Part 2 Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs

June 5, 2007



Springtime For Edgar Rice Burroughs

Part II


R.E. Prindle

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Civilization And Its Discontents.

     The period of Burroughs’ life was one of those great pivotal times of civilization.  Civilization was in the midst of one of its great metamorphoses, scientific, political and intellectual.  Changes which had been building up the last few centuries could no longer be absorbed by the existing religious structure.  That structure was no longer viable.  Its bursting mode was not only for the new Scientific Consciousness  but the increasing scientific examination of the past opened the way for the revival of forgotten forms such as the Matriarchy.  Thus along with the inevitable Patriarchal religious  reaction the Matriarchy  as well as suppressed occult religions forced their way through.

The reaction from contacts between civilizations sent various alien religions and ideologies into the Western leaven.

Confused with these intellectual challenges the agricultural basis of civilization evolved into a technological one.  In the mid-teens for the first time in the United States there were more urban residents than there were rural residents.

New demands were placed on consciousness as more precision was required of the human mind.  Man had had little difficulty adapting his methods to cycles of the seasons but the adaptation tothe rigors of the assembly line caused him problems.

That there was a backlash from this tremendous succession of changes should take no one by surprise.  Adjustments were difficult and critical.  In 1930 the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, published what may be his most famous title:  Civilization And Its Discontents in response to this challenge.  His notion of who the discontents were and of what they were discontented about is vague, indeed undecipherable.

In my estimation he doesn’t deal with the malaise at all.

On the other hand Edgar Rice Burroughs not only dealt with the malaise but offered a reasonable, if difficult to apply, solution to the problem.

page 1.

The malaise found many expressions.  On the political front the socialists, Communists and anarchists were the most prominent reactionaries.  Their activities reached a fever pitch in the first two decades of the Twentieth Century resulting in the two phases of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and ’17.  The institutionalized discontents had their homeland after the latter date.

While Freud’s discussion of Discontents sounds generalized by the way he writes he is actually talkiking about himself and the members of his own Jewish culture and their problems with Western Civilization.

Thus Freud’s notion of Discontents falls somewhere between a general malaise and the discontent of the Communists.

The Religious Conciousness of course faced a problem that could only be resolved by surrender or reaction.  There was no middle way.  The evolution into Scientific Consciousness completely invalidated the religious approach.  All religions are based on a false premise and Science exposed that falsity.

The transition to the Scientific Consciousness must be difficult and demanding as so few attain it.  In my opinion this is because of the ongoing evolution of the brain.  The Scientific Consciousness can apparently only be grasped by the further evolved.  This doesn’t mean that those of a Religious Consciousness can’t work with scientific knowledge which requires only basic intelligence and a scientific environment provided by others but they are unable to envision advances.

Thus they find themselves left behind intellectually.  It is the same as the difference between high and low IQ.  Nothing can be done about that.  However the Religious reaction is to attack those of the Scientific Consciousness to lower them to their own level.

page 2.

The problem was especially acute with Freud and his culture as Science per se invalidated all Semitic religious pretensions.  This means all Semites and not just Jews.  Neverthless as Jews were embedded in Western Civilization at that time and other Semites weren’t the Jewish culture was ‘discontented’ and was forced to negate science and the Scientific Consciousness.

Led by the Semitic surge of both Judiaism and Moslemism the very serious attempt to bury the Scientific Consciousness through genocide might just succeed.

As I point out in Part VII of The Deconstruction Of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ America the Jewish campaign to ‘abolish the White ‘race’ should be taken very seriously.  Just because it sounds preposterous doesn’t mean it’s a joke.  A segment of Whites is the bearer of the evolved gene or genes or combination of genes so that if this advance species were destroyed the wild religious reaction would succeed.  Sounds just like some science fiction movie doesn’t it?  Well, it isn’t.

