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When the Archaic Cries Out

Ancient Georgie Reporting

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View DNA Genealogy on georgeaguilar's travel map.

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I have hit that brick wall.

It happens every year around this time. Suddenly, I am lethargic, lacking enthusiasm and motivation for practically all things. It takes every ounce of energy just to sit here and write this blog post. It is probably the last one of the year, most likely.
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I can´t even get excited about visiting the local cemetery and you know how much I enjoy that! I have written in the past about what some call, ¨Seasonal Depression¨and how it hits some people around this time. There are those, like me, who link it to our ancient ancestors having to suffer through tough winters where the weather got cold and the food scarcer. Over time, this becomes ingrained in our genetics even when we live in an era of warmth and comfort and within a few minutes reach to a local grocery store. Having those luxuries is relatively new compared to the thousands of years of battling harsh winter filled with starvation and usually death. Just because modern life makes things more accessible, it doesn´t mean those innate, build-in feelings simply go away. It even feels like I am writing to you through a fog. I´m sure some of you out there know what I mean. There are probably drugs to manage all that but that´s not how I deal with it. I try and accept it rather than fight it though I see that exercise doesn´t help very much and it is easy to over eat these days too. It is no wonder I never found the ¨holidays¨terribly enjoyable. Consumer Xmas holidays are just manufactured anyway, aren´t they?
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I started thinking more about archaic genes and how they still manifest themselves when I was sitting in a cafe in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sao Paulo isn´t the most scenic big city I´ve been too. The real scenery is in the diversity of people walking by you. For an hour, I don´t believe I saw two people who looked alike. Even parents with their children look very different from each other on the surface. It´s no surprise as Brazil has one of the most diverse genetic populations on the planet. People whose families have lived here for a long time, typically would have a good % of European, African and Native American genes. The breakdown is even more acute as nearly every European country is represented here as is multiple regions of Africa. The NA gene % is smaller and due mostly to early mixing between Iberian males and Native American women.

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Scattered throughout this hodge-podge-of-a-post are various pics from the museums and places I´ve visited over the past week including the large and excellent Afro-Brazilian museum in Sao Paulo. I recommend visiting it when you can. It is here where I learn much about how Africans evolved from being slaves to being prime contributors to a unique mix-culture called Afro-Brazilian. I also learned that some of my paternal ancestors probably passed through this region, mixing old Iberian family lines with Guarani DNA and African before moving on into Bolivian and eventually Peru.

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Part of the fun of this museum was seeing images of white and black families in period attire going about their everyday lives. Growing up in America, nearly all period movies and TV shows feature an all-white cast with a few Black people in servant type roles. The pics I saw in Brazil show a more equal family setting in the not too distant past.

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I sit an continue to watch Brazilians walk past me and I can see why many consider them to be very handsome people. Height, hair color and style and skin tones are very attractive and very different, reflecting the many generations of intermixing of once-dramatically different ethnicities. It makes it all the more strange to read about Brazilian politicians who decry protesters in stark racial terms. The Brazilian vice president sees nothing wrong in blaming people who possess the ¨indolence of the indigenous and the laziness of Blacks¨. I wonder what he would think if he learned he has NA and African DNA himself as do 99% of the population. Would he still say the same thing? it´s like me going up to a microphone and saying, ¨Balding people with a mole under their right eye are stupid, degenerates!¨ As for the ¨laziness of Blacks¨? Well, I can´t imagine being a slave as something somebody would be ambitious about and strive to be awarded ´Slave of the Month´. Naturally, the European ethnicity is held up as the ideal as if theft, genocide and disease-spreading are all something to be proud of. Anyway, bottom line for me is....Brazil is kind of messed up about race as many places seem to be. Why is that I wonder?

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During my Ancestral journeys, I´ve thought and written about our archaic connections to Tribalism as well as to ancestral place. Sao Paulo, as well as much of the Americas, is mostly inhabited by people whose ancestors have been here no more than 500 years. Many of a tiny % of NA that will slowly wash out in a generation or two. Understanding how DNA sites determine cousin relationships helped me realize how little we truly have changed in that time period. In broad terms, our bodies are a product of thousands, hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. We still have ancient markers that connect us to ancestors who have lived in one place usually for thousands of years. Our genes only change when they´ve adapted to that one place and would only change again once it´s been someplace else for a thousand years or so. It can also change due to some dramatic event such as nuclear fallout, which would change everyone´s genetic makeup in some way. A thousand years from now, scientists would dig up someone born in the 1960´s and know exactly when they were born because a gene marker changed because of the nuclear testing in the 1950s-1970. Natural disasters too would change your genetics too but for the most part, it takes a very long time for genes to change.
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So 500 years is perhaps only a ´halfway´point to the creation of new marker that would define the yet unborn person of the Americas as ethnically American, different from Native Americans.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that European culture evolved over a long period of time but it too had its turbulent era no doubt. France, Spain and even Italy may seem like well-know and set cultures but it certainly was not like that a thousand years. Back then, many groups made up the region and I´m sure had to go through the pains of coming together in what we now call ´The French´or ´The German´or ´The Spanish´etc. Certainly Africa and Asia had thousands of years to develop on those continents as well. I think perhaps The Americas of today can be compared to the turmoil happened inside ancient Asia, Africa and Europe as diverse tribes began to coalesce into villages, the kingdoms, then nation-states and eventually countries. There are other complex reasons too but let´s not get into that now.

