The Eternal Dialogue

The debate had lasted long into the night. Now, as the fire burned low, Grunt sadly realized that he and his outnumbered followers on the right side of the cave had lost.

"Have it your way," he snarled at his squatting tribesmen. "But mark my words, you're setting a dangerous precedent by not eating the captives, as we've always done."

"You just can't accept progress," Whine sneered from the left side. "Eating a man fills your belly once, but forcing him to work for you can feed you for years. Slavery is the wave of the future!"

His followers, psyched-out on mushrooms, cheered wildly.

"And after slavery--what?" Grunt demanded. "Suppose someday they start thinking they are as good as we are? What will you do then-- insist that we free them and treat them as equals?"

Whine laughed. "What a stupid question! They'll be so grateful to us for sparing their lives that they'll be our devoted servants forever after."

Fresh cheering broke out, making Grunt angrier but frustrated in helpless defeat. He took his club and left the cave. Maybe he was old-fashioned, he thought wearily. But he was going to miss those roast-people feasts.

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(A/n. Some anthropologists have speculated that in the beginning our primitive ancestors viewed other groups of their kind as no better than animals--just potential food. War may have been invented as an intertribal means of harvesting fresh meat. Finally someone hit upon the more humanitarian idea of enslaving captives. That led to feudalism, serfdom, capitalism and other socio-economic systems. While it may seem grotesque to think of slavery as a step up on the scale of civilization, it helps to give us perspective on mankind's long bumpy road to wherever we may be going. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my bit of whimsy.)