The Scientific Consciousness created its own malaise in the newly evolving species.  As literary and artistic types are always the monitors who pick up these trends first, if they don’t necessarily understand them, we shouldn’t be surprised to find a number of literateurs immersing themselves in the problem.  One of the big texts is H.G. Wells important but neglected novel:  The Food Of The Gods.  In this novel Wells postulates that the emerging scientific Consciousness is a new species of human being.  As with the real religious reaction Wells’ predecessor people wish to kill the new species.  In earlier times when the world was less populated new or different species of human beings could move away from the old species.  Now, the question is what makes Homo Sapiens Homo Sapiens and makes it different from the Last Hominid Predecessor?  It is assumed by our scientific community that the Negro is the first Homo Sapiens species having evolved in Africa.  This means that the Negro evolved from some sub-human Homo Sapiens predecessor.  It’s easy, it has to be.  So far no one has been able to produce an example of the Last Hominid Predecessor.

Now, the Negro was not the only, how shall we say, hominid species in Africa.  The Negro apparently orginated in West Africa.  The rest of Africa was inhabited by other species such as the Bushmen and Hottentots.  These peoples are not Negroes and originated in Africa so the question is are they predecessors of the Negroes who we are told are the first Homo Sapiens or are they Homo Sapiens who precede or follow the Negro in evolution.  Or, are they a separate non-Homo Sapiens species or are they  perhaps the Last Hominid Predecessor.  They are not Negroes so a place has to be found for them.

In any event the Negro and Arab combined to produce a new race or sub-species known as the Bantu peoples.  The Bantus then invaded the territories of the Bushmen and Hottentots who ranged all of Africa South of the bulge, so we are told, driving the Bushmen before them.  As I understand it the Hottentots are now extinct while Bantu pressure on the Bushmen is driving them toward extinction.

At the same time a newer hybrid of Black and Semite is driving the Bantu before it from its base in the Northeast corner of Africa known as the Horn.

So, Wells novelistic problem was that there was no longer a place on Earth for his new species to isolate itself.  He was presented with the choice of his new species either displacing or killing off the anterior species or being eliminated itself much as the Hottentots and Bushman have been eliminated by the Bantu and as the Bantu and Negroes are being displaced and elminated by the new Black and Semitic Hybrid.

page 4.

So this was the problem c. 1900.  This solution was repulsive to the existing Religious Consciousness that was psychologically unequipped to deal with this impasse.

As can be seen the Semitic special consciousness does not fear the problem  In Africa in Darfur and the South of the Sudan they are actively pursuing genocide.  In Euroamerica the Jewish Semitic culture is pursuing or advocating the same resolution of their problem with the White Euroamerican population.  Following Semitic actions in Africa it should be clear to American Blacks what is in store for them.

So, Wells dealt with the problem in its political aspect.  The internal aspect, the split in consciousness between the old and new was ably handled by a number of writers.

For a good introduction to the contrast between the Scientific Consciousness compare Holmes and Watson in Conan Doyle’s stories.  In this essay I will concentrate on three others as well as Freud- H. Rider Haggard, Joseph Conrad and Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Not coincidentally, I think, all three writers place their most important work in Africa.  Haggard as the earlier writer rising to fame in Burroughs’ youth  quite naturally had a great influence on the younger man, although I think Burroughs would have written of Tarzan and Africa with or without Haggard’s influence.  The appeal of Africa is the contrast between the civilized White and the primitive Black.  The two aspects of White consciousness.  I hope to tackle this problem in more detail in my next essay, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sigmund Freud And The Holy Grail.

There was nothing clearer to the English explorers, as well one might note as to the Southern planters of the US, than that there was a gulf between the intellect of the African and that of the White man.

Haggard expressed this difference in his novel Allan Quatermain. I’ve used the quote before but I will include it again here to keep the problem clear before us:


All this civilization what does it come to?  Full forty years and more I spent among the savages, and studied them and their ways, and now for several years I have lived here in England, and in my own stupid manner have done my best to learn the ways of the children of light, and what do I find?  A great gulf fixed?  No, only a very little one, that a plain man’s thought may spring across.  I say that as the savage is, so is the white man, only the latter is more inventive and possesses a faculty of combination; save and except also the savage as I have known him, is to a large extent free from the greed of moey, which eats like a cancer in the heart of the white man.  It is a depressing conclusion, but in all essentials the savage and the child of civilization are identical.

          The great Liberal H.G. Wells was also clear on this difference.  The nature of the gulf was the Scientific intellect of the White and the non-Scientific intellect of the Black.  The question is how large did these nineteenth century men perceived the gap to be.  Haggard in his Allan Quaterman, quoted above perceived the gap to be small while if one is to judge by the distance between Tarzan and the Africans Burroughs perceived it be not only large but insurmountable.  Haggard thought the gap easily bridged while judging from Tarzan Burroughs thought it unbridgeable.

page 5.

