Meateaters and religion

The original man was an opportunist. He fed on everything available that was edible : plants, fruits, nuts and roots, supplemented with some animal building materials from fish and small animals if they were easy to get. Man was a multi-food eater; not really specialized in one type of food. He adapted his diet to the circumstances. That increased his nutritional options but also required extra effort from the brain function. Originally meat did not belong to the standard food package. He was not really built to hunt; he missed the speed needed to catch an animal, he missed the weapons such as claws or sharp teeth and the power to kill prey animals. Because man is not a typical meat eater from origin, his stomach and intestinal tract had no resistance to germs present in (dead) meat. Man was certainly not a scavenger either. At most he fed himself occasionally with meat from animals that had died in forest fire, from which the germs had disappeared as a result of the combustion. It is not strange that we feel resistance when we see dead animals or when we smell meat that has been lying longer. A genetically induced defense to ensure that we do not try food that can be harmful to us.

The original man lived in a “paradise”: a forest and water-rich environment in a relatively warm climate, in which sufficient food was available for him. His skin and hair were adapted to the mild climate and offered little resistance to cold.
This wooded area was less suitable for large groups of grazers, who sought their food on steppes and plains, and because of this the number of larger predators in this area was also limited. He had few natural enemies and his construction and behavior was therefore not calculated on flee or hide. Man was perfectly adapted to his diet: he had arms with hands to grasp and legs to stand upright and to pick fruit from trees. He was able to dig and climb and thus obtain plants and roots above and under the ground as well as nuts and fruits in bushes and trees.
Man lived in small family groups. It was mainly the women who collected food, while the main task of the men was to decide among themselves who had the strongest genes to pass on these genes to future generations through reproduction. Men were therefore more powerfully built than women who had less benefit from a muscular body when collecting food. Men used this power to drive away their rivals, to claim food collected by women, and to hold and defend a group of women through whom their genes were to be passed on to subsequent generations.

The younger, non-dominant men in the group provided helping hands and services to women in the acquisition of food by breaking branches with nuts or fruit, or catching fish and small animals.

The human being, who mainly lived on fruits, plants, nuts and tubers, discovered that it was easy to use a stick to dig up tubers, or to knock fruit out of the tree. Because few sticks are really suitable for digging and also to beat fruits from trees or shrubs (firmness, length, manageability), once man found a good stick, he kept it as a kind of private tool. A good stick gave him / her an advantage over the others. By carrying the stick he could not use his hands to walk with so he started to walk upright more often.
The use of sticks led to the use as a weapon by the men in the battle for leadership and also as a weapon against enemies. The stick (the staff) has always remained an important symbol of power for man and is often used as a symbol in religion.

The ideal habitat for humans and the virtual absence of large predators caused a sharp increase in the number of people. As a result, a shortage of food arose, probably in combination with climate change. This led to groups increasingly fighting each other for food. In the absence of natural enemies, man became his own enemy and thus acted regulating in limiting the number. It was mainly the powerful men who entered into battle with opponents, using primitive weapons such as sticks, bones and stones.

Meat was an exceptional delicacy. Only occasionally the opportunity arose that man was in the vicinity of a forest fire and could obtain from the scorched plain an edible piece of roasted meat from a burned animal, before other animals had it. The problem of eating meat was that a dead animal contained germs that made it unsuitable for human consumption. Consumption was only relatively safe after incineration. It was therefore a very unstable food source, because it was uncertain when a burned animal was found that was large enough to feed the entire group. The rare fire-scorched meat was easy to eat and did not have to be eaten immediately. After a forest fire, man did a frantic effort to remove still edible scorched dead animals from the burned ground. Probably after a forest fire the stick with which he tried to draw a dead and roasted animal from the hot earth continued to smolder. He dragged the still smoldering stick with him and accidentally discovered that he could cause himself a fire at a distance thereafter.

