First, there was unorganized barbarism for the species, down to the individual, very-personal level. It was very hands-on. It was very messy. There was a lot of complaining about the workaday dry-cleaning bill for the yak furs, and some wisecracks from the laundry about the stains on the goatskin leisure suits as well.
Then, in a burst of ingenuity usually reserved for the plunder of goods and riches from others, humanity figured out a way to step back a bit from the mess of mayhem-making, if not the abyss of going with our worser instincts: We watched volcanoes fling great chunks of rock onto hapless hunter-gatherers in our midst, and, inspirationally thunderstruck, we immediately started building catapults, trebuchets, and other means of decimating people at a distance, such as telemarketing calls.
Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune had nothing on the march of human cunning. Before long, we were able to drop large portions of mountainous regions upon distant enemies and hostile foreigners, not to mention the people right under the cave window who were completely clueless as to how to work the howling alarm systems on their Flintstonemobiles at half-past two-stones-and-a-clam-shell in the morning.
With time and patience -- and enduring incredibly harrowing episodes of trial and error -- human shrewdness slowly honed itself into the production of better and finer constructs, sharper spearheads, and more inventively lethal machines of death. Everything was tried, from razor-tipped arrows for crossbows, to boiling tar pots hoisted high overhead, and even pink-codpiece-clad Mary Kay cosmetics salespeople bearing early atomizers.
Today, of course, we have modern atomizers, such as H-bombs, which can atomize almost anything into a finely sorted set of sordid, blood-soaked, subatomic particles. We live in the comfort of the progress wrought by our intellect, our curiosity, and our unyielding drive to hammer the living bejesus out of people and places not sitting quite right with us at the moment.
Still, the relative ease and luxury we humans have provided ourselves, via weaponized biohazards, chemical weapons, dirty bombs, and the whatever-it-is at the bottom of the clothes hamper -- and never you mind the sticky, brownish ooze of the employee refrigerator and its beginning signs of self-awareness -- has allowed us to rest easy in the knowledge that evolution and higher learning are absolutely no match for our desire to bash the hell out of things.
When it comes to reptilian fear instincts and to imaginative innovations in destruction, injury, and inspirationally-based yearnings and fondnesses for self-triggered, extinction-level events, you just can't beat human nature. That's because human nature easily beats itself, and does so until it is nearly unconscious, but is still moaning, and is promising to all available deities ever heard of, real and imagined, that we will never, ever take a drink again.
No, wait -- that's something else. But, my point is right up that woozy alley anyway: We are memory-impaired beasts who don't learn. Once we heal, and stem the worst of the bleeding, we're ready to get right back at it again, whether to hang on a doozy at the in-laws or attempt to carpet-bomb the civilization du jour back to the Stone Age -- where all this started in the first place.
Still, out of sheer boredom, you'd think we would have moved on by now -- especially when it became clear that we would not soon have Reagan's "Star Wars" laser weapons swooshing around in our hand-held, bodily -- or gravity-held, planetary -- orbits. We did, however, seem to get our share of jackbooted stormtroopers anyway. The Story of Humanity often turns out that way, and is often filled with laugh-a-minute footnotes all throughout our history -- stuff that would really bust you up. Literally.
Be that as it may, we seem to have hit that awkward phase that all cultures and eras experience -- that iffy, itchy period between our first rock-cracked skull and our first radiation-bombed city -- the period known as Every Last Stunning Iota of Our Entire History.
Yes, in the lull between the incendiary fire-bombing and explosive mining of civilian areas, and the ability to vaporize targets on the opposite side of the globe by technologies yet to be considered or named, the human species grows restless and fidgety.
And, as any good preacher knows, idle hands are the war profiteers workshop. Ask Alfred Nobel, who made a ton of money, and friends, with his terrifying armaments of the day. They were so good, these weapons, that he had oceans of money flooding in from all over, and nearly drowning the poor man, that we was able to set up a special prize for people who came up with things that didn't separate people from their limbs or heads, and so on, and give those innovators some tip money in the bargain.
You could also ask Alfred E. Neuman, if you liked, for all the good it will do you, once you consider that President Obama was given one of those peace prize things during an impressive period of war-chest raiding and warlike chest-beating hot and running in a few countries at the time, and since. This would be a lot like asking President Bush, Dubya, how it felt to be handed the keys to the Mensa president's office for life -- and then following through with the key ring, complete with The Mini-Clapper, of course, for good luck, and for help in finding the keys in the dark, if not the presidential rear end.
Saber-toothed tigers, to saber-rattling, to the pining daydream for lightsabers for one and all: humans have put a lot of thought into killing, and even more time, money, and energy into that particular arena of achievement. Maybe this is why we consider The Arena to be such a pleasant metaphor for political combat, fresh-sounding as it is from the stink of the gladiator pits of the Colosseum -- and, yes, an honorable place to toss one's hat into, as well as a spot in which to lose one's head... and in an extraordinary number of ways.
Still, we must advance as a species, otherwise we will grow restless and stale, solidifying in our own meaty juices like bacon grease in an Antarctic white-out.
This is why it's so heartwarming, and encouraging, to see a brand new drone finally being developed, and after we'd all just about given up that there would ever be a line of drones that would finally do something new.
In this case, the new drone, this terrific new heartthrob called CUPID, shoots 80,000 volts of juice right into you, right down the wire, jamming up your fancy central nervous system, via a sizzling dart sprung from the hovering drone.
And they say there are no more challenges worth the effort! No more breakthroughs worth the sweat! No more glory of conquests worth the nightmares!
And just what the hell would they know, anyway, I ask you. Anyone even daring to ask such a question simply isn't.... human.
I read the news today, oh boy:
Pucker up for CUPID: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26930644
An exercise in dance, music, and film -- one worthy of droning forgetfulness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WopqmACy5XI&feature=em-subs_digest
And, your musical newspaper-flashback: