our area's "claims to fame" is that its first inhabitants were of the Clovis Culture. I bowhunt, literally, between two ancient mammoth kill sites.... While I may be out there looking for a rabbit, a javelina, or a mule deer, I often wonder what a mammoth hunt might have been like, taking place exactly where I am standing, now. I like the sense of connection. It feels kind of "circular"--and very appropriate--especially because a "sharp stick", some essential skills, presence of mind, and a bit of luck, is, or was, so critical to a successful outcome.

I recently re-read Robert Ardrey's, "The Hunting Hypothesis", and read, "Heartsblood--Hunting, Spirituality, and Wildness In America", by David Petersen. I enjoyed both of them, very much, and imagine that you have read them, or would enjoy them, if you find occasion to do so. We may live very far apart, you and I, but I am pleased to know we are pondering some of the same issues, at the same time. Again, I like the sense of "connection"--whether it is over 10,000 years, or 10,000 miles....

Thanks for your post. Be well and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice post, blakey. I'm sorry I didn't catch it sooner. I wanted to ask you if the "woomera" was what I imagine to be an atlatl? A short length of wood or bone that, in effect, increases the length of the throwing arm, providing a bit of mechanical advantage and increasing the cast of the dart?

I bowhunt along the San Pedro River, in southeastern Arizona, within sight of the Mexican border. One of our area's "claims to fame" is that its first inhabitants were of the Clovis Culture. I bowhunt, literally, between two ancient mammoth kill sites.... While I may be out there looking for a rabbit, a javelina, or a mule deer, I often wonder what a mammoth hunt might have been like, taking place exactly where I am standing, now. I like the sense of connection. It feels kind of "circular"--and very appropriate--especially because a "sharp stick", some essential skills, presence of mind, and a bit of luck, is, or was, so critical to a successful outcome.

I recently re-read Robert Ardrey's, "The Hunting Hypothesis", and read, "Heartsblood--Hunting, Spirituality, and Wildness In America", by David Petersen. I enjoyed both of them, very much, and imagine that you have read them, or would enjoy them, if you find occasion to do so. We may live very far apart, you and I, but I am pleased to know we are pondering some of the same issues, at the same time. Again, I like the sense of "connection"--whether it is over 10,000 years, or 10,000 miles....

Thanks for your post. Be well and good luck.
I haven't read the books you mention, but I will make a point of looking them up. A lot of my attitudes came from the philosophies of our Aboriginal people, who claim the longest unbroken tradition of hunter/gathering in the world, some fifty thousand years. Their spiritual links to their land, and the animals/totems they live on, are very deep. I think my greatest fear for the future is the increase in metropolitan urbanisation. City people have lost their link to the land. Most seem to have no idea where their food comes from before it gets to the supermarkets' shelves. But some are aware of the pitfalls of factory farming. Fringe groups are espousing vegetarianism and Animal Rights. What they don't seem to get is that all animals had rights under the old so-called primitive hunting traditions. We used to thank the creatures that we lived off, and had a deep connection to them and our shared environment. The other interesting thing for me about the modern DNA research, is how much of it we share with the earth genome. I think it's wonderful what we are discovering about ourselves and the planet we all share. Nice to meet and greet you cousin.
 

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Thank you for the reply, blakey; you have authored ANOTHER fine post!

I have seen estimates of 60,000 years of unbroken, hunter/gatherer tradition, amongst the Aboriginal people of your country. It is amazing to consider, in light of their unbroken cultural tradition, that the concept of Agriculture, itself, could be viewed as a recent, (and passing), fad! I share your concern about "factory" and "corporate", commercial agriculture. Nature abhors a monoculture for good reason. Sooner or later, we will reap, as a species, what we sow.

But that's a topic for another day, maybe even for another forum. I have, for a long time, been trying to wrap my intellectual arms around the Aboriginal concept of the "dream time". I know the term can refer to ancient, cultural myth and traditions, but I have a feeling that I am completely missing a larger reality of what this, "dream time", means or implies.... Of course, I am aware that I am not, "the sharpest tool in the shed", but I think my difficulty in trying to achieve a better understanding of the, "dream time", lies in the limitations of my use of language, (English), as least as much as it does in the limitations of my intellect.

In the hope that my suspicion is incorrect, can you, perhaps, identify and point me towards a book, or two, or some published research, that might help me arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of something that, for reasons I cannot begin to articulate, I FEEL is very, very important?

In any case, I am both honored and delighted to participate in such a deeply meaningful conversation.

