Taomeow

Hunter-gatherers were all infected with plague but didn't get sick from it: new archeological discoveries

Recommended Posts

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/oldest-strain-plague-bacteria-found-5000-year-old-human-remains-180978096/

 

Five thousand years ago, the Black Plague, a disease caused by the bacterium yersinia pestis, didn't have human-to-human transmission capabilities.  Bacteria and viruses that were to become deadly in a couple thousand years of civilized lifestyles lived peacefully inside our ancestors without making them sick or causing epidemics. 

 

Epidemics, in civilized times, are a feature, not a bug.  In pre-civilized times, you could contract a deadly strain of plague only if you got directly bitten by an infected rodent, but that was the end of it -- you didn't transmit it to anyone, and if it managed to overpower your immune system, you were the only one who died from it.  Accidents happen, sure.  But a massive explosion of rat population interacting with human population causing yersinia pestis to adapt to infecting fleas toward infecting humans toward human-to-human transmission took a few thousand years of civilized lifestyles to be enabled.   

 

And to think how much progress we've made since then.  Especially now that our immune systems are government issue/corporate property.  I.e., by now human immune systems (whose intelligence used to exceed that of human brains by orders of magnitude) have collectively acquired Idiocracy levels of competence.  (Do rewatch that movie -- it's 18 years old but Nostradamus has nothing on its predictive power.)     

    

 

 

Edited by Taomeow
  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

umm, there was also smallpox speculated to have been around many thousands of years ago going by indications found on Egyptian mummies. And it killed millions way back when...(even by contact with bedding used by contagious people)

 

How does Smallpox Spread?

Before smallpox was eradicated, it was mainly spread by direct and fairly prolonged face-to-face contact between people. Smallpox patients became contagious once the first sores appeared in their mouth and throat (early rash stage). They spread the virus when they coughed or sneezed and droplets from their nose or mouth spread to other people. They remained contagious until their last smallpox scab fell off.

These scabs and the fluid found in the patient’s sores also contained the variola virus. The virus can spread through these materials or through the objects contaminated by them, such as bedding or clothing. People who cared for smallpox patients and washed their bedding or clothing had to wear gloves and take care to not get infected.  Rarely, smallpox has spread through the air in enclosed settings, such as a building (airborne route). Smallpox can be spread by humans only. Scientists have no evidence that smallpox can be spread by insects or animals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s a great day to slay a few false gods here and there, just sayin’

 

reminder that The Ancients planted a Garden somewhere,

I think we need to revisit that wellspring

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, old3bob said:

umm, there was also smallpox speculated to have been around many thousands of years ago going by indications found on Egyptian mummies. And it killed millions way back when...

 

...way back when Egyptian hunter-gatherers embalmed their pharaohs?..   

 

Methinks you missed the point of both the article and my comment.  Of course viruses and bacteria existed long before humans or animals or insects did.  Some of them took not thousands but billions of years to adapt to using insects or animals or humans as hosts, while the vast majority still don't.  That's not the point that this or that epidemic disease doesn't need an insect or animal host to spread to humans -- the point is, epidemics as a feature of human history didn't exist before civilization, and human immune system itself evolved in a world owned by viruses and bacteria -- and could only allow us to exist in this world if it was competent at its coexistence with them to begin with.   It's civilized human lifestyles that created conditions for such developments in the evolution of bacteria and viruses as they had never encountered on earth in billions of years before.  (Ever heard of "antibiotic resistant strains?"  They don't take thousands of years to evolve -- only a couple decades.  And if you use genetic engineering -- say toward biological warfare -- you can force evolution on them much faster than that.  And we're only getting started.)  

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

no one knows for sure when smallpox started in pre-civilization (which is exactly what by definition?) or about its evolution thousands of years ago, whether in small  hunter-gatherer groups or in larger more settled groups.  Thus there are apparently exceptions to: 

 

 "In pre-civilized times, you could contract a deadly strain of plague only if you got directly bitten by an infected rodent, but that was the end of it -- you didn't transmit it to anyone, and if it managed to overpower your immune system, you were the only one who died from it.

