Interesting piece in USA Today on mass graves in Haiti and the importance people attach to marking the spot where their dead are laid – a physical point of connection. “We are hard-wired to want to know where our dead are, whether we believe in a superior being or not,” asserts Curtis Rostad, an Indiana funeral director. Even Neanderthals, he reminds us, buried their dead with flowers.
Curtis, we remind ourselves, has a commercial interest in burial. And when he uses that seductive metaphor ‘hard-wired’, is that how human brains really work?
We pride ourselves on having evolved somewhat since the days when Neanderthals roamed the earth. We’ve done that by suppressing many of our Neanderthal impulses. We value reason over instinct. It’s what makes us civilised.
Or does it?