May 20, 2015 | By

On the Curious Life and Fate of the Neanderthal

Lydia Pyne, in her article “Our Neanderthal Complex – What if our ancient relatives did “human” better?”, published in Nautilus online in May, offers an intriguing fresh look at the mythology of the brutish “cave-man” that roamed Europe tens of thousands of years ago. While Neanderthals were first identified some 150 years ago, they were promptly relegated to inferior status, a failed and dead species when compared to modern humans. As Pyne notes, “The unique cranial morphology of Neanderthals was immediately interpreted as issuing from deficiencies in Neanderthal cognitive ability.”

This bias continued through most of the 20th century, but research in the last few decades has called into question the accuracy of this mythology. Researchers have now concluded that “Neanderthals created complex tools, buried their dead, had an organized use of space…” Moreover, there is DNA evidence of interbreeding – Neanderthals are a part of our own genetic heritage.

As I noted in a comment on the Nautilus article, there is a remarkable and little known “source” of information about our pre-sapiens cousins. According to material he wrote in the 18th century (100 years before the discovery of Neanderthal remains), Emanuel Swedenborg had the opportunity to meet with humans that pre-dated Adam and that formed the first and most ancient Church. These interviews were conducted during Swedenborg’s spiritual experiences – his visits to Heaven and Hell. As a well trained scientist, Swedenborg took detailed notes from these interviews on facial physiology, respiration and the structure of the brain. His descriptions are presciently accurate, and offer potential avenues for research that has yet to be conducted.

Swedenborg’s observations described a communication capability that derived from direct connections of the cerebellum to the facial muscles. As a result, the species would be unable to dissemble – their faces would reveal exactly what they were thinking in exquisite detail. In contrast, for Adam and his progeny, the modern humans among which we count ourselves, communication has been restructured. Our communication is directed by the cerebrum through the means of abstract language. We are, therefore, quite capable of separating words from thoughts – and hiding our thoughts from our companions.

Swedenborg characterized the ancient, pre-Adamite humans as being of the Most Ancient Church – each of them capable of a direct and immediate relationship with God and with the spiritual meaning of the world in which they lived.   But in modern humans, the ability to deceive also gave life to the modern ego. From openness to deception: Such was the fall of mankind.

These differences may also explain a key asymmetry between Neanderthals and modern humans, one that ultimately led to their extinction.

For anyone curious about Swedenborg’s observations I would recommend Chapter Nine of Edward Sylvia’s 2009 book Proving God: Swedenborg’s Remarkable Quest for the Quantum Fingerprints of Love.

4 Responses to “On the Curious Life and Fate of the Neanderthal”

  1. Well, the whole idea is a bit of a stretch. Forrest, women are affected too but with a significantly lower incidence. I’m sure there is an even higher incidence in habitual criminals. It turns out that a structural marker has been discovered that can be detected with sophisticated MRI technique (as best I can recall this is the technique), and one of the researchers discovered that he had the marker himself! Not all people with the marker are criminals thank goodness. As George points out DNA of the “pre-fallen” variety could be spiritually advantageous (maybe). But we know that the “fallen” Most Ancient Church people were in a very very bad place since they loved themselves only, lusted after power, and had no conscience. And yes, CEOs and people in the position of power can all too easily set themselves up as little “gods” since no one dare criticise them…the higher you are the further you fall.

  2. George Gantz says:

    The DNA connection from “pre-fallen” Neanderthal to modern psychopath seems quite speculative, and I would suggest if there were such a connection it should go the opposite way – that the Neanderthal DNA remains we have would help preserve the immediacy of one’s spiritual connections and thereby help give us a conscience! Psychopathy is a condition of being divorced from the spiritual blessings of empathy and divine influx – it is a state we are now capable of since we can choose to follow the call of the self and ignore the spiritual.

    As to gender differences, this is also very speculative stuff, but Swedenborg might point to the tendency for males to be guided from thinking/understanding, than females, who tend to be guided by feeling/volition (the will) as an explanation for why males are more at risk of psychopathy. As for CEO’s, perhaps being surrounded by sycophants (people telling you what they think you want to hear) is also a risk factor for developing psychopathy. This would also apply to anyone in high visibility positions – like politics, sports or entertainment, most of whom seem to have oversize egos …..

  3. George, Very nice article as usual! One wonders if Neanderthal DNA, carrying with it some of the characteristics of the “fallen” Most Ancient Church…much, but apparently not all of it wiped out in the “Flood” i.e. suffocation of the last generation, could account for the occasional psychopath? From what I understand those of the Most Ancient Church, having their will and understanding conjoined did not have a conscience as we know it. The 1%-2% of modern males with a congenital absence of conscience is a curious phenomenon. As you probably know the percentage is even higher among CEO’s, (possibly because they possess an exceptional perception or intuition along with an absent or deficient conscience?)

    • Forrest Dristy says:

      This topic of the Neanderthals is a very interesting one, made even more so (for me, anyway) by
      your suggested connection to “the 1%-2% of modern males with a congenital absence of conscience.” It makes me wonder whether this congenital defect occurs only in males. And if the percentage is higher among CEOs, is it also higher among habitual criminals? I suspect that reliable data on such questions is not easy to obtain.

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