My Lady Of The Caves

By Eric Le Roy

Content 18+ In my compulsive search for new and entertaining stuff to read, I came across an article about a 75,000 year old skull found somewhere in Iraq. Turns out it was that of a Neanderthal woman, and from the fragments, the paleontologists’ enhancement specialists were able to recreate an approximate facial likeness. It looks pretty convincing to me.

Most people don’t know this, but there was not a single human prototype back ‘in the day’ (about 6 million years ago, by many estimates). In fact, there were several, and it was the homo sapien version which emerged victorious. The losers in this battle for human supremacy were the Neanderthals. So, unlike the debate that raged among the rank-and-file when I was little, there was no ‘missing link’ to speak of, no bright and sunny day when the momma gorilla, instead of giving birth to a litter of little gorillas, squeezed out a guy that looked like a miniature Popeye the Sailor.

No. Not a couple of naked rich kids just back from the beach: Surfer Sam and Sexy Sadie ready for the nude photo shoot. Nope. Don’t think so. Many of the people I know who are atheists intellectually and Christians at heart (often this kind of ambivalent ‘pilgrim’ will drift toward Buddhism, unitarianism, or some other transcendental template) manage to rationalize the Book of Genesis as a kind of psychological thriller in which the Innocent enter the World of Experience, and I confess to being attracted to the idea. In other words, The Fall occurred, not when a talking snake seduced the ‘weak’ woman into eating the apple and she in turn – in her devious female way – convinced the poor sap Adam to snap off a couple of bites himself, thus provoking God the Bouncer to toss them from the Club. It means that, at a certain point, the human animal developed not only the already present will and power to act, but also to reflect on that action or those actions – the Beginning of Guilt – to put them into memory, to refine them, and ultimately to create the kind of science which we now smugly dismiss as ‘mythology’.

I think it happened that way. As slowly as water smoothing stone, but just as decisively, the human mind became less and less rough and more and more a polished instrument. We reached the point where we could no longer take a shit in the field without feeling vaguely ashamed of it. And we have been in denial ever since.

What you see above is the modern face of the scientist nose to nose with the countenance of the 75,000 year old woman, and, although strikingly opposite at first, it doesn’t take long to imagine them having some sort of friendly conversation. Be that as it may what we do know is that Neanderthal civilization was not like “The Flintstones” – and that this popular image as seen below —--

—--- is just more of the Missionary’s bullshiit. Now I am not saying that tea time with the Neanderthals was a neat social affair where scones were served with jam and clotted cream and lips carefully dabbed with napkins. Probably these folks could be as rowdy as a bunch of drunken Tennessee rednecks brawling in a honkytonk on Saturday night.

But neither were they stupid. Their brains (it has been proven) were just the same as ours, and no doubt they had as many rituals. Mating, War, Death and Birth – all of these perennial experiences would have been factored in. Seeking understanding, they began to do what any intelligent person lacking the advantages of modern science would do. They invented a narrative. Throw in a few gods and you have a hell of a story.

If YOU were blind and had never been told otherwise, and suddenly your eyes opened and you saw a sunrise or sunset, and you didn’t think it was a god or cluster of gods, you’d be a damned fool. And if you currently believe that a dollar bill is anything more than a piece of paper to whom we have conferred mythical and magical powers, you are still a damned fool.

Here is Homo Erectus (1.8 million years ago)

Here is the Neanderthal

Homo Floresiensis

Homo Sapien

Are we getting close?

My purpose here is manifold. For starters, as I look around me and see how things have changed since my early boyhood, I am aware that none of this happened, as they say, ‘overnight’. It’s not like one day there were typewriters and telephone booths and black-and- white TVs and great big Buicks and Pontiacs and switchboard operators – and the next day there were microwave ovens and smartphones and computers and algorithms and automated voices from ‘bots’. Our human rocket ship has in fact mostly resembled a pair of old shoes, and before that only a couple of feet just beginning to lose their fur.

It has all happened gradually, like generations slowly dying out and others being born. Life and death, mythology and science, humans and robots – it all blends together. In school we learn about the the Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, the Classical Period, the Medieval (Dark) Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, the Technological Revolution, the Information Age, the Digital Age – and, guess what? NOBODY woke up on a fine summer morning and, like exchanging a moldy slice of bread for a fresher one, cried, “Well I’m buggered if it’s not the Renaissance !! Right outside my window! And just yesterday it was the Dark Ages!”

It never happens like that and we all know it. So the earliest hominids simply became and became and became and became until they started looking like THIS:

And this:

I don’t know about you but I don’t see a hell of a lot of difference between these guys and the people of long ago, except that the cave people didn’t look as goofy. In fact the Neanderthal woman looks better, even more human. It seems to me that she has a rather pensive, hospitable and vulnerable face.

So can it be that our present day ‘sophistication’, ‘branded’ personal effects and carefully contrived images prove that we are monumentally advanced? It would at first appear so. I mean, how many ‘Apps’ do we have on our phones now? And how many buttons which, when pressed, actually live our lives for us? That’s pretty cool, huh? However, if you watch the behavior of modern humans long enough you will likely see patterns – some of them disturbing patterns – emerge. In fact, it has become a viable science that we can, in most cases, predict human behavior to a finite and highly exacting degree.

