"METAPHYSICS: A Branch of Philosophy That Deals With 'First Cause' and 'The Nature of Being'"



Given the suspicions instinct had instilled, we can imagine the difficulty in accepting a stranger as someone we might have something in common with. Those initial, crude social exchanges however, demonstrated a willingness to lower some long held barriers, if guardedly and briefly at first, to exercise interactions of mutual benefit. As is obvious to this day, trading did not––nor should we believe it was meant to––replace the practice of just taking what you wanted, but did represent a considerable improvement in the life span of those willing to forego hostilities as the only rule of encounter. These interactions, as we will see, eventually lead to more wide spread trade as well as the expansion of the clan / group unit, into tribes of families with shared interests and beliefs. Sharing in fact, was an integral part of these early efforts at socialization.

During their seasonal migrations our nomadic forebears would find ample opportunity to be suspicious of, but also learn from and share with, people that don’t act the same way or speak the same language they do. The tribulations of coming to terms with that was at once both challenging and transforming. First encounters would be entered upon at different levels of intensity depending on the desired or expected outcome. For instance, if it seemed reasonable and beneficial to dominate or control the situation, that stance was quickly assumed, if necessary, fought for and either won or lost. This would result in, of course, a “pecking order” whose observation would be expected at any future meeting of the same two groups, unless otherwise challenged. On the other hand, meeting a group of apparent equal size and strength, might afford an opportunity to awkwardly explore the possibility of a “level playing field”. If those encountered felt the same, fair exchanges might ensue, unless the precarious balance be upset by some infraction of behavior, intended or otherwise, that made one or the other feel slighted in front of his followers, in which case; “all bets were off” while they proceeded to clear up any perceived misconception about a weakness in the other’s camp. If for no other reason, following this prescribed path of growth opened doors that would promote, if not demand, putting values on things, motivating these earliest travelers to look at their way of life differently than ever before.

Our sphere of influence was expanding. As a result, our behavior adapted to a degree of flexibility that might better meet the needs of a rapidly changing world. Everything we knew, and assumed was static, would take on new meaning––and value––when viewed through the eyes of those who were not only unfamiliar with it, but by not taking it for granted, might find it strangely curious or even desirable. While possessions were still regarded largely as status, the notion that trading was less hazardous than fighting was beginning to gain a broader acceptance. Sadly, as is obvious, bartering never has deposed stealing and / or fighting altogether because now, as it was then, if the stakes are high enough “any means necessary” remained the rule. Limited though its first tentative steps were, this harbinger of commerce set the stage for the next leap of the imagination.

Remember, to begin with, the lifestyle of our bedouin-like ancestors, especially those first to embark on that life changing path, imposed limits on how much could be carried to support their daily needs of food and shelter. Trade opportunities among the tribes who followed the migrations and seasonal changes of the varied food sources they relied on were, early on, infrequent at best. Although experience had made the random encounters of these wandering hunters something to be anticipated, one could not know with any certainty when paths might cross and the next opportunity present itself. Trading goods and material were proving more beneficial than any could have possibly guessed. It would appear, with the 20 / 20 vision of hindsight, that solutions to dilemmas follow very closely behind the need, however, the fact has always been, (this Truism’s basis will be made all too obvious sooner than later) that when a need arises, it does so because the solution that will benefit it most, is already at hand. So it was that almost concurrently, two widely separate but accepted aspects of their lifestyle, took on added meaning when viewed as solutions to the singular need of carrying a surplus of provisions to trade and barter with, if given the chance.