The man’s duties had changed. Increasingly, he was a protector and fighter against competing groups of people and, above all, providing a supplement to the diminishing food. The first step in the direction of a rational solution was that he no longer waited until an animal was killed and scorched due to circumstances (fire). He made successful attempts to kill animals himself and to burn the self-killed animal in the fire. As a result, the consumption options increased significantly. The next big step was almost inevitable: man learned to preseve fire with wood or other combustible material from a bush fire, and he learned how to take this fire with him when the group moved on. Man was now “holder of fire”. The ability to feed on meat and the possession of fire made man less dependent on the forests in the warmer climate. There was a large migration towards colder regions with less competitive groups of people, where the large numbers of animals now formed a new source of food for humans.

With the help of the fire and with skins of captured animals, man could arm himself against a colder climate, against which his own skin offered insufficient protection.

Eating meat led to another, at least as crucial, development in humans: the ability to reason.
Because man is by nature not a meat eater and a hunter, he could not build on his innate actions for obtaining meat. There was no pattern of instinctive postures and actions that allowed him to hunt and kill larger animals. The ability to do this was largely based on experiential learning. People had to anticipate circumstances in which they act naturally: the spontaneous reaction to certain stimuli and situations, which was transmitted via the genes, did not lead to the desired goal. The reactions of the originating plant eater had to be postponed and other reactions useful for the purpose had to be called at the right time. This meant that he had to use previous experiences as a substitute for reality: to design response patterns without the direct circumstance justifying these reactions. He developed the ability to simulate reality – to evoke stimuli, which lead to action or deferment of action – based on previous experiences. This ability to simulate, the internal production of process action and reaction (if a, then b or c, if b then x, if c then y, etc.) formed the impetus for what we now call thinking. However, full thinking will come later, as we will see below.

Man went in search of a suitable environment with sufficient food, including meat next to the original food. People came into the colder steppe areas, where large troops of herbivores lived and beyond in colder but greener regions with changing seasons. The harsher climate, the need to hunt, the often new and unknown environment in which he ended up and the larger threat of predators, which were abundantly present in the areas with a lot of wildlife, required a great deal of human adaptability. It forced him to count even less on the genetically ingrained survival methods and more and more own experiences, but also to use the experiences of ancestors and others in what really became a hard struggle for existence.

Man learned to build stocks of dried fruit, plants and herbs, nuts and dried meat. He therefore had the opportunity to swarm around the world and leave the overcrowded areas of origin. He now had to adapt to the environment or adapt that environment to people. Natural action was increasingly displaced by complex combinations of experiences and applications. The brain adapted to this new behavior and the new parts developed into a place where processes could take place that we call ‘thinking’. Man learned through “try and error”. All this required a spectacular development of thought. In the new way of life it was no longer possible to assume innate instinctive methods of survival. More and more people were dependent on knowledge and experience. This knowledge and experience had to be transferred to others to prevent them from being lost. After all, it concerned reactions to stimuli and situations that were unnatural to humans and therefore could not be passed on via the genes.

The transfer of knowledge and experience took place on 3 levels:
– the transfer of direct daily experiences to each other. Necessary to make life possible in constantly changing environments and circumstances.
– the transfer of skills, important for making weapons and clothing and for the different methods of hunting different prey animals.
– the transfer of important learning processes from the past, by telling stories. The latter was necessary to ‘recognize’ parts of a new environment or situation and to anticipate them in the right way.

By transmitting ancient stories with stylized images of human history, man tried to keep his connection with the origin. These stories, which in their core are almost identical in all religions, are told of the original environment (paradise), in which man still lived ‘in peace’ with the animals: not yet a natural enemy of the animals ( meat eater). Often, as in the Bible in Genesis, some reference is made to “the great change”: the origin of thought (the tree of knowledge), the associated loss of bonding with one’s own place in the nature (the original sin) and the departure from ‘paradise’ (Adam and Eve covered their nakedness from that time: they had to dress).

This transfer required an increasing level of communication. The new way of life also necessitated more and other communication. The different ways of gathering food: the women gathered and the men went hunting, causing a often long-term physical separation from the group. Experiences had to be exchanged that were not shared by all other group members. In addition, experiences that had been gained some time ago or about matters that were unknown to those members of the group who were not there. Sometimes it was also more than a single experience, a whole process. The original communication, based on gestures and attitudes, supplemented with supporting sounds, no longer fulfilled.

