GORDON P. McNEIL: A FOOTBALL MANIFESTO
The time has come for football fans to stand up and defend the species Homo Passiens: Man the Footballer. Evolutionary academics may cower in their libraries and continue to claim that Homo sapiens is the original species in the of evolution of the genus homo, but this position is no longer defendable. I call on all football fans around the world to take up the cause of the species Homo Passiens.
As Irvine Welsh has said, Homo sapiens is a recently arrived imposter in the evolution of the genus Homo – a mountebank, a charlatan, a confidence trickster, a fraud, a fraudster, a rogue, a villain, a scoundrel, a quack! All that academic stuff about consciousness, language, civilisation, farming, technology, science, philosophy, music, literature, poetry, art - and so on - emanating exclusively from (and created by) Homo sapiens is evolutionary hogwash!
It all came, not from Homo sapiens – as this recently arrived pathological lying subspecies claims endlessly and repeatedly in schools, in text books, in literature, in countless evolutionary and cultural journals, and in all institutions of higher learning – but from the original and founder species Homo passiens – Man the Footballer!
Running on two legs - bipedalism - as a locomotive strategy is frankly nuts! No sentient species would voluntarily choose to adopt such a ludicrous hodgepodge of anatomical features, with a ground speed of less than half that of a lazy geriatric predator, with no effective body armour or protection, with no offensive claws worthy of the name, with lettuce-crunching teeth that would be rejected by even the most docile herbivore, and with such a narrow pelvis and hinged legs below – which ensures that bipedal locomotion is a form of translocation so shaky, so wobbly and unstable, that an anatomical engineer would consider that this form of locomotion had been perversely designed to stagger, to stumble, to collapse, to topple over or fall down in any chase to catch a prey, or escape from a predator, and in any evolutionary design school it would be rejected as the work of an indolent student of evolution who had spent their whole study time in the cafes, betting shops, bars and dancing clubs of their university town.
Bipedalism is so stupid and unstable that humans have actually invented games to take advantage of it - and to effect falls - such as in rugby league, rugby union, and National League football. If we had four, or even three legs, these games could not exist. Infants fall down. Toddlers fall down. Children fall down. Juveniles fall down. Adults fall down. And elderly adults frequently die from falls. No sensible architect would design a building with only two supports.
Four legs are better than three. Three legs are better than two. So why have we – the Homo species – most bizarrely selected for locomotion on two legs only? The reason?
No other explanation, no other reason for our absurd, derisory, farcical anatomical mix of foetal features interwoven with - bundled with - such a patchwork of semi-adult characteristics that result in a half-foetal/ half-adult complex – a clown-man – Homo passiens – but a clown so beautifully engineered and so exquisitely formed to express Bipedal Football: flat brow, domed head, opposable goalkeeping thumbs, knock-knees, a flat and levered foot with outstep and instep, and finally – and fantastically – non-opposable big toes and a big greedy brain of such absurd and poetic linguistic and sensorimotor beauty, that billions of fans will follow their dream-team, enter the lucid REM dream-game, sing their dream-songs, call their dream-chants, and neuro-power their gamma-wave electrophysiology, fire their mirror forward and reverse neuro- modulations, seeking both dopamine-reward facilitation and opiate emotional homeostasis, at every available opportunity.
Now I get it about the evolutionary nonsense I was taught in biology classes, a romantic fiction about the clever intelligent species Homo sapiens that appeared suddenly from nowhere around 200,000 years ago, and supposedly gave rise to our big brain, and to consciousness, language, farming, civilisation, technology, science, literature, art and poetry.
Rubbish! Homo passiens – we, the neotenous, upright, bipedal species, with narrow pelvis, opposable thumb, knock-knees, flat cushioned and levered foot, non-opposable big toes, are the nominate superspecies that gave birth to the big intelligent and embodied bipedal brain – an evolutionary anatomical joke, but an evolutionarily poetic joke, an anatomical-clown, and a weird evolutionary farce that made us what we are and what we do, every Saturday of every week, when the dream-game is played (and which we miss every alternate Saturday). We opposable-thumbed, we two-legged, we two-footed, we non-opposable big-toed species – we are the true source of human consciousness, intelligence and cognition.