The routines of our forebear’s day to day lifestyle, as with any other common behavior, represented generations of trial and error shaping, adapting and influence whose origins stretched back beyond tribal memory. Though ever in a state of flux, because adaptation is ongoing, the practices that might be accepted as the norm, at any given time, rarely resemble or for that matter serve the same purpose as, the thoughts and actions of which they are only a remote vestige of. For example, aside from the comfortable companionship of the long familiar canines we welcomed into our midst millennia earlier, our relationship with the animals we hunted, or competed with for prey, was based solely on survival; i.e. food and shelter. Somewhere in antiquity however, tribes would have found themselves approaching, even collecting and holding, the more docile members of the herds they followed in order to keep their supply closer at hand, hence less trouble and hazardous to take advantage of when needed. Of those numbers, some would come to accept a degree of familiarity from humans, akin perhaps to a dominant male of their own kind. Many of these “live stock” proved an additional benefit by providing various forms of sustenance, i.e. milk and milk products, or in harder times food and clothing. Collectively this precursor to husbandry would come to be called domestication. Who’s to say how agonizingly long it must have taken, during the chore of shepherding their assembled acquisition, until a tribal member lifted the load they had been personally responsible for carrying most of their life, onto the back of one of those animals? Voila´, beasts of burden. A leap of imagination or an act of desperation? Divine inspiration is not accountable to its manifestation, only vice versa. Suddenly, many more things could be acquired and carried. They could take advantage of this curious new act of trading heretofore only dabbled in, for lack of supply. They could move faster and farther. Life as they knew it, had ceased to exist! They had turned a corner on their path. Many new doors of options and opportunities opened ahead of them.

Another behavior whose origins are every bit as obscure, and no doubt older still than domesticating animals, also found its influence and popularity enhanced by the travel and trade, eventually afforded by pack animals. Keeping in mind the priority that instinct placed on procreation, it’s not surprising that personal adornment developed so early and found such varied expression. Witnessing the world around them as they must have, obviously influenced these early progenitors about how the nature of things, especially attracting a suitable mate, demonstrated improved odds if the object of their desire’s attention could be caught and held, captivated if you will, long enough for them to cast their “spell”. All those who were seen to be successful in doing so, stood out among their peers for one or more reasons. The most relied upon method of being more attractive began simply enough by exaggerating existing attributes. For example, using objects fought for, such as relics of a kill, to create pieces to be worn as a statement of prowess, was a practice of the hunter or warrior. This was evidence of a good provider and protector, enough so to make him desirable. Since the males always seemed to be preoccupied with dominance or (in the case of those who couldn’t dominate) exaggeration, it would take some creative imagination to get their attention onto more desirous paths. Personal ornamentation was the perfect fit for everyone who, on the surface anyhow, lacked attributes to exaggerate. That is to say, women––as potential child bearers––proved themselves, by the demands made upon them daily, to have the strength and stamina to be worthy of that task. In order to set themselves apart and be noticed however, a practice of ornamentation developed, probably starting with the accenting of facial features by pigmentation or piercing. With a reasonable degree of certainty, it can be said that articles collected in their immediate environment were used, once they passed the test of effectiveness, individually and in increasingly elaborate combinations. A supply of those things deemed most successful would acquire an intrinsic value based on its availability. (Sound familiar?), the fifty-thousand year old roots of supply and demand.

If a people should discover a source for a particularly sought after object or material, let’s say something that possessed rare beauty as well as durability and portability, they would have good reason to keep its location to themselves. The obvious advantage of such knowledge placed its keeper in a position of leverage when trading encounters presented themselves. Any number of items could meet the criteria, only a few however were small enough to be carried in quantity and still be of a desirable quality. Desirability of course is relevant so an added value would be assessed if the object in question had a wider range of applications than the initial, but still most important, ornamentation. We were, after all, answering that call by instinct to attract attention to ourselves and were just beginning to realize the power of visual incentives to that end. The brighter or more colorful the adornment it seemed, the greater likelihood of the desired outcome. Some things never change.

Whether relying on a few unusual or even uniquely alluring items, or capitalizing on the evolving talents and abilities of fellow tribesmen and what their increased creativity could fashion into marketable resources, trade was translating into a volume of commerce that could not have happened without the advent of domesticating pack animals.

