These are all great stories but they seem to overlook one important factor: The spiritual. For me, human beings are a mix of biological, psychological, social and spiritual elements. Why some people are not attuned to the spiritual dimension is a bit of a mystery to me. I used to be like that when I was a kid. But life changed me. And it still is.
We are all spirits inside a body. To enable us to realize this great truth is to believe in the opposite that has been taught for years, specifically that we are bodies with a soul. Explained in a different way, we are all souls, being of spirit that have utilized bodies so that we may grow. To grow spiritually is to recognize these interconnections. The difficult part is to understand that to grow spiritually in a world enveloped by power, money, and influence is a mammoth task. Modern amenities such as electronic apparatus, gadgets, and tools as well as entertainment media through television, magazines, and the web have cultivated us all to confine our attention mostly to physical needs and desires. As a result, our perception of self-worth and self-meaning are at best confused. How can we even begin to strike a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of our lives?
To grow spiritually we need to look within ourselves.
Soul-searching goes beyond recalling the events that happened in a day, week, or month. You need to review intimately and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and motivations. Periodically examining your experiences, the choices you made, the relationships you encourage, and the events you engage in provide useful insights on your life goals, on the good habits you sustain and the bad habits you need to abandon. Furthermore, it gives you suggestions on how you should act, react, and conduct yourself in the midst of any given situation. Like any skill, self-examination can be learned. It does take a degree of courage and willingness to seek the truths that lie within. Strive to be objective, forgiving of yourself, and focus on areas for improvement.
To grow spiritually is to evolve.
Our understanding of spirituality change as we come to see others as potential teachers. Religion and science have conflicting views on matters of the human spirit. Religion regards people as spiritual beings temporarily living on Earth, while science views the spirit as just one dimension of an individual. Mastery of the inner self is a recurring theme in both Christian (Western) and Islamic (Eastern) teachings. The requirements of the body are recognized but positioned under the needs of the spirit. Values, morality, rules, beliefs, experiences, and good works provide the master plan to ensure the growth of the spiritual being. When you have fulfilled the basic physical and emotional needs, spiritual or existential needs emerge next. Achieving each need leads to the complete development of the individual. Perhaps the difference between these two religions and psychology is in the meaning of self-development. Christianity and Islam believe that self-development is a means toward serving God, while the psychologists view is that self-development is an end by itself.
To grow spiritually is to search for interpretation.
Religions that believe in the existence of God such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam presume that the purpose of human life is to serve the Creator of all things. Several psychological theories submit that we ultimately give meaning to our lives. Whether we believe that life\’s meaning is pre-determined or self-directed, to grow in spirit is to recognize that we do not merely exist. We do not know the meaning of our lives at birth, but we gain knowledge and wisdom from our relationships with people and from our actions and reactions to the situations we find ourselves in. As we discover this meaning, there are certain beliefs and values that we reject and some we affirm. Our lives have purpose. This purpose puts all our physical, emotional, and intellectual capabilities into use. It sustains us during trying times giving us something to look forward to, perhaps a goal to achieve or a destination to reach. A person without purpose or substance is like a rudderless ship drifting out at sea.
To grow spiritually is to recognize relevance.
Religions stress the concept of our significance to all creation and as a result we call other people ‘brothers and sisters’ even if there are no direct blood relations. Likewise, divinity centred religions such as Christianity and Islam speak of the relationship between humans and a higher being. On the other hand, science clarifies our link to other living things through the evolution theory. This relevancy is clearly seen in the concept of ecology, the interaction between living and non-living things. In psychology, connectivity is a characteristic of self-perfection, the highest human aspiration. Recognizing this paradigm makes you more humble and respectful of people, animals, plants, and things in nature. These beliefs and attitudes towards a particular dimension in your life makes you appreciate everything around you. It moves you to go beyond your comfort zone and reach out to other people, a necessary shift before you can grow spiritually and succeed at whatever you are trying to accomplish.
