August 15, 2013
Archaeologists have discovered a series of petroglyphs in southern Nevada that date to 14,500 BC. This trumps the previous U.S. record of 7,000 BC. Glyphs as an art form date back 175,000 years, including the cave artwork in France, now compared with the Old Masters of history. Some rock art consists of handprints, made not by etching but by masticating colorful plants and spitting the material around the hand.
Why? Why do we record ourselves and events? We started talking and gesturing a million years ago, the handshake evolving to say, “I’m unarmed,” or “I won’t hurt you.” The beginning is so fascinating, far more so than our current “Kill, or exploit the planet” attitude, where the few control the many and art has evolved from the most important expression of Man to near extinction.
If we don’t have, make, venerate, celebrate and contemplate art, we will become extinct. Nature will breathe easier. Great anthropologists like Louis Leaky are warning of this: humans, in spite of their big brains, evolved to a single species because we surrender to our baser instincts for self destruction.
Art is the salve, the highest instinct, pursuit, philosophical voyage of discovery, of Man.