This leap forward not only accommodated our increasing curiosity regarding new and different objects, both utilitarian and fanciful, but enhanced opportunities to hone our social skills by interacting with people of diverse backgrounds. Under the circumstances of a common interest promoted by the acts of trading and bartering, our Ego-centered free will was obliged to at least consider the possibility that, although we were different from everyone else, everyone else might have something to offer. Such a breach of instinct, though rewarding on many levels and a product of our spiritual growth, was not in any way a conscious consideration because suspicions still prevailed, proving the onset of sociability to be nothing less than hard work. If it wasn’t for the “what’s in it for me?” mind-set, attributed to the increasingly “high-maintenance” Ego, we might not have ever approached or accepted interaction outside our own clan, insofar as it involved a level of tolerance and restraint not all were ready to perform at. Continued exposure helped of course, but as we would grudgingly acknowledge, it came easier to some than others. Our still formative personalities were just beginning to diversify toward what would one day be the currently familiar and more accepted character models. Niches were being carved out and occupied even before society took on any form we would recognize today. The “pecking order” hadn’t given up its tenacious grasp, but was at least beginning to allow for layers of agenda, perhaps harbingers to real responsibility, to become more and more identifiable.

So as not to be confused between the purely upbeat pattern representative of spiritual growth and the physical manifestation of our spiritual infancy in the “now” of prehistory, let’s remember to keep things in perspective. In reality, that is, from the Eternal point of view, there is no negative growth. Seeing the positive in the physical world however, could not be expected of the aboriginal tribes from which we’ve evolved. They survived, or not, in a landscape without rules or laws by making it through trial and error, mostly error. Experience had only begun to displace instinct in the most rudimentary ways. The “lessons” learned at the behest of “doors” opening along their “path”, is an adequate physical interpretation of how Divine Guidance, through Eternity, accrues the experience that is the object of our reincarnations and although it may be the common thread in this soliloquy, its relevance to the daily struggles of these primitives will remain beyond the grasp of all but a few, for many countless generations. By definition, “advancement” is positive, and an improvement in the physical lifestyle, but the resulting improvements usually bears little relationship to the reasons that motivated those choices we deem responsible for that advancement to begin with. As is true in either one lifetime, or in the evolution of a race, everything we’ve done, has put us where we are and made us who we are and in turn, prepared us for what ever there is to do next. Experience is the result of transforming our spiritual growth into physical animation and the key to our physical animation being transformed into spiritual growth.

Just as some ancients benefited from their experiences and talents to appropriate the means to make their lives a little easier or more interesting, others who were not so industrious nevertheless found the same assets equally appealing, but on a different level. The “any means necessary” rule of acquisition found fresh fodder along the increasingly popular, if fragmented, trade routes. Improving resources made the stakes worth the risks for those carving out the “unscrupulous” niche. For them, the emerging Ego was floundering on the unsteady legs of its newly realized free will. Wrestling with both “self identity” and the gaining of material things that would set them apart from their peers, made status a priority without regard to any consequences of their actions. In short, conscience had not emerged from among the many unfamiliar emotions they were trying to cope with for the first time. Activities of this nature were common and wide spread making life more challenging, strangers more suspicious and travel perilous. When the rule of the land was spelled “anarchy”, people sought out the means of feeling more secure which, as will be seen, made the next leap of the imagination seem more a natural progression.

The migrating herds of prey animals nomads relied on for nearly every aspect of their sustenance, from food and clothing to tools and weapons, were also a primary source of education, if only by observation. Directly or indirectly, cues were taken from the behavior of these remarkably clever creatures. Millions of years of instinctual migration produced nearly fail proof results when needing to find food and fresh water, even in the harshest of times where prolonged drought might have left the land barren. During periods of extreme geologic and climatic fluctuations however, the instincts that had sustained many species prevented them from adapting and entire populations of those, especially nearer polar latitudes, were lost. Man’s curiosity, emboldened by the issuance of free will, proved anything if adaptable and so, along with some of the most robust herds managed to eke out an existence through even the most challenging of times while being Divinely led to the opportunities presented by these extreme conditions, i.e. land bridges exposed by lower sea levels, to populate virgin territories on nearly every continent.

