Twenty-Three and Us

An insight that we think about inheritance and family trees backwards, or all in one direction, and suspicious that it’s not an accident.

I have really been loving Henry Louis Gates and his show, Finding Your Roots, but this idea has been creeping up on me, he spins stories about a single line of people, generally finding a few grandparents, of which we have four, usually, perhaps a few great-grandparents – and we all have eight of those, in theory, barring incest and whatnot. Some folks see family back to the bloody Mayflower – one of hundreds of ancestors that far back in time, right?

I mean it’s a great show, and we all learn about the times, we get that glimpse, but is it not true that we think of ancestors as multiplying into the future and we only acknowledge perhaps the richest of our ancestors? When really, our heritage multiplies into the past, and rather than having been drawn in a single line, ultimately ideologically from some First Man, is it not just as true to posit that we are amalgamators of our parents and in the end, descend from all of humanity?

The First Man idea, in all of its forms, does seem to suffer the fallacy of our limitations regarding deep time, and I think if we view the tree of descent as a pyramid and count all of our relatives and “our people” and then divide by two going into the past, we will reach Adam and Eve far too soon, something on the biblical scale and not the geological or evolutionary ones. Warning, and waiver: I’m terrible at math. I do all this in English.

If anyone wants to check me, that sounds wonderful, like a conversation or something.

Jeff

Oct. 21st., 2021

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