Before modern sanitation was invented a lot of people had worms. I learned this from the Lloyds Bank coprolite (viking turd) studied by Paleoscatologists.
Another common discovery in old faecal matter are trichuris nematodes – or whip worms – that can be found living in their hundreds inside the gut. The biggest infestation Jones ever found was 3,000 worms. These worms would have been an everyday part of people’s lives – children would pass them, people would cough them up and they’d be particularly prominent at the end of people’s lives.
You are actually just looking at bits of old excrement and, let’s face it, that is a bit odd.
We go on to talk about worms that wiggle across people’s eyes and others that cause diseases like elephantitis. Then there are pustule-headed dracunculus nematodes, that burst out of blisters. It isn’t hard to imagine how these worms could take on some primal, nightmarish significance and Jones is convinced they have influenced Celtic, iron age and Viking art.
This is indeed something from nightmares and I wonder if the origin of the dragon myths don’t possibly come from this plague of worms?
Travel – With the invention of the airplane we’re able to travel great distances in a short amount of time. In the past traveling far away (Irish diaspora etc) that meant saying goodbye to your family forever. You’d never see your home country or family again.
Indie – Means Independent.
Ancient humans were not necessarily primitive. We simply study humanity back to about the Roman empire and ancient Greece with anything before buried in some tomes that rarely see the light of day. Most people consider the time of Jesus to really be the beginning of human history but there was a lot going on before that. In our minds we think of biblical times as ancient but the human story goes back millennia and we just don’t have the records to enlighten us about what they did and who they were. I love coming across anything before the Roman empire. We’re not taught this in school and the only time it ever comes up is in archaeological discoveries or in random journals here and there.
I love it when I come across something because there is so much more to the story of humanity than we really know. It also influences my thinking of organized religion. There is so much to our history which make Jesus a relative newcomer and so each new discovery solidifies my belief that Jesus was just another profit from the Middle East and through a series of political events ended up determining what people believe today.
In fact, looking at the grandeur of their buildings I would say that religion and spirituality played much more of a central role in the ancient’s lives than it does today. Take a look at Angkor Wat, Chichen Itza or, the temples of ancient Greece and Rome and stack them up against the greatest religious cathedrals or mosques from the middle ages until now and you’ll see what I mean. Westminster Abbey, or Notre Dame, while spectacular works of art, do not hold a candle to the sprawling complex of Angkor Wat, or the various Roman or Greek temples must have looked like in their day.
What strikes me as interesting is that we have so much knowledge and technology now but the majority of the population still clings to an old belief. I wouldn’t say Christianity is ‘ancient,’ I reserve that for all that is BCE (Before the common era). I would say it is old, and it is completely made up. So here we have science, technology and real answers on one hand, and myth, superstition, and fantasy on the other. Scientists who normally are logical and use reason check those traits at the door when they enter the church on Sunday.
But there is something, and the ancients knew it. So they built incredible structures which are evidence in how much religion played a role in society. Religion and spirituality were central to the entire civilization and trying to understand the nature of reality and what all of this is, is the most noble of pursuits. Here in 2019 USA, the root of society is money and greed. This is not noble and our society has lost its way. This is evidenced by President Trump who is a perfect reflection of what society in the USA now is.
The idea of witches most likely comes from the fact that throughout most of history girls could not attend school. Instead they learned their skills from nature such as healing with herbs, ‘potions’ to drink and so on. These ‘natural arts’ then came to be seen as ‘witchcraft’ by religious fanatic men who saw them as the arts of the devil.
I forget where I read this, I think it may have come from Lapham’s Quarterly’s edition on Nature but I didn’t quote it in my list of favorites here.
Isn’t it ironic that we now have the highest levels of education for the masses in all of history yet the superstition of religion still dictates how the world is run? We are currently experiencing a revolt against science and against learning. In my opinion, part of this is due to an overwhelming amount of (mis)information. The other part is due to Capitalism and the desire to sell more by whatever means necessary. The constant selling creates mistrust and people do not know who to believe.
