Re: Tribes LO2803

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Wed, 13 Sep 1995 22:16:16 +0059 (EDT)

Replying to LO2791 -- was Intro -- Julie Beedon

Jesse -

Your eloquent post brings to mind an image that I pondered deeply some
years ago: The taking of fire.

The stereotypical image of this that I grew up with was 19th-century
"Promethean" science, Man against Nature, Man Dominating Nature, etc. On
this framework, the taking of fire for the first time is a story of power
and technology and domination and wrestling for control. In such stories,
the first man to seize a burning branch holds it aloft, at the front of
his tribe, reciting passages from Ayn Rand as he leads everyone to better

Well, something like that may have happened somewhere along the way. Who

But I don't think that would have been the _first_ thing to happen.

The first man to touch the burning branch -- and this would not have been
a communal effort, he would be all alone at that moment even with the rest
of the tribe surrounding him -- would have snatched it, held it in terror,
almost vomiting with fear. He staggers into his cave. He doesn't come
out for a long time. Days, perhaps. The neighbors crowd around, finally,
but hardly dare touch him. He is changed, he is different, his friends no
longer certain who he is anymore. He will say something: he points back
into the cave, the ashes are in his hand.

"We. too. are. fire." he says, and then everyone knows he is mad.

     Jim Michmerhuizen
     web residence at
. . . . . . . . . .   Actions speak louder than words   . . . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . . . .        but not as clearly         . . . . . . . . . .