Campfire Story

A campfire story about correlative cognition and the evolution of the notion of G8D.

The following article was originally published on The Free Advice Man's website here.

I am going to tell you a story. Come sit down here by my side, and enjoy the warmth of an imaginary Campfire. The flames light up the darkness around us. The warmth of the crackling embers of burning wood keep us cozy. It is a controlled fire, and one that we started. Unlike the fires that come from above!

Let us go way back in time, long before the Age of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, long before the Ancient Egyptians of the Pyramids and the Greeks with their naval fleets used parabolic mirrors to concentrate the rays of the Sun and use them to blind and even destroy their enemies, long before the Lion became the worshiped Big Cat god-child of the Sun god! Back to the time when trees and caves were our crude sleeping places, hungry wild beasts of prey made our lives miserably scary, and we (our prehistoric ancestors) had not long earlier discovered that animals left burnt after forest and field fires... caused by lightning or volcanic ejecta... tasted delicious! We had also made the connection between fire, heat, and friction... and soon enough we went from collecting fire to starting our fires, having experimented with various sources of heat! We even discovered rocks that would make sparks that acted like tiny bits of lightning, and could be used to start a very small fire with some dry grass, that could then be made bigger, and bigger, until we could use it to roast meat and fish on a spit-fire!

Back in Time

Photo by Flickr user icantcu

Let us imagine that we are a far more ancient and advanced Alien Species visiting Planet Earth in those wee hours of the dawn of Human Civilization! We are Alien Observers, Historical Record Keepers, and Archaeologists of this region of the Galaxy, our own home planet having already been devoured by its dying Star! We came over generations from afar! And with our stealth technology we can remain hidden from their view, unseen while we see all that they do!

They are three related families and relatives sitting around a fire... many millennia later their descendants will be roasting marshmallows and telling disturbingly frightening stories to one another, out of the boredom that can comes with the mis-application of technology and the violent abuse such can allow. Around 25 prehistoric humans sharing pieces of roasted water-buffalo meat. With our advanced technology we are able to translate their primitive language and understand what they are saying.

And this is what we hear:

One of the younger adults is speaking. 

"Uncle Oogy... be quiet! Let Grandpa Magagu speak! You keep talking when he talks. You can talk after he talks."

Uncle Oogy: "I will not speak now Mambojumbo, son of my brother. I will speak after my dead brother's father Magagu. Speak! Speak loudly. Because you speak not loudly enough!"

Magagu: "I will speak. I will speak loudly. Look at what my finger is pointing at! You see those fires up above us!" (Points up to the night sky full of stars.)

Several of the people around the campfire reply, "Yes! Yes! We see them! What are they Magagu? Tell us!"

Magagu: "Those are fires just like our fire here! There are people sitting around those fires! I call them the people of the night! And you all know that there is a big fire in the daytime too! It is too strong to look at without harming our eyes! That big and strong fire must mean that there are many more people who sit around it than the many little fires of the night people! And they can travel with their fires! And that is why there is also that other fire that is not so strong, and which is not warm, and we see the people of that weak fire travel with their fire both in the daytime and at night! But mostly at night! They are the people of both day and night! And..."

Magagu is interrupted by his brother Oogy.

"Have you ever seen those people? All I see is fires! Very small ones, bigger ones, and the two big ones of the night and day! How do you know that they are not fires without people? Just fires that happen? I have seen fires that happen with no people to make them happen!"

Magagu: "I tell you Oogy, they are not people like us! They hide from us! Some of them live inside the fire mountains too! They get angry at us sometimes... the way we get angry with one-another... and they yell louder than any of us! When we are angry we yell! And when they yell they throw fire at us, and burning stones too! The hiding people above throw very quick fire at us! The ones who live below and inside the fire mountains throw fire rocks at us! And they always do it after they yell! Not before! They are angry! Very angry! And sometimes after they yell in anger, they start to cry! Just like we do!"

Mabojumbo: "Why Grandpa Magagu are they angry with us? What did we do to make them angry?"

Magagu: "Why do we get angry son of my dead son? Don't we get the most angry when... and yell and cry... when one of our own stops moving, stops eating, stops hunting, stops being warm, turns cold, and does not stop the other moving, eating, hunting things from eating them?!? They get very angry and sad just like we do when that happens! When one of us stops doing the things that need to be done to keep us strong and from becoming hungry and from suffering in pain and from also becoming lazy! That is why! The hidden people do not like us when we are lazy! And they get so angry that sometimes their fires destroy us! Poof! Just like this!" Magagu takes a grasshopper from his pouch and throws it into the fire! It jumps out on fire and burns to ashes!

Why Now?

Photo via REBRN

Oogy: "But if they care so much about us; Why don't they come before us, come out of hiding, and speak to us and tell us so themselves?!? Why do they treat us like we treat little children who need to learn how to hunt and make fires and cook meat and tell stories about the hunt?! Why?!?"

Magagu: "Because they are too busy hunting and making fires and cooking meat and eating and telling stories! They are never lazy! They are better than us! And they never stop!"

Oogy: "What?! How do you know that they never are lazy and never stop and are so much better than us?"

Magagu: "I have been watching them for a very long time! Many days and nights! And even though the ones above us always travel with their fires, they never stop! They never disappear! They go in the same direction for all the days and nights!"

Oogy: "Prove it!"

Magugu: "Come inside our cave! I will show you! You will see that I have painted dots and that the movement of the dots are in the same direction by comparing the dots with what you can see for yourself if you look up! I even discovered that by keeping track of the movement of the fires above I can predict when the seasons will change, and when to get ready for collecting different kinds of seeds, berries and fruits!"

They go into the cave together. Then, after a few minutes, they come back out and Magagu is pointing up at the fires in the sky! "You see! What did I tell you?! See!"

Oogy: "Well I am going to tell those hidden people that they are cowards! That they should come out from hiding from us, and I will fight them until they are all lazy too! I will make a huge drawing! A huge drawing on the side of the hill! It will be of me! Holding a big stick! It will be an invitation to fight me! And I will teach them a lesson! Never again treat me like a child! I am stronger, bigger, braver, and I am not a coward like them!"

Magagu: "You think that they are stupid? They will never fight you in person! They are too powerful!"

Mambojumbo: "I have a better idea! Why not build a mountain high enough to reach these perfect people?!"

Magagu: "Both of you are fools! You should show these perfect powerful people some real respect! Otherwise they might get angry at you, and Poof! You'll be burnt to ashes! Just like that grasshopper!"

Mambojumbo's little daughter, Gaga: "Papa; do the hidden ones have their own Big Chief like our Chief Magagu The Elder?"

Mumbojumbo: "You would think so if they never get destroyed and have so much power! Their leader must be the most Powerful Big Chief of all!"

Magagu: "Okay everybody! It's very late! I think it is time we all get some sleep! Tomorrow is going to be a very long, hard and dangerous day for hunting!"

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