I for one put my ‘faith’ in science expounded upon in my next point
I’ve come to the conclusion that we really have no idea what is going on in terms of the universe and our reality. Science gives us little hints but our discoveries are little more than an infant learning to crawl when put in the context of all there is to know as a whole. Even that analogy is giving us too much credit. We think so highly of ourselves but all we have to compare ourselves to are the animals. The reality is that we do not know what is going on and it is both exciting and terrifying. Religion is a balm used to slaver over our ignorance and give us comfort in a vast, mostly empty void we do not well understand. So we invoke the idea of God to help us sleep at night when at any moment a random rock could crash into our home and wipe out our entire existence and all we ever were.
It is 7:22 AM on Sunday December 16th, 2018. It is time to give the ghost of our house its own post.
I’ve always suspected that there is a friendly ghost in this house and have written about it in this blog (links to follow). Well, this morning as I was feeding the fish a heard a small “pop” followed by a very soft fizzing sound. It was one of those noises that seemed like it could have been a usual noise that houses sometimes make but was just loud enough to draw my attention and go inspect right away.
I first checked the halogen light but that couldn’t have been it because the light wasn’t on. I still heard the low fizzing sound so then checked the baby monitor and that too was turned off. Finally I pinpointed the sound of the fizz and it was coming from the discarded battery container. A battery had exploded! Now in all my life I have never heard a battery explode and normally would have just shrugged it off due to barometric pressure as we’re expecting rain today and when it rains in California things happen. But seeing as there have been many incidents in the past as well as a frequent dimming of the chandelier over our dining table during special, angry, fun, unique times I had to ask out loud if it was our ghost who wanted to get my attention. I did not get a response.
So I went about my morning and started to meditate. During meditation the idea floated into my mind that the “ghostly incidents” of our house should be recorded in a running post. So here is that post which I’ll continually update. It will serve not only as a running list but a nod to our ghost that I hear you and you’re welcome here. Also, should you have the inclination to leave the following week’s winning lottery numbers I’ll even build you your own room.
I almost forgot to mention that there was another rare incident this morning but more of the omen type. I Peregrine Falcon landed on my fence and let me see it in all its glory. I wanted to go grab the camera but thought it best to just appreciate the moment and omen on this beautiful day.
It is also worth mentioning that the time is now 7:35 AM and the household is STILL asleep! This is very rare, so rare that I went in to check on Kai to make sure he was OK. Today, being Sunday and a day of rest he is welcome to use his iPad or do games as soon as he wakes up. This means if there is even the slightest disruption in his sleep he will be up like a shot and out into the living room. On school days he would just go back to sleep.
10.26.2018 – Motion Light turns on just as I finish up a post mentioning the ghost.
10.26.2018 – Discussion with Toy Thomas the Train. I’m home alone having some wine and the toy Thomas the Train, which is in the living room starts to talk. I respond and then it just lights up with responses and carries a conversation with me with its limited phrases:
1.4.2019 – During my morning VR Meditation session my Oculus Go suddenly switched off. That is the first time it has done that (although I haven’t had it very long) and it seems strange that it would just turn off like that. Coding glitch or our friendly ghost saying hello?
1.24.2019 – We were watching Blue Ocean II in the living room and the War Machine (Ironman) toy made suddenly started making shooting noises. Nobody was were the toys were and it continued for about 10 seconds. The second I got up to turn it off it stopped. Ghost saying hello I guess.
11.8.19 – Had been in the living room for about an hour eating lunch and talking to an old colleague on the phone. I was waiting for a family friend to drop off my son after picking him up from school. Once he arrived we had to go run a few hours. I was tired so sat in the chair and just as I had fallen asleep the Batman helicopter toy made the takeoff noise. I bet it was the ghost and that my son had just arrived. I looked out the front door and our family friend was just getting out of her car. It was certainly the ghost waking me up to let me know my son had arrived. Interesting that the sound happened at that exact moment when no toys had made any sudden noises all morning.
