Why the Neolithics Did So Much Trepanning

TrepanningMore than 1500 trephined skulls have been uncovered throughout the world, from Europe and Scandinavia to North America, from Russia and China to South America (particularly in Peru). Most reported series show that from 5% to 10% of all skulls found from the Neolithic period have been trephined with single or multiple skull openings of various sizes. Many of the skulls show evidence of fractures. In some cases the operations were incomplete, as if the patients suddenly woke up and terminated the procedure. Some skull openings showed evidence of healing, meaning the patients survived the operations; others did not. In these latter cases it is impossible to determine if the patients were already (or recently) dead or whether the patients died soon after the procedure. Trepanations were performed in children as well as adults and in both males and females. The majority of trephinations, though, have been found in adult males…

Neolithic man was a hunter and his life experience revolved around this activity. Cave dwelling paintings also testify to this phenomenon. Consequently, he was very aware of hunting and war injuries. Neolithic man noticed, for example, that penetrating injuries to the chest and abdomen were usually fatal to man and animal. Likewise, massive blunt head injuries were invariably lethal. Nevertheless, blunt injuries to the head, if not massive, were not invariably fatal. With mild blows to the head, man or animal could be knocked down briefly and then get up and run. At other times, a man could be left for “dead” in the back of the cave, but after a period of time, he could “miraculously” recover and become “undead.” It was only with head injuries that primitive man noted that this phenomenon took place — namely suddenly becoming “dead” after an injury and then “undead.” Or, as we would describe it, that a head injury caused a momentary loss of consciousness (LOC), as in a concussion, or a more prolonged LOC, as in a cerebral or brainstem contusion — and then recover as the cerebral edema subsided and neural circuits were reestablished.

Of course, primitive man did not understand the pathophysiology involved. For the Stone Age man, there was also no awareness of the inevitability of death and no recognized mortality as part and parcel of the human condition. Diseases, pain and suffering, and death took place as a result of sorcery, evil spirits, or some other supernaturalistic intervention. People could become gradually “dead” from an illness or injury and then become “undead” because of some phenomenon. In the case of injuries, these conditions were caused by observed specific events, such as penetrating injuries or serious blows. These… did not occur randomly. Such was also the case with becoming “dead” and “undead,” and the primitive surgeon of Neolithic times understandably reasoned that he could also do something to bring back to life those individuals essential to the survival of the group.

Observing that small injuries to the head, more frequently than other injuries, resulted in “dying” and “undying” (ie, spontaneous recovery), they must, according to Prioreschi, come to believe that “something in the head had to do with undying.” More blows would not accomplish the ritual, but an opening in the head, trephination, could be “the activating element,” the act that could allow the demon to leave the body or the good spirit to enter it, for the necessary “undying” process to take place. If deities had to enter or leave the head, the opening had to be sufficiently large.

Prioreschi writes: “It would appear that he was trying to recall to life people who had died (or were dying) without wounds (or with minor ones), in other words, people affected with diseases and people whose small wounds were not so serious as to prevent ‘undying’…” Incomplete trepanations, as mentioned previously, are explained, not because the patients died during the procedure, but because of patients waking up and interrupting the procedure by suddenly becoming “undead.”

–Miguel A Faria
Neolithic Trepanation Decoded — A Unifying Hypothesis

Conservative Mum: Portrait of a Serial Troll

Conservative Mum: Artist's RenderingYesterday morning, I started getting a series of tweets from someone calling themselves Conservative Mum — who I assume is who she says she is. I ignored the first one. It was a link to Elizabeth’s most recent post about the Phoenix Women’s March. Conservative Mum added, “What a pathetic show of stupidity- NOTHING was stolen from you triggered freaks.” It’s bizarre. What does the march, much less the article have to do with anything stolen? And “triggered freaks” just scream, “I listen to hate radio! I never talk to actual liberals except to yell at them!” I know the type.

But I looked on her main page. The header is of a gaudy sunset with the sun’s light as God and “BLESS YOU” display (but cropped because Conservative Mum has important trolling to do and can’t be bothered to set up her page properly. The point is clear: she is Real Christian™. But in case you were wondering, instead of a picture of her, there was an image that tells us, “The only Difference Between a Radical and a Moderate Muslim is… The distance they place between themselves and the bomb..” (All formatting errors in original.) It is a terrible crop of a cartoon stolen from Conservative Papers.