The sounds were expanded and increasingly became fixed concepts: people started to talk and the more complicated their thought processes became, the more the old form of communication was suppressed by words, with which it was possible to convey thought processes.

In contrast with this development stood the shared experience of ‘mystical’ understanding.
The new way of life had alienated man from himself, from his original environment and from his place in that environment. Thought had repressed the original and natural direct response to stimuli and situations and thus cut the automatic bond or unity with the environment. This ever-increasing loss of direct contact with the natural and original environment and with its own natural, instinctive values ​​could only be compensated by the preservation and transfer of ancient rituals and experiences not affected by the ‘new thinking’. By switching off or reducing the thinking, people came into contact with the original person again. This original man, in turn, had a natural bond with everything that surrounded him: still knew the ‘unconscious understanding’ of the environment; the mystical consciousness of your own original form and the place that you originally have in the whole of everything that surrounds you. It was what we would now call God’s experience.

It were mainly the men who were responsible for their role, hunting and survival strategies in a climate that was unnatural for humans, displaced by their natural, original way of acting. For women, this went more gradually in the form of storing useful information about the immediate environment for food collection and fitness for the tribe and their children, and information about the social structure within the tribe for the chances of survival of that strain or precisely to optimize their own children. But everything still mainly from the original genetic context with the environment and innate actions. The men identified women therefor with the origin, with the bond with the earth: the primal mother who could show them the way to their own lost place in the world. * Women became part of – and also the center of the. mystical experience of men. Great powers were given to them, and the woman as a symbol was worshiped, was sometimes also given an important role as a medium in that worship. However, the women themselves were not part of the group mystical experiences. There was also no need for them because they did not deny their origin and bond with the environment to the same extent as the men.
Over time you see that on the one hand the role of women as natural bearer of human identity comes to the fore in many ‘beliefs’, but at the same time the man tries to secure his now important role in hunting and the protection of the group against the hostile environment, by proclaming mystical experience and thinking to the highest values ​​that a person can obtain; values ​​he monopolises to the exclusive right of the man.

Striking is the important and ‘magical’ role that plays a role in many beliefs. The hand was his most important part of the body in the original man. For the actions needed to feed: picking, climbing, digging, and peeling, the hand was a unique and indispensable instrument. It was also what made man (most) different from other animals. Not the brain / the thinking, but the very hand that is so emphatically connected with the primeval form and old way of life of man, has remained an important magic symbol in most religions.

Faith is: The non-intellectually understood connection (s) with everything around us.

The development of “faith” was the strongest among the people who had settled in a human-hostile environment: the colder areas, where food was largely dependent on the hunt. In these areas the original native lifestyle methods were the least useful. Here man was strongly dependent on his developed mind, which inevitably led to further alienation of one’s own identity. The retention of that identity caused problems due to the increasing dominance of thinking and the living environment offered few identification points for the transmitted images of the origin of man.

For the people in this environment the link with their own original form and the original environment was less and less rooted in reality, could no longer be ‘understood’ and was maintained by placing it outside reality in a ‘different reality’: that of faith.

The natural connection with the environment, decided in man, and the naturally correct action in that environment, from which the human being alienated further by the new way of life, was now transferred to “gods”. Originally it was still understood that the gods lived in man himself, but as the estrangement increased, the gods were increasingly placed outside of man as elusive and incomprehensible phenomena. The more hostile the environment, the more aggressive the gods became and the rituals devoted to these gods.

Where man still lived in an environment that showed no too great differences with the original environment, where the denial of their own origin and identity was small, forms developed that were based more on the “inner understanding” and becoming aware of the environment and the place of man in it (eg Buddhism and what we call primitive beliefs). These forms emphasized the unity of people and environment. Through the history of mankind all difertent groups of men have sought and think to have found a form to obviate the loss of natural understanding of one’s own place. Gave believe and religion the role of connector between man and  environment or universe. And named it God, whatever and who that God may be.