4.22.2020 – At 2:28 AM the toy electric guitar made noise. It was on the floor and so couldn’t have slipped and hit a button. It woke me up and I considered the fact that it could be the ghost but I wasn’t in the mood to get out of bed and go see if it would make more noise should I check on it.
6.13.2020 – At 4:30 AM
I was awoken by the sound of a British ring tone and the urge to pee. The ring tone had gone on for a while being part of my dream but then realizing it was actually coming from somewhere when I woke up. I figured it was some toy making the noise and went over to the bag of of them. Looking through the toys it beeped again to the right of me. I grabbed my phone, turned on the flashlight function and waited again expecting it to come from some toy. After I turned my flashlight on it didn’t beep anymore. That occurrence was very strange and one that I do not have an answer for. I imagine it is the ghost or a ghost letting me know it is there by “giving me a call.” The very strange thing this time however was that there was no toy for it to come from, it seemed to come out of thin air. Interesting.
This subject continues to be on my mind. This is important and something I want my descendants to understand so I thought it best to keep these thoughts in one post and perhaps one day bring them into one coherent essay.
Everything as we know it began with the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. That’s it, that’s all we know and it doesn’t get more complicated than that. Our reality, our consciousness, everything begins from that point, end of story (for now).
Religion is a man-made explanation for who/what we are and what the universe is. It was created before Man had the tools to come up with theories and explanations grounded in facts. Religion is not grounded in facts but on fantasy, *historical events, hearsay, superstition among many others.
“We’re made of star stuff” – Carl Sagan.
That makes us seem rather exotic and poetic. Another way to look at it is we’re kind of like bacteria and like all living things consume resources, excrete waste and then turn back into, take your pick, ashes, dust, star stuff, dirt. Ashes is what religion uses, dirt is glamorous, but star stuff, that is the ticket to positive thinking.
We think of ourselves as beautiful, best demonstrated by Michelangelo’s David.
But let’s take a closer – microscopic kind of close – and we’ll quickly become uncomfortable as to what we really are.
Here is an artistic visualization of what a molecule, a Kinesin Protein looks like in our bodies.
We are quickly disgusted with ourselves when looking at something like this. What exactly is going on in my body (which is also made up a good part by bacteria)?? I don’t think your average person would want to know!
So my thought? We are both incredible, wonderful beings and at the same time not much more than bacteria ourselves when really understanding our place in the universe as a whole.
Yes, religion wants us to think we’re the most important creation in all of…. creation. But the reality is we’re just a form of organic life that found its way to consciousness, have been around for a very, very brief amount of time and could be easily wiped out by a meteor, or one of many, many scary things that occur in space all the time.
This realization should not be depressing but rather the opposite! This realization has made all of the universe and everything in it the most exciting mystery and story of (literally) all time! Here we are, in a universe that just seemingly popped out of nothing. After a very long time our little brains evolve in a very teenie, tiny, inconsequential spec of the universe to try and contemplate it all. We’ve barely made it out of the age of knowing absolutely nothing except maybe how to build a fire and kill other animals.
But alas, our technology has outpaced our humanity. We now have the power to kill everyone and everything but still cannot see past the tribal and religious divisions of old. Our economic systems reward more profit and these systems pollute and corrupt. We’re killing our planet and thus ourselves. So in the end, our species might not even deserve a word, (or even letter?) in the history book currently being written about this universe, a story which began 13.8 billion years ago.
When thinking this way, daily life is seen through an interesting lens. You see all those important people doing important things? They too will turn back to dust, their deeds will be forgotten and are just part of the human bacterial species doing things. All of these things, deeds, purchases, news, scandals, idols, superstars, rises and falls of empires and so on, really are not important. It is a bacterial species on a pale blue dot running around and doing things.
