Here be humans!

A stylized representation of human lineages 50,000 years ago (excludes more distant ones, such as the “Hobbits” of Flores)

GREAT ARTICLE. FASCINATING. “Even the canonical “Out of Africa“ migration itself has turned out to be less neat and tidy than we all thought”Great piece – See Razib Khan article on…

All non-Africans share ancestry that dates back to a single tiny human population of 1,000 to 10,000 people which flourished 60,000 years ago, and exploded across Eurasia and Australia in a single sweep.

As for the native white Welsh speaking Cymro Celt from NW Wales, my own DNA link goes back to one of two daughters of a Mother who lived in what is today southern France about 20,000 years ago. I share my DNA with about 350 million Europeans ... distant cousins! 
The natives of the Andaman Islands are much more genetically similar to a Swede than they are to any African population – incredible.
I find this paragraph mind-blowing: Outside Africa, whether you are an indigenous Australian, Amazonian native or a German burgher, fully 90-99% of your ancestry derives from a single ancestral human population pulse 60,000 years ago. Somehow, an isolated African tribe of 1,000 to 10,000 people, who became genetically homogenous due to their initial small population size, swept across Eurasia. By 50,000 years ago, they reached Australia. They had replaced the last Neanderthals and Denisovans by 40,000 years ago, if not earlier. They even migrated to North and South America 15,000 years ago. 
And this one more disturbing! Because these are brand new finds, there is not yet consensus about these fossils. Some researchers want to call “Dragon Man” Homo longi (龙, pronounced lóng, being Chinese for dragon), a new human species, and assert its features mean it is more closely related to modern humans than Neanderthals. Though Chris Stringer dismisses any bias in the Chinese researchers, I can't help but discern a drive here to establish precedence for China as one of the major hearths of modern humans, perhaps a matter of external pressure from the Xi regime.*

What thou lovest well remains …

What thou lovest well remains,
                                                  the rest is dross
What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage … 

What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee ..

But to have done instead of not doing
                     this is not vanity
To have, with decency, knocked
That a Blunt should open
               To have gathered from the air a live tradition
or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame
This is not vanity.
         Here error is all in the not done,
all in the diffidence that faltered … 

from Ezra Pound’s Canto LXXXI 
116 sections to the cantos, written between 1915 – 1962 and first published from 1922 onwards.

Ezra Pound – now there’s a contradictory, flawed individual, is ever there was one! But what a creative talent, like many giants of our literary and music world, indeed the arts in general. (I’ll return to this theme in the future). An admirer of fascism (the Italian version) and an anti-Semite. T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ (widely regarded as one of the most important poems of the 20th century) would not have seen the light of day without Ezra’s awesome editing – and that’s another story! Some would argue that he co-authored ‘Wasteland.’

Are these words from Canto 116 a sort of confession?

I have brought the great ball of crystal,
                                               who can lift it?
Can you enter the great acorn of light?

          but the beauty is not the madness
Tho my errors and wrecks lie about me

                              and I cannot make it cohere

If love be not in the house there is nothing,

The voice of famine unheard.

How came beauty against this blackness,
Twice beauty under the elms

You cannot write the history of twentieth century literature without giving Pound a starring role,” writes Daniel Swift. Look behind any significant work of 20th Century literature, and there lurks Pound. He co-edited T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and helped e.e. Cummings develop his signature style. He mentored Ernest Hemingway and arranged for the publication of James Joyce’s work. T.E. Lawrence solicited from Pound advice on writing Seven Pillars of Wisdom; heiress-activist Nancy Cunard sparred with Pound over politics. There’s scarcely an American or British literary figure of the early 20th Century on whom Pound didn’t leave a mark.

Hated by many in the US establishment, remarkably, the Library of Congress awarded Pound the Bollingen prize for The Pisan Cantos in 1949.

The Bollingen Prize for Poetry is a literary honor bestowed on an American poet in recognition of the best book of new verse within the last two years, or for lifetime achievement. It is awarded every two years by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University. In fact it was the inaugural prize, chosen by a jury of Fellows in American Letters of the Library of Congress, to five them their full name.

