Often, to take our mind off unpaid bills and the unhallowed gov’mint, we will sit in a coffee shop – or in Whole Foods – and take out our little book and draw. We don’t draw chairs, or food, or coffee cups – we draw people. LI loves drawing people. Always has. Now, lately we’ve been reading a beautiful book about cave art for an upcoming review for the Austin Statesman. Reading it, we were struck like by 100 000 volts that during the Upper Paleolithic – that wonderful time when there were, max, 150 000 people in Europe, and life was good for around twenty thousand years - the cave artists generally didn’t draw or paint or engrave people. There were your stray vulvas, the masked bird man, many hand prints, but generally – no people. Instead, there were mammoths. There were lions. There were rhinos and horses. Oddly, much fewer reindeer, even though reindeer meat was the spam of the Paleolithic – it was always poached reindeer for breakfast, fricasseed reindeer for lunch, and reindeer pudding for dinner. We are often told how to evolution stories about this or that human habit, but in reality, the way those how to stories are formed is that evo psychologists extrapolate back from ‘primitive people’ of today to those wandering around 200,000 years ago. However, this habit is in serious disconnect from archeologists, who have long held that ethnography of people today, in no matter what state of society they live in, is essentially unhelpful when trying to reconstruct the way the inhabits of the Eurasia 30,000 years ago lived. It is impossible not to imagine back using our PBS/National Geographic images, but what tribe do we know of that doesn’t draw people? Deleuze and Guattari talk of the special faciality of the West – this seems right, on all accounts – but to show so little interest in people when one has mastered perspective, and the expressive character of animals? That seems quite significant. But of what? Well, this is where speculation is dumb, but irresistible. The cave art of 30,000 years ago, perhaps – just perhaps – precedes the period when humans assumed they were superior. In fact, the assumption at that time was that they weren’t. The assumption was that mammoths were in every way superior creatures – or, to erase the whole superior/inferior notion, the assumptions in the paintings flowed from a life in which humans were as much prey as predator. The dreams we have of this percolate through hundreds of generations back, so it seems entirely dim. Of course, humans as prey is our favorite story, but now the story features our favorite predator, who is still human – hence, the infinite crime shows. We can of course think of grizzlies or sharks or whatever preying on humans. But what we can’t think is that this is just the way it is. That thought makes us think, wow, this is to live in misery. We seem unable to fully immerse ourselves into that form of life as a norm. We can only indirectly, vaguely wave at that notion. To find human beings relatively uninteresting compared to horses is funny – which is why Swift was able to use that shtick. But it wouldn’t even have been controversial in 17,000 b.c. The movies we make trying to touch this – say Alien – always, ultimately, focus the camera on the humans. What would Aliens be like if the same story were told, except the humans were incidentally – took up ten minutes of film time – the rest being the things the Alien monster did. Although, admittedly, Alien didn't have the hair and muscles and eyes the Paleolithics loved. They didn't paint fish, though they ate em. But the human figure was mostly boring. I mean, one at least figures that there will be considerable smut, but no. Mostly, cave art is chaste. Dick, pussy, fucking -- ho hum, seems to have been the word. But bison -- why, the world can't get enough bison. And so for almost twenty thousand years, the cave painters, generation after generation, gave the people what they wanted - more bison. Nietzsche hints that the story of civilization is the story of humans becoming interesting. Ah, the Paleolithic dream did come to N., didn’t it?