 

Which was my point, even if your recounting has largely taken place.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, old3bob said:

no one knows for sure when smallpox started in pre-civilization (which is exactly what by definition?) or about its evolution thousands of years ago, whether in small  hunter-gatherer groups or in larger more settled groups. 

 

Not the point again.  There are more viruses in your body than stars in the universe (scientific fact) but I'm talking about this state of affairs being normal rather than pathogenic until/unless conditions are created to cause them to turn pathogenic.  And next, enable them to cause epidemics.  And it's not a "no one knows."  The first smallpox-like disease appeared in China in the 4th century CE.  A civilized society.  There's zero evidence that it existed as a disease in earlier, pre-civilized times -- although the virus itself may have existed for, like I said, millions or billions of years.  Not the point.  The point is, it didn't cause epidemics, or you would have prehistoric mass burials or whatever evidence of any massive die-offs of our species in pre-civilized times.  Which is nonexistent.  

 

As for "pre-civilization" definition, it is derived from "civilization" definition.  Contrary to popular (installed) belief that it means "advanced" vs "backward," or "good" vs "bad," or "cultured" vs "primitive" or any such thing, in reality it means exactly what the origin of the word means -- derived from Latin civitas -- city.  Citizen, civil, civic, civilian, etc. are all derived from that word.  City.  (Incidentally, the moral distinctions superimposed alongside this split into inhabitants of cities and villages are reflected in the origin of the word "villain" -- which originally meant "villager," a resident of a village.  Villain, vile -- for not living in a city.) Cities and villages, as opposed to a way of life that doesn't split the human race in this manner, is civilization, and its prerequisite and inherent feature (not bug) is deforestation.  In fact you could equate civilization with deforestation -- a ceaseless process of terraforming toward splitting the land into cities and villages, and the human race, into city dwellers, the breeding ground of epidemics, and villages, accompanied by meticulous extermination of all human societies not incorporated into this pattern. 

 

Everything else about what civilization "is" is superficial distractions from the fundamental essence of what it is, no matter how loud the noise of this distraction is cranked up.  Pre-civilized means living before the installation of cities and villages.  In other words, a period covering over 99% of all our species' history of existence.  How well we do from here on is anybody's guess -- but I don't buy any of the tall tales about how our ancestors struggled to survive for a couple million years before the last-minute blessings of civilization came to save us...  Poor ancestors...  no life for them, just miserable struggle to survive...  at least according to Hollywood and fathers of the church and narrative-spinners-for-hire we have been instructed to call "scientists" and "experts."  Which seems pretty unique, come to think of it, for any species to be this maladapted to its natural habitat...   I would even go so far as to suggest instead that our species is maladapted to the unnatural habitat it was forced to create by destroying its natural one, and everybody else's.  But I know well enough (you don't have to remind me anymore) how unpopular my take is...   Small wonder too.  Any animal born in a cage is bound to hate whoever rattles the cage.  (A metaphor for the civilized human race, not to mean I'm comparing you personally to an animal born in a cage.)

Edited by Taomeow
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I´m not sure it´s possible to return to the precivilized condition of my distant ancestors, and I might be too much of a born-in-a-cage city boy to want to, but I´m very interested in "baby steps" I might take in that direction.  Here are my ideas along these lines

 

* writing "snail mail" letters to friends and family

* going on more picnics (eating outdoors)

* hiking

* growing an avocado vine from a seed in my tiny back porch

* avoiding food made in factories

* childlike Zapchen practices -- stretching, laughing, rocking, yawning, sighing, horselips

* sitting quietly

* putting away my laptop (OK, so this is a hard one.)

* cultivating in-person friendships

* cooking my own food

* playing and listening to music

* all form of artmaking and creativity

 

None of this is particularly revolutionary and I´m not sure it will have any effect on my personal experience of the pandemic (though I remain hopeful).  I also think that spiritual practice in general has a beneficient de-civilizing effect.  Corrections and additions to my list welcome.

