THE TIME FALLING BODIES TAKE TO LIGHT: Mythology, Sexuality' and the Origins of Culture by William…
Heady stuff: a virorous, venturesome essay with enough ideas in it for a hundred seminars. Thompson, who is founding…
Thompson the author, goes through this whole spiel about how first there were these hunter/gatherers. And they were basically equal, complimenting each other’s skill sets. Then, ice age or something happened and the hunters (men) lose out and the gatherers (women) gain the upper hand sort of accidentally and they accidentally discover gardening. So they start cultivating certain plants close to home. They get better and better at it, until they gain surpluses- not a whole lot mind you. How do they store the surpluses? Pottery, so Says Thompson. Once the women get all this pottery full of grains and other stuff, I guess, that’s when the men become relevant again. They start protecting all the stuff.
Now, I’m not really into prehistoric stuff, and really found this book to be super bizarre. But it was recommended to me, several times by a friend who told me it was the best explanation he had ever come across as to why women and men seem to be perpetually at war with one another. I found the theories the author presented around that to be pretty interesting, mainly because they are unlike anything ever discussed, but if you think about it, you say well damn! That actually makes a lot of sense and just might be true!
For example, he talks about sex from an evolutionary perspective, and how from that perspective, sex makes men violent and angry. Why? Because in the primate kingdom (which is most closely related to human kind) males have to fight to mate, and could get killed. So, he’s like human males (related to primates) have similar anxieties about sex (that it could get them killed) buried deep in the base of their brain stem. I guess. It’s been a while since I read this book, but really interesting and bizarre theories contained therein.
He does a lot with mythology and tries to tie it to a speculative history. I didn’t find that part of the book all that interesting, but he traces small communal matriarchies to big civilizations (that have all that kind of stuff you mention , irrigation, husbandry, complex accounting, police departments, religions), via mythology. According to him, myths tell the story of how we moved from matriarchy to patriarchy. He points out that men figured out they had a role in reproduction by breeding animals, prior to that they were sort of clueless, thought it was all up to the woman, and that is how the women were able to be in power- they had the power — the power to bring forth life and men were raised to worship/ be in awe of that.
But once men figured out they too, had some skin in the reproduction game — it was on and popping! Patriarchy ruled the world!
Kinda makes sense…especially when you consider the psychotic fascination many men seem to have regarding control of women’s reproductive functions. The way I see it, it’s just not that serious. Why does anyone need to be all up in anyone else’s reproductive business????
Unless, (and here we go back to the deep base of the brain stem again) being in control of the reproduction functions is seen as a major source of power. If in early human history, women had the upper hand because of their perceived power over reproduction, then it makes sense that once men gained some control over the reproductive function, they would fight like hell to keep it. It’s really the only explanation that makes any friggin sense to me…no I am not buying the whole “abortion is murder” b.s. Millions of babies are murdered ever damn day, and most people could care less, even when Trump whines and acts like it’s a problem.
So, when I read this book, looking for an explanation as to why men and women go round and round in the same old circles about sex, rape, babies, abortion, love, marriage, war etc, the book really connects a lot of dots by proposing ideas regarding what was happening prior to civilization and the sorts of things that occurred via evolution. Like humans don’t, unlike animals, go into heat. Humans can have sex anytime and Thompson suggests that this is an evolutionary defect, that makes humans sexually dysfunctional. He posits sex has to have an on and off button- and if it doesn’t then, you have people doing all sorts of bizarre sexual stuff, because they are just trying to Game their biological systems for sexual pleasure and not use it for what it is meant for -basic reproduction. This gaming of the system causes all kinds of problems between men and women, but I’m not really explaining that well. Like I said, it’s a pretty bizarre but really interesting book, if you can wade through all the bizarre mythology, and check out the theories.