About the Author
Kaz Domagalski has been involved with internet business development since 1998 and resides in the UK. He is passionately aware of the need to coach and help people who are ready to discover their internet path to abundance and prosperity, helping to solve the obstacles to your success. Get more free reports at http://www.cloudnineprofits.com
Author: Helena Aramendia
Humans have felt the need for religion since the earliest of times. Religions are cultural traditions related to spirituality; behind them, human organizations claim a divine origin, in order to ensure little or no challenge to the status quo from their followers. I would like to reflect here about the role that religions had played in our history. However, more importantly, the position that I can foresee for them in the not too distant future.
What are religions and why do we need them?
Since humans became a sentient species, they have felt the need to connect to their source. They have felt, even if it was only intuitively, that there was something else, beyond their physical world. Their spiritual world was personal, intimate and a direct contact to what they could perceive as a bigger reality or God, even if they channeled it through elements like rocks or the sun, as in animists religions. A feeling of vulnerability made them look to it for protection and also made them accept the authority of the ones that seemed to be more able to understand or even communicate with that elusive realm of non-physical realities. Some kind of religious leader was as common in prehistoric human groups as was a hunting leader or a war leader. However, for a leader to differentiate himself from the group, he needed to:
a) have more knowledge, more experience, more ability in his performing tasks, or
b) exert a greater control over the rest of the pack.
And so gradually, the leaders made customs, which then became habits, evolving into rituals and then finally religious laws or cults.
As societies grew more complex, so did the role of the religious leader. Over centuries, traditions accumulate, as well as rituals and rules. History passed orally from generations to generations everywhere, grew rich in details and explanations about our origins, our relationship with the Sacred and the external ways or rituals that we use in order to live and feel that relationship. Once we have: an explanation about where we came from, a specific god or gods, a set of expectations for us in respect to the deities, and specific ways of worshipping, we have a religion. The different traditions are just cultural manifestations. From animist to polytheists to monotheists, religions have evolved.
Four of the five more important religions (I mean important only attending at the number of adepts) are quite recent, relatively speaking. Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.
The oldest one of those, Judaism, the first monotheist religion, is “just” 3300 years old (since Moses time). A great majority of people in the world have a single religion, because of cultural (through family or societal ties) or physical proximity to the origin of that religion. Even the relatively small amount of people that choose their beliefs once they are discerning adults, are many times influenced by their situation (for instance, marriage) or environment.
Religions are God inspired but human designed and managed organizations. They are useful for millions of people that find in them a way to God, or a way of making sense of some difficult moments in life. They are the easiest way to channel our spiritual needs, because they are like a pre-packed meal: ready to go. We simply need to follow the suggestions of our leader be it priest, rabbi, guru, lama, or medicine man, and he will guide us and take care of our souls.
As our lives have become more complicated, it is easier to delegate into their hands the responsibility for our spiritual life. It is a basic human need to reach towards our origin and is a longing of our spirit to have some kind of contact with the source. It is nourishing, soothing and a source of happiness. It gives our lives a deeper meaning. Moreover, institutionalized religion are so ingrained in society, that they can also give us a sense of approval and acceptance in society, as we comply with the expected liturgy.
Religions have negative aspects too.
Religions can also create separation and duality, by definition belonging to one group often implies not accepting the others as truthful (even if we respect them). If I am Christian I cannot be Muslim, if I am Jew I cannot be Hindu. This is duality. During many point in our history religions have been magnifying and demonizing differences and encouraging rejection of other belief systems, in order to achieve supremacy, even when that tone can’t be found in the original texts. Along history, this has reached the point where more people have died and been tortured in the name of religious considerations than for any other reason.
Due to the human nature of institutionalized religions, they have been linked to power, money or sexual deviations uncountable numbers of times during history, to the point that on many occasions the original spiritual meaning has been lost. Intolerance and longing for supremacy have put religious institutions in a position where they play more a political and social role than a spiritual one.
Nowadays, many people focus upon the external aspects of religions, its rites, forms and precepts. As a consequence, the main function of religion, ones spiritual nourishment or growth, is often unmet. In different credos there are millions of very religious people that are not necessarily spiritual people. They are like the zealots of Jesus´s times, revolving around their own little world, condemning in their minds (and their social lives) everyone that does not abide by their specific worldview or doctrines.
