There’s no going back. In evolutionary biology, this is known as Dollo’s Law of Irreversibility . Once a species loses something: a tail, a row of teeth, a spiral in its shell, the likelihood that its descendants will re-express the structure is slim.
But, while structures disappear, features can return. When an ancient need re-arises, evolution kicks in. if a species needs to “learn” to chew again, over generations teeth will reappear. The new set is made of different stuff than the original. The structure is different, but the feature is back…if it’s needed.
When a virgin forest is clear-cut, it cannot be revirginized. When a tribe is uprooted by a logging company, it can’t be uncontacted. But forest succession begins again, and people pick up their roots and set them anew.
In this blog, one of the major themes we’ll be exploring is the birth of agricultural “civilization” out of the hunter gatherer tribal societies that made up 95% of our species’ existence. What was lost, severed, depleted, suppressed, exterminated, from culture during this birthing process that we need again today, as our species faces ecological and spiritual perils brought on by a runaway system that started thousands of years ago?
It’s naive to think we can return to ancient ways of being. Sure, if we allow the perils to overtake us, the survivors will return out of necessity. But if we are to navigate the perils, heal millennia of disconnection from source and empower billions of people to create sustainable systems, it is likewise naive to think we can accomplish this without opening ourselves to indigenous ways.
The Return- re-expressing lost features of our past, to nature, to the water, the soil, the air, and her gifts- is a story that is unfolding now. Never has the opportunity to create beauty been greater- and never have the stakes been higher.