‘FREEDOM’—Chapter 8 The Greatest, Most Heroic Story Ever Told
Chapter 8:7 Late Naughty Childman
The species: the robust australopithecines (Au. robustus and Au. boisei) — 2.3 to 1.2 million years ago
The individual now: 9, 10 and 11 years old
The ‘Late Naughty Childman’ stage represents the time when the intellect naively lashes out at the increasing unjust criticism it is encountering as a result of its first tentative experiments in self-adjustment.
Since school teachers become very aware of the changing behaviour of the many children they have under their care, I asked a teacher to describe what she and her colleagues knew of the stages children and early adolescents go through. These are the main points from the response she collected: ‘Six and seven-year-olds are considered to be very compliant, but by eight children are starting to test the waters and challenge the world a little.’ She continued, ‘the eight-year-olds can be annoying and a little naughty’, while ‘nine and ten-year-olds can be hard to handle as they seem to hit a phase of recklessness’ and ‘are considered naughty’. She noted that ‘Teachers love teaching 11 and 12-year-olds because it is during this stage that children become civilised’ but that ‘Teachers consider students who are 14, 15 and 16 years old the most difficult to teach. The adolescents seem to be at complete odds with what is expected of them. Most teachers are terrified of these extremely uncooperative mid-teenage ages’ (WTM records, 1997). These insights support the explanations being given of the stages of maturation of consciousness through childhood—and confirm the agonising stage of Resignation that virtually all adolescents now succumb to when they are about 15 years old, a process that was described in chapter 2:2 and in pars 654-655, and will be further explained within the context of humanity’s development of consciousness shortly.
Of course, it was inevitable that as the human condition developed children were going to become increasingly influenced by the psychologically upset, angry, egocentric and alienated world in which they were raised, and that it would become harder to differentiate what upset in them was a result of those external circumstances or from their own experiments in understanding. However, even in the original situation, where there was little or no upset in the world, we can expect that by the age of eight, children would justifiably be feeling resentful towards the ‘criticism’ emanating from their instinctive self of their tentative efforts to self-manage their life using understanding. And, unable to adequately cope with this ‘criticism’ with understanding of it, we can expect that each child would begin to retaliate against the criticism as the only form of defence available to them. The problem then, however, was that these early, relatively mild experiments in retaliation—of anger, selfishness and dishonest excuse-making in mid-childhood—had the alarming effect of greatly compounding the ‘criticism’ from the child’s perfectly integratively orientated, moral instinctive self and from their awareness of the integrative meaning of existence; they induced the double and triple whammy mentioned earlier. From being mildly insecure we can expect the child to now feel guilty and that this drastic escalation in criticism and thus frustration would be a contributing factor to the turbulent, boisterous ‘naughty nines’ that parents and teachers have labelled this stage. By the end of childhood, at the ages of 10 and 11, we can expect the resentment and frustration to be such that it would express itself in the form of taunting and bullying. The child would be belligerently lashing out at the unjust world: ‘Why shouldn’t I feel resentful and retaliate?’, ‘Why shouldn’t I shove you around if I can, especially since I’m bigger and stronger?’, ‘Why can’t I have my way?’, and ‘What’s wrong with being selfish and aggressive anyway?’
In the situation that exists today, where the external upset is almost overwhelming, we can expect that almost all of the child’s upset will have resulted from their encounter with external upset. The increasingly thoughtful child can see the whole horribly upset world and would be understandably totally bewildered and deeply troubled by it. Eight-year-olds will only be beginning to be consciously troubled by the horror of the state of the world they have been born into, but by nine they will be overtly troubled by it and requiring a lot of reassurance that ‘Everything is going to be alright.’ In fact, nine-year-olds can be so troubled by the imperfection of the world that they go through a process of trying not to accept that it is true. By 10, this despair about the state of the world reaches desperation levels with nightmares of distress for children. It is a very unhappy, lonely, anxious, needing-of-love time for them. So at 11 some enter a ‘Peter Pan’ stage where they decide they don’t want to grow up; they decide they want to stay a child forever, surrounded by all the things they love, and not ever become part of the horror world they have discovered. It is no wonder ‘Teachers love teaching 11 and 12-year-olds’ who have ‘become civilised’—they’re essentially tame compared with the ‘reckless’, ‘naughty’, flailing-out-at-the-world ‘nine and ten-year-olds’.