Are religions keeping us apart? How useful to spiritual development is it to have a belief system that claims to be the exclusive religious truth holder, the real one, the one that leads to salvation while all the other pour souls will be lost. Whilst individuation is good in order to survive when we re growing up, it is not so useful once we reach a certain point of growth. As humanity, we are growing up now, and our only chance for survival is in a mature society.
Our next evolutionary step.
As humanity, we are now in a very particular moment in our evolution. Life as we know it is no longer sustainable following our current path. Patterns that worked for us before, are not working now. We need to reconsider and review all aspects of our life, under a different light. It is not about individual survival and competition any more. It is about thriving and growing as a single whole sharing one planet, in order to not only survive, but to reach our potential. Our path forward has to be through synergy instead of competition. It’s time for us to look to our more clear and perfect model: the human body and its relationship with a single cell. If we have a tumor in any part of the body, all the body is affected, as all is a single unit. Only with a perfectly healthy body can all the cells thrive and perform at their best, and vice versa. Our governing mechanism is the spirit, we need to realize that we are all one unit, and whatever happens to one of us, affects the rest.
In spirit, we are all one. We share a divine origin, regardless of the tradition, name and form that we give to it in our conscious minds,. This is common to us all. Our spirit longs for communion with its source, and everybody, left to their own devices will seek out and find a personal path to fulfill that need for communion.
More and more people are becoming conscious of this reality. They feel less need for institutionalized religions, as they meditate more, and increase personal practices that fulfill their spiritual needs, like helping others, for example. They also realize that other religions are like other languages or other foods: something to know, to share, to respect, to learn from, but not something that should become a source of separation for us nor a method to define the value of the other person in relation to ourselves.
What then does the future hold for religions? It is clear that religions will not disappear by suppression (one only needs to consider the reemergence of religion following the fall of communism in Russia), rather they will eventually become redundant. Like the need for living in a cave, or the need to look after the fire in a group, as a species we will outgrow them, in favor of a true spiritual growth based on our further developed understanding. When we come to realize our divine origin, and we rediscover the way to connect directly with the Creator (regardless of the label), we will be able to find in that connection all that our soul longs for.
We are growing up as species, and soon we will have evolved beyond the daily routine centered upon providing for our basic needs and feeding ourselves. We will grow mature and independent, able to assume Love as our nature and source of power.
It is true that looking at our current situation, reading any newspaper, seeing how the world looks now, it does not seem to be very probable that we are nearing a break through. Never the less, we might also reflect that it is also darkest before dawn and like remodeling a house, it gets worse until it gets better. A good purge is necessary and lots of darkness will surface, before the new reality can manifest itself. In the meantime, keeping centered in our purpose and our true self and focusing upon our individual spiritual growth will help to anchor the new earth.
About the Author:
Healer, Bs, Brennan Healing practitioner, Ordained Interfaith minister, writer, passionate about spirituality, human evolution and metaphysics.
On the Subject of Karma
The word Karma comes from the ancient Sanskrit language of India. Its nearest translation into English, is the word Action. The word karma also has many sub-meanings & associated meanings not in the English language. The following meanings are from this author’s spiritual enquiry into the word karma. Because from a destiny perspective, karma is one of the most important words to fully comprehend in life.
In expanded definition, karma is a by-product of the impulse of creative-intelligence that we call thought. Every thought contains the creative element of karma in its action; it is a ‘cause & effect’ vibratory influence created out of the action of thought. Karmic influence once created is timeless and always returns to its initiated source…to its owner. Merely to think & desire, is to create karma that is automatically bound by affinity to its source. Its creative influence enters the interactive spiritual domain of Nature that underwrites the physical domain of Nature, to eventually return as influence to the individual life-form that created it.
Clarification: In the duel physical & spiritual creative workings of Nature, karma is a creative tool of evolution to process the individual evolution of life via its ‘cause & effect’ influence. It is a creative influence that has no boundaries on the known physical plane or the unknown spiritual plane of life. It is the vibratory influence of karma, that interacts with the
primordial archetypal intelligence of Nature underwriting the biology & chemistry of life. It is this invisible interactive process with the intelligence of Nature, that allows the biology of life to adapt to changes in its physical environment…albeit on a slow time scale.