  

(Will happily delete upon OP request if deemed off-topic.)

Edited by liminal_luke
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't buy a one shoe fits all analysis.   Various types of pathogens don't necessarily need human hosts in crowded cities to quickly become or inherently be pathogenic to human beings, (pre-civilized or not) although it would seem that most would need primates or other animals/mammals with similar parts of DNA which humans have to thus evolve in those species for an "x" amount of time which would then enable them to make a quick jump to being pathogenic to human beings, regardless of the historic time periods and conditions mankind was or is in presently.  

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, liminal_luke said:

I´m not sure it´s possible to return to the precivilized condition of my distant ancestors, and I might be too much of a born-in-a-cage city boy to want to, but I´m very interested in "baby steps" I might take in that direction.  Here are my ideas along these lines

 

* writing "snail mail" letters to friends and family

* going on more picnics (eating outdoors)

* hiking

* growing an avocado vine from a seed in my tiny back porch

* avoiding food made in factories

* childlike Zapchen practices -- stretching, laughing, rocking, yawning, sighing, horselips

* sitting quietly

* putting away my laptop (OK, so this is a hard one.)

* cultivating in-person friendships

* cooking my own food

* playing and listening to music

* all form of artmaking and creativity

 

None of this is particularly revolutionary and I´m not sure it will have any effect on my personal experience of the pandemic (though I remain hopeful).  I also think that spiritual practice in general has a beneficient de-civilizing effect.  Corrections and additions to my list welcome.

  

#1 Resonates with me deeply with me and I totally embrace that venue, but as an older person trying to connect with the truly young, 2 or three year old's who can't yet read. And even with preteen or younger relatives who can read, I get a lot of traction? using video calls.

#2 Spending responsible time indoors or not, outdoors is of course, is preferable to less contact. Meet people you treasure in their comfort zone, or in the case of minors their caretakers.

 

Every thing else you wrote resonated deeply. 

 

Thanks for the opportunity to respond, from my not (default) so civil position. 

 

Pre covid I often hung out with all the youngins at parks rivers etc. I miss that terribley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i

Edited by natural
clarity
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, liminal_luke said:

I´m not sure it´s possible to return to the precivilized condition of my distant ancestors

 

None of us are qualified to put the toothpaste squeezed out of the tube back in.  The pre-civilized condition of the human being was simultaneously inside and outside, with no sharp border between "me" and "my environment" -- they were one.  That very "all-is-one" state that sages and wannabes of civilized times pine for, attempt to cultivate via practices, write vedas and sutras and memes about, call pompous names like "enlightenment" and "pure awareness" and "paradise lost" and what not --

that's not a fantasy and not an impending reward for "being very good" personally as per this or that doctrine's definitions.  That's a distant memory.  In the genes, in the DNA, in what remains of the human spirit interwoven with what remains of the spirit of the world, of the heart and soul of all things alive on planet earth.  We used to be it.  And to this day, some of us are tortured by that memory -- while others are happily amnesiac or, to use a more specific term, anosognosiac.

 

1 hour ago, liminal_luke said:

* writing "snail mail" letters to friends and family

* going on more picnics (eating outdoors)

* hiking

* growing an avocado vine from a seed in my tiny back porch

* avoiding food made in factories

* childlike Zapchen practices -- stretching, laughing, rocking, yawning, sighing, horselips

* sitting quietly

* putting away my laptop (OK, so this is a hard one.)

* cultivating in-person friendships

* cooking my own food

* playing and listening to music

* all form of artmaking and creativity

 

Sounds like a good plan.  :)

 

As for me...  I used to think that as long as I'm "cultivating my own garden," I'm good.  I thought I mastered the art of shrinking my aliveness to fit into all the prescribed margins.  I thought I learned how to make myself small, insignificant, just minding my own lil' business -- and the world that demanded that shrinkage of me would reward me by leaving me the fuck alone, leaving me the fuck out of its insanity.  I thought, for as long as I can do those little things, I'll be able to protect and preserve my own sanity counterpoint response to all that jazz.  At least that was the plan.  (Know how to make god laugh?  Make a plan.)  