It should be noted that Haggard was of the Old Religious Consciousness while Burroughs was of the advanced Scientific Consciousness.  Of the two men Haggard writes from the experience of having viewed Africa or at least South Africa first hand.  Everyone talks of Africa as though it were a county in Kansas whereas it is a huge continent of many diverse cultures.  But, perhaps as the cultures seem to share the same level of consciousness perhaps that is the justification for speaking of Africa and Africans as a single unit.

Haggard lived in South Africa for several years as a young man while he was an astute historian and anthropologist.  As a mythologist he was of the most gifted.  His understanding is astonishing.  He was quite familiar with all the Black peoples from the Zulus, Swazis and Basutos tothe Hottentots, Bushemen and Griquas.  His judgements of the various intellects seems quite reliable.  His writing is of most interest for the current rage of Zulu interest.  His actual story telling ability is beyond compare.

Now, this is difficult to speak of because of the ideological stance of the Liberals and their Religious Consciousness that take the procrustean stance of trying to fit facts and reality into ideology whether they can be conveniently forced or not.  They are currently anti-White and pro-African even going so far as to call for the genocide of the White species as I pointed out in the Deconstruction Of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ America.  This is more than evidenced in their support of the genocide being executed in South Africa by the Shona chief robert Mugabe and the Bantu peoples of the Union of South Africa.

page 6.

There’s not much evidence that Haggard was interested or even aware of the theories of evolution which, if I may be so daring, it seems clear that Burroughs either was at the beginning of his career or became so as he aged aware of all the various strands of evolutionary theory.  Thus Haggard comes across as more humane while Burroughs is more accurate.

A third opinion on the nature of the situation was provided by Joseph Conrad in his novelette: The Heart Of Darkness.  One can’t be sure how much contact Conrad had with the situation he describes, but the influence of the primitive African mentality had the effect of dragging down the White intellect.  As the advance in intellect was not so pronounced as Haggard noted the attraction of the primitive was so strong that many Whites retrogressed.  Conrad’s hero Kurtz was an ivory buyer in the heart of the Congo.  Through fraternization with the African he indeed loses his ‘thin veneer of civilization’ going native.  On his death bed in viewing his period in the interior he exclaims ‘The horror, the horror’ and then ‘Exterminate the brutes.’

In point of fact if, as we are told, Homo Sapiens originated in Africa and the Negro is the departure point from the Last Hominid Predecessor which may be the Bushman or Hottentot then if this departure occurred  c. 150,000 years ago, at the time the African came into contact with Whites he had made no move toward becoming civilized.  Nor was he inclined to when given the example.

When H.M. Stanley interviewed the Uganda chief Mtese, that chief was incapable of visualizing anything other than trading.  As he said he noticed that goods traded by the Arabs, who were first in the area, all came from Europe so he assumed that Europeans were more clever than the Arabs however he had no inclination to acquire the knowledge or skills.  Nor have Africans attempted it to this day.

page 7.

As unpleasant as it may be to deal with facts or accept the science of the matter it is nevertheless necessary to consider that in the course of evolution the African brain has evolved to a certain level and stopped much as all the Hominid Predecessors did.  Although Bruce Lahn of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has been silenced his researches made it clear that the human brain was still evolving but not in all human species, only one.

It should be clear to even the most prejudiced observor that Robert Mugabe the Shona leader of Zimbabwe is in way over his head while as savage in his methods as any character Joseph Conrad could create.  Nor is the reason  unclear to certain Africans.

Writing in the Kampala Monitor of February 7, 2007 in an article entitled  Uganda:  Why Black People Have Remained Backward by Elias Biryabarema the author examines the problem:

     Uganda has been fairly stable long enough.  The conditions for an economic takeoff have been there for 20 years.  Mr. Musevini has enjoyed generous goodwill from nearly all the world’s rich governments.  Their largesse has poured in ceaselessly and in hefty amounts.