All brain structured life, has evolved and is continuously adapting through the creative process of karma and its ‘cause & effect’ influence interacting with the creative-intelligence of Nature. Animals have no say in this interactive process, they function through instincts alone. Unlike the highly creative human being, they do not think & create with a thought,
their life is entirely instinctive. They create no ‘adverse karma’ in the quantum workings of Nature as a result, unlike the human being.
Clarification: Karmic ‘cause & effect’ influence enters the spiritual workings of Nature, to interact with the archetypal primordial intelligence underwriting, propelling & processing life. What we input into that primordial intelligence with our human karma, is what we receive back from that spiritual dimension that underwrites the physical processes of life. As we sow so do we reap, sums up perfectly the invisible process of karma operating in the evolution of the unique human species.
Where a human being is concerned, karma becomes attached to the action of words, to the actions of deeds, to the product of our unique human creativity. A karmic influence that takes on the quality of the thought that created it and is attached to the actions & outcomes of that thought. That is where the word ‘destiny’ comes into the equation of human created karma. We create a plus or minus destiny on the ladder of evolution out of the product of karma. What quality of karma we create is what quality of karma we receive back to process our continuing evolution…individually & collectively.
Explanation: All karmic influence we create returns to its initiated state in the spiritual workings of Nature. Returned to the individual, to the family, to the town, to the province, to the nation, to the world that has created that karmic influence. If that karmic influence and its qualities do not return in a present life cycle, then it will return in another life cycle, long after those that created it have departed this planet. Therefore human created karma, is a perpetuating inherited influence contained in the lineage of the deceased. Influence that becomes a karmic inheritance locked
into the family tree. A karmic inheritance tied to the individual, to the family, to the tribe, to the nation, to the civilization that created it.
Returning karmic influence is what we are unknowingly influenced by in life. It invisibly influences our thoughts, actions, deeds and creativity unconsciously. We also perpetuate the deeds of our ancestors through that karmic inheritance. Therefore we are not free of the past, we our anchored to the past within evolution through the product of karma as well as our genes. We only think we are free-thinking, for we are inextricably caught up in its ‘cause & effect’ product. A invisible product (equation) that returns through the hidden workings of Nature to influence our creativity and expression. That is the invisible power of karmic influence, created by mankind and returned to mankind. Returning influence that can be a positive or negative equation in its effect on our biological intelligence, creativity, evolution & destiny.
About adverse karma
There are two opposing forces structuring the evolution of the primordial archetypal intelligence of Nature…and therefore life. They are the Negative & Positive poles of Nature responsible for the phenomena of all the opposites found in life…including the atom. In brief definition, negative archetypal intelligence is responsible for dissolving life & matter, as positive archetypal intelligence is responsible for creating life & matter. A perpetuating cosmic authored process, underwritten by absolute intelligence we have yet to understand with our dissolvable human intelligence.
Thus the impulse of creative-intelligence we call thought, can be structured out of the negative pole of Nature or the positive pole of Nature. As human beings with conscious free-will and the ability to think, we possess a unique evolutionary gift to choose the pole of our actions. Thus are we (individually & collectively) responsible for choosing our destiny in evolution as grown adults. Therefore up or down on the ladder of evolution where ‘quality’ of consciousness is concerned. The quotable quote “To Be Or Not To Be” sums it up well.
Clarification: Karma created out of a positive structured thought, always returns as a positive influence to uphold & advance the consciousness of the individual. Karma created out of a negative structured thought, always returns as a dissolving influence to impede & retard the consciousness of the individual. Our human created karma has the creative potential to either support life & evolution, or retard life and evolution. As human beings, we individually & collectively create the positive or negative outcome of our evolution…our destiny.
To sum up: Human creativity & the karma that comes out of it, is a unrealized power that either compliments the primordial forces of Nature underwriting life or degrades them. Thus human creativity, is able to influence the spiritual archetypal intelligence that underlies physical biological intelligence that science knows so much about …yet does not understand where it comes from. A unknown, unrealized, unproven reality that is yet to be uncovered & acquired by mankind on the long path of evolution. That is why the author has said, “it’s a waste of human intelligence to
argue/debate its reality in boot camp”. We have to acquire its reality for it to become a reality…but not with words, but experience. That is the solution to its acceptance in the human mind…not argument or debate.
