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THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ( per la versione in italiano consulta UTILITA'/PUNTI DI VISTA) PDF Stampa
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About seventy thousand years ago, the Neanderthal man lived in caves located mostly in the present continent of Europe. During this period he left painting in these caves showing the beginning of  a great artistic ability. In the picture below we see one of the first example of cave painting left by these early humans.

At this same time and in the same places, another species of man was present, it would have been  called Homo Sapiens. In between the two species there was a certain amount of intermixing which explains how modern men have a 1% to 3% of their DNA belonging to the Neanderthal man. People from Tuscany have the highest amount of the original DNA of the Neanderthal man and they are known for the high artistic accomplishments. The Etruscan civilization prospered here around 1000 B.C. and it is known for their beautiful designed jewelry. Later on, during the renaissance, many artists, from Michelangelo to  Leonardo Da Vinci belonged to this same region of Italy. We could assume that this artistic inclination is owed to the higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA in their own genes.

While the Homo Sapiens appears to have developed his ability to talk about 120,000 years ago, evidence shows this was not the same for the Neanderthal man, who was impaired by his short trachea and less flexible vocal cords, and had to express himself just by grunting. Now, we know that appearance wise the Neanderthal man was less refined than his counterpart. Furthermore, considering his speaking shortcoming, how did he compete in wooing the Homo Sapiens female? and why these mysterious painting suddenly started appearing in the cave walls? The following  story tries to give an explanation to these mysteries. In it, we find a Neanderthal man called Nean and Sapia an Homo Sapiens female.

Sapia lived with another twenty members of her tribe in a cave by a river in the present Toscany region. During the summer, she spent most of her day gathering  fruits and nuts. Nean lived by himself in a cave not to far from Sapia. One day he met her while she was gathering apples. He was totally smitten by her beauty. In the  next few days, he spent all the time, while he was not hunting, following her from a distance. One day after catching a rabbit, Nean offered it to Sapia. She yelled at him refusing the offer with a look of indignation. He was left with a  totalfeeling of rejection.

His unrequited love for Sapia was so strong and he felt totally incapable to deal with this torment and rage within. He needed of expressing these feelings somehow, because he could not take this torture any longer. Suddenly he picked up a half burned stick of wood from the fire and started  scratching it against the cave walls in a fury. Like magic, distinct black lines started appearing in front of his eyes. He made an oblong shape on the wall and after a triangular shape and he felt the rage subsiding. He continued making primitive shapes for hours and he started feeling better and better. He felt a inner peace and satisfaction, the same feelings that artists experience when they finds a way of expressing their most deep inside feelings.

Not too far from her cave and alone, Sapia was washing freshly carved pelts in the river. Suddenly she felt strong jolt to her body. A saber tooth tiger was on top of her small body. Luckily, Nean who had been spending most of his day looking at her from a distance was able to intervene to her aid. After a short fight with the tiger he was able to chase it away. Deep cuts were left on his arms that were copiously bleeding. Sapia, almost totally unscathed,  help him wash the blood away in the river. Touching those strong muscles, she felt a strange sensation in her chest.  As often it happens to people that have been saved from dangerous situations, day after day, Sapia feeling of rejection toward Nean started changing and an immense gratitude for her savior started growing in her heart.

One day Nean invited Sapia to visit his cave. A robust fire was burning in the fire pit inside Nean' s cave. He took from the fire pit a long piece of wood that was burning vividly from one end. Using it like a torch, he approached one of the cave walls. Under the newly provided light, Sapia could see the paintings of life like animals. She was totally startled by this magic display appearing suddenly in front of her eyes. Overwhelmed by her emotions she kissed Nean on the cheek. Filled with joy, he took some charcoal dust from the fire pit and used it to fill the inside of an allow pipe like stick. Soon after, Nean took Sapia's left hand and pressed gently against the cave wall and then he placed his own left hand next to hers. Their index fingers, now, were slightly touching. At this point, he brought the pipe to his mouth and blew fiercely through it. A thick cloud of black dust sprayed their touching hands. He, then, carefully first raised his left hand and, soon after, lifted hers. The silhouettes of their hands were now on the cave wall.

They stayed there, undeletable inside that cave, for tens of thousands of years. Nean and Sapia had left a mark of  their love to be admired by mankind until the end of time, admired by the same civilization that they barely had started.


Marcello VENEZIANO

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