Uganda should have taken off.  We haven’t.  We’re stuck.  And so is Tanzania, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Eretria, Malawi, Congo Republic and pretty much all of Black Africa, excluding the regions sole economic power, South Africa.  This led me to pose a question to myself:  Can Black people build prosperous societies?

Just about every reason- from slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism to inequitable world trade rules- cited for the backwardness of Black African nations has been so debunked that it has now become necessary to look beyond the realm of such contemporary explanations.’

Mr. Biryabarema concludes that Africans ‘only rise and touch a low ceiling.’  A disheartening realization but a cruel fact of nature because of the progression of evolution.

page 8.

So Africa came to represent an attractive past to Whites while the psychical split caused by the evolving brain caused them discomfort too.  The brain had not evolved far enough to make a clean break with the animal past.  What was Man, all species to do?  Haggard relapsed into nostalgia.  A longing to go back while nevertheless retaining his cranial development.  His hero, Allan Quatermain while retaining his intellectual superiority to the Africans attempts to establish his kinship with his ‘Black brothers.’  Thus he takes a ‘Liberal’ attitude toward African/White relations that while seemingly humane has resulted in the atrocities against Whites being perpetrated by the likes of Mugabe and the South African leaders.

One shudders at Conrad’s Kurtz’s exclamation to ‘exterminate the brutes’ and yet the choice has turned out to be exterminate or be exterminated,  while Africans have inexplicably opted for the latter.  What can one say?

Burroughs on the other hand working from a philosophical point of view came up with a different solution.  Nor is it entirely impracticable on the intellectual level.  Both he and Freud begin from the same base.  Both are reacting to the inhibitions and repressions placed on Man by civilization.

Burroughs seems willing to accept the ‘thin veneer of civilization’ in certain places and under certain conditions but he demands the right to be able to move freely from the primitive to the civilized state.  Thus when Tarzan takes off his clothes he also removes the ‘thin veneer of civilization.’

page 9.

The basic problem for Haggard, Conrad, Freud and Burroughs is that they wish to retain the advantages of the intellectual aspects of civilization; none of them wish to opt for the ‘low ceiling’ of the primitive.   They all wish to retain their advantages while indulging their primitive ‘natures.’  In some way each has to remain superior to the primitive state.

One can contrast this attitude with Mugabe of Zimbabwe and the ANC of South Africa who seem to be edging in the direction of removing all vestiges of the civilized state.  They seem to be opting for a nostalgic return to the their savage past.  They must have some understanding of the results of their destructive acts against civilization but choose to ignor them.

Conrad says simply- exterminate the brutes.  Haggard adopts an avuncular attitude toward perpetual children.  Burroughs assumes the role of…well…a god.  Freud wishes to assume the role of plantation owner.  The problem is insoluble except by the Shona method of  ‘exterminating the arrogant bastards.’

For Burroughs as well as for Freud sex seems to be the key.  Burroughs position is difficult to fathom.  In all his cultures, societies and civilizations, and he creates a great many, nudity or near nudity is the ideal although as he is writing for popular consumption his characters  remain sexually unexited and incredibly chaste under the most provocative conditions.  Freud of course had everybody going at it like bunnies.

In Cave Girl Burroughs’ hero, Waldo Emerson Smith-Jones is the example of the over intellectualized man of extreme and enervating culture.  Quite the opposite of Burrughs who obviously feels he has reached an ideal balance between the intellectual and the physical.

Waldo is meager then and consumptive when he lands on the island.  He is obligatorily cowardly.  He will find his Anima ideal in Nadara who is the antithesis of the civilized Jane being both nude and perhaps the most obviously sexually unihibited of any of ERB’s female characters.  Burroughs contrasts her natural uninhibited sexuality with the inhibited sexuality of Waldo.  There is a nice comparison with Freud possible here.  Also with the Burroughs corpus there is room for an analysis of Nadara, La, and Balza.

During the course of his stay on the island , the natural primitive life will flesh Waldo out, build him up, give him conficence and make him courageous as well as curing his TB.  Of course he never loses his intellectual attainments while using them to better his opponents and improve his situation.  Thus neither Haggard, Conrad, Freud or Burroughs  is able to resolve the conflicts of the discontents caused by civilization.  As attractive as the primitive is it must remain an intellectual ideal.

Go to Part 3.

In The Beginning.




During the course

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