Kind regards from the author to the reader.
- On The Subject Of God (epages.wordpress.com)
- Karma, Anyone? In fact: Everyone! (becongyeutho.wordpress.com)
- The Concept of Karmic Justice (healing.answers.com)
- Week 11 “Yer Karma’s Gonna Get You” (edsmasterkey.wordpress.com)
- “Walking Karma” (thewanderingfinn.wordpress.com)
- Karma Versus Redemption (avatartquest.wordpress.com)
- What Is Karma? (livescience.com)
- The Meaning Behind Alien Abductions (ageoflucidity.info)
- Karmic Burden (dragonintuitive.com)
- Karma (khalishaanah.wordpress.com)
By Dee Gibson
If you truly want to be a person of influence you first have to embrace evolution. Wisdom will always let you know that fighting change is definitely a losing battle so it is imperative that you move towards being a more evolved enlightened human being. One of the great principle of life is stated this way; “Freedom and happiness are found in the flexibility and ease with which we move through change.”
If you truly want to transition or transform from someone who moves through life unconsciously to a person who becomes the wealthy individual who’s completely aware of and completely at ease with all things around him or her then you must embrace change. It doesn’t matter at all where you are from or what you’ve done in the past, you’re never trapped in any circumstance, relationship, cycle, or situation unless you say and/or believe you are. It’s always better to take each and everyday and treat it just as it is; a new day with new opportunities to do what’s right.
If you’re at a point in your life where you realize you’re going in the wrong direction which means you’re producing the wrong results then simply in most cases do the opposite of what you’re doing right now. Trust me this will make a world of difference and you’ll almost see small and/or big result quickly. I know this is easier said then done but when you add courage and persistent practice to your constant thought pattern that’s saying “it’s time to make the necessary changes” then I’m absolutely sure you’ll make great progress in living a more happy and fulfilled life.
About The Author
I’m a man that loves to empower everyone on how to become better. The author invites you to visit: http://www.imperfectchristians.com
Article Source: http://www.articlecity.com/articles/religion/article_1313.shtml
- Human evolution to blame for menopause (menopauseskin.wordpress.com)
- Which Comes First: Evolution or Revolution? (bobmschwartz.com)
- Doctor Who #702: Ghost Light Part 2 (siskoid.blogspot.com)
- I Love CHAOS! And YOU asked for it? (The Extropist Series – Part III) (extropygold.wordpress.com)
- My Issues with Evolution (watertowords.wordpress.com)
- Explore the Evolution of Financial Forecasting & Planning (prweb.com)
- Theory of evolution in no way explains origins of life (lunaticoutpost.com)
- Why Evolution Is a Lie (notofairies.wordpress.com)
- Is there a smooth pathway from micro-evolution to macro-evolution? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
- Huge Contradictions in ‘Scientific’ Thinking Revealed: Theory of Evolution in No Way Explains Origins of Life (govtslaves.info)
Author: Alex B
The history of humankind carries a special meaning attributed to water symbols and the significance of water in human life cannot be underestimated. Regardless of what a particular water symbol we have in mind, freshwater lake, a river with water flowing freely, or the ocean which can present a danger to people in many forms, the water represents our best friend or our worst enemy depending on the particular event or circumstance related to water. Therefore, it becomes very interesting and challenging to find the correct meaning in interpreting water- related dreams.
Visions of water in our dreams are very powerful images because these kinds of dreams are usually experienced at the peak of our inner feelings and emotions, such as heavy rains, mighty rivers or water falling down on you. Other elements contained in water dreams can be soothing and calming, for example a small stream in a beautiful valley or a relaxing shower. The most powerful and therefore memorable experiences are connected with visions of ocean, such as being lost in the stormy ocean, being helpless or seeking help when all you can see around you is massive volume of water and no signs of land on the horizon. These streams can evoke feelings or emotions related to fear, loneliness or even despair or imminent danger.
