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Quest For Fire

David N. Rahni, New York


In the past few million years, human evolution has taken mysterious and at times serendipitous turns and twists into a myriad of unchartered territories as it has moved from primitive primate isolated clusters to its current so called "Advanced civilization" of 6.5 billion. Through observation of nature and its many entangled "chaotic" forces, human cognition and consciousness has learned and evolved so as to harness some of such natural forces to his advantage. So, natural selection and survival of the fittest have in essence governed the hominids inter-species struggles as well their inter-relationship with nature.


FIRE is perhaps the most profound phenomenon that has mesmerized imaginations and impacted the human civilization pushing it through a giant quantum leap forward. Fire could inextricably be the precursor for food cooking, heating source, weaponry, community formation, and political and military exploitations.  It is surmised that early humans of a few hundred thousand years ago had presumably attributed natural lightning and fire striking the earth from the sun, to be an expression of the super being; they finally dared to experiment with it, understand it and to use it to their advantage overcoming the harshness of nature.

In a recent on-going discourse with a friend on the origin of religion and its impact on society, the Jesuit American heartland bred Freeman Ure gifted me a DVD movie, "Fire for Quest" a 1981 production. Having watched the movie over and over again with much exhilarations, and as much as my conversation with my friend at times become too heated, his gift ranks among the top gifts I have ever been blessed with and so, I recommend everyone watching it! I consider its insightfulness as one of the major classics of all times.


Quest for fire


The movie story happens 80,000 years ago, where four tribes mostly on the African savannah and a detour onto the European landscape, struggle for existence. They began appreciating the mystical and practical power of fire, and so fight for dominating and controlling it. The lighter complexion tribe (blue eyed, blondish hair and less bodily hairy), presumably a modern European egocentrism retro-transposed back to prehistory, is the most peaceful one among the four, and makes every plausible efforts to keep the eternal fire alive in a portable boned brazier. And when their fire is stolen by a darker tribe, a few of them embark on an adventurous quest to bring back fire from afar. During such tumultuous excursion, they also learn the creating of fire by spinning a harder piece of stick against a softer horizontally placed wood, thereby liberating themselves form exclusive need to keeping an eternal fire alive.


Sol Invictus, the worshiping   of the Sun God, therefore dates back to far before such again egocentric European ritual, and has its traces back in Africa, Mesopotamia and elsewhere. Lightning, the sudden powerful sparks striking the earth catching trees and bushes fire, then was perceived as an extension of the power of Sun God, where both were soon regarded as cared.  Early humans as it is now proven had recognized the central role of the Sun in the sustenance and support of life on the earth. Could anyone therefore remain unconvinced that early Indo-Iranian religions of Mehr, Mithra, Mazda and Manichaeanism  leading to the first monotheistic religion Zoroastrianism, still practiced by a respectful community of over 100,000 in Iran and India did not have their origins in such ritual of keeping fire eternal in their temples?! As in the movie, and believed by all human civilizations and practiced in Zoroastrianism, light over dark,  "holy" fire over "evil" cold, knowledge over ignorance, become triumphant as human continues strolling along the transient journey of life. So, what does all this mean? Well an expected lifespan of 75 years (that is 29,200 days or 700,000 hours) meagerly amounts to 2.5 billion seconds, the frequency of which is a miniscule 4 x 10-10 Hertz! So, thanks Freeman Ure for the well worth quasi-brain scratching movie!

... Payvand News - 02/17/09 ... --

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