Monday, September 4, 2006

"We're all descended from killers"

We Shall Overcome: An Hour With Legendary Folk Singer & Activist Pete Seeger is an interesting interview of legendary Folk singer Pete Seeger by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. If you don't know who he is, he has been a politically active folk singer for over 60 years. His life was very much intertwined with the civil rights movement, workers rights and anti-war activity.

As they say at Democracy Now

Today we spend the hour with the legendary folk singer, banjo player, storyteller and activist Pete Seeger. For over 60 years Pete Seeger has been an American icon. In the 1940s, he performed in the Almanac Singers with Woody Guthrie as well as the Weavers. In the 1950s, he opposed Senator Joseph McCarthy's witch hunt and was almost jailed for refusing to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee. He helped popularize the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome." In the 1960s, he was a vocal critic of the Vietnam War and inspired a generation of protest singers. He was later at the center of the environmental and anti-nuclear movements. At the age of 87, Pete Seeger continues to perform and be politically active.

The title of this post comes from one of the many interesting thoughts he presents.

"We're all descended from killers" is pretty darned obvious actually. All of our ancestors from single celled planktons all the way to us were successful killers. If our ancestors weren't better killers than their neighbors, then our ancestors would not have survived to create us. There were many who were less successful killers who did not survive to the present time.

That's a long, so very long, stretch of ancestral memory.

That length of ancestral memory has to be a strong influence to who we are today. Millions of years of history of all the animals of the history of life on this planet has been involved with killing in the name of survival.

As he said "if we don't change our way of thinking, there will be no human race here". We the humans of this world, have progressed to being such good killers because our tools of killing have become so powerful. It's unlikely we will survive if we keep up on this habit.

There was a time when our race, humans that is, had to be killers. In order for us to be here, our ancestors had to kill and to be better killers than the others.

But, as another song of his says, "Turn, turn, turn. There is a season. And a time. And a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die."

There was a time for killing, and now perhaps today the time is meant for other purposes.

He is a very wise man, and if you follow the link above you will be treated to an hour of great wisdom.