Perhaps the most common interpretation of water symbol in the dream is preserving life or protect us from unfavorable events and circumstances or some type of immediate danger we may be anticipating in our waking life. This interpretation is based on a long time experience of humans with water as a source of life. Long time in the past, humans figured out that their life depends on presence of water, and people can go without food much longer than without water. Another important element in subconscious interpretation of water symbols lies in knowing where the water sources are located, because these sources usually exist where the sources of food will be located as well. With the development of trade and travel later on, the water symbols and visions became strongly connected with danger and source of hidden danger. Traveling by water, such as boating on the river or longer travels in the ocean have always been connected with mystery and the world of unknown, that’s why there are so many stories and legends containing images of sea monsters, sirens and frightening creatures inhabiting the depths of the ocean. Polluted or dirty water has always been related to massive diseases, both for humans and domesticated animals and interpreted in a negative sense portending extensive periods of illness or epidemics.
Dreaming about positive experiences related to water can be related to rejuvenation, welcoming a new life, restoring your energy and becoming physically fit. When people dream about being able to control or direct water, it always means positive emotions and gratifying experience in their life after these kinds of dreams. Ability to control water in your dream can be interpreted as some kind of a key or a solution to your existing problem or dilemma and a promise of being successful in solving the issue.
Another way to describe water under control or manageable water sources is an example of when you dream about a lake or the shoreline of a water body which instill a sense of security and calmness or being able to safely cross these water bodies or get to the shore without any problems or danger. These dreams usually have a very positive charge and promise good things in your life after experiencing this dream.
Calm and still water surface surrounding you in your dream when you are, for example, in the boat in the center of the lake is a good sign of recharging and renewal, which can also mean that you will be able to accomplish and achieve what you are trying to work on in your life. Looking for and finding a source of water as part of your dream is an indication that you are actively looking for time for relaxation and getting away from everyday tasks and duties, for example contemplating going on vacation or taking a trip somewhere far away. This dream is basically telling you that your mind and body are in need of recharging and having a break from your everyday routine tasks.
Uncontrollable water present in your dreams is a sign of worries and concerns accompanying you when you are awake. White-water streams and rivers, raging waterfalls or mountain rivers or lakes without visible shores can be a reflection of uncontrollable or unmanageable life circumstances surrounding the dreamer in real life. Similarly, calm but deep waters may carry the same meaning and evoke similar feelings or emotions for people dreaming about this type of water. This is because deep waters are usually a symbol of potential danger or entering into unknown circumstances or ambiguous undertakings with undefined or unknown outcomes for the dreamer.
Very interesting interpretation can also be found in various dream interpretation sources regarding tap water or water obtained using a faucet. It is very important to take a note of who is turning the faucet, either you or someone else, and what goal or objective is being sought when you have this kind of dream. The absence of water or inability to get any water from a tap can be a sign of facing some uncertainties or unusual circumstances which may overwhelm you or create obstacles leading to making important decisions in your life.
About the Author
Looking for instant interpretation of your dreams? Try our Instant Dream Interpretation engine with thousands of descriptions of what your dreams may mean. Look up your dream instantly using our Instant Dream Look Up with extensive database of meticulously compiled descriptions based on trusted sources.
- Unlocking the Dream Code, John Paul Jackson Explains 8 Dream Symbols (prweb.com)
- Snakes in a dream: a good chance for self-assessment and finding what it means (epages.wordpress.com)
- Your Dreams Can Interpret Crimes, Success in any Aspects, Lying Partners Etc.. (socyberty.com)
- The Folly of Dream Interpretation (psychologytoday.com)
- Would You Like to Have Your Dream Interpreted? (afarawayview.blogspot.com)
- Dreams. How do you interpret it_Published 6/23/2013 (helenaalcala02.wordpress.com)
- What is the meaning of dream (lawjury87.wordpress.com)
- Dream Interpretation and Lucid Dreaming (oranumdreams.wordpress.com)
- 30 Most Common Dreams … & Their Meanings (secretsofthefed.com)
- ‘Twas All Just A Dream… (themindofcarrollssage.wordpress.com)
Many anthropologists believe that modern humans ancestors directly or indirectly killed off Neanderthal and Denisovan populations as they moved into Neanderthal and Denisovan territory. A new study of the issue argues that it’s more likely that Neanderthals and Denisovans were assimilated into the human gene pool thirty to forty thousand years ago during the Upper Pleistocene era as cultural and climatic forces brought the two groups together, according to Arizona State University Professor C. Michael Barton.
