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  • Hi I’m Mike Rugnetta, this is Crashcourse Mythology, and today were wrapping up creation

  • myths.

  • Over the past four episodes weve seen the universe created from nothing, via the actions

  • of earth mothers, sky fathers, and of course, vomiting supreme beings.

  • Weve seen creation used to explore the relationships between parents and children

  • and between men and women.

  • And snakes.

  • And on that note, today, were going to examine the earthly interconnection between

  • humans and animals.

  • High five, Thoth!

  • What?

  • Yes, I know humans are animals.

  • You know what I mean.

  • INTRO Before we get into the creation myths, let’s

  • start with a little scientific mythology about man’s best friend.

  • Of course, I mean dogs.

  • Sorry Thoth.

  • Dogs were, if not the first, then among the first domesticated animals, and they play

  • an important role in mythology.

  • Romulus?

  • Remus?

  • I’m looking in your direction.

  • One of the stories that we tell about the domestication of dogs is that it started when

  • early hunter gatherers chose to tame and then breed some of the less aggressive wolves in

  • order to increase the hunterscapacity to capture game.

  • Eventually, these cross and interbred wolves became dogs.

  • Who’s a good boy?

  • Who’s a good boy?

  • Thats Right!

  • Any canine that didn’t bite off your hand is a good boy!

  • It’s a nice story and it seems to make sense, but there are problems with it.

  • In an article in National Geographic, Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods argue that some scientists

  • are flipping this narrative on its head and saying that it was wolves that sought out

  • humans, rather than the other way around.

  • It doesn’t make much sense for humans to try to capture wolves and get them to work

  • for us.

  • Early hunter gatherers were pretty good at hunting, which is why they might have been

  • to blame for the destruction of megafauna in the prehistoric world.

  • Also, why would humans want to share the spoils of the hunt with a wolf?

  • Theyre hungry.

  • Like the wolf.

  • Hare and Woods explain that scientists think it is more likely that wolves approached humans,

  • probably by scavenging around their garbage pits.

  • These would have been the friendliest wolves; aggressive ones would have been killed by

  • anxious humans.

  • So, it was the friendly wolves that, over many generations, were bred into the loveable

  • vacuum hating rapscallions that we know and love.

  • Don’t ask me about cats, though.

  • I got nothing there.

  • Are cats even really domesticated?

  • I feel like theyre hiding something.

  • There’s some plot.

  • Theyre up to something.

  • Let’s return, as we so often do, to the Judeo-Christian Biblical story of creation

  • from Genesis.

  • In Chapter One, after creating the heavens and the earth and the stars and all the animals:

  • God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion

  • over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over

  • all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

  • So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female

  • he created them.”

  • (Gen 1 26-27) … And God said, “Behold I have given you every plant yielding seed

  • which is upon the face of all the earth and every tree with every seed in its fruit; you

  • shall have them for food.

  • And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps

  • on the earth, everything that has breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”

  • And it was so.

  • (Gen 1 29-30).

  • Sounds like more gardening to me, surprise surprise.

  • In the second chapter of Genesis, God grants humans control over the other earthly creatures

  • in a slightly different way.

  • In this version, God creates man before the animals.

  • Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him

  • a helper fit for him.”

  • So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air,

  • and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called

  • every living creature, that was its name.”

  • (Gen 2 18-19) Isn’t that nice?

  • Giraffes and sharks and biting flies were made just to help us.

  • Both creation stories set up a clear hierarchy in the animal world with human beings at the

  • top given the power to do whatever they want with all animals below them.

  • Basically, theyre our interns.

  • The second version of the story affirms human control over animals in two ways.

  • First, by having man created prior to the animal kingdom, humans are granted literal

  • primacy.

  • Then, their power is increased over animals by the first man receiving the privilege of

  • naming them.

  • And, I mean, he did a pretty good job.

  • Especially with hippopotamus.

  • But not all myths about humans and animals employ this strict hierarchy.

  • In a number of creation stories from Native American tribes animals are partners in creation,

  • often acting as guides or even as the key participants in creating the earth.

  • The tribes of what is now the Southwestern United States have creation stories that follow

  • a model we haven’t yet seen, the emergence myth.

  • In these stories, humans or creatures that become humans are led from an original underground

  • world into a series of interim worlds until they emerge into the surface world that is

  • recognizably earth.

  • In a Hopi version of this story, various animals including the Spider Grandmother, and a chipmunk

  • help to find the entry hole or sipapuni, to the land beyond the sky.

  • Apparently, there is one of these entry ways in the Grand Canyon.

  • In a Navajo version of the emergence story, the people, who are also sort of insects,

  • fly through the sipapuni into the higher world, assisted by swallows.