Edited by Taomeow
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/9/2021 at 9:47 PM, Taomeow said:

Bacteria and viruses that were to become deadly in a couple thousand years of civilized lifestyles lived peacefully inside our ancestors without making them sick or causing epidemics.

 

The traditional Vajrayana Buddhist view on this is that the many neuroses of the civilized lifestyles cause increasing provocations towards spirits (both earthbound and celestial types). For example, it's been said that Nagas (a serpentine humanoid creature that associates with fresh water sources) can get seriously injured and have their skin peel off if someone even accidentally pollutes a body of water. Celestial spirits would get upset if anyone tried to subvert the "way of heaven" (filial piety, ethics, vows, etc.) for selfish reasons. The human expansion also causes mankind to come in contact with naturally occurring spirits that are by their personality trait very unkind and hostile. The overall effect is that there are many possible sources of spiritual retribution. When such retributive karma has accumulated enough on the collective level without discharging on individuals one at a time, then there is an opening for new contagious diseases to appear.

 

Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche was one teacher that often taught about diseases having some specific type of spirit causing the illness. He said, for example, if I recall correctly, that the HIV/AIDS was caused by a tiny humanoid spirit that acted like a parasite to drain person's vitality. As far as I can tell, the material manifestation of the disease only is the breakdown of the tangible body after vitality becomes affected.

 

Of course, none of this contradicts anything that you have said about the "primitive" humans living in harmony with nature. Such innocence would have granted them natural and undiluted access to awareness that would have prevented formative conflicts.

 

My advice to everyone thus: Live ethically, take care of yourself and others according to your capability, and respect the natural environment as the clean abode of many living beings.

 

EDIT: I checked a Norbu teaching booklet and found the following descriptions:
 

Quote

Theft of life force by Theurangs, ...

 

The'u sris rku. Theurangs are a class of non-human beings of small size and resembling humans.

 

An image of Theurang:

https://www.himalayanart.org/items/51347

Edited by virtue
added a quote and an image
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

..."We used to be it"....  by Taomeow 

 

My take is that if we didn't presently have "it" then the matrix of our beings would instantly return to elemental compounds, regardless of how aware of it we may be or not be (since all beings are woven together by and derivative of it,  thus without it all forms and beings would vanish.  (including cats)

Btw. I see cynicism as a type of torture within oneself and towards others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, old3bob said:

..."We used to be it"....  by Taomeow 

 

My take is that if we didn't presently have "it" then the matrix of our beings would instantly return to elemental compounds, regardless of how aware of it we may be or not be (since all beings are woven together by and derivative of it,  thus without it all forms and beings would vanish.  (including cats)

Btw. I see cynicism as a type of torture within oneself and towards others.

 

I'm not sure I understand, but I would like to point out that cats predate humans by over 30 million years.  It's quite possible therefore to hypothesize that human existence is contingent on whether cats want us around.  Who knows if our world would go on if someday cats decided that they're done playing with us and we aren't all that much fun anymore and declared, "thanks for all the fish"-- by way of good-bye.   

 

Not sure also what you mean by "cynicism" in the context of this thread.  If it has something to do with me and my opinions, you certainly misunderstand my attitude.  Then again, one man's cynicism is another woman's clarity.  (Or cat's.)   

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, virtue said:

 

The traditional Vajrayana Buddhist view on this is that the many neuroses of the civilized lifestyles cause increasing provocations towards spirits (both earthbound and celestial types). For example, it's been said that Nagas (a serpentine humanoid creature that associates with fresh water sources) can get seriously injured and have their skin peel off if someone even accidentally pollutes a body of water.