Isn’t that what Big Data and the implacable intrusion of Marketing techniques are all about? Isn’t that why companies who are thinking of hiring you will sneak a long look at your Facebook and Instagram page to find out if you drink or smoke or where you like to go when your Shadow takes control for a few hours? Don’t Sociologists make a living predicting social outcomes involving large groups of people? Has it not been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that all white people are intrinsically racist?.

Isn’t that why we speak of the ‘life cycle’, the ‘grief cycle’ (how we move through the stages of recovery when a loved one dies) and listen to our ‘biological clocks’ while we stand admonished for bad habits betrayed by our ‘carbon footprint’ ? If human behavior were not predictable – utterly predictable – on a grand scale, then our systems couldn’t function.

Idealistic souls bitch about ‘stereotyping’ and ‘profiling’ – but don’t we secretly know that this is the way the world operates? If you don’t believe me, show up at your next job interview drunk and in your underwear. They’ll conclude that you aren’t a ‘suitable candidate’ even if your name is Jesus Christ. And if you tell them that’s your name, they’ll know for sure that you are crazy, just like the good people back in Roman times knew a nutter when they saw one, right?. The cops get a lot of flak, but don’t you know that they have to understand how criminals think in order to catch a criminal? In fact, the only people whose outer demeanor produces false expectations are psychopaths.

Even worse, I have long been aware of the Pied Piper mentality of people. Have you ever noticed how certain words and styles will catch fire and ‘go viral’ and the next thing you know, everybody is saying it and doing it? Ahem ! – what I am about to tell you will make me unpopular, but did any of you notice how, a few decades ago, everybody in America started remembering that they had been ‘abused’ when they were kids? Then with #MeToo, scores of women suddenly recalled how, 30 years ago, some guy ‘sexually assaulted’ them?

Do you really think ALL of those people were abused and molested and assaulted and raped? Some were of course. But for many, like the well-established psychological science involving ‘false memories’ (when we develop detailed memories about things that never happened), it was the power of suggestion that they bought into. In short, most of them were imagining it (and that’s why I said that this opinion would make me unpopular.) Some were hoping for a stack of Danegeld.

Back in the 1950s, Joseph McCarthy decided that there were ‘communists’ everywhere – hiding under our beds even. In the 1970s, English football hooliganism reached such a level of destruction that English fans were banned from Europe.

And was America crawling with communists? And why did English hooligans feel that they had to get drunk, beat people up, and destroy property – when back at work at the factory in Manchester they were as passive as lambs, nothing more dull, dismal working class robotniks staring out the window at the endless rain? Why is there such a thing as ‘Thug’ culture? “Corporate ‘culture’?

Indeed, it seems that people, not just individually but collectively as well, go through ‘phases.’ Many in our history have either passed or simmered down. So why did they start in the first place? Why do we still have active phrases such as “witch hunt’ in our language? Why did a nation of cultured people (the Germans) become either active or passive Nazis? Didn’t most of them KNOW BETTER? Why do soldiers of all nationalities turn into rapists and murderers when they go marauding into foreign villages during wartime and gangbang the ladies and machine gun the gentlemen?

Well, there is a very good reason for that. WE ARE ANIMALS. And That would be fine if we just followed some kind of ‘Instinct Manual’. But Nooooo!! We have to fuck things up further with our kinky fucking EGOs. Prehistoric voices still sound inside us along deep primordial rivers, and this is probably why office workers need an adrenaline rush’. But they deny it. It’s because there are no real tigers chasing them, and so they have to invent imaginary ones. BUT THEY DENY IT. And it’s also why people love to laugh (nervously, deep down) at jokes about toilet activities and sex. It’s because shitting and fucking are the unapologetic pastimes of other animals. It’s why our mouths water at the sight of the delicious steak at our table but recoil from thoughts of the stockyard. We THINK we are better because our egos insist on our supremacy. Everything else we DENY.

It is the insatiable EGO of the modern homo sapien that separates us – and this self-important ‘right’ we feel for self-gratification at all costs – from all the other creatures, and this is the very basis of our flimsy and probably doomed narrative. We live our lives in a tinkerbell animation reel unfolding in a glass bowl that we call civilization. And we would NEVER do all the savage things that our distant ancestors did…Until We Do.

Little by little, without really noticing that anything much was changing, the Neanderthal lived, and then, ousted by the homo sapien, faded away. WE are homo sapien. We are the Victors.

But old loves die hard. I guarantee you, if we invited that Neanderthal woman to our country club and over to the mansion for dinner, in a matter of time she’d be just like us. Liza Doolittle from the cavern.

And if we accepted her invitation to dine on raw meat in her cave, it wouldn’t be long before we were squatting down right beside her, blood dripping from our mouths, and thinking that she wasn’t so bad-looking after all.