02020-09-15 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

“Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fish hooks or clay pots or grinding stones. But no, Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken then healed. Mead explained, that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. A broken femur that has healed is proof that someone has taken time to stay with the person who has fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. ‘Helping someone through difficulty is where civilization starts’ said Mead. We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.”

from the Upaya newsletter


  1. Melissa Madere

    This is such an important entry, dear Ottmar. Thank you.

  2. Will

    Very well said….

  3. JaneParhamKatz

    To think of prehistoric compassion and healing care – wow! It seems obvious that intelligence levels among these people are equal or better than ours. Imagine what they had to cope with daily. They had to invent everything from absolutely nothing! We know they had art; I wonder what their music was like – you know they must have had music.

  4. JaneParhamKatz

    Yesterday, the girl who handed me my pizza at Domino’s drive thru window had seen my name on my online order. She said, “I knew a Parham in high school in Dallas – Steve Parham!” I laughed. She said how much she had enjoyed high school. I said, “Good memories!” She then started to weep and thanked me for reminding her what life was like before the pandemic. I started weeping, too. It was a pretty special moment and showed me how much people need each other.


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