A “backward regime” 2001. USA?

 The Taliban’s backwards regime was no match for the cruise missiles and B-52s of America's military colossus 
Taliban 2018
Thank you Bush & Blair et al -  Twenty years after the Americans and their NATO allies first arrived and raised such high hopes among many Afghans, they are now faced with the prospect of rearming and a return to the anarchy and civil war of the 1990s.

I will continue to bear witness.

I have always borne witness …

Priests and theologians have a right to offer their opinion, 
and even a ‘duty to be a warning,’ when people’s spiritual and
psychological well-being is in danger from someone
or something.

Indeed, if they aspire to follow the teaching of the
‘real Jesus’, they are under an obligation to do so.
If a priest or a preacher becomes upset, anxious and even 
angry about the immorality of his or her religion, they share
the fate to soldiers, for example, during the Viet Nam war, 
who felt impelled to speak out about the atrocities they had
witnessed. Many soldiers were sent to a psychiatrist who 
would be expected to help them be strong enough to return to
committing atrocities.
Similarly, people defend the behaviour of their ‘God’, even 
when that behaviour is evil and destructive! What’s more, 
they treat such behaviour as normal, and even ethically    
permissible. Some call this behaviour ‘Bible Study!”
I call such normality, a ‘malignant normality,’ a 
spiritual illness, that is deeply destructive, not only to an 
individual’s general well-being and spiritual health, but also to
his or her family and society as a whole. 

I have always borne witness to the fact that such behaviour 
is not normal. It is abnormal. (More about my stance, my 
rubicon of July 2011, to come) 

Sadly, many theologians and clerics have become 
complicit in maintaining this ‘malignant normality’ and its
psychopathic God. 
John Martin’s ‘Sodom & Gomorrah’ 1852

The original Zarathustra has a lot to answer for, although our media would be lost without their favourite god or idol.

The original Zarathustra (Century7/6BC)

1 Posited the distinction between Good and Evil
2 The meaning of the world as a Moral Event.
This war between good and evil first emerged as a separation/disjunction of an archaic deity called Ahura Mazda into Vohu and Angro.

So, we see a world consisting of: 1 An ethical opposition and 2 A metaphysical opposition, between contradictory principles of existence. 

And thus a makeshift regime(s) of Good and Evil becomes the reality and meaning of the world.

Such a regime is neither 1 An endless Heraclitean opposition, nor 2 An alchemical marriage. What we have instead is a war of attrition, an endless battle, a focus on winning or losing. 
Zarathustra or Zoroaster
Nietzsche has a different take on Zarathustra, creating his very antithesis: 'And thus they parted from one another, the old man and Zarathustra, laughing as two boys laugh. But when Zarathustra was alone, he spoke thus to his heart: "Could it be possible! This old saint has not heard in his forest that God is dead!"

‘Glows at me timidly’

Led to this poem by Trakl last night as we re-called Jac’s time with us

Aeon (Georg Trakl)

An animal face in the brown green
Glows at me timidly, the bushes gleam.
In the far distance an old fountain sings
With child voices. There I listen.

The wild jackdaws mock me
And all around the birches veil themselves.
I stand silent before a fire of tares
And softly images paint themselves.

On golden ground an ancient myth of love.
Over the hill the clouds spread their silence.
Over the ghostly pond-mirror
Fruit beckons, glowing and heavy. 
A toast to Jacques
Jacques about a month old
Trakl, as always, so many levels of meaning in his poems. Many an epic tale in themselves. 

