In the post-Pleistocene period the glaciers retreated,
the seashore rose 300 feet,
the tundra turned to forest,
and the great herds disappeared
from Western Europe.
And gone with the animals
was the great ‘high culture’
of Ice Age humanity.
It is not hyperbole
to speak of the high culture
of these hunters and gatherers,
for cave paintings like Lascaux
are complex works that speak rather eloquently
for the abundant leisure
and rich cosmology
of their creators.
Primitive humanity devoted
most of its spare time
to matters of ritual and art.
As a contemplative people with time on their hands,
they gave much thought to menstruation and the moon,
constructed a calendar,
and painted hundreds of thousands
on the walls
of the caves.
As the Sistine Chapel expresses
the flowering of the culture
of the Renaissance,
so Lascaux expresses the flowering
of the culture
of the Magdalenians.
In more ways than one,
the two great murals have much in common,
for they are not mere decoration;
they are mythological visions
of the nature of time.
‘The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light: Mythology, Sexuality & the Origins of Culture’ – William Irwin Thompson