“Wherever we find a human society, however primitive, there is a universe, and wherever we find a universe, of whatever kind, there is a society; both go together, and the one does not exist without the other”
There’s a few consistent themes I can apply to my research on Aboriginal Dreamtime, namely— Holy shit, I had absolutely no idea. And, that is truly exceptional, my mind is blown.
Both apply aggressively to this article.
“I’ll just quickly read this article on Aboriginal Dreamti …”
This Article holds many keys I feel affected the extent to which Aboriginal people remained ‘primitive’.
There’s always a connotations attached to the modern definition of that word. We adhere a notion of being ‘underdeveloped’ to the term, as if by not confirming to the general timeline of technological advancement, that a society is lesser than another. This is not the case here. Alternatively, I’d argue that being primitive in this sense, is a positive term tied to the endearment the Aboriginal people had with the land.
If you look broadly at the evolution of man, there’s key points along the timeline that stand out as exemplary in establishing what we are today as humans.
We developed a union with tools, agriculture, a system of time (calendar) to differentiate seasons. We developed a relationship with other animals, whether that be for food or clothing or assistance, and we developed a system of recording events.
These stand out to me as defining point in humanity.
Looking at the general timeline of other civilisations, ‘we’ took those points and embellished on them. Tools turned in technology, technology affected agriculture to the point where we could harvest and no longer needed to roam, instead settled down in locations. Our relationship with animals succeed the point of union whereby species started becoming extinct through artificial human involvement. And finally our systems of recording events developed in the modern notion of History, where we logged and recorded the past so extensively that we could ‘learn and improve’ on the past.
By contrast, the Aboriginal people (to me) found that exact balance point which defined them as conscious self aware humans, at the top of the food chain, while living in total SUSTAINABLE synergy with the environment— all of which extends from their interpretation of the world and forces around them. The Dreamtime.
The branching ideas behind The Dreamtime all stem from the universe, nature, and society being formed at the same moment— The Dreaming. The ancestral spirits who created this world are all still present, however no longer visible. The spirits are not seen as being omnipotent, in the sense that humans, too, are considered to be co-creators, and by extension tasked with the responsibility of maintaining the relationship between natural and cultural forces.
“(Aboriginal) human beings have a responsibility to intervene where they consider intervention necessary and to leave things alone when they consider that necessary. Humans have the ability to adjust the system, as well as throw it out of kilter”
Already this system of religion differentiates itself from traditional monotheistic thinking, prevalent through large portions of Human history. Even when compared to say Buddhism— A religion widely considered as harmonious and balanced, still forms itself around servitude to a single deity. The Dreamtime is different. It’s responsibility based. Morals are based around liability to the land, opposed to fear of discipline.
Furthermore, (and this is the really interesting part for me), The Dreaming is grounded in proven systems. Throughout the life of the religion, Elders learnt to interpret the Sky Dome above them, and read the stars as messages from ancestral spirits, explaining the notion of seasons, and navigation, in a early form of a scientific handbook. The cosmology in the stars is proven and true, and provided a fixed pattern to live by. They observed ecological causes, and studied their effects. When lightning struck, and fire ensued, the burnt ground provided a nurturing nutrient rich blanket for new crops to germinate. A reaction causing an almost equal and opposite reaction. This was interpreted as a lesson in reciprocal land care from the Ancestors in the dreaming above, and passed down the caretakers below, and consequently taught and practiced by following tribes. Backburning— a modern technique of agriculture employing the same technique, was only properly utilised by western society (Romans) a few thousand years ago. Whereas Aboriginal people (reportedly stemming from the Nyungar people) was being employed along the eastern coast of Australia as much as 120,000 years ago. ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THOUSAND YEARS.
The most common use of fire in Christianity (the most common religion in modern and ancient world) was [prooobably] to burn witches in the 1500’s… And if you forced an Aboriginal man and a Catholic man to meet in the 1500’s, the former would probably consider himself more advanced of the two.
Your move Aboriginals!