Katla – we enjoyed the original Icelandic series on Netflix …

A different take on a folklore theme – intriguing story with a good cast and great setting. I like the apocalyptic setting, or is it post-apocalyptic! And – not over-playing the supernatural element. Music score – I thought, at first, it wouldn’t work, but it did. Full marks ‘Gwlad yr Ia.’
The cast includes Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð, Íris Tanja Flygenring, Ingvar Sigurðsson, Þorsteinn Bachmann, Sólveig Arnarsdóttir, Guðrún Gísladóttir, Baltasar Breki and Björn Thors from Iceland and Aliette Opheim and Valter Skarsgård from Sweden among others. The series is created by the award winning director Baltasar Kormákur (Trapped, Everest) and produced by RVK Studios.
One year after the outbreak of a violent eruption of the subglacial volcano Katla, the peace and tranquility in the small town of Vík has been dramatically disturbed with the eruption still active.  The ice near the volcano has been melting, the area has been evacuated and only a few remaining people manage to provide the necessary community service in the village, which is now only accessible by crossing the Markarfljót river.  The grand area has turned out to be somewhat apocalyptic and Vík is declared a danger zone.      

Mysterious elements, that have been deeply frozen into the glacier from prehistoric times, start to emerge from the melting ice with consequences no one could ever have foreseen
Folklore: a changeling is a child believed to have been secretly substituted by fairies for the parents' real child in infancy.

Independent Journalism – our hope for the future. Pity that independent theologians are a rare breed!

Ditto the few theologians and Biblical scholars who are aware of the hidden agenda of the Biblical corpus. A veritable library of fake news but there's nothing fake about the dangerous ideology that crafted these stories and religious propaganda.  

Charlton Heston taking his tablets and breaking them on Mt Sinai. He was a real person but Moses, of course, was a literary invention

Some interesting viewing on Netflix

Enjoyed the story very much , not ‘too-over-the-top’ in terms of fantasy but for me Christian Convery (the deer boy) doesn’t have that special bit of magic or charisma to make it a great series. The big guy, Nonso, was excellent. And with better lead casting, the chemistry between him and the deer boy would have been really magical. As for the deer-boy antlers and their ‘movement’!!! Very weak.

And a brilliant, though, obviously harrowing in parts, Polish film. Excellent in every way, 2019 Legiony.

As a Polish militia battles for independence from Russian rule in the 1910s, a star-crossed romance puts loyalties to the test. Inspired by true events.

Director: Dariusz Gajewski and a great cast: Sebastian FabijańskiBartosz GelnerWiktoria WolańskaMirosław BakaJan FryczGrzegorz MałeckiAntoni PawlickiBorys Szyc

57 year old Dariusz Gajewski – a Polish director, producer and screenwriter

Been a very different 26 days. Jacques!

Jacques the jackdaw came into our lives on 27 May aged about 3 weeks – and therefore into our care. He is thriving and thus reminding us of the importance of the basics in life: food in our bellies and security … love and ‘being watchful’ … and, as with all babies and infants, cleaning up after poo and that’s a privilege also!
Animals see the unobstructed
world with their whole eyes.
But our eyes, turned back upon
themselves, encircle and
seek to snare the world,
setting traps for freedom.
The faces of the beasts
show what truly IS to us:
we who up-end the infant and
force its sight to fix upon
things and shapes, not the
freedom that they occupy,
that openess which lies so deep
within the faces of the animals ... 

A gentle reminder of words from a favourite series of poems by Rilke - his  Duino Elegies, this one from VIII -  translation  by Robert Hunter
Or, as Jacques Derrida would have it, on discovering he was being looked-at by a cat, rather than looking-at 'it'! ...  'The Animal Therefore That I Am' (2002).  
Jacques Derrida d. 2004 Paris
From 2009 Peter Sloterdijk's ‘Rules for the Human Zoo’, his ‘response’ to Heidegger's ‘Letter on Humanism’ (1977). In this account of the history of humanism as the ‘taming’ of men and the breeding of good citizens, Sloterdijk pauses briefly to discuss the ‘domestication of men’, their construction of houses, such that men became ‘not only sheltered by their language, but also tamed by their accommodations.’ He notes that: 'historians of culture have made it clear that with domesticity the relationship between men and animals changed. With the taming of men by their houses the age of pets began as well. Their attachment to houses is not only a question of civilizing, but also a matter of direction and upbringing.'