Saturday, December 22, 2007

polynesian

so anyway, i was thinking about the Polynesians, and how they never reached the Americas. (doubtless it's not very interesting but i was thinking about it because i got a book from the library -- first time i've been there in nearly a year, because of fines etc -- about Indonesian, and i tell you what, what you can learn from the most unlikely sources: did you know that the Malay urheimat is in Sumatra? no? me either. and although i knew that the Austronesian language family originated in Taiwan -- and Taiwan's aborigines still speak Austronesian languages -- i had always thought they had spread down through southeast Asia and out through Indonesia into the Pacific. wrong. they actually jumped from Taiwan to the Philippines, which are a lot closer to Taiwan than i had thought, and then down into Indonesia, from there west to Malaysia and up into southeast and east into the Pacific.)

and it occurred to me that when they sailed, they must have taken supplies for when they landed, but also supplies for the journey. but those supplies must have been half for going out, half for coming back. because they had no idea what was out there. how often must they have sailed out from wherever, missed land and come back? was it an occasion of shame or something they often did? i wonder how long they sailed for? how much food can you carry in a canoe? i guess you could fish some: did they count on that? i have no idea how many fish there are in the open ocean.


or did they know? did they watch birds and guess? might they have followed flocks of birds out into the ocean? birds must find land, right? did pioneers set out, find land, then come back and tell people what they had found?

whatever they did, i do not believe they were wayfarers who were blown off course. obv. they sailed on purpose, one way or another. they weren't idiots. dreamers maybe. not idiots.

i'll have more to say about this at a later date, but for now, that's it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous $Zero said...

might they have followed flocks of birds out into the ocean?

why would they put their faith in birds?

like, how would birds know when to turn back? their brains are smaller than most pebbles.

December 25, 2007 at 12:42 AM  
Anonymous $Zero said...

and why were the rest of them following that first bird in front of the flock?

maybe they were just chasing after it in anger.

December 25, 2007 at 12:46 AM  

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