So what is important? Your individual life experience is important. You have consciousness for a short period of time. Look around, travel, appreciate the sunsets, meditate, experience as much as you can. No matter how much you accumulate, or how famous you become, it all will all suddenly slip away as your consciousness is extinguished.
I’d also say being kind to others, helping them is also very important. The first important thing I mentioned was personal experience. Well, other human beings are having experience as well. They are us, we are them and we’re all one. As was quoted by the Dali Lama , if you can’t be kind to them at least don’t hurt them. And that goes for all things. Don’t kill anything, they are living things in this mysterious universe. Let them go about their business.
*Side note: My favorite is the history. Man has slowly evolved over millions of years and in those millions of years interesting history was being created. Eventually man developed the ability of speech and tribal stories were passed down through the ages. Most would have been lost before man developed the ability to write/record these stories. And most of those that were written probably didn’t survive the wars, chaos, rise and fall of empires and so on. In the Pacific Northwest the tribes spoke of a huge wave that wiped out much of the region. Science confirms there was a huge earthquake and subsequent tsunami that did wipe a lot out. So in the Bible when they talk of a flood scholars talk about the rivers flooding such as the Tirgis and Euphrates which would have flooded a big region and made people think the entire Earth was being flooded.
Now, I wonder what/when the land mass between Spain and Africa finally gave way and the Atlantic waters rushed in to create the Mediterranean Sea. What an event that must have been!! I’d like to hear the ancient stories about that (if man was even around at that time?)
October 21st, 2018
It has been a long time since I’ve done a LTMD. I thought I’d write this directly to you as this is a subject not easily spoken about with others.
This post concerns my thoughts on life, existence, the universe as a whole and our entire reality. Not a light subject but I intend to just express my viewpoints simply and clearly without going too deep into how I arrived at them all.
Here in 2018 we’ve made incredible technological advances. I say incredible because they really are in respect to the entire history of the human species where the advances tend to come in sudden bursts: Fire, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Ancient Greece, Rome, Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and now the technological revolution. We’re on the verge of creating a very impressive artificial intelligence which would be an achievement indeed.
Before we become too proud of ourselves I would say this technology is extremely primitive when compared to what is most likely out there in the universe, or indeed, perhaps technology created the universe itself? In comparison to that which is out in the universe our technology would be like us comparing our AI to a monkey using a stick as a tool, most likely even more-so.
So what are we? History and religion have told us we’re the most special creation in the universe. We are creations of an all powerful being and our design based on his image. That is the fairy tail we’ve told ourselves and that a good portion of humanity continues to tell itself.
This story is resilient even in the face of a tsunami of data and discovery that tells us otherwise. The data and discovery are coming too fast for the human species and most cannot let go of the fairy tales that have persisted for millennia. To even contemplate letting go causes fear, anxiety, and a complete removal of the solid platform we’ve stood on for so long. It as though an earthquake has hit and everyone looks for safe harbor as the ground shifts and slides beneath them.
Data and information come at such a rapid pace that many cannot decipher which is actually true or not anymore. This false information actually helped lead to the election of President Trump who is now determining the course of the world in part by using false information!
So what are we as a species? At 41 years of age I can say our physical bodies are nothing special at all. If we look our physical aspects clearly and honestly, without those special rose colored glasses we gladly borrow from religion, we’re quite possibly just an advanced form of bacteria. In fact, science now estimates that half of our cells are bacteria with the rest being human cells. Furthermore if you look at what is actually occurring at the microscopic level of our bodies it isn’t a pretty sight. Or, just open a human up and that isn’t a pretty sight either!
Then take clear your mind and take a look at our bodies. We’re a block of organic material with four appendages growing out of it and a top control growth which lets it sense its environment.
Thinking of ourselves this way is quite something isn’t it? It goes against everything we’ve ever been taught and quite frankly is despicable to us but none-the-less is true.
