To @patanswer @achronon @Michael_Stumpf @Douggins and let us not forget @madrush, and all other interested persons - the original inquiry: What the hell is going on? And how does that connect/relate to the human condition w/r/t our current experience? I offer this:
Let us say it is 50,000 years ago and you are with your group/clan/band/hoard/tribe consisting of 40 members, half male, half female, varying in age from <1 to 45. Your tribe has domesticated fire and has only rudimentary tools/technology—sticks, clubs, rocks, and bones. You are aware of only the world that you can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. You are not aware of any other creatures like you, though there are stories/rumors told (mostly pantomimed) at night sitting around the fire. You can see the sky, the sun and moon, night and stars. They appear to move and come and go. You can feel and hear the wind. You can see, hear, smell, and feel storms—thunder, lightning, rain, and rainbows. Your life/existence consists mainly of eating, shitting, moving, sleeping and fucking, and avoiding predators, of becoming food.
One morning, at daybreak as the camp comes to life, one member of the band does not move. You poke them but nothing happens. The camp is comfortable with fresh water and food (small game, berries, nuts, seeds, etc.) close by. You all go about daily life. The lifeless body moves and changes color. In twelve hours rigor mortise sets in and the body becomes rigid, and then it begins to stink and decompose. Bugs and maggots may attack it and begin to eat it.
A thought occurs to you, What if that were me? You, along with some others, decide you must either move camp or get rid of the body. Someone suggests dragging the body to a cliff and pushing it over, but you say, “I don’t want to touch it, do you?” Still another member suggests covering the corpse with rocks. “Will that end the stench?” another asks. “What if we dig a hole and bury it? and then cover it with rocks?” yet another proposes. That is agreed. And then the thought reoccurs to you, What if that were me? You think, maybe my spirit, my essence, my me, is still inside? (the rotting body). You decide to put some thing—a weapon —in the pit with the body, just in case. You look at the other men gathered around the spectacle and you all nod at one another. Everyone kicks dirt into the pit and then covers the mound with stones.
That evening after eating, as the sun sets and the fire is lit, the women begin to hum and chant. The men sense the rhythm, and pick up sticks and begin to beat on the dead trees that were dragged around the fire pit, and then begin to howl, and jump and skip around the fire. The moon rises and lights the camp. Shadows of trees appear to join in. Later, while lying down and looking at the night sky, you see a shooting star and wonder … what if that were me?
… I’ve spent a good deal of time in the wilderness, alone and with others, for days and weeks at a time with no outside connection, and sometimes with little modern gear. Sometimes with drugs. It’s not hard to imagine what human existence was like, back-in-the-day.