I Never Lived in Caves

It was recently discovered that Neanderthals went extinct much later than previously thought. This comes as no surprise to me since I know for a fact we never went extinct in the first place. You may be wondering by my use of the word ‘we’ how a self proclaimed Neanderthal could be walking around unnoticed or how he could ever figure out how to use these complicated word typing machines. I assure you, if you passed me on the street, you wouldn’t look twice except perhaps to gawk at my Armani ensemble.

To answer the first question, we didn’t go extinct because we adapted to life on a Homo Sapien world. The climate did shift but we are more hardy than your scientists give us credit for. We weren’t bred out of existence (though not for lack of trying you naughty bunnies) and we weren’t outsmarted or subjected to any sort of genocide; in fact it’s quite the stroke of luck that it didn’t happen the other way around. You could say we made our mistakes early and were ready when you lot came knocking.

As to the second question, Neanderthals are much more, what’s the right word here, wise perhaps? Yes, we are much more wise than Homo Sapiens or even the vaunted Homo Sapiens Sapiens, the species so wise they named it twice. I apologize if I seem patronizing. It’s difficult speaking at your level without sounding that way. Many of the scientific achievements you accumulated over the years were hammered out by my ancestors many millennia before you worked out fire. Including computation engines and electronic user interfaces. Or did you think the Antikythera mechanism was one of yours? Anyway, shall we return to the dawn of history? No, my history of course.

The so called ‘human story’ began long after we Neanderthals had already put the capstones on our greatest monuments. I know, the very idea of Neanderthal civilization is enough to make one’s head explode. When we’re brought up in popular culture at all we are portrayed more like the Dodo bird than anything resembling truth. To you, we are a simple, primitive relic of a bygone era. But it was not so. Our grand civilization is half remembered as Atlantis and Lemuria and the like but it far surpassed any flight of fancy Plato or Madame Blavatsky could conjure in their wildest dreams. It wasn’t a stretch to say we were like unto gods. We were wonders. When it fell, as all civilizations must, it fell in a grand fashion and its consequences are still being felt to this day.

This created a bottleneck for our kind, but it did not wipe us out. Quite the contrary, it gave those of us who survived a new thirst for life and we clung to it like driftwood in a raging storm. Once the age of ice ended and the oceans swallowed the ruins of our great cities, my people were forced to reorganize their way of living. No longer could grand edifices be erected, no more could we hold bleeding edge science aloft like some grand trophy. The old ways returned and we made peace with our lot. The age of Homo Sapiens rose quickly in the vacuum left behind by our folly. Our masters taught the secrets of our culture to the more eager tribes running around the savannah and the desert. Civilization appeared once more in the world, but it was not ours this time. We had outgrown such notions.

I must say, it wasn’t easy for my forebears to watch the world we once owned get conquered by your kind. It was even harder to watch your scientists dig up our graves, ‘discover’ our people and turn our name into a synonym for simpletons. But countless ages have a way of tempering the soul and we don’t give much thought to it anymore. Now we are content to live lives of leisure, slipping in and out of your world with ease, dabbling in the arts and the sciences when it suits us, never revealing the secret of our existence. It’s not that hard when you all stare at your phones all day long. You never did outgrow your propensity for navel gazing.

I myself am late to a board meeting that will determine the fate of the telecommunications industry. Mergers, acquisitions, the usual nonsense. No there aren’t Neanderthal secret societies controlling the globe (try leaking that to your local paper of record!). We live in the same places and do the same sorts of things you do. I just happen to enjoy the work. I’m not in it for the wealth and the power, those are merely trappings. Moving pieces on the global chessboard is quite invigorating for me. That’s all.

You might find yourself feeling very distressed as the truth of my words begins to sink in. Don’t stress yourself out so much. You still occupy the same rung on the ladder as you did ten minutes ago. Nothing’s changed. It’s just that now you realize there are other rungs on the ladder you weren’t aware of. Not better, or superior, just different. Don’t fret, young one. You’re still the dominant species on the planet. You’re just a few thousand years behind us on the path. You’ve many mistakes yet to make before you appreciate our way of thinking.

Perhaps you’re still off put. I understand. One doesn’t speak with a member of an elder race every day. I imagine it is much like conversing with the Eldar. Oh, are you not familiar with Tolkien? I have an original printing of his work in my library. You should stop by sometime and see it. I have many more wonders besides to share.




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