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Before the Earth Was Round

Format: Book | Adobe PDF
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Macondo Books
Length: 102 pages
File Size: 1.2 MB

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PhilosophyCenter | Overview

  PhilosophyCenter | Before the Earth Was RoundIs it possible for human beings to live without enemies, or was violence written into our nature from the beginning? Set in prehistoric Africa circa 10,000 B.C.E., this cautionary tale by author Philip Golabuk offers a fictional account of the origins of civilization. The story centers around Tamal, a strong-willed teenager who leaves behind his beloved Thandi and defies the evil elders by attempting to walk around the earth to prove that it is round and complete his forbidden shamanic training. In his efforts to save his people from oppression by the elders and certain death at the hands of a neighboring cannibal tribe, Tamal “plants the seed of war in the soil of history,” unwittingly condemning humankind to a course of self-annihilation.

The narrative is non-linear, with nested realities shapeshifting one into the other and defying the reader to distinguish dreams and visions from waking events. Before the Earth Was Round is a warning that we may be on a road with no turns, that the historical hour is late, and that the destruction of humanity, all life, even the planet itself may turn out to have been fated from the dim days of prehistory. Consequently, we must do everything we can to transcend tribal posturing, enemy thinking, and hate-mongering and either find a way to live together or die together.

PhilosophyCenter | Before the Earth Was Round Excerpt   "Tamal came of age in the Before Time, when it had not yet been discovered which growing things would nourish and which would bring sickness or death, making the simple act of eating momentous. The village elders had ordered a trial of the area's varied wildlife along with its countless species of berried plants, drupes, succulents, and tubers that might smell enticing but prove fatal, with the aim of passing this catalogue on to future generations to ensure their sustenance and survival. The elders further decreed that the trial would be carried out on the children, since they neither hunted nor wove nor otherwise helped bear the burden of existence and could be replaced easily while adults could not, and so a lottery was arranged based on the drawing of river stones from a painted gourd an hour before the evening meal on those nights when the moon hid its face, to determine which boy or girl would test the latest substance for toxicity, and while most of the children became the first to prove the edibility of some new morsel, five ate and fell into convulsions, then lost consciousness, and finally had to be replaced. By the end of the year, the village fare comprised more than two dozen foods including six flower bearing fruits and three kinds of fish, enough to provide for all through the winter, whereupon the killing stones were thrown back into the river never to be used again."
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