cheating, collaboration, cooperation, creation, lies, myth, social capital, Storytelling, trust, truth
The Creation Myth of the Veritas: Part I
The gods grew bored and decided to hold a kind of maker fest. Using the wet clay by the River of Life, they fashioned all sorts of strange and wonderful life forms including whales that swam in the seas, giraffes, tigers with strength and speed, cunning and claws, They created birds that soared in the skies and tiny worms that squirmed in the dirt. After many eons, all of creation was done and the world was filled with wondrous creatures of all sorts. All the gods had participated and each admired the work of all the others. Only Dionysius had failed to participate. As usual, he had been roaring drunk the night before, and as usual, arrived late to the party.
Ever the bon vivant, Dionysius after glancing around at all the beautiful creatures, said, “Hey! Cool! I want to play too!”
Zeus shook his head for no matter how many times Dionysius missed out by being drunk, he never seemed to learn. “Well, Dionysius, had you been here on time, you could have played. But all the materials are gone. All the best fangs, the sharpest claws, the keenest eyes and ears, the strongest bones are all gone. You can see that all that’s left is a tiny pile of clay by the estuary and that little cluster of the very most pathetic weapons, over by that mesa.
“Oh, crap,” opined Dionysius. “No matter, I’ll make something cool.” Unfortunately, Dionysius was not a morning person. In fact, when he was this badly hungover, his design skills were, if anything, even worse than when he was besotted. Worse, he rushed everything and today was no exception. He hastily slung together the remaining wet clay in a kind of rough approximation of a bear or an ape. He threw in a few bits of bone, teeth, and claws and was ready to call it a day and then try to locate the next party. But the result was so pitiable that it didn’t even meet his own low standards.
Zeus, not for the first time, considered banning Dionysius from Olympus. “My god, Dionysius, could you make it any uglier?”
Dionysius felt a twinge of guilt at his shoddy work. No sooner had he felt this than he decided to show Zeus a thing or two. “Indeed I can!” The only saving grace of the poor design of Dionysius had been the luxurious silver and black fur that covered the poor creature head to foot but, out of spite, he now hastily stripped it all off, save for a few odd hanks here and there. “There! That’s better!”
The other gods simply shook their heads in disgust. Dionysius was Dionysius after all. Without comment they walked off. “I’ll show them,” he thought. While their backs were turned to him, Dionysius took a tiny spark of creative curiosity out of his own heart and imbued his creation with it. He dubbed the result “Human” but it held little interest for the other gods. He placed “Humanity” on the earth and gave it no more thought, caring nothing for how it might or might not survive.
When the other nearby animals saw the featherless, scaleless, nearly furless monstrosity, they chuckled to themselves. Some, such as Lion, Tiger, and Bear were hoping it would prove tasty despite its looks. Zeus however, felt some pity for the poor creature and asked the other animals if any would be willing to give Human something to help it survive. Lion and Tiger did not want to give up their speed, their claws, or their fangs. Eagle would not give up his superior eyesight. Elephant had no desire to give up his trunk, his great strength or his amazing hearing. Mammoth loved his thick coat of fur. Even the lowly chameleon would not give up his camouflage. Without knowing about the strictly illegal spark of creativity that Dionysius had bestowed, Zeus took pity and added just a small spark of intelligence.
Those first years were very hard on Human. His only gifts were creative curiosity, some small intelligence, and, like all life, love. (For love, was not a gift bestowed by the gods, but inherent in the very stuff of Life itself). Upon seeing how hard life was for Human, Zeus again asked whether any of the other animals would give up any of their gifts. None really wanted to give up their great gifts, but one by one, they gave some small gifts out of pity for poor Human.
Snake, for example, allowed Human to borrow the sound of his hissing sizzle and thus did Human receive “ssss.” Crow, not to be outdone, allowed Human to share his cursing “Caw! Caw!” Mourning Dove shared his “Cooo. Cooo.” Chattering squirrel offered up “t-t-t-t.” Sheep let Human borrow, “aaaa – aaaa!” Horse let Human use “Neigh! Neigh!” Eagle, ever jealous of his keen eyesight allowed human the use of “Eeee. eeee.” Busy buzzing bee bestowed a “zzzz” for Human’s use.
In this way, Human was able to make the sound of many animals. Though the animals did not realize it at the time they bestowed these gifts, they were actually quite useful. Making these sounds helped disguise Human as he went about hunting and gathering. Because Human, like all the other animals, had the gift of love, they also began using these sounds to share their treasures with others. If a Human found some honey, they would make the buzzing sounds of a bee and point to the direction of the honey.
Humans lived in small tribes and it happened that some particularly smart Humans fell in love with other smart Humans and produced a Very Smart Human. Very Smart Human saw how spider spun a strong web made in a pattern and learned how to weave baskets of reeds.
Then, Very Smart Human saw how the sounds of the beasts could be woven into words and the words could be woven into statements and the statements woven into stories. And these stories could be shared. Over time, leaders learned to weave stories into a shared vision so that many people could have their purposes woven into a strong fabric of purpose to make projects to help all the people. They told a story of making dams to catch fish. And it was so.They told of making rooms to hold corn. And it was so. They told of traps and plans to corner prey. Working together, people could plan and build for all the people. And Humanity prospered.
Author’s Note: The first three pictures above are original artworks by Pierce Morgan.
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