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For me, it´s hard to even think clearly, much less write, this time of year. So I apologize if this post seems extra incoherent. lol

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More Thoughts on the Archaic

I have come to perceive my exploration of my Ancestral roots in the same way somebody looks at pictures from Mars. You´ve no doubt read about somebody spotting a face, pyramid or even a lizard on a NASA photo of Mars. Real scientists tend to shoot down these claims fairly quickly and attribute it to our innate (read: archaic) part of our brain that looks for patterns in everyday objects. For some good evolutionary reason, we need to quickly identify something even if its fuzzy. Maybe it has something to do with development of the imagination? In any event, I often look for patterns in my DNA matches and in the places and people I see when traveling. I then may see a ¨pattern¨and quickly come up with a path with which will lead me to the ultimate truth. This has served me very well in many capacities including being able to write a very creative blog post.
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Although I love real science, and the way they go about proving a theory, I like to ascribe to the archaic fuzzy approach as well. In a way, I have been utilizing both. Although I see cousin matches, provided surnames and locations with ancestral links, something in the back of my mind still tells me I need to go and check for myself. Sure enough, I am quite pleased to see actual physical proof of a connection in the form of a cemetery marker or some other clear evidence to support the online data. The most surprising thing to me was finding how differently I felt being in an ancestral place versus one that is not. I´ve written a few posts about that and I am more convinced than ever before, that their is a deep relationship between person and place. There isn´t any ¨proof¨of this other than my own observations and reading my own feelings. Perhaps that´s my Native Andean side which approached science differently than the Old World. As Darth Vader would say, ¨Search your feelings, Luke¨.
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I´ve searched mine and I feel like parts of Peru-Bolivia and parts of Northern Italy and Southern Germany, as well as parts of Ireland, are meaningful ancestral homes to me. My DNA profile has always showed this to be the case but I needed to see for myself and I´m glad I had.

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As in Star Wars (and in all things) , there is a ´light´and ´dark´side.

Tribalism
The theme of Tribalism is best read while humming the French Marseille. https://youtu.be/BcxRfg96dTQ
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One of the great joys about hunting for ancestors is the feeling you belong to a certain tribe. I cannot recall feeling that way growing up in San Mateo, California or after having lived in several other places in America over the years.

I began to get a sense of that when I lived in the Yucatan of Mexico for a few years. I enjoyed the general civility, kindness and comfort the Yucatecans had showed me throughout my stay. I started to compare these feelings to the feelings I had in America which were mostly feelings of anxiety, depression and general discomfort.

After leaving the Yucatan, I traveled to a number of places based on DNA results and I found that some places where I had ancestors, greatly affected my state of mind and sometimes my physical well-being. For instance, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, I felt exceptionally healthy and energetic in mind and body. In Cuzco, Peru I felt as if I was at some large family funeral where all I wanted to do is comfort everyone. In Falcade, Belluno, I sat down for pizza in an empty pizzeria and within 10 minutes, I was surrounded by locals who gave me a sense of belonging and lightheartedness. Although, I clearly was a foreigner, they seemed quite comfortable sitting next to me as I was to them. These are very unique experiences for me as I usually feel quite uncomfortable among ALMOST EVERYONE about 90% of the time.
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This sounds redundant but is worth repeating. I think that there might be a correlation between ancestral place, DNA cousins and personally feeling comfortable and healthy. It makes sense to me that one would feel healthier in a land where some of their ancestors had dwelled for hundreds or even thousands of years. One of the remarkable things I learned when traveling around the ancestral homes of Italy and Germany, is that I had no allergic reactions. I love being in the outdoors but I normally carry Claritin pills to combat those times when I get a sneeze attack and my eyes start to water badly and more and my inner nose swells. I dreaded Springtime in California because that was when it would hit me the hardest. After spending over 5 months in Europe, I did not need to take a single capsule. I even reveled riding my old bike through the thick pollen clouds during Spring in Treviso, taking deep breaths and amazed that I was having no ill effects. In Cochabamba, I ate local, fresh food and climbed a big hill everyday at high altitude and felt about as good as I ever had.
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In contrast, I felt kind of miserable traveling through Romania, Moldova and The Ukraine. There, I was in a general bad mood nearly everyday and went temporarily blind in one eye at one point.

