Monthly Archives: May 2008

The Uncontacted Tribe: A Reminder of our Humanity

Though seemingly impossible, anthropologists are aware of at least one tribe of human beings left on Earth that is uncontacted. By this word, we mean to say that their ancestors were never discovered by European explorers, and their little patch of the jungle has not been visited in the many generations since. We know about them, but they don’t know about us. They have absolutely no knowledge of skyscrapers, cars, streets, electricity, metallurgy, or any other post-agricultural technology. It’s truly mind-blowing.

Last thursday, on May the 29th, anthropologists flew over their village and took a few pictures. The first time they flew over, the tribespeople seemed to be going about their daily routines. When they flew over again a few hours later, the tribespeople were painted in red, apparently pointing their arrows at the plane. One can imagine what a bizarre sight it must have been for the tribespeople, to see this enormous metal creature screeching through their sky.

 

What an awe-inspiring moment in human history this is. Here on this Earth, on the very same day, one man points a bow and arrow at a demonic bird sent by the Gods, while the other sits on his laptop writing a blog entry about it. Indeed, the tribespeople have become something of an Internet phenomenon. I don’t know about you, but it makes my head spin.

It’s a timely reminder of how large the Earth is, and a humbling reminder of our origins. It just goes to show how truly recent our notions of progress are – what a minute instant of time the project of civilization has been.

I think this tribe should remain uncontacted. If this one small group of human beings were to endure the generations ahead without feeling the unnatural flatness of asphalt, without squinting through fluorescent-lit warehouses, without breathing stale ventilated air, it would be cause for worldwide human rejoice.