From One Lunatic To Another… ;)

A semi-serious look at the lunar cycle and expressions of human nature…

In the context of this blog, it seems inappropriate to start this article with the dictionary definition of lunacy. I’m pretty sure everyone reading this will already be aware, and probably have spent much time subsequently, developing their own opinions on the subject! So let’s just jump right in…

Giles sat on ESB [unfinished circa 2004]

Giles with his own lunacy! Sat on his sculpture, ESB (unfinished) circa 2004

For instance, Chuck Lorre can be quoted saying that we are all descended from a race of beings that went completely insane over 10,000 years ago! Though clearly tongue-in-cheek, he is referring to the time when we started to transition from being mere hunter-gatherers living on our wits and our adrenaline, with minimal tools and built constructions, to an agrarian-based culture.

You may be wondering what the relevance is. Well the connection is simple: to a hunter-gatherer, the moon always represented a very useful light source and a means of measuring the days & seasons of the yearly calendar. And though we may have radically changed our lifestyles and surroundings since: we have actually changed ourselves very little from the hunter-gatherers we used to be. Our instincts and our nature or psyche, have evolved and changed very little over that relatively short blip in time…

So in these very real senses, the waxing and waning of the moon has always been, and still is, a significant and intrinsic part of humanity’s existence. Hence it isn’t difficult to understand why we may witness abnormal extremes of behaviour that we loosely associate with a full moon.

Hunting & conflict were always precarious tasks, and by their very nature, violent acts. Enabled by the light of the full moons, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think there would have been a cyclical pattern to any nocturnal activities. Nocturnal hunting may not have been the majority provider – but during lean times when the significance of any food source was heightened, I can imagine groups of humans avidly awaiting the fullness of the moon to be able to better nourish themselves; and surely rallying the associated violent traits in an effort to sustain themselves physically & spiritually, through the cold nights of hunting or conflict.

Similarly full moons provided longer days with light for extended social or visceral activities: celebrations, ritual combat, etc. Times when people were positively encouraged to express themselves – and allowances made for excess! We can still see the evidence in much of our culture today. Many religious festivals were purposefully placed in the calendar to directly replace their pagan forebears, which had followed the lunar cycle…

So next time you find yourself losing sleep and barking at the moon, or watching a fellow human struggling to contain his/her emotions, or another’s seeming excess – all drenched in lunar light: just remember that all expression is influenced by our deeply entrenched human nature & instincts, which have been molded by over 2,000,000 years of human evolution & culture to “ACT-UP” for the full moon!

Giles Wright, The Sculptor.
© Copyright July 2015

Footnote for fun:

Coming back to Chuck Lorre’s comment briefly – it really is a rational perspective..!

Imagine you are living the hard & strenuous life of a hunter-gatherer. The whole idea of farming/growing your own produce has yet to be thought of, let alone tried by anyone or any tribal group you know of. Food is always rationed by the seasons and your ability to find it. Whenever possible, you and your tribal group try to create food stores for the times when your supplies are not as abundant. Dried and salted meats, herbs, fruits, berries, pulses and seeds etc…

So imagine your horror on arriving back at your camp, or your cave one day – only to find that “little Johnny” has got it into his head that there might be some benefit to re-burying most of the seeds your tribal group has spent the last month collecting and storing for the fast approaching winter..!

I think in that situation there is every chance that “little Johnny” could find his credibility and even his sanity, well and truly questioned by his fellow tribesfolk. Indeed, I don’t even think it far-fetched to presume that more than a few “little Johnny’s” were killed by their own tribes, and many experiments disrupted; before the technique of planting seeds was shown/proven to be of any benefit to mankind.

From which we can draw 2 conclusions:
a) scientific experimentation can be useful – but don’t get too original, or you may get dead, or classified (not sure which is worse yet!)…
b) Chuck Lorre was right – our fore-fathers all went completely insane roughly 10,000 years ago…

…and some of us still question if the cure has worked yet..!! 😛

 

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