B.C. (Before Cleaning)
We have no idea what the meaning was of cave paintings. Some of them were drawn deeply, where only fires could have lit the drawings. I wonder if there were compulsive cleaners back then who would go around wiping the surfaces down after the day’s drawing? What must it have been like to see those pictures, to see life captured and flickering on the walls with the smoking torches all around? I’m sitting in my house, exchanging data through the air which is sent forwards to a hunk of silicone somewhere in America, where this website really lives… But I wonder how far away from us those people were in their thoughts and feelings. Their words were largely unformed, and the complexity of expression that we have would not have been there, but were the emotions the same? Perhaps their social values are too distant from ours for us to relate to their sense of self, or possessions, or achievement.
History is fascinating, but even recent times show how much we have forgotten. As little as two hundred years ago it appears to have been common to sleep in two shifts of around four hours (US link, UK link). We changed when machines and regular hours started to dominate our lives, forgetting in only a few generations how we used to sleep – if something so fundamental to our lives can be forgotten, how much else has been lost?
Have a great weekend everyone!