A Healed Thighbone, a World on Fire and a Billion Benighted Eyes

October 9, 2020

I happened to learn not so long ago that an anecdote of a certain American anthropologist named Margaret Mead had been copiously floating around as a forward on WhatsApp.

For the uninitiated, here is a piece from that anecdote: “Anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected her to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.

Much to the student’s surprise, her answer was that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a thighbone that had been broken and then healed. She added that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts.”

This gist of her erudite idea of what led to the ages of the quickening of mind, the stirring of heart and the swelling of inspired inventions hinges back to a simple act carried out by earlier humans who were motivated by empathy.

We are taught from young age that man is a social animal. Remove the social part and we end up giving in to bestial instincts. Animals submit to such instincts by nature, which they cannot control. The privilege of being an intellectually dominant creature is something that only mankind has enjoyed.

The sheer force of willingness and intellectual capacity allowed mankind to overcome every perceptible odds and challenges. Scientific and commercial achievements of all kinds have allowed mankind to break every discernible barrier. Yet after coming so far, modern civilization is not impervious to the dangers of self-induced destruction.

At this very moment, the world is burning, and the inferno is raging not only in terms of global warming or the widespread pandemic but in terms of every imaginable horror: climate crisis, threat of nuclear war and rising authoritarianism in major parts of the world are putting the organized human life on Earth on the verge of extinction.

Collectively, we have normalized ignorance, prejudice, and apathy; and these civilization-destroying weapons were not developed only recently.

It took eons of ignorance to turn a blind eye to the fact that although massive deforestation will give us commercial comforts and tools in the short-run, but in the long run 68% of wildlife and 85% of wetlands will be lost, which has actually happened in the last 50 years if the data reported by Living Planet Index is to be believed.

It took eons of ignorance to turn a blind eye to the fact that scientists scrounging the realm of medical science to find cure for epidemics; activists fighting for the rights of the downtrodden & marginalized; academics sacrificing the comfort of convenient career only to educate the poor in remote areas; environmental activists plugging away to save flora and fauna deserve more and unmitigated attention than mainstream celebrities who are reposed on the pedestal for glitz and glamour attached to their lifestyle.

It took eons of ignorance to turn a blind eye to the fact that exploited labourers and farmers are victims of a system that treats them as disposable humanity that are to be worked to death and discarded, while we who enjoy the fruit of their toil and sweat throw mere platitudes at them by simply calling them heroes of the earth and then letting them fade away into obscurity.

It took eons of ignorance to turn a blind eye to the fact that even though every powerful person has some critical vulnerabilities and every marginalized person has some strengths, the powerful person gets endless opportunities to protect themselves from vulnerabilities, but the weak hardly gets the luxury to act on their strengths.

It took eons of ignorance to gradually turn a blind eye to the fact that we have let the world ultimately become one egregious circus where amusement is morbid. Hate mongers are cheering from the privileged comfort of their ivory towers and the sheer savagery is astonishing as the world burns into a terrible cinder.

To put things in a nutshell, we have ushered into an era where logic and reasoning have been muffled by cacophonous shrill, manufactured outrage and insanity. People have turned into lemmings in such a way that a mere attempt at urging rationality is seen as an act of rebellion against conformity.

Now, all of us are fallible to err. However, things can still go right if we allow space for one another to learn from the past, engage, protect one another, and prevent things that could lead us into a dystopian future. The need of the hour is to ask whether we want to unite in love or crumble in spite.

If we still let the world around us go on self-destructive mode, then it can only mean that the thighbone of that early human had healed for nothing.




By Glaxson D'Lima
Glaxson D'Lima’s hometown is Santhekatte. He currently works as a Social Media Executive for a firm engaged in digital media marketing, based in Doha-Qatar.
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Comment on this article

  • Luella Serrao, Dubai

    Mon, Oct 12 2020

    Good read and very well written. Indeed mankind has certainly forgotten and failed to pay heed to things that actually matter. Whilst there is a small percentage of human race working really hard to fix things (or rather attempting to slow down the inevitable damage); the rest - busy living in a fool's paradise.

  • Lavina Serrao, Sasthan/Bangalore

    Mon, Oct 12 2020

    Interesting content ... very nicely written

  • Janet D'Souza, Kundapur/Mumbai

    Mon, Oct 12 2020

    Actually, it was the title which attracted me to come on this page and then eventually ended up reading the whole article. I must say that the content is really good and tempting to read till the end. Great work Glaxson. Keep it up!