Despite our penchant for adaptability and moving in concert with lessons gleaned through prudent observation, the early practice of trade was indeed a challenge worthy of the proof that Divine Guidance is, in fact, an Eternal Truth beyond dispute. So many things we take for granted in our “now” are mere echoes of countless trials from far beyond our oldest race memories. Incidents and activities still fresh in the Eternal have been blurred and long removed in the physical so that we might move on instead of dwelling on things we can’t change. For example, the prerequisite and then freshman years, as it were, to socialization were bloody, crippling, instinct driven horrendous encounters whose survival was the only measurable success. That being said only to make the point that behavior evolved, as did every other aspect of the natural world, and its earliest manifestations, though not memorable, at least served as a base against which experience had clearly defined reasons to consider alternatives! The eventual acceptance that people who are different may not only have something to offer but that it may be something of value, laid the foundation for encounters that displayed the promise of being mutually beneficial. Once that possibility began to bare fruit, each subsequent meeting, with the same people anyhow, was anticipated with a common hope of gain rather than as a threat. Being comfortable during such events has never been assured, even now, but having overcome at least the initial instinctual suspicions long enough to establish a neutral posture on common ground, as if by Divine Appointment, trading and social interaction could commence. In addition to the natural and fashioned material and tools, fast becoming a staple at these exchanges, this remote point in time found the roots of tradition growing deep in pre-societal proprieties. Property traded included a “commodity” who had no say so with regards to their demise or future. Females, related and otherwise, were included as bargaining chips because of the control males had over the tribe, and though women were considered valuable, their worth lay in what they could do rather who they were. Their status did not allow them to own anything, so the only position open to them was to be owned. The newly realized Ego gave the male aggressor fresh avenues along which to animate his self-serving nature where as the female, with a nurturing instinct to begin with, was too easily shaped into servitude.

There were many reasons to linger at such encampments, even after each had benefited from whatever exchanges brought them together. Although bartering was a pastime many property holders were interested in pursuing to proficiency, it was realized that wouldn’t happen until their degree of understanding each other improved incrementally. These occasions then proved fertile ground for experimenting in language, not consciously mind you because that sort of asserted focus would have required a depth of imagination that was not yet theirs. So, it was a daunting task as people came together, each with their own unique word-age or symbols regarding shared ideas or materials. In order to accomplish the desired results in any transaction it was imperative the parties understand clearly the conditions expected and what it would take to see them through to their satisfactory conclusion. There’s no doubt though that self promotion played a key role in seeing this through to a working, if not perfect solution, especially since it wasn’t long before the value of embellishment was seen to add to an item’s interest. Each were moving toward creating a niche for their own agenda, which when practiced in common, represented the forerunner of real commerce.

Communication, of course, required more than language skills. As a result our behavior had to become flexible enough to embrace restraint and control which meant inhibiting those ever present instinctive urges. Individuals who enjoyed an early measure of success with this were likely more observant than their peers and, on a subconscious level, took into account the subtle body language that belied exhibited expectations. Though probably unaware of underlying concerns or agendas this faculty was a guide to problem solving for them. It could be said with some certainty, people of this inclination may have, in fact, had something to do with the demonstration of a behavior that assumes to be the groundwork for rules by which to practice the exchange of goods and services. In hindsight, out of those tentative casual meetings and simple agreements evolved, not just rules of fair trade but everything they have come to represent, from a code of conduct or gentlemen's agreement up to and including that fine line between right and wrong defined as conscience. All of these of course, and the diligent exercise of them, heralded the first laws (if still unwritten) in a lawless world. If that seems a stretch of the imagination, it’s not, it’s a leap, albeit a slow one.

Discerning the right and wrong of social behavior on the other hand, proved even slower and more elusive. Still, attempts at conforming, by all who perceived the gain therein, bore witness to the importance placed on it. There seemed to be an urgency to come to terms with socializing peacefully during the interactions at trading places. Though the resistance to accepting others as peers was instinctive, the relationships formed through trading experiences exemplified our innate need to be included, which in turn personified what was already the basis for rules that seemingly added structure to, and addressed a void in, the lives of the emotionally bereft who were holding out for some promise of its application to their confusion. Those conducting the business affairs did not attend these gatherings alone you see, but were naturally accompanied by their families if not an entire clan. Among those members of participating groups who were not active in the trade, that is to say as neither a trader or commodity, might have been a few who felt left out, or worse. Once old enough to be included yet denied any part in the activity, bewildered non-participants wandered the outskirts of these occasions, looking for some form of inclusiveness that they could translate into being needed. Many of those found places outside the “order of business” to exercise their Ego’s growing sense of self in a way that tested other’s acceptance of them. The expression of our individual identities however, conflicted with our desires to be included, but as a part of something else and perhaps lacking the conviction of assurance, we allowed our concern with how others saw us shape the way we felt about ourselves. It was still quite early in the formative generation of personality niches and our speed along the path of social graces barely lifted the needle off the pin that represented “zero rpm”, largely because we didn’t know any better than to expect acceptance, without expending any reciprocal accepting gesture and possibly for the first time wonder, the now universal refrain, “what’s wrong with me?”.

