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Story-telling and rituals around the campfire
Rachel goes back to her googling and sees more articles about story telling so she begins to read.
‘Campfires and campsites spurred many practical benefits for group survival (increased cooperation, division of labor, and protection from threats), but they were also a starting point toward deeper psychological and spiritual needs as well.
It’s common for our early human ancestors and contemporary hunter-gatherers to use campfires as a place to tell stories, dance, and sing together as a community. Even today, the campfire is still considered a popular place to share personal anecdotes, sing folk songs, and contemplate the meaning of life (just add some s’mores).
All of these inventions were a huge step in the beginning of culture and religion. They also served the greater interests of the group by increasing feelings of group unity and community-bonding. Music and dance still functions in the same way today.
According to E. O. Wilson,
“It is self-evident that the songs and dances of contemporary hunter-gatherer peoples serve them at both the individual and the group levels. They draw the tribal members together, creating a common knowledge and purpose. They excite passion for action. They are mnemonic, stirring and adding to the memory of information that serves the tribal purpose. Not least, knowledge of the songs and dances gives power to those within the tribe who know them best.”
Sometimes these songs and dances around campfires would reflect practical knowledge about the land, plants, and animals. Knowledge that was passed down between generations because it was very important for survival.
However, many songs and dances around campfires also reflected myths and fictional stories. They were likely designed to answer deeper questions about life, like “Why do we exist?” or “Is there a supernatural force that guides everything?”
In the book, these myths are often referred to as “creation stories” and they were likely a precursor to organized religion:
“The creation stories gave the members of each tribe an explanation for their existence. It made them feel loved and protected above all other tribes. In return, their gods demanded absolute belief and obedience. And rightly so. The creation myth was the essential bond that held the tribe together.”
Creation stories (like religion) give people’s lives deeper meaning and they unite groups around a common purpose.
Many tribes would often be tightly held together by their myths. These “creation stories” created a deep psychological connection between everyone in the tribe, which further enhanced cooperation and altruism. Individuals who questioned these myths would likely not fare too well in the tribe for long.
These myths also sparked a lot of competition between different tribes. They were often a way to separate “Us” from “Them” which was a driving force to fight with other tribes and take their resources.
Tribal conflict is common throughout human history, and I’m sure you can think of a few examples of how these forces are still playing out today. Altruism for the “in-group” can sometimes lead to some real brutality toward any “out-group.”’ (Source)
Rachel has had enough of that so she changes her search to see what else she can find.
Let’s continue - Campfire Stories and games
Start at the beginning – Let’s have a bonfire!
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