Good hunting!
 

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The NZ Maori never found the bow either so there's actually two cultures still around that missed out,,but they invented the Pavlova so that's ok,, 8^)

Cool post but Cuz.

John.
More than two. Polynesian cultures in general didn't utilize the bow and arrow. Neither did Hawaiian cultures, though they knew of the bow and used it for rat-hunting as a kind of sport.
 

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owlmagnet, dreamtime is a continous telling of the creation stories and all the laws, mores, food sources, and locations of all the gods who were instrumental in creating various aspects of the world. after the creation, all of these entities turned themselves into different landmarks, stones etc., so their stories continue into the present and future. it's how a woman, for instance, having married to a man from a distant clan or tribe is able to absorb thousands of critical data in a very short time to be able to find water, plant food, etc. in a totally new environment.
thats just an outline. you should be able to get all the info you need on the internet.
 

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Thank you, Mr. Hatfield. I have spent some time doing that very thing. I found some very useful overviews that were put out, I think, by a governmental agency concerned with "cultural history". I happily lucked into a chart/flow diagram that I found very helpful, its visual relationship with information being particularly resonant in my attempt to appreciate an ancient culture that conveyed informantion orally, through stories, and visually, through physical imagery.

I still struggle, conceptually, with the notion that a cultural narrative, a creation story, continues, "real-time", into the present, and projects itself into a future, in a way which remains relevant and germane to the pragmatic, as well as to the spiritual, requirements of each individual. I'm not suggesting that they do not, I'm just struggling to "get a conceptual handle" on it, with the understanding that language can sometimes serve as a barrier to full comprehension. Maybe it's just me, but I have run into some similar, I think, language-based barriers, in some areas of Eastern philosophies. Sometimes additional research, helps, in my experience.

The Internet is a wonderful, wonderful thing, and often offers very useful overviews of many subjects. I was hoping to dig a little deeper, which is why I asked for recommendations of books, (which are often abstracts of more extensive scientific research, specifically written to be accessible to knuckleheads, like me--"The Hunting Hypothesis", by Robert Ardrey, being a convenient example), or, perhaps, previously published research that has reached some level of lay popularity. blakey may, or may not, have those recommendations, but he has impressed me with his passion for the unbroken, cultural tradition of his continent, and I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask. I do hope that no one, blakey especially, finds that offensive, in any way.

I do thank you, sir, for your outline and your advice. Be well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In the hope that my suspicion is incorrect, can you, perhaps, identify and point me towards a book, or two, or some published research, that might help me arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of something that, for reasons I cannot begin to articulate, I FEEL is very, very important?

Good hunting!
I am sorry, I cannot help. My understanding of the Dreamtime is limited to the extent that I assume it is a Creation myth. I have not studied it to any depth. In my defence I would point out that a lot of the knowledge and ceremony of the Australian Aboriginal peoples is 'secret' and not accessible to outsiders.
I refer you to Larry Hatfield's very elegant summation. Larry I feel is by far the most well-read and erudite person who posts on this forum. Luckily I know I'm related to him so he doesn't make me feel too inferior. Take care cousin.:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
The NZ Maori never found the bow either so there's actually two cultures still around that missed out,,but they invented the Pavlova so that's ok,, 8^)

Cool post but Cuz.

John.
You know I never knew the Maoris had no archery. I guess thinking about it, it might not suit them. I reckon they like things up front and personal, the closer the better. They have always scared the hell out of me. Their epic ocean voyages are truly incredible. Almost like a parallel culture to the Vikings. I often imagine what it would have been like discovering an uninhibited land only inhabited by birds. Imagine hunting Moas and being chased by giant eagles. It would make a better movie than Jurassic Park.
 

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You know I never knew the Maoris had no archery. I guess thinking about it, it might not suit them. I reckon they like things up front and personal, the closer the better. They have always scared the hell out of me. Their epic ocean voyages are truly incredible. Almost like a parallel culture to the Vikings. I often imagine what it would have been like discovering an uninhibited land only inhabited by birds. Imagine hunting Moas and being chased by giant eagles. It would make a better movie than Jurassic Park.
They did have a projectile weapons system in the form of a short spear-throwing device known as the kopere.

 

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owlmagnet, think about it this way. their civilization is older than almost any other culture and all the accumulated history from so long ago is still active and accessible to all clans and tribes through songs, actions, and pictographs. since it is a continuing story it keeps everyone up to date on the ongoing story from creation to now.
comparing that quality of history to that of my fathers tribes oral history is a humbling experience. since our language has disappeared for the most part any stories from farther back than 3-4 generations are rare and suspect.
the thing that strikes me the most about their dreamtime is that there is no agenda or reason to distort the tales in any way.
thats not true of the american indian.
hey, blakey, my interest stems from a long time ago. my uncle was based in brisbane during ww2 and was droopped on atolls with his radio to report on japanese ship and troop movement around the pacific. when he had to be removed he was shipped back to brisbane. he was discharged there and spent two years helping remote cattle and sheep stations around the outback set up radio communications. he was fascinated with the natives he met and would tell me all sorts of stories about tracking etc. when he made his weekly ham call to us.
 

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"owlmagnet, think about it this way."

Mr. Hatfield, thank you for coming back in. I am fearful of hijacking the thread, but after waiting a "decent interval", I couldn't resist responding to your post. While I do not disagree with anything you have said, I think the significance of the "dream time" goes far deeper than you suggest, on several levels, at least two of which you strongly hinted at, in your first post. Let us examine one now....

"....their stories continue into the present and future." One way to explain it, is the way you explained it. No problem with that, but I think there is another, deeper, (and fascinating), implication, here. I think we are examining, (however lightly), an ancient, largely intact, cultural tradition, that has established and preserved an oral and pictographic methodology that possesses a non-linear relationship with Time.

There is "real time" and there is "dream time". "Real time", equals the familiar, (to us), linear relationship with Time, but to enter or evoke, "dream time", collectively or individually, possibly through ritual, ceremony, song, or "story", allows each participant, or an entire culture, to experience a non-linear view of Time. To experience the concept of Time in a non-linear way, is to "step outside" of it and make it possible to view a dynamic and never-ending creation myth--one that projects itself into a "future" at least as enduring as a 60,000 year-old cultural "past"--at once, in its entirety, possessing its own, unique, and organic, unity. To enter the "dream time" is, I suspect, an opportunity for an individual--or a culture--to view the world, and one's place in it, in a spherical, rather than a linear way. Now, to my mind, THAT is a position from which a culture with an oral, rather than a written, tradition can successfully preserve itself for sixty millenia. Lines begin and end, a sphere goes on and on, forever--particularly when you have found a way to remain at the center of it.

Sir, your thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
To enter the "dream time" is, I suspect, an opportunity for an individual--or a culture--to view the world, and one's place in it, in a spherical, rather than a linear way. Now, to my mind, THAT is a position from which a culture with an oral, rather than a written, tradition can successfully preserve itself for sixty millenia. Lines begin and end, a sphere goes on and on, forever--particularly when you have found a way to remain at the center of it.
Very deep stuff Owlmagnet. I know you're aiming this at Larry, but I thought I'd drop in a few thoughts anyway. As I said before I don't claim to understand the Dreamtime. What has always impressed me about our Aborigines is their very deep affinity with the land, and their encyclopedic knowledge of all the life it supports. Our army has for some time been teaching Aboriginal 'bush tucker' survival techniques to our soldiers. I have felt for years the greatest lesson the modern boat people could learn is how to treat the land we all live and rely upon with respect. The Aborigines know this. They regard their land as sacred. We loot it, pollute it, destroy it, mine it and poison it. Because for us it merely provides money, whereas for them it provides sustenance. Theirs is a tribal culture which emphasises the community. Ours is one which emphasises the individual. Which has allowed the evolution of the corporate sociopath. If such a creature appeared in Aboriginal culture it would be taken out into the desert, speared in the legs and left to die. It is an alien concept for us, but if an Aborigine should happen to win the lottery, then they share the winnings with their relatives. Because the tribe is more important than the individual, then as long as the land is looked after the tribe will endure. So in that sense time is not linear, because the concept of decay is immaterial, because creation is continuous.
I think they are amazing people, but the litany of abuse that has been heaped upon them by my people is monumental, and many of them are now truly suffering in their own country. But of this I am sure, if the Armageddon that your Survivalists seem to wish for should ever come, my traditional native people will endure. And when Australia, the quarry of the world, should finally become just a big hole in the ground, they will find a way to survive. They always have for sixty thousand years. As have all of us till now. But the contemporary urban human is a much more fragile creature. Take care cousin.
 

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this is the best description of "dreamtime" i can think of.
"Songlines, also called Dreaming tracks by Indigenous Australians within the animist indigenous belief system, are paths across the land (or, sometimes the sky) which mark the route followed by localized 'creator-beings' during the Dreaming. The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting.
A knowledgeable person is able to navigate across the land by repeating the words of the song, which describe the location of landmarks, waterholes, and other natural phenomena. In some cases, the paths of the creator-beings are said to be evident from their marks, or petrosomatoglyphs, on the land, such as large depressions in the land which are said to be their footprints.