One of the most obvious habits to surface as a result of free will and as demonstrated through the active pursuit of being accepted, is the change in the habits of procreation, no longer a seasonal event but one of opportunity. It can be said without too much argument, that the desire to be wanted was strong enough to prompt the emotionally disparate into giving of themselves, in return for what they thought they needed. What they found was a one way street to a detour for those willing to be used, quickly filing through a niche occupied by users. So in the background of events that were shaping the future of marketing, however haphazardly, some of the non-players who were convinced to think of themselves as less than a commodity, carved out a place to be needed on their detour where fair consideration of what they had to offer might find some recompense, blurring the boundary between used and user, while creating a niche of their own.

Also looking for their due consideration, and adopting a modicum of tolerance for their distaste of crowds in the process, were contributors from distant lands not in proximity of a migratory route and thus lacking all but the most infrequent opportunities of trade. The more stressful circumstances of having traveled much longer and thus usually into more unfamiliar territories, defined what each attendee in general encountered, if to a lesser degree, in referencing their desire to participate outweighing the degree of difficulty inherent with making it happen. So the need to get along with each other while conducting business, increased in proportion to the dangers and hardships they experienced collectively during their individual travels, in support of this common purpose. The cost of travel was, under the best of conditions, paid in both time and pain. Too often the cost was so great that family members died enroute, usually in defense of the very property they rested their entire future on. Is it any wonder then that many, particularly those losing so much they were left defenseless or without anything to defend, resisted moving away from the relative safety in numbers this respite offered, just to return to the daily routine of known and unknown threats that now, in their weakened state, foreboded an almost certain death sentence. From that perspective it should go without saying, the semi-structured manner of each gathering seemed safe haven compared to the lawlessness found so prevalent outside its perimeter. Given attitudes growing conducive to accepting and practicing a change in behavior and a willingness to cling to the perception of security found around the encampments fostering this new penchant, it’s easy to understand why remaining in one place seemed attractive to some when weighed against the physical hardships of the alternative. Relative security, safety in numbers. The next leap forward was at hand and once again, the parties involved were prepared by all that had come before them in their experience.

It’s likely many rudimentary settlements were contrived from this premise. There were those, after all, who had no more to lose and others who had a lot to offer by abandoning the nomadic lifestyle of their forebears. For example, the feeble who no longer traveled easily, as well as any who had lost all means of travel, in addition to those whose imagination had been led to produce goods marketable from raw materials readily available around the area in question. Collectively they either found a need to stay or realized an opportunity to fill a demand with what they had to offer. Regardless of the reasons or backgrounds manifested as choices or experiences, the paths each had been so intricately led along during so many incarnations already, brought them all to this door through which lay advancements they could not have been prepared for in any other way except by Divine Guidance. Accordingly, adapting to this semblance of permanence suited an extreme variety of souls to a T. Actually, our spiritual growth was ripe for this, as evidenced by more and more members of tribes far and wide having long been trying to express the unique independent identities their adolescent Egos were grooming in preparation for just such an opportunity to separate themselves from the unit or group they and their ancestors had been associated with for countless generations. Whether serendipitously parallel or being commonly guided, the millennia long span of time during which temporary trading camps transitioned into collections of more or less permanent dwellings provided seekers, according to their readiness, ample niches to begin establishing themselves independently or, if guided to be outcasts, into new sources of dependance. For the doubters of the Divinely Guided scenario, they’ll still have to agree, one (permanent settlement), could not have happened without the other, (individuals of some independence, outside the clan mindset and tradition). In the tired and overplayed “chicken before the egg” refrain, nay-sayers will always plead ignorance and perpetuate the notion; we don’t need to know everything. In the light of Truth however, those of that ilk have yet to reach the point on their path where the clarity of Eternal perspective outshines the before and after of the “now”.