Atavism is the idea or concept of a throwback. A recurrence of a trait that (genetically, say) had not shown up in a few generations.
I tripped over the term earlier this year.
I’d stopped into a yarn shop to see what blends they sold of angora yarn, and to buy a pattern. My girls were with me (we’d just come from a baby shower), and between us we started talking with a woman who was probably in her 50s.
It came out that we raise rabbits, that I spin their wool and knit and love old stories– the old tales where spinning and knitting could be critical elements.
“Ah,” said she, “so you’re atavistic.”
I’d never heard the word, and asked what it meant.
“It means you love the old ways,” she said. “Traditional things.”
I really enjoyed being given a useful new word (I had her spell it for me). It is used more frequently in an evolutionary context, but her explanation is still solid. (The word is related to the word for ancestor.)
Anyway, all that to say, that I’ve been looking for a focus on Untangling Tales, and this might be what I end up with.
I do not automatically agree with Older-Is-Better (expect a post on that, eventually), but I am also against reinventing the wheel. Such a waste of time.
With such a full life, I often think about time and how we have to make the most of it. One of the ways I look at frequently is How did other people manage?
“There is nothing new under the sun,” and that concept gives me hope: I don’t need to know everything, or even figure out everything. If our generation has fewer physical resources because of the “depletion of the earth,” we can at least benefit from the many generations that have come before us.
Stories, songs, skills, delights: What a gift that we are not limited to ourselves– the past or the present.