By singing the songs in the appropriate sequence, Indigenous people could navigate vast distances, often traveling through the deserts of Australia's interior. The continent of Australia contains an extensive system of songlines, some of which are of a few kilometres, whilst others traverse hundreds of kilometres through lands of many different Indigenous peoples - peoples who may speak markedly different languages and have different cultural traditions.

Since a songline can span the lands of several different language groups, different parts of the song are said to be in those different languages. Languages are not a barrier because the melodic contour of the song describes the nature of the land over which the song passes. The rhythm is what is crucial to understanding the song. Listening to the song of the land is the same as walking on this songline and observing the land.

In some cases, a songline has a particular direction, and walking the wrong way along a songline may be a sacrilegious act (e.g. climbing up Uluru where the correct direction is down). Traditional Aboriginal people regard all land as sacred, and the songs must be continually sung to keep the land "alive".

Molyneaux & Vitebsky note that the Dreaming Spirits "also deposited the spirits of unborn children and determined the forms of human society," thereby establishing tribal law and totemic paradigms."

i think that pretty much explains the simplicity and complexity of "dreamtime".
it's an atlas of the continent, a guide to social and religious mores, and a universal thread that brings together all tribes across the continent regardless of their individual differences in language and customs.
the songline,(dreamtime) is universal.
 

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"but I thought I'd drop in a few thoughts, anyway"

Gosh, blakey, this is YOUR thread, begun by YOUR thoughts, and, by rights, every post should point back to something YOU said, either originally or subsequently. When you mentioned the original inhabitants of Australia, my mind immediately leapt to their "dream time", and the unique and critically important contribution the concept of, "the dream time", might provide to the endurance and survival of an ancient culture. I suspect that Western Civilization will someday come to understand that this culture is, or was, far, far more sophisticated then we had ever previously imagined--and, in the interest of the survival of our common species, "they" very probably have more of lasting value, to give to "us", than "we" could ever conceive of giving to "them".

Your title, "DNA and ethics", continues to resonate in my pea-brain. I'm pretty sure I understand what you meant by it, yet, I tend to continually mull it over in my typical, whacked-out way....

I mean, what is DNA? At its most basic level, DNA is information, incredibly complex and ornately arranged, chemical information. If Ethics can be reasonably defined as the study and application of moral precepts and principles, than clearly, at ITS most basic level, ethics has to do with the manipulation of information, and I believe we can infer that there is a moral component, (and that "morality" may well be tied to a specific, cultural context), to this "manipulation of information".

My biggest "take away" from a long-ago, limited, study of ethics, is that sooner or later, things come down to two fundamental ethical questions that can apply to the largest and smallest human endeavors:

Does the end justify the means? Or--Do the means justify the end?

Those questions can be applied to the tension between the "traditional" and the "state of the technological art", in archery, as easily as they can be applied to a nation's view of corporate mining, or the current state of Agriculture, in my home, or yours.

I suppose, in ALL cases, it is best to take your time, and invest much care and thought into fully understanding the "end" you believe you are working toward. If the collective, cultural, "end" is to get off of this planet, as soon as possible, and to conquer the stars, then one could make a case for exploiting the earth's resources as efficiently as possible--and as ruthlessly as necessary--and the "end" will clearly justify the means.

If, on the otherhand, your collective, cultural, "end", is to inhabit a finite space in a manner that will strengthen and preserve your culture, as well as strengthen and preserve the finite space you inhabit, virtually forever, then you will quickly arrive at the conclusion that, in your culture's interest, the means justify the end. On an individual level, in fact, you will conclude that the means ARE the end--and you will tend to live lightly, very lightly, upon the earth.

I don't think there is any difficulty in figuring out which ethical perspective "the dream time" embraces and supports. Nor will I be terribly surprised if, someday, scientists discover that far more information than hair, skin, and eye-color is contained, maybe even hard-wired, in our DNA. Maybe, even an "encyclopedic knowledge", if we can find a way to access it. Is "the dream time", somehow, an important step in that direction? Does it, in some way, access a collective consciousness? Does it, in some way, impart a "universal", cultural understanding, maybe even a body of specific information, accessible, virtually, on demand? I don't know, but if true, it would explain much.....

Be well, blakey.
 
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