It’s been said that death is the great democracy. The up-and-coming philosopher Wendel The Anglo Mariachi Cowboy says that at 6-feet under we are separated only by the height of the granite above us.
Unremitting physical pain also creates a democracy above ground. Looks, job status, house size, horsepower and political views become irrelevant.
Religious doctrines mean little if one’s deity cannot bring relief. Those not up to the task could be replaced by someone else’s — or a free thinker with a magic pill.
Early humans devoted their energy to finding food, shelter, procreating and perhaps the occasional melodious grunting around lightning-caused campfires.
In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization, the last two were not so easy that a caveman could do it.
Now that Maslow’s pyramid has been turned upside down by North American affluence, it’s surprising how quickly pain can revert our personal pyramid back to the Stone Age.
What we share with Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons — who had yet to invent wheels to cart slow-moving friends to 6-foot holes unmarked by yet-to-be-discovered granite — is that assaults on ancient nerve endings make bartering esteem and self-actualization for a little pain relief seem like a no-brainer.