 

That view is very ancient -- in fact, the opposite view is very new.  People everywhere used to understand that all things are associated with their proprietary spirits, sometimes manifesting form and shape as this or that "mythical" creature, like a naga or a dragon or a bird of fire, sometimes just an animal, sometimes a humanoid creature.  All shamanic systems of interaction with the world were based on animism which was inseparable from respect toward those creatures and many rules and taboos aimed at living with them as good neighbors rather than rude, careless intruders.  Prohibitions on "defiling water" were particularly strong in some cultures.  Some post-shamanic belief systems inherited those attitudes, but most couldn't (or wouldn't) make a dent in the new way of dealing with nature that became either an enemy to defeat or an impersonal, inanimate set of objects to exploit.  We presently live in a world full of disenfranchised spirits that used to inhabit rivers, lakes, mountains, forests etc..  Some of them miserable and sick, and others, mighty pissed and vengeful.         

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Were people inclined to publicly call out the perceived flaws in their fellows characters in precivilized times?  I don´t know of course but I like to think there was a  time when such  behavior wasn´t standard. A time before we divided ourselves up into so many factions ---- city dwellers vs villagers, vaccinated vs unvaccinated, Democrat vs Republican. Must have been nice.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, old3bob said:

 

hmm..one woman's anosognosiac-ism comes across as cynicism as it so often self-justifiable posted.  

 

I would prefer you either commented on the message (regardless of whether you agree or disagree with it) rather than on the personality of the messenger, or just ignored my threads since they obviously annoy you.  I keep my opinion about you personally and the kind of man you are and what feelings you might harbor to myself -- in accordance with the rules of engagement of this forum.  I would like to extend an invitation to you to reciprocate in kind.  

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Taomeow said:

Some post-shamanic belief systems inherited those attitudes, but most couldn't (or wouldn't) make a dent in the new way of dealing with nature that became either an enemy to defeat or an impersonal, inanimate set of objects to exploit.

 

This is one of the definite reasons why I like proper Buddhism (and Daoism) in contrast to Abrahamic religions: Adaptation, acknowledgement, and respect to local heritage versus framing nature as the abode of the devil that needs to be overthrown and the ancient beliefs as the devil's misleading work.

 

Both Buddhism and Daoism are antithetical to the entrenchment of complex living and the exploitative games that come with civilized hierarchies and pseudo-religious moral panic. I suppose that most of the readers here on TDB are attracted to the non-religious notions of unpretentious simplicity and "let's just be friends" attitude.

Edited by virtue
clarity
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, virtue said:

 

This is one of the definite reasons why I like proper Buddhism (and Daoism) in contrast to Abrahamic religions: Adaptation, acknowledgement, and respect to local heritage versus framing nature as the abode of the devil that needs to be overthrown and the ancient beliefs as the devil's misleading work.

 

Both Buddhism and Daoism are antithetical to the entrenchment of complex living and the exploitative games that come with those. I suppose that most of the readers here on TDB are attracted to their notions of unpretentious simplicity and "let's just be friends" attitude.

 

I don't find that much difference between any of the institutionalized religions.  They are in the habit of not practicing what they preach even if what they preach sounds about right.  Perhaps I like the non-proselytizing ones more, the ones that practice "live and let live" regardless of what they preach.  But both kinds can be found within both "Abrahamic" and "non-Abrahamic" traditions.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

I don't find that much difference between any of the institutionalized religions.  They are in the habit of not practicing what they preach even if what they preach sounds about right.  Perhaps I like the non-proselytizing ones more, the ones that practice "live and let live" regardless of what they preach.  But both kinds can be found within both "Abrahamic" and "non-Abrahamic" traditions.  

 

Buddhism rejected the caste society. There is no Buddhist marriage either, but all the teachings are geared towards varying degrees of renunciation.