This organic, living object we call a body sheds, produces unpleasant odors, it consumes then excretes waste, it is easily wounded, it ages and then it dies. It is born, moves around for a while, reproduces then quickly dies. It is made of stardust and after a short time of animation becomes stardust once more.
Taking a look at the species as a whole it is extremely primitive in that it goes and kills others, just like bacteria may kill other bacteria. It comes up with ideas (religion) that tell it it is special then kills others when they don’t share this same fantasy. It believes itself to be strong when the reality is one little space rock would destroy their entire existence.
When put into a this perspective and realizing what we truly are, we are humbled and quickly reach for those safe harbors and rose colored glasses. We’ll spray perfume on ourselves to eliminate odors, apply creams, engage in endless maintenance all to try and keep our true and natural selves at bay, to keep us three steps ahead of the rest of the animal species.
In terms of survival the news tells us that we’re not smart enough to deserve to survive. We’re poisoning ourselves with carbon monoxide, polluting the oceans and in our ignorance, sometimes even willful ignorance, we speed up the end of the species.
Why do we do this? In short, the goal of humanity is profits at any and all costs. As long as we can have profits today and catastrophe something left for the distant future to deal with, humans will do it. We’re not smart enough as a species to put a stop to it. There are voices, there are technologies but we do not act in concert for the good of ourselves as a whole, only for the enrichment of the individual. And that is a shame because we could be such a good and creative bacteria that had the potential to evolve further.
Only twenty years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d need to check the air quality on a daily basis. I now do so and see San Francisco always has moderate air quality. I’m just glad my family and I live in Pacifica where the air quality should be much better; there are no air quality monitors here in Pacifica, only in SF. These particles get into the lungs and causes disease which causes death. And humanity continues to fire up its cars, its factories, and the slow poisoning of our species continues.
I imagine a student reading this a hundred years from now thinking how stupid we are, just as we look at past societies and fault them for the bonehead things they did.
Unfortunately, now we’re entering a very dangerous phase of our existence. The world is still divided into massive tribes of people, which we call countries. They share DNA, language, history and are in constant competition with the other tribes across the world. They always fight and kill each other, then it dies down, then they fight and kill each other again. The danger lies in technology becoming too efficient at the killing and it could be one tribe has the power to completely destroy another tribe. We’ve got nukes now which is bad enough but there is also engineered disease, microbots and a plethora of others that so far remain in science fiction but most likely already exist in government labs.
We’ll create some world ending horror, there will then either be an accident or it is released on purpose and that is it. We’re just not smart enough as a species to handle the terrible, technological advances that are coming.
The only quality we have which I hope will save us from this very depressing realization about our bodies not being special is our minds. Is it something more than just billions of interconnected neurons sending energy to each other? Does consciousness persist after bodily death? Science tells us everything we observe at the smallest scale is simply made up of energy. What does that mean for us, consciousness and reality as a whole? I wish someone would tell me the true answer, not the made up stories most of humanity seems so eager to tell and spread. Spread the Word, spread a virus, it is the only way either continues and thrives. Both are damaging to humanity.
So many questions. It would be so simple just to pop down to the church. Someone would read all my questions and say the answer is so simple, the answer is Jesus! Uh huh. Best to keep these thoughts to my journal, read more and pay attention to when NASA and science in general discovers something new. If I want fantasy I’ll go play Zelda.
This subject has been on my mind for a while. Here is another post I wrote along the same lines. I wanted to put it here so I have both in the same place.
Considering the Human
Recently I’ve been doing an exercise in considering the human from an alien point of view. That sounds very strange to say doesn’t it? One more random blog where the author has gone off the rails. But this is not so strange considering I got the idea from scientists Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Michko Kaku. From Mr. DeGrasse it is that we are made of star stuff and from Mr. Kaku when he says that if aliens visited us they might merely brush us off as we do with forest animals. I thought about this quite a bit and then a statement from Jamie Lannister on Game of Thrones drove it home. He says “It’s a strange thing, the first time you cut a man. You realize we’re nothing but sacks of meat and blood and some bone to keep it all standing.”
