Where do we come from – What are we – Where are we going


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Part of a chacma baboon family troop at rest on the False Bay coastal road near Rooiels.

The following thoughts were inspired by the recent exhibition of bones of a new branch on the tree of mankind – Homo naledi:

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Homo naledi is an extinct species of hominin, provisionally assigned to the genus Homo. Discovered in 2013 and described in 2015, fossil skeletons were found in South Africa‘s Gauteng province, in the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star Cave system, part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.[1][2] As of 10 September 2015, fossils of at least fifteen individuals, amounting to 1550 specimens, have been excavated from the cave. (Wikipedia)

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Paul Gaugin (1848-1903), D’ou venons nous / Que sommes nous /Où allons nous (Tahiti 1897-1898), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

In the beginning we were all one.
Then the world split into its parts.
Fragmentation caused complexity and the formation of self.
Then the self began to separate itself from itself and consciousness began.
When did this happen?
What are the basic elements of consciousness?

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“Me Tarzan, you Jane” is actually a  misquote but serves to illustrate the point of basic consciousness – giving the separation of self from itself an expression.

Paul Gaugins “Where do we come from – What are we – Where are we going” expresses the idea of pondering the self within the context of a return to its paradisiacal origins.
In Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia I paradise is forever lost and the way ahead is contemplated.

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Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Melencolia I, engraving, 1514.

Of the many disciplines we have invented to research our consciousness in space and time, paleoanthropology appears to have had another field day with the discovery of homo naledi:

Does it bring us closer to knowing where we come from and to understand what we are or where we are going?
Are these not questions for tender on a higher, spiritual plane?

Once we were one with all.
Then came the separation.
Where are we now?
Have we as a species come to understand what we are?
Where are we going?

Day of All Saints,
Stellenbosch, November 1, 2015
With love as always from
Colleen & Walter

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