Strangely, I also did not like the locals in Arequipa and often felt a little psychotic at times even though my father was born in nearby Sabandia. Surely this must be an ancestral place, so why the ill feelings? Perhaps connections to ancestral places can either be bad or good based on genetic memories too?
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And what about tribalism? Even in the 21st century, we see people siding with a particular tribe against another tribe. Nationalism, which is just button-pushing tribalism, is being used by politicians around the world because it is the easiest, laziest way to gain power. Promoting fear about those outside the tribe are driving much of politics around the world as they have since the beginning of time.
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I can now understand the power of belonging to a tribe and the pull of being angry or against those outside of it. However, you would think that someone with my extraordinarily diverse genetic makeup would feel connected to multiple tribes around the world. But what if I inherited certain genes that denote only a few or even one single tribe? It is easy to imagine, those people who are products of interbreeding, to know a tribe member when they see him or her. Anybody not fitting that profile is an outsider.
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When I think of powerful tribalism, I think of Germanic peoples who long have expressed a fervent (sometimes violent) form of tribalism. Their history for such things is long and include Germanic tribes that brought an end to the Roman Empire and gave rise to the Nazis of WWII.

Speaking of Nazis(!!), I am now in Joinville (pronounced Shoinvilly), a Brazilian city founded by Germans and Norwegians about 150 years ago. Strangely enough, people speak Portuguese here with a slight German accent! It also was paid a visit by a Nazi Zepelliin.

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Just a few more Nazi references and then we shall move on. First, if you have never seen the movie, The Boys From Brazil, starring Lawrence Olivier and Gregory Peck, check it out. It´s a unique sci-fi story about genetics and Hitler and even comes with an excellent explanation of how genetics work provided by young cousin Bruno Ganz! Yes, Bruno Ganz the actor is a distant relative of ours as is practically every other Ganz on the planet. Interestingly enough, Bruno went on to play Hitler in the excellent film Downfall many, many years later. Bruno was also in a romantic-comedy film set in Venice called, Bread and Tulips. He´s a very good and versatile actor and I´m not just saying that because he´s a cousin.

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(KLINK MARKER??)

Did you know they show Hogan´s Heroes on the TV here in Brazil? Turning on the TV here one night, I saw, to my amazement, some of my favorite TV shows from the 70s including HR PuffnStuff, I Dream of Jeannie and the Bionic Woman, all in Portuguese. Seeing Hogan´s Heroes reminded me of the time I walked through a small cemetery in Rottweil, Baden-Wurttemberg and saw grave markers with the name Klink and Schultz. I then saw a Burkhalter surname and said to myself, ¨If I see a Hochstetter name, I´ll pass out.¨ And then I did! But I didn´t pass out as somebody would have shouted, ¨Vot is dis man doing here?!¨
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Speaking of Germany, when I was in Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, I felt very comfortable with the people there and enjoyed just hanging out at the park on a Sunday surrounded by several families....something that was really strange for me to feel. I do know my family has ancestral ties to that region and I wondered if I inherited their tribalistic genes. Fortunately, I have my intellect and knowledge of history to keep any negative aspects of tribalism in check. Democracy and Human Rights might allow a lot of idiots to exist but that is far better than Nationalistic wars which destroy everything and everybody, especially the perpetrators.

(GEORGIE CHESS PLAYER)

I think I inherited tribal genes from the Germanic-French ancestors and from the Andean and possibly Mayan ancestors. That doesn´t mean my siblings inherited the same ones. Some of them could have inherited ancient Spanish and African tribal genes or perhaps someone inherited Basque and Greek tribal ones. This theory could go a long way in explaining why I never felt connected to my own family even though I know, for certain, they are my parents and my full siblings.

The big question rolling around my head is? Should I move to places where I feel physically good and comfortable with population? The difficulty is that I would need to learn a new language and obtain citizenship among other challenges. Is that such a high price to pay for physical and mental well-being?

Thank you for riding along with me on this long journey this year. I don´t know if I´ll do something like this again but I have become intrigued with the Spanish Basque region and I´ve never been to Africa. So who knows what the ancestors will do to make that happen or not.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Yours truly,

Georgie.

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Posted by georgeaguilar 08:20 Archived in Brazil

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