Ancient Tall Tale / by Teck Cheng Neo

According to me, there are 3 basic elementary factors of Existence of the Universe. These are the Realm of Movement, Realm of Sound and Realm of Form. In the human civilization they are realized, in this order; first form maturity, then sound maturity and lastly movement maturity. We are in the last phase of our maturing civilization.

   Once upon a time, a many many thousands of years ago, perhaps two hundred thousand years ago, man started to be dissatisfied with himself. He started to sense the need, the need to define himself. He realized that he wasn't satisfied only to eat. This was simply not enough. So he wanted to do something more than just eating. He wanted more than just to survive. He wanted to shape his life.

    He wanted to settle down his roaming unrest spirit. If you read in the book of genesis; the spirit of god was roaming around. Those were the days of the 'Hells Angels': Roaming around on Harleys. The wild ones. Many during this time wanted to have more than eating, surviving, coupling, existing and fearing. So they started living in caves. No more roaming too much around but limited only to catch games and to collect food.

    So after eating they went to sleep. All day couching around and feeling good. But after awhile this wasn't enough. In those days men had got much time, a lot of time. There wasn't a single person who ever excuse himself for not having time. Time were in abundance. The question in those days, was: What should I do with my time?

    They had so much time after eating. They didn't want to wash dishes, clothing, clean their houses and no vacuum cleaners. They didn't have to pay any bills. They had time. They didn't need to register their birth, no identity cards and passports. Whether they were married or not, they had time. They didn't need to do their national service to defend their cave.

    No health insurance, fire insurance, life insurance, car insurance, theft insurance, water damage insurance and social security insurance. No one went to school, no one got education, there were no high schools and universities. They got time.

    There were lots around; time. No lawyers, doctors, nurses and kindergartens. There were no house brokers and bankers. There were no issues of rich man and poor man. Those were the days of the Dark era and man was unhappy?

    There was no supermarket, no coca cola, no hot dogs and no chocolate. Legends were not born in this time. No history books, no telephones, no handys, no discos, no pops, no rocks, computers, cinemas and televisions. We called our ancestors; primitives.

    They didn't go shopping. At that time there were no money. Much later the Phoenicians were the first to invent money currency. No visa, no MasterCard, no diner's club and no American express. There were no nations. No religions, men were roaming and gods were roaming. No haute couture, no Vivien Westwood, no Karl Lagerfeld, no Armani and no Versace. They got plenty of time. But they were dissatisfied. They were restless. They sensed a huge need. Yet man couldn't count beyond his fingers: More than ten of anything were simply mind boggling or blogging, pardon mind blocking.

    Then man got fed up of being constantly frightened. In those days men were scared of everything. They felt that they had to DO something or they would go crazy. They had to do something more than just; eating, sleeping, eating, sleeping, eating, sleeping...... Man felt that there was a vast different between him and all the other creatures except their hominid's cousins. At this turning point of time man felt that he could not live just by existing and filling his stomach.

    So as a way to cure his acute boredom and dissatisfaction, man started to monkey around. They recognized that they could imitate many types of movements and it was fun doing them. And most important or vital, they felt it to be good or better, they felt good. More and more feeling good were important to man.

    Also man started to be aware that when he created sounds, perhaps with something in the hands, or to produce it with his vocal cord; there were certain ways that he felt good. Just like when he eats he feels good. So he discovered that he could feel good filling his stomach and this same wonderful feeling surfaced when he produced sounds or recognized good feelings in the sound. These were the days where men still didn't have a developed language.

    They didn't have names for all creatures. So, sometimes when someone went out to hunt and he may discovered a new creature. Well, this would pose a task of how to convey it to his brethrens. He probably imitates the movement, creates sounds and even the form of the creature. Monkeying around so to speak with hands and feet, and vocal activities. He may attempt to use anything available to aid his cause, and even perhaps drawing on the earthen floor. Having succeeded in his effort he probably feels good. Some others may also feel good about the whole monkeying. So they started to ritualize the process; reverse-engineering so to speak. From this point on they developed the habit of reproducing what  made them feel good. In time it became more and more refined and sophisticated in nature and through nurture. Man confirmed that feeling good was a reliable source for guidance.

    The first strong good feeling was eating your fill. It is ancient and primitive. However they could not eat all the time. Well the stomach is limited in size. Man can eat only one mastodon but not two. Therefore man had to kill time of boredom by finding new activities to feel good. So the philosophy of feeling good was established by our primitive ancestors.

     Even today in developing countries, there are mothers who tell their daughters: The way to a man is through his stomach. The first feeling of good was food. Soon men discovered the feeling of goodness, not only in eating but they could spend time by discovering and reproducing things that made them feel good.