  • Lynette Rego, Bajpe

    Sun, Oct 11 2020

    I loved the beginning of your write-up! Margaret Mead is one of the underrated women of her times. Had chance to read about her during my college days.. by the way, your article is well written and really appreciate your efforts & usage of words... Keep up the good work!

  • Jamal Yousef, Bhandup, Mumbai/Kuwait

    Sun, Oct 11 2020

    great content Glaxson! good job

  • Rima Diaz, Udupi/Sharjah

    Sun, Oct 11 2020

    well written!!!

  • John, Mangalore

    Sat, Oct 10 2020

    Good Thoughts! But these days selfishness, greed for power or to control is at worse! Regarding this pandemic,

    Need to be cautious of new not properly tested vaccine. Seems mostly for evil
    deadly vaccine only, these communist Chinese brought out this evil virus. These
    communists make use of left leaning democrats, elites in the west who support depopulation specially Bill Gates who is for pro abortion also in billion dollars vaccination business some which he himself said for depopulation in one of his ted talks, to control global warming. Same time some vaccines seems to have caused autism and childlessness, a form depopulation where parents or couple need to suffer life long.

    What evil communists and elites have planned with the new vaccine God only knows. (If they use cells from aborted fetuses then there is a chance of corrupting one's DNA and damage one's immune system). Vaccine Technology is so advanced these evil communist to control might use micro / nano chip, luciferase technology to check status of vaccine same time it can make oneself a robot who can be controlled with advanced surveillance, AI and communication technologies.

    Unfortunately WHO is also left leaning or mostly communists infiltrated. Refer following site on "who is the WHO"

    Also following their interesting video on Quantum dot Luciferase tattoo, a predictive programming and why social distance, depicted in cartoon, probably seems for misguiding both children and adults

    Ref: https://plandemicseries.com

    Ref video: https://youtube.com/watch?v=ie--wOXqzMU

  • Glaxson D'Lima, Santhekatte/Qatar

    Sat, Oct 10 2020

    @Keith @Kenneth, Thank you for putting your thoughts and reverberating the gist of this piece . I am glad you concur with it.

    @Rohan, It means a lot to see that you find this piece mirroring Yuval Noah Harari's works to some extent. Although, I am not quite familiar with the said historian's works, but I will certainly look up for his materials and hopefully learn more about things from his research.

    @Karthik, yes there is a disparity in evolutionary advantage; however, going by the way things are heading, we haven't used it to our best advantage to make this world into an utopian paradise. A lost opportunity I would say.

  • Francis Felix Machado, Shirva/Orlem-Malad

    Sat, Oct 10 2020

    Nicely written.
    All the Best for Future works.

  • Dinesh, Udupi/Dubai

    Sat, Oct 10 2020

    nice article!

  • Abigail Fernandes, Mumbai/Barkur

    Sat, Oct 10 2020

    Keep up the good work, Glaxson

  • Savio D'Souza, KSA

    Sat, Oct 10 2020

    nice article! keep the good work going

  • Marjorie Batan Coelho, Mangalore/Mumbai

    Fri, Oct 09 2020

    the first para of this article reminded me of my early days in 80's and 90's where the world was caring and more sociable. there was no fear in giving a simple smile and greeting a stranger.. If someone fell in the road then people use to come to help them out while now, all will take their mobile phones and take picture... People are getting less sociable and more self centered, mean and towards aggression.

  • Wilfred Carvalho, Udupi/Dubai

    Fri, Oct 09 2020

    nice article and well executed.. Hope the world turns a better place for our children to live!

  • Keith, Udupi

    Fri, Oct 09 2020

    Thank you for writing a very informative and thought provoking article. Mankind as a whole has taken a step forward in technology and 2 steps back in social discourse and empathy.

  • Kenneth, Subhasnagara

    Fri, Oct 09 2020

    Very well written , Glaxson ! We need to pay close attention to the problems of our society instead of being blind to injustice and ignorance. The world is on the brink of collapse and by being blind to the societal problems , we tip the scales toward destruction of cataclysmic sorts. We must preserve the idea of humanity before we get consumed by evil.

  • Rohan, Mangalore

    Fri, Oct 09 2020

    Dear Glaxson,
    Whatever you have written is true and each one has a role to play in an inclusive world. You mirror the writing and research of Yuval Noah Harari to some extent. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Karthik prabhu, Mangalore

    Fri, Oct 09 2020

    Another example of the difference is a road. No animal other than humans are able to cooperate to create an item to the entire species’s benefit. Animals have the cold selfishness of evolution which humans dont have

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Title: A Healed Thighbone, a World on Fire and a Billion Benighted Eyes

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