Can you feel the Christian the love, brothers and sisters?! Can I get an “amen”?! Here is her Twitter description in full, exactly as it is formatted:

Historian/Archeology/Ancient Lit. Mum of 3, Libs don’t waste your Alinsky spew on me-Christian does NOT =Won’t fight tooth & nail against EVIL List=BLOCK

Conservative Mum: American, British, or Professional Troll?

There is no location listed, but she claims to be an America. She does, however, use words like “mum” and “arse” that are more associated with the British. This could certainly be an indication that Conservative Mum is a professional troll, but I think it is more likely just some woman who immigrated here. There are two obvious possibilities. Some people leave the UK because they think it is too liberal (socialist). Also: immigrants to this country are often trapped by conservative rhetoric, because it does sound good. The problem is that the Republican Party is not at all interested in what they claim to be interested in.

Twitter Trolling Expands

Despite my silence on her first tweet, she couldn’t leave it alone. I soon got this one:

I don’t care that there are people out there who hate me or think whatever about me. One thing that age has brought is a very clear sense of who I am. I’m not stupid and I’m not insane. But I don’t care that Conservative Mum thinks I am. Just the same, I’m not keen on such people wasting my time. So I tweeted back to her far more politely than she deserved, “What did I ever do to you? Did I make you visit my site? Did I tweet insults at you? Please leave me out of your trolling.” Instead of simply going on her merry, she tweeted back:

My Disgusting Lies

That made me a bit angry. What disgusting lies am I putting out there? This wasn’t a conversation, it was a rage therapy session for this pathetic woman. I tweeted back to her, “By your tweets, you’re a vile human being. I feel that Christian love radiating from you.” And then I blocked her. But she followed up with this, obviously not intended for me but just to get her rage out:

Real Men

This is actually why I am writing about this. I know what she means by “pussified.” She likely thinks it the ultimate insult. But what she’s clearly thinking is that “real” men are of the type so insightfully and brilliantly analyzed by David Futrelle. To me, the archetypes of real American manhood are Rick in Casablanca and Jake in The Sun Also Rises. These are men who are comfortable with themselves. They aren’t men who run around whining that they could get a girlfriend if only the feminazis hadn’t poisoned modern women.

I happen to be a rather typical male myself — much more Jake and Rick — but even more like Don Quixote, having something of an insane chivalric code that I live by. What I most definitely don’t share with the stereotype of the Real American Man™ is any need to prove my manliness. Because Rick, Jake, or anyone else doesn’t define what it is to be real man; I do; and so does every other man who is confident enough to be himself and not some meaningless stereotype.

The Hollow Life of Conservative Mum

I am truly sorry for Conservative Mum. She’s a Trump supporter. Good for her! But instead of being happy that her candidate won the election, her twitter feed is filled with bile. If you can’t be happy in triumph, when can you be happy? Of course, I’m sure that Conservative Mum would tell me she is happy — she’s just fighting the good fight, “Christian doesn’t mean backing down to feral evils”! But I don’t buy that. I analyze because it is my nature. She trolls because she has found a voice. The problem is, it is such a cliche that it can’t possibly be authentic.

Lou Reed wrote the following about heroin addiction, but it applies just as well to trolling addiction:

You know, some people got no choice, and they can never find a voice to talk with that they can even call their own. So the first thing that they see that allows them the right to be, why they follow it. You know, it’s called bad luck.

It Takes More Than 140 Characters

Bad luck indeed. Conservative Mum would be welcome to comment here. But I doubt she would have any more to say than the slogans and bile that fit so well in 140 characters. Two references to Saul Alinsky! His name has only showed up 3 times in 8,000 articles on this site. And every time his name did come up, it was in reference to conservatives’ obsession with him. I’ve never read Rules for Radicals. Of course, I’m sure Conservative Mum hasn’t either. Alinsky is just her favorite liberal boogeyman. What a sad, sad tiny world to live in where you don’t even know what it is you’re so terrified of.

But you know: some trolls have no choice…