  • I like these myths.

  • Humans working with nature!

  • Literally rising towards creation!

  • It’s just a nice breath of fresh air, almost literally, after all the vomiting and death

  • that weve had so far.

  • Another type of creation story featuring animal helpers is called the earth diver myth.

  • A good example comes from the Iroquois Indians of the Northeastern Woodlands of the United

  • States.

  • Let’s dive into Thoughtbubble.

  • A long time ago, humans lived up in the sky in what we now consider heaven.

  • The daughter of their great chief became very sick, and they were unable to cure her.

  • In the village was a great tree on which grew the corn that had fed all the people.

  • One of the chief’s friends had a dream in which he was told to tell the chief to lay

  • his daughter beside the tree and dig it up.

  • The chief did as the dream said.

  • While this was going on an angry young man came along.

  • The angry young man didn’t have the best bedside manner.

  • He pointed out the tree provided the fruit which fed the people, and gave the sick daughter

  • a push with his foot.

  • She fell through the hole that had been left when the tree had been dug up.

  • The young woman fell into this world, which at the time was all water.

  • On this water floated ducks, and geese and all the other water birds.

  • As there was no earth on this water at the time, there was no place for the falling woman

  • to land, so the birds joined their bodies together into a sort of duck island, where

  • the falling woman landed.

  • After some time, the birds grew tired and asked who would care for the woman.

  • The Great Turtle took the woman, and when he grew tired he asked who would take care

  • of her.

  • They decided to prepare land on which she would live-- the earth.

  • The Toad, after some convincing, dove to the bottom of the primal sea, and collected soil

  • which was placed on the broad carapace of the Great Turtle.

  • It increased in size until it provided the land to accommodate all the living creatures.

  • Thanks Thoughtbubble.

  • And nice work, water birds.

  • Also, Toad.

  • Thoth, meet Toad.

  • So there’s a lot more to the myth than this, but it captures the key elements of the earth

  • diver story.

  • Although it has some things in common with other creation myths weve seen, especially

  • the idea that the world began as water, the relationship between human beings and animals

  • it’s quite different.

  • For one thing, far from being dumb creatures waiting to be named and tamed by a man, these

  • animals can talk, think, deliberate and plan.

  • Animal empowerment!

  • They also have emotions similar to the ones we feel, especially getting tired and bored

  • of a tedious task.

  • Think about this the next time you watch a horse pull a cart, or youre trying to entertain

  • your cat by waving that feathery thing in front him.

  • I’m telling you: theyre gettinfed up.

  • Even more important than being given real agency in this creation story, it’s the

  • animals who both save humansprogenitors, and create our home.

  • Without the helpful turtle and the brave toad, there would be no land to live on, and also

  • no earth to grow food.

  • The creation of the world requires animals and thus it is crucially important to be grateful

  • to them.

  • These Native American myths are very intricate and when you read themand you should

  • it’s important to remember that they are very different from many of the other

  • creation stories because they are living stories, communicated by way of a constantly evolving

  • oral tradition, unlike more or less stable literary texts.

  • Still, one of the interpretive take-aways from these emergence and earth diver stories

  • is that Native Americans perceive a different relationship between animals and nature and

  • humans than people from other traditions.

  • According to the biblical tradition, human beings have a special relationship with God

  • who prefers them to all other creatures.

  • According to mythology professors Eva Thury and Margaret Devinney, “This privilege has

  • been interpreted by some as giving believers the right to dispose of nature as they please.”

  • On the other hand, according to these scholars, “Native Americans view this worldas

  • the place where their destinies will be fulfilled, not by domination but by maintaining a balance

  • achieved by living in harmony with themselves and other humans as well as with animals and

  • the exterior world.”

  • Now some of you might be saying, wait, this sounds like a stereotypical view of Native

  • Americans, like they have some mystical connection with nature and that we should look to them

  • for a way to understand how better to live in harmony with it.

  • And you would be right, that is a cultural stereotype, one that has often been uncritically

  • linked with an idea of Native Americans as primitive.

  • But, I will say, maybe in comparison to the other stories weve heard, with all the

  • vomiting, and wars, and eating of children, it’s kind of nice think of the universe

  • as a place of collaboration, and not one of acrimony.

  • Except that jerk who kicked that lady down the hole.

  • Thanks for watching.

  • See you next episode.

Hi I’m Mike Rugnetta, this is Crashcourse Mythology, and today were wrapping up creation

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人間と自然と創造クラッシュコース 神話 #6 (Humans and Nature and Creation: Crash Course Mythology #6)

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    黃齡萱 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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