Recent sequencing of ancient Neanderthal DNA indicates that Neanderthal genes make up from 1 to 4 percent of the genome of modern populations—especially those of European descent. Denisovans genes (Denisovans are a sister species to Neanderthals, who were recently found in central and eastern Asia).were found to make up 2 to 6 percent of human genes in southeast Asia. South of the Sahara Africans show no signs of Neanderthal genes.
The researchers used archaeological data to track cultural and socio-ecological changes in behavior in Western Eurasia during the past 120,000 years. As Neanderthals and early humans land-use patterns shifted during the last ice age, computer modeling showed that the two populations began to interact and mate, leading to the “extinction” of one of the groups due to hybridization, a well-recognized phenomenon in conservation biology. Neanderthals were limited to western Asia and Europe, while Denisovans, a sister species to Neanderthals, were recently found in central and eastern Asia. Usually it is the smaller population that becomes “extinct” but succeeding hybrid populations still carry some genes from the regional group that disappeared, according to the researchers.
According to Barton, “There is a perception that biological evolution determines culture during the Pleistocene era and that cultural influences only predominate afterwards. The reality is that the two forces have been working together and they were as important 50,000 years ago as they are today. Other than the fact that they disappeared, there is no evidence that Neanderthals were any less fit as hunter-gatherers of the late Pleistocene than any other human ancestor living at that time. It looks like they were as capable as anyone else,”
So why did they assimilate into us rather than us into them? Humans might have had the advantage of a higher birth rate. Neanderthals had slightly bigger heads and brains than humans so they might have had greater difficulty in giving birth. Humans also benefited from their belief that a birth goddess would help them. Without successful reproduction no species can flourish, or even survive. Homo sapiens were as subject to the biological imperative (commandment) to be fruitful and multiply as all other species. But the intelligent minds of Homo sapiens knew the dangers of childbirth. Infant mortality rates in most tribes were more than one in four. The maternal death rate for every four births was more than one in ten. Pregnancy was highly desired and birth anxiously awaited. Pregnant women naturally sought the physical help of their mothers and grandmothers who in turn sought the spiritual help of their now departed mothers and grandmothers. Among the earliest Gods were birth Goddesses. Small stone figures of very pregnant birth Goddesses often referred to as “Venus” figures go back 30-35,000 years. They are the first examples of iconic religion. The worship of spirits within natural phenomena does not need iconic representation. But birth rarely took place in the open or in public. A birth Goddess needed to be present in some tangible way in order to ease the anxiety of women in labor. Even today in some African countries the maternal mortality rate is 3% per birth. A woman who gave birth to 8 children had a one in four chance of dying from giving birth. Any band would benefit even if the presence of Goddesses reduced that mortality rate by only 5%. Carvings in wood of birth Goddesses probably preceded stone statues by many millennia and may have originated 50-100,000 years ago.
A small birth Goddess that fits in the palm of a woman’s hand, carved of Mammoth ivory with exaggerated sexual features was described in the May 14, 2009 issue of Nature. The figurine is dated to more than 35,000 years ago, when all three species were alive. Dozens of these figurines have been found at human sites, none at Neanderthal sites. Indeed, archeological evidence of religious rituals in general is much more extensive at human sites than at Neanderthal sites. Thus, religion may have been the single most significant factor in Neanderthal and Denisovan assimilation into humans rather than human assimilation into them.
For further information see my article in Popular Archeology June, 2011 or my web site: rabbimaller.com
- Possible Neanderthal cave paintings discovered (kottke.org)
- Genes of Extinct Ancestor Survive in Modern Humans (wired.com)
- Do you think we should clone a Neanderthal? [Scifi Ethics] (io9.com)
- Neanderthal demise a variety of reasons (artofthestem.com)
- Are you a bit Neanderthal? (biowaves.wordpress.com)
- ‘One species’ idea finally put to bed? (bbc.co.uk)
- Ancient cave girl genome could crack Man’s genetic puzzle (go.theregister.com)
- Ancient humans just couldn’t stop having sex with Neanderthals [Evolution] (io9.com)
- First Neanderthal cave paintings discovered in Spain (newscientist.com)