Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Antiquity of Boasting

I've wondered about the purpose of ritual boasting, especially boasting about our ancestors during symbel.

The Serbian expression "busati se u grudi" means to boast, but literally it means to strike oneself in the chest while speaking about your own exploits.

This literal interpretation of boasting hints to the extreme antiquity of the practice of boasting. Indeed, boasting predates our evolution into homo sapiens sapiens and connects us to our ancestors in the remote past.

Ever seen a gorilla boast - beating his chest in a display of power?

Humans also do this - boast - both verbally, and as the Serbian expression informs us, while beating the chest as well.

Because humans and gorillas share this behavior, this means that this behavior was acquired by us in the remote past through a common ancestor before our ancestral paths split from another. Boasting is not only a display of power, it is an act which links us to our remote ancestors and evokes through us the power of all of our Mighty Ancestors up through epochs of time.

I'll never again look at the practice of boasting as a mere exercise of ego - oh no, it is a powerful act of communication through which we arouse the might and main of our ancestors even back to the first primal parents.

The boast - just how primordial is this practice really? Perhaps it can be traced back to the beginning of life itself.

And here is my boast for today - my ancestors survived snowball earth, the Permian mass extinction, the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs, multiple ice ages, the Toba super-volcano eruption and the black plague. My ancestors are survivors!

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Dare to be true to yourself.