    One day, the cave got a bit too crowded. And there were not many caves around. Also maybe too far apart or they didn't want to impose on their hominid's relatives. During those days there were no dynamite. Alfred Nobel, indeed a nobel creature was not yet born. In a flash of genius, man discovered that  animals were using spaces created below overhangs resulted from fallen trees on rock formations or even rocks on rocks or trees on trees. Whatever, so they began to construct the first huts, of course through trial and error, and their monkeying habits for feeling good. Wood thus became one of the earliest building materials. Don't forget they continued with producing sounds, enacting and creating rituals with movement to propagate good feelings. And when they felt good, they felt less fear.

    At that time our ancestors didn't have a need for Steven Spielberg and Hollywood studios to create fear. It didn't cost a penny to experience Jurassic Park, it was therefore a very economical circumstance. Men had time as always. They put the huts near to each other. The cave was used for getting together activities and the walls for paintings and drawings. This was also the time they were beginning to use stones as primary tools. Stone tool technology developed in what is now known as Stone Age. Today we are long passed this age but many still love to get stoned.

    Men started carving figures, creatures and utensils out of bones, stones and wood. So, this was the fantasy of man to associate with what look alike. In the old days man was extremely close to nature. In fact nature nurtured man. Today's men dislike nature, perhaps; familiarity breeds contempt? During the age of stone, when a man wants to have a relationship with a cow;, no problem, even for the rest of his life. Such were the days of old.

    Man's identity was not clear cut as of today. He was still shaping his identity through his philosophy of Good Feeling. One day while monkeying around, he thought: If I could cut this piece of rock and shaped it into slabs of different sizes, I could make a likeness of my hut. I could make a stone hut! Then my hut is like a cave, very strong. So, some of the beautiful remainders of this, we still have in Greece. You know, the architecture of Greece is actually wooden architecture made in stones. All the beams and columns, and all the decorative elements are all from trees.

    Men were going around doing things that made them feel good. If they didn't feel good, then they were sick. Those were the days when it was very clear and easy; you feel good, then you are healthy. Today you are healthy, when your blood test is OK.

    After some thousands of years they developed their civilization. So everywhere on Earth, the first sign of civilization was architecture. This is why Architecture is considered to be the Mother of all arts. You see, man became civilized first of all by maturing in the Realm of Form. Our challenges in the realm of form are still an ongoing monkeying process.

    So, for a long long time men were constructing huge monuments. They were going beyond their humble huts. They fulfilled their desire of feeling good in a huge dimension. And every time the sun rises and the silhouette dances on the skin of mother earth, they feel proud. They felt like gods. The creatures have food to eat we have food to eat. The shelters of the creatures are mostly incidental and that of man a deliberate construction to define who he is.

    Man likes the sound of nature. The sound of nature has many expressions. Men loved the singing of birds. They imitated them sometimes well and at times not. Still there were some birds that they found almost impossible to imitate. Then monkeying around with sounds, they discovered that the sounds they made didn't reached the intensity of the architecture and arts that they created. The sounds from them simply didn't fit the beauty of the forms they had created. A new vital challenge for man's philosophy of Good Feeling dawned on him. Thus unfolded the urge to bring harmony between Sound and Form through developing what came to be called music.

    So, art forms were highly developed and to partake in any art forms was seen as a sign that one was near to the divine. Men during this time, felt very awkward with their movements, very very awkward. They felt less awkward with their music. But every time when people were going about creating sounds within splendid spaces of their monumental buildings, it was very awkward to hear and move. However in silence and stillness there was undeniable beauty in the constructed environment. These exposed such great lacking in sound and movement.

    At the beginning of man's civilization, his music were uncouth and left much to be desired. He felt ridiculous and perhaps shame. It simply didn't fit the new ambient of marbles and refined furnishings. Good enough for the humble hut origin but not in upgraded surroundings. So, as usual they focus on monkeying and bringing their music on par with their other achievements. But soon his civilization decayed and replaced by another and another. The experiences gained never forgotten and then came the age of Renaissance. At this point music took a huge leap, culminating in the birth of classical music and beyond that to maturity in the Realm of Sound.

    Man wanted to go beyond himself. So he created great architecture, arts and music. These were to fulfill his urge of wanting to feel good by mirroring himself. Obviously his deeds would never be enough for he still had not done his homework with Movement.

    After seeing many civilizations come and go, man continued to make progress with the realm of form, less with the realm of sound and even lesser with the realm of movement. At that time dancing was no more than making a fool of oneself in the square. Then making a fool of oneself in a circle and unconsciously making a fool with oneself in a triangle. Anyway today is the dawn of the maturity for the realm of movement. I hope many will partake in it.