 

It's because of the civilized "need of convenience" that people desire accumulation and "divine permissions" to legitimize their neuroses and attachments. Is the contemporary Buddhism already flawed then because it was brought to mankind during the time of high-civilization? We could ask much of the same about Daoism really. We need solutions, so what does the mankind at large have left if no institutionalized spiritual practice fits the need?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A peculiar illustration to my original point -- 

just came across this article about Zoo Atlanta where a vaccinated zookeper infected 13 gorillas with covid-19.   The gorillas are apparently seriously ill, being treated with monoclonal antibodies, and "not out of the woods yet."  I don't have any information one way or the other, but I seriously doubt our pre-civilized ancestors ever had a chance in immunological hell to infect gorillas with anything -- or vice versa.    

 

https://www.ajc.com/news/coronavirus/more-than-a-dozen-gorillas-at-zoo-atlanta-diagnosed-with-covid-19/K4XFA5FS5RATPJPZ4VKOCGOVJI/   

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, virtue said:

We need solutions, so what does the mankind at large have left if no institutionalized spiritual practice fits the need?

 

I disagree that "no institutionalized spiritual practice fits the need. We tend to analyze and judge from a theoretical perspective. Any one of the major spiritual traditions can fit the need for the right individual. None can be expected to fit the need of the collective. We have ourselves and access to a wonderful and powerful array of tools, opportunities, teachings, and practices. 

 

For all of its flaws and failures, civilization and technology are full of potential. 

It is as it is, there is no going back (except perhaps, after a future global meltdown and disintegration - having just read Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, that prospect seems very real).

That aside, we have enormous potential at our disposal and it is our choice how we avail ourselves of that. 

 

There was a reason why "civilizations" developed. 

There was a need. A need for safety, support, community, growth - all of which can be enhanced by communication and cooperation among individuals and groups with unique perspectives and skills.

There was an efficiency and potential that was very powerful.

That need was filled but went too far, far too far.

Civilization became a juggernaut and balance was lost.

The pendulum has swung so far away from individual responsibility and autonomy towards over dependence on many things, including intellect and information. 

I think our challenge and opportunity is to return to a confidence and reliance on individual growth and potential and a lessening of external dependence to whatever degree is possible. This for me means a return towards balance between the individual and the collective. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, liminal_luke said:

Were people inclined to publicly call out the perceived flaws in their fellows characters in precivilized times?  I don´t know of course but I like to think there was a  time when such  behavior wasn´t standard. A time before we divided ourselves up into so many factions ---- city dwellers vs villagers, vaccinated vs unvaccinated, Democrat vs Republican. Must have been nice.

 

one common aspect was that many pre-civilized or semi-civilized people were inclined to murder each other per the law of the jungle. Btw some were cannibals, enslavers, and or made bloody sacrifice's of captured victims (or even members of their own people) to their gods (like some of the south American peoples ways called for)  and in some cases there were also those who lived peacefully among themselves and nature.  Thus any romantic notions of ancient or more recent native peoples need to be tempered with the history about them that has been factually passed on or determined. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our comments about others often — if not usually — describe ourselves much more closely than those we mean to target.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, cheya said:

Our comments about others often — if not usually — describe ourselves much more closely than those we mean to target.

 

Let me first comment how beautiful and intelligent you are @cheya ..... !

 

On the general point of the thread - I think that true practitioners (if I can put it that way) exist in all the main religions - they may profess Buddhism or Christianity etc. but they work on the same or similar pathways.  Which stream we fall into depends on our connections - I can see virtue in many systems but mostly they feel like strangers to me.

 

Perhaps the main thing with disease is the leaving out of the subtle body by moderns.  With the subtle body comes the subtle realm - awareness of which directly is quite rare in humans and most are just spooked by it.  I suspect that the weight of the Kali Yuga means that is increasingly difficult to work with subtle energies/beings to cure disease - largely because people these days lack confidence in them unless desperate.  Physical cures/vaccines and so on do work - but I think they work in a way which distorts the subtle body because they are coarse - they manipulate the physical body  and are often delivered in a very gross way - by which I mean like a production line factory through which we are herded like sheep.  This is accompanied by the moral strictures and shaming of those that refuse -  which is a deep attack on the sanctity of being and a product of the socialisation of health care.

 

 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites