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5,200 Years Ago

5,200 Years Ago

Hello and good day!


The Chinchipe river dominates discussion out in campo where we buy cacao. Small talk revolves around river conditions.

Is the river full?

Is it moving fast?

Has it been raining heavily up river?

This type of talk has died down a bit over the last few years because a bridge was built over the river several years back. Still, old habits die hard and the river remains an important topic.

Folks started settling in and farming the land east of the Chinchipe river just 60 years ago. For more than 50 years, all commerce was conducted across this bridgeless river via small boats and floating barges.

Prior to the settlement of the valley by Peruvians, roaming native tribes occupied the land, likely for thousands and thousands of years.Thousands and thousands of years is a long time.

I had a conversation with my mom yesterday and she pointed something out to me. The time from 1918 to 1970 is the same as the amount of time from 1970 to 2022.

Very interesting.

Things seem to have changed a lot more during the period from 1918 to 1970 than from 1970 to 2022. I'm not a historian, so you shouldn't take my word on that.

My gut feel is that technological shifts during the first time period were much more extreme than during the second period.

I gave my mom some food for thought too. If a normal lifespan these days in the USA is 80 years, two lifespans takes you back to 1862, the start of the civil war.

When you think about it that way, 1862 really wasn't that long ago in the grand scheme of things. The history of the United States is all quite recent.

But thousands of years is a good long stretch, no way around it.  Here is why I am throwing that thousands of years number out there.

The oldest artifact ever found showing evidence of human consumption of cacao dates back 5,200 years, and was found on the banks of the Chinchipe river.

My brother knows and has a good relationship with the archeologist who made the discovery and did the dating. His findings have been accepted without debate by the scientific community.

The Chinchipe runs north to south and crosses the border between Ecuador and Peru. The discovery was made in Ecuador, just on the other side of the Peru/Ecuador border, about an hour and a half car ride from where we buy cacao.

The artifact is a simple bowl with cacao residue stuck to the sides. This shows that the Chinchipe civilizations of 5,200 years ago knew how to make ceramic bowls and that they used the bowls to prepare cacao.

When Peruvian settlers started building their homesteads in the 1960's, there were still native tribes living up and down the river. That is a LONG history of continued human life on this river.

My mom gave me another piece of information to chew on. She hipped me to the Webb telescope which is taking pictures of the universe as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. (I might be wrong about the dates here, but the point I am making still works, I hope.)

What you see in the images are proof of billions and billions of galaxies, all made of up of billions and billions and billions of stars. Our sun is huge compared to Earth, but it is infinitesimally tiny, almost not worth mentioning, compared to the size of the universe.

One of the very peculiar things about human consciousness is that we all feel like we are the center of the universe because physiologically, we can only perceive the world from our own perspective.

If some event causes the hormones in our brain to be altered, such that we feel fear, or envy, or elation, it feels as if all existence has been altered. This is because we can only truly perceive our own life.

However, if you intellectualize the whole situation, you can only conclude that whatever happens to us is dang near meaningless in the grand scheme of things. That sounds bleak, I know.

But give it a little more thought, and you'll find one of the most empowering ideas possible.

You might as well go ahead and discard all things that hurt or that stress you out or that make you feel bad as totally meaningless and not even worth considering, because in the long run, that is totally accurate.


Good things are fleeting too, but they make you feel good, and therefor should be embraced. All things being equal, if all human experience is fleeting, you may as well opt for those things that give you most pleasure.

Studies show that relationships, good health, and purpose are what give humans the greatest amounts of enduring pleasure.

Why not pursue good relationships, good health, and purpose and then mark down everything outside of those spheres as meaningless specks in the grand continuum of time and space, hardly worthy of consideration?

Anyhow, thank you for letting me bend your ear for a moment today.

I am running out steam now, so I am going to sign off.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!


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