The fossil record evidences the description that has been given of these stages of ‘Childman’. The early Australopithecus afarensis, who have been described as occupying the early happy, prime-of-innocence stage, and the subsequent Australopithecus africanus, who have been described as being in the middle demonstrative childhood stage, are both finely built compared with the much more robustly built Australopithecus boisei and associated Australopithecus robustus, both of whom have been described here as being in the ‘Late Naughty Childman’ stage. As mentioned earlier, in attempting to account for this physiological discrepancy, anthropologists have even placed the more robust late australopithecines on a separate, dead-end branch to Homo (with some recently going so far as to reclassify them as an entirely separate genus, Paranthropus), but that has to be impossible because for branching to occur there has to be deflecting influences—such as when Darwin’s finches gradually became adapted to different food niches on the Galápagos Islands—and in our case there was only one major development going on and that was the psychological one. In a situation where there is only one all-dominant influence causing change there is no opportunity for divergence to develop, and from our species’ infancy, we have been under the all-dominant influence of what was occurring in our heads, namely the development of consciousness and its psychological consequences. Any other influence was so secondary as to be ineffectual in causing our path to branch. So, contrary to what human-condition-avoiding, psychosis-denying mechanistic anthropologists have been telling us, there has been no branching off from either the australopithecines or Homo. But if the robust australopithecines weren’t a separate branch, the question remains: why was there such a big physical disparity between them and the much more gracile or fine featured preceding Au. afarensis and Au. africanus, and the variety of early humans they gave rise to, the also much more gracile Homo habilis? The answer has to lie in the psychological differences between the much quieter, love-immersed Au. afarensis and Au. africanus, the extroverted, boisterous, bullying Au. robustus and A. boisei, and the introverted, sobered, quiet early adolescent H. habilis, who will be described shortly.
To quickly elaborate on these size disparities, ‘Late Naughty Childman’, Au. robustus and Au. boisei, had comparatively large frames and skulls that were especially heavily built with very pronounced cranial and facial bone structures. Anthropologists recognise that these skull modifications came about to support the much stronger facial muscles that were required to work the heavy jaw and huge grinding teeth that characterise these late australopithecines. We know from such evidence as the wear patterns on their teeth that the australopithecines were vegetarian, but why did the later australopithecines need larger grinding teeth? What dietary change occurred, and why? Being extroverted, increasingly naughty and roughly behaved, the late australopithecines were like older children today who would rather be out playing than eating, but such an extremely physically assertive and energetic lifestyle required fuel. Not being sufficiently conscious to attempt self-management, all other animal species exert only enough energy to secure their necessary food, space, shelter and a mate—they are conservative energy users—but, with their rough, energetic play, late childhood humans became the first non-conservative energy users on Earth. In order to ‘eat and run’, ‘Late Naughty Childman’ would have needed a readily available food source that they could quickly ingest and, being vegetarian, they would have needed a lot of it because vegetables don’t convert into as much energy as meat for instance, which was not to appear on humanity’s dining table until the much greater levels of upset that characterised our species’ adolescence developed. (While the australopithecines, in their naughtiness, would have been capable of being rough and possibly even cruel at times to other animals, they were not yet sufficiently upset with innocence to be killing innocent animals on a regular basis, which, as will be explained shortly in pars 778-780, is what so-called ‘hunting’ was really all about for upset humans and what finally led to meat-eating.) This increased energy requirement is evidenced by recent studies of dental wear patterns in robust australopithecines that indicate their ‘diet included more C4 [grasses and sedges] biomass than any other hominin…[and its massive jaw, grinding teeth and necessary facial structure] represents an adaptation for processing large quantities of low-quality vegetation’ (Thure Cerling et al., ‘Diet of Paranthropus boisei in the early Pleistocene of East Africa’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011, Vol.108, No.23) that was ‘nearly identical’ (ibid) to the diet of its predecessor Au. afarensis. Interestingly, anthropologists have traditionally argued that Au. boisei’s massive facial structure developed to allow ‘hominins to colonize increasingly seasonal and open environments’ that offered ‘a diet of nuts, seeds and hard fruit’ (ibid)—but, as it turns out, Au. boisei was not eating anything different to Au. afarensis, just greater quantities. As will shortly be described, in contrast to these late australopithecines, H. habilis was an entirely different individual. Introspective, deeply thoughtful and sobered, H. habilis were no longer interested in physically intimidating the world, and did not, therefore, need great quantities of energy and thus food, hence their reversion to a more gracile frame.
