As species go, we, the apes with brains, are pathetic. Talk about squandering sentience! Here we are, supposedly blessed with awareness, innovation, the ability to think outside the box, the power to create art and music, and what do we do with all this advantage? Oh my fucking GOD (which I don't believe in, but it makes a great oath of exasperation), do I have some outrage to unleash on all you morons who have an opposing thumb stuck up your ass! (Yes, this applies, in varying degrees to me also, so don't feel special)
First big fucking mistake we made was wondering where we came from, as though our mother's vagina wasn't philosophically deep enough. Being the social pack animals that we are, only not as elegant at it as wolves, we decided there must have been some really BIG Kahona who made us and everything around us, and that if we didn't tuck our proverbial tails between our legs and somehow appease this big bad-ass, we wouldn't be left any scraps from the cosmic kill. Now, idiocy craves company, so when enough Cro-Magnon's with enough muscle mass to carry the bigger clubs decided EVERYBODY had to whine and whimper at the feet of some invisible Chieftain, it became a required cultural event, not an optional behavioral trait possessed exclusively by people with vivid imaginations and little to exercise them with. It's been downhill ever since. So, you create a need, then don the funny headdresses and fancy robes, and become the arbiters of cosmic truth, acquiring wealth and power while you're at it, because, after all, you have a membership that requires snowing and who snows better than a priest? Now, let's not confuse priests with the shamans whose territories they had to move in on. Shamans were simply those learned individuals who knew how cruel yet bountiful nature could be, and knew the ins and outs of gleaning good results, like survival, out of their hard earned knowledge, which they came by courtesy of PAYING FUCKING ATTENTION! Priests, on the other hand, just made their shit up on the fly; whatever it took to make them and whatever God-head they could conjure up look good, or at least scary. Scary almost always works when all else fails.
So, while fighting over whose God was THE God, mankind put his intellect to other good uses, like failing utterly to curb their natural tendencies to be aggressive, greedy, and breed like rabbits no matter the ability to feed all these hungry, demanding mouths. The measure of success for any civilization back in those days was how many people actually got fed as opposed to starving to death. Now, the hard way was to grow and/or hunt your own food, in whatever quantity was needed to support your village or town or kingdom. Trouble was, man was always MUCH better at TAKING something he wanted or needed than he was at actually producing that stuff himself. That's where our next great accomplishment came to the forefront.........WARFARE.
As dumb as waging war seems on the surface, it ranks barely below such population control measures as famine, natural disasters, and disease. When it comes to offspring, as far as mankind is concerned, it's the more, the merrier. More people meant more farmers, slaves, and not least of all, warriors. The more warriors you got, the less of the others you need, but the more you get of the things they produce. Armies also have the added benefit of enforcing the will of whoever happens to speak for God at that moment. Aside from claims in certain ancient texts to the contrary, these Gods never seemed able to express their will to the masses themselves; they always seemed to need a middleman to do that for them. Matter of fact, it was the need to put these worshipping the right dude rules in stone that probably led to the development of written language, something until then was the purview of the oral tradition of passing knowledge down via the elders. Way back then, elders where truly respected due to the fact that they had learned all the genuine rules of survival and proved it merely by surviving. "How old are you?" "Oh, this would be my 60th season so far..." "DAMN you're good!"
To give you an idea why priests replacing shaman's, who were usually the elders, was such a bad idea, here are two perspectives on how to feed one's self.
Person asks Shaman, "Oh great Sir, how do we feed our village?" Shaman says to person, "Well, person, you look in this fruit, there are these things called seeds. You take these seeds, you dig a hole in the ground, put in the seed, and cover it up. Seed needs water just like you, so you go get water and wet that ground around the seed, and next thing you know, you have a fruit tree. Give it some time, some water, and you'll have you some fruit."
Of course, person asks priest, and what does he get? "Son, you must come to this alter each day right before the sun rises, and bring a fresh kill, something delicious with garlic, and some grain, and some beer if you got that. You bring it and put it on the alter, and offer it to GOD, begging him to bring you and your family lots of food. Then leave. Don't take the sacrifice; I'll see to it that GOD gets it. Then if you get more food, well, fine. If not, then you didn't do it right, and will have to come back and do it again till you DO get it right, or starve to death. Me, I don't care one way or the other; I'll get my cut...."
History has proven that having a brain doesn't count for much if you don't know how to use it. You would think a brain would KNOW how to use itself, but sadly, it's not so simple as that. I think the more developed amongst us would agree that a willingness to learn from our experiences as well as having an ability to question and arrive at logical conclusions certainly comes in handy in the long run. Education, that wonderful thing we rely on to try and share our collected knowledge, is actually pretty worthless if we don't actually put it to use. That huge chunk of change many young Americans are spending on a college "education" for the most part seems to have been totally wasted if you actually notice what these people are doing with their thought processes. I only need point you at our esteemed President, George "Dubya" Bush, to prove that being taught, and actually learning, are two different things entirely. Plus the fact that Americans not only once, but TWICE, mind you, elected this person to the most powerful position in the known world, goes to prove that common sense and logical thinking are in short supply, at least in this corner of the world.
So, you might ask, am I proposing that I am so evolved, so intelligent, so aware in the right way that I am in any way superior to your average homo-sapiens, having pointed out so many flaws in my species? Hell no. I can assure you, my friend, that if I WAS superior, in just about any category that defines sentience, I would not be stuck here at this computer writing crap like this, accomplishing nothing, and not improving mankind's lot or my own by any measurable degree.
I'd have found a way off this rock.
This is nothing but an insane asylum, and I suffer the delusion that I personally do not belong here with the rest of you nut-cases.