And so I considered these thoughts and the more I thought about them the stranger the human form began to seem. We’re organic beings with a torso with two appendages to move it around, two further appendages to grasp things and a roundish thing on top which contains structures to sense its surroundings,hi a whole to take in fuel and a brain to give it instructions. This body, this thing moves around, consumes, creates waste, secretes liquids, has odor and joins with others to reproduce, kills and eventually dies and becomes dirt.
This living thing, being the smartest of all the other creations on its planet, thinks it is highly intelligent. So intelligent in fact that its form is made in the image of a ‘divine’ being, the creator of everything, and this creator whom they call God is entirely concerned with their own well-being.
I then took a hard look at my fellow humans and what do I see? I see a species that poisons its own environment, that kills others just like it, and many of which live a life of such depravity that I wonder if it wouldn’t be best if a meteor were to strike and just end it all before we do it to ourselves with the poison we spread and the nuclear war that continually hangs over our head. I just read in the news that Russia has created a nuclear device that would poison thousands of miles so much so that it couldn’t be inhabited for generations. And we consider ourselves intelligent? The most powerful grouping of us, which we call a nation has recently elected a leader who seems hell bent on speeding up the decline of our species and instead of being intelligent enough to stop it, a good many of them continue to support very destructive policies. It seems to me that we are less than forest animals as they do not actively seek out their own destruction.
We go about our days trying to separate ourselves from the animals species we are. We take daily showers to remove the odor and apply chemicals which pleases the other organic beings. We groom ourselves keeping the growths of hair and nails in check, the women apply paint to their faces and wear uncomfortable shoes which disfigure their feet. We make so many modifications to our natural form all in a vain attempt to suppress what we naturally are.
Yes, looking at the human from this point of view really brings us down from those very high pedestals on top of which we place ourselves.
Many of us refuse to believe in evolution, in global warming, in things that are so obvious to the more intelligent all while falling back on the belief that we are divine, that is to say greater, than everything else that could be out there in the universe. How silly, how insane!
And now we find ourselves at a very big crossroads in how we will evolve as a species. We’re on the verge of creating artificial intelligence which won’t have the delusion of religion and see us for what we truly are. The ones who point out the dangers are few while the many rush headlong into something that could and probably will destroy us all for profits, so that they can buy more material goods which they don’t need. We’re not smart enough to control what AI will become, the chase for profits have blinded the reality that it will probably be our destruction.
It is depressing to see humanity from this viewpoint. What were once romantic love stories that fill the breast with passion become nothing more than a dog humping a person’s leg. The daily hum of activity nothing more than bacteria moving around under a microscope. Thriller movies lose their thrill and all that is seen is a bacteria running around eliminating other bacteria.
The only hope in all of this is the mind and the consciousness from which it springs? I grasp to the hope that it lives on, that it is something divine. Being a human and seeing what humans do to each other and the planet certainly is not divine. I watch video clips telling me about biocentrism which is the idea that the mind is what creates the universe and not the other way around. Only then can I have any hope that we are something greater than a torso with appendages and a control center up top.
The artists create forms like the Michelangelo and make the body seem beautiful. The guys locker room paints a much different picture. I do see kindness from time to time and acts which would suggest a life of ‘grace,’ of something worthy of the divine. But those acts seem to occur less and less as we fade from the world into a digital reality, into our phone screens and iPads. I see humans busying themselves with pointless tasks and activities until the body can produce no further energy and the being simply ceases to exist.
It is time that humanity as a whole looked itself in the mirror and realized what it actually is from a rational and scientific perspective. We should focus more on the mind and of our consciousness as it is our only hope of keeping us from despair and the death that comes to all organic beings. But, there are sports games and T.V. shows to be watched. There are more things to buy which will never fill that gaping hole and satiate our desires. It is all very depressing indeed.