From Cannibalism to Capitalism to Transcendence

Source. Pexels. Being the Traveller.

Inquiry by LJ Frank





The momentum of human evolution and progress has staccato like rhythms composed in the soil of struggle. Enlightened at times and in other times disturbing and dark. The rhythms are connected to tribe, culture, nature, and the human imagination. To compare and measure technological growth with human awareness and compassion one must consider the physical, emotional, and spiritual entanglements strewn across the human landscape.

We are an ambiguous mixture of ingredients. The most ancient of humans were cannibals as revealed in archaeological digs where the bones of people displayed the gnawing made by the teeth of other humans- that evolution extends up to the twenty-first century in unsettling shapes. Humans devoured their competitors and enemies in ancient times, which included the brain…not for food so much as for a supernatural benefit. It’s theorized that the benefit was as if one were ingesting the soul of another to enhance one’s own spirit in Paleolithic humans. It was not unlike a sacred allegory. One paleolithic skeleton retained crucifixion like markings.

The implication was a communion – body and blood…and as if by magic your soul would gain strength with expansive rewards including salvation. And for some believers of wealth, it was like a revelation where one would be resurrected after death, and find themselves on streets paved with gold singing eternal choruses of alleluia to their God. The religion-based scenarios were varied and open to interpretations but salvation from this brutal existence was central to the belief. Rituals were introduced to reinforce the sacred nature of belief.

And the etchings in the bones of our ancestors have been replaced with the gnawing on increasingly displaced souls by the very people who have more than they personally need to survive and live comfortably in their present existence. And, where and how do the healers of souls truly live? The quest becomes entangled.

Though our technologies have improved immensely, including those of war, human greed remains genetically and learnedly unchanged. In a refrain of our cannibalism in the guise of capitalism we exploit and devour our resources and each other for the want of the illusory inner satiability and salvation. Think of today’s corporations as an individual, merging and metaphorically eating another for that sake of an insatiable appetite. Riches are made off the suffering of others.  

It’s rather easy to become disenfranchised, virtual celebrityhood aside. Voyeurism has its appeal in an increasingly exhibitionistic society for the want of affirmation and exploitation. Am I supposed to be happy for you with your material gain at my expense? Was not the playwright and poet, Bertolt Brecht correct when he asked, Who Built the Seven Gates of Thebes…the books are filled with the names of kings. How many needless deaths are caused by the human blood lust to make room for those clawing their way to the pinnacle of power and wealth?

Capitalism is the transformation of cannibalism in a more accommodating, presentable, and appetizing form, while exhibiting what most people will not achieve…regardless of marketing strategies. Where is the higher good?  Where is the compassionate soul? Can the modern brain overcome the genetics and learned behavior of selfishness? How does one transcend greed and pride without transcending capitalism and its cannibalistic ancestry?

Perhaps that which can aid Man to transcend his own vanity and futility, is that which he himself cannot provide. It is called a…miracle.