Another feature of the fossil record of early humans is the evidence it provides of the overlap between the different varieties, but now that we can take into account what was happening psychologically, the overlap becomes understandable. Just as there are very early models of cars still around today, long after they have been superseded, so groups of early, less intelligent and thus less human-condition-afflicted-and-adapted varieties of humans endured long after they had been superseded by those more human-condition-afflicted-and-adapted. Of course, the best example of such overlapping in the anthropological record is the existence today of equivalents of our early infant ape ancestors, specifically the non-human primates, and particularly chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, as well as bonobos, who are in a later stage of infancy. Apes are not, as is widely believed, a branched development from the human line of development—they are on exactly the same development path, but at a much, much earlier stage. The reason that more recent varieties in the Homo lineage such as H. Habilis do not currently exist, whereas the earlier equivalents of our ancestors such as bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans still do, is that once consciousness was liberated, subsequent psychological development became inevitable, which meant that any species with a liberated consciousness would inevitably develop into the subsequent stages that a conscious mind undergoes, and, as will become very apparent, this development and thus supersession became increasingly rapid. There was somewhat of a stalled stage in this rapid development in the step from childhood to adolescence, with the australopithecines persisting long after the emergence of Homo (some 1.2 million years after), but that is plausible when we consider that the essential psychological feature of late childhood is procrastination about having to accept an increasingly upset, human-condition-afflicted, corrupted, imperfect world. Once varieties of late Childman appeared who were sufficiently intelligent to realise that they had no choice but to set out in search of understanding, then those varieties would have done so and progressed into adolescence; the process of adapting to an increasingly upset world would have picked up pace from there in those varieties and they would have rapidly left behind those who were psychologically still in the procrastinating childhood stage. Basically, once our ancestors crossed the threshold into the fully emerged upset state of the human condition, the development of that condition progressed rapidly. As occurred with the great apes being considered a branched development from the human line of development, the evidence that the australopithecines were still in existence up to 1.2 million years after H. habilis appeared has been used to support the argument that the late australopithecines branched away from the Homo line, but now that we can take into account what was happening psychologically the overlap does become understandable.
With regard to the existing great apes, I should emphasise that they are described here as equivalents of our infant ape ancestor because they may not be actual ‘living remnants’ of our particular infant ape ancestor. The main issue of our relatedness to the great apes lies in the fact that they are on the same journey that primates have been variously able to follow of becoming integrated through the process of love-indoctrination, a process that when sufficiently developed leads to the emergence of consciousness and the inevitable stages that consciousness then progresses through. Indeed, the Ardipithecus fossils indicate that the last common ancestor we shared with chimpanzees had physical differences to today’s chimpanzee. However, what is clear from the fossil record is that the ancestors of the existing great apes were extremely ‘ape-like’, and that existing apes are therefore equivalents of our infant ape ancestors, stalled in development. With regard to the more developed bonobos, we can date their emergence from the chimpanzee line around 1 million years ago, when they chanced upon the ideal nursery conditions that allowed love-indoctrination to develop the selfless, cooperative behaviour that liberates consciousness, and so there is no suggestion that they are literally a living remnant, but as the comments in par. 411 by Zihlman and de Waal indicate, they are a very close equivalent to our infant ancestor. In addition, they demonstrate the profound changes that inevitably occur when consciousness is liberated, as is clear from their intelligence and their continually changing physiology. Further, they are rapidly becoming more and more discrete from their chimpanzee cousins who are still stalled in early infancy, unable to develop love-indoctrination beyond an elementary degree.
It is even possible that some varieties of apes might have developed from entirely different primate stock to those our ape ancestors developed from. For example, we know from DNA analysis that the orangutans, who live in South East Asia, split from the African apes some 16 million years ago. ‘Parallel development’ or ‘evolutionary convergence’ can occur where animals have the same form but come from entirely unrelated stock, such as, in an extreme example, the thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger), which is a marsupial mammal, had an almost identical build to a wolf, which is a placental mammal. So developments can be the same or very similar and yet be unrelated genetically. So while we do know that bonobos and chimpanzees share 98 percent of our DNA, in terms of understanding our behaviour, which is the main objective of our search for knowledge, it wouldn’t really matter if bonobos weren’t at all related to us genetically because they would still represent an equivalent of our early ape ancestor, and as such what insights we can glean from their behaviour can be extremely relevant in terms of understanding our own.