We may be on the lower rungs of evolutionary science, but we are rapidly ascending, and with our eyes firmly on the prize of the Premier Division, and recognition as the true founder and future species of the genus Homo, we – Homo passiens – are happy to include sapiens as our fellow partner in all future evolutionary developments – with one absolute rider!
That is, that they recognise Homo passiens as the original and nominate founder species, and bipedal neoteny as the driving force of Homo evolution. We are happy to share our knowledge of neoteny, of the lucid REM-wake dream-game, of dream-song and dream-chant physiology, of dopamine/ hopamine, opiate/hopiate hormone metabolism, and of the consciousness of the football, expressed as pre(pro)consciousness.
If they fail to do this, Homo sapiens will rapidly degenerate and disappear from the evolutionary record, just as suddenly as that subordinate species appeared, and as surely as the thousands of species and subspecies that have come and gone in the many extinction events of the past.
The Football Principles: Neoteny and Ludeny.
Two very important principles in this respect are “neoteny” and “ludeny”.
The theory of neoteny was around for more than a century before being developed by the American biologist and author Steven Jay Gould. The theory is that we humans keep our infant genes and anatomy throughout our lives – we do not metamorphose into an adult form like other primates, such as chimpanzees. This shows strongly in our facial features and our flat baby faces. If our jaws extended forwards and our brows angled backwards – like they “should do” – we would not be able to head a football! Neoteny also explains other oddities, such as our lifelong curiosity, inventiveness and nosiness.
Simply put, we never fully grow up.
The other important theory is ludeny. This was articulated by the Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga. You can read all about it in his original book Homo Ludens. It is based on the idea that all human culture - technology, science, language, literature, art, music and poetry – stems from adult “game playing”. The Latin word ludens is derived from ludus which refers to sport, play, school, and practice. It isn’t difficult to connect the two theories. Humans (as far as we know) are the only species in which the adults still play games – which neatly brings us back to the subject of bipedal football, known to be the largest and most universal form of game playing we know of. If football were a country, it would be the largest in the world with around 2.5 billion citizens (fans and players), and its annual turnover would exceed that of the world’s largest economy – the United States of America.
There are 1000 football pitches per million population -seven million pitches world-wide. At any given moment of the 24-hour kickadian cycle, 1 million football pitches are in use – 22 million footballers are playing the game – if the average attendance (from a few friends and family to 100,000 at a professional game and millions on television) is 1000, then 1 billion spectators are viewing the beautiful at any moment of time around the globe.
Once you accept that Homo passiens is the original species of the genus Homo, you will never be the same again. You will know that Homo sapiens is a derivative, an offshoot, and as your primal unconscious mind already knows, bipedal football expresses the deepest essence of what it is to be human. You will know that your children and grandchildren will grow up in a football environment, and will become Homo passiens, or the sibling species Femo passions, to become football players and/or football fans. You will learn that Homo and Femo passiens predate Homo sapiens by about two and a half million years, and you will discover all about football anatomy, physiology and psychology, and the genes, glands and hormones that characterise this wonderful bipedal football species.
Every football fan in every community around the world should be aware of the nonsense proposed by Professor Yuvel Noah Harari in his twenty-first century book SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind, in which Harari makes the outrageous claim that humans express no genes for football! This is a massive own goal and the greatest faux pass in the history of science. This is what Harari said:
“Evolution did not endow humans with the ability to play football. True, it produced legs for kicking, elbows for fouling and mouths for cursing, but all that this enables us to do is perhaps practise penalty kicks by ourselves. To get into a game with strangers we find in the schoolyard on any given afternoon, we not only have to work in concert with ten teammates we may never have met before, we also need to know that the other players on the opposing team are playing by the same rules….. ….But human teenagers have no genes for football. They can nevertheless play the game with complete strangers because they have all learned an identical set of ideas about football. These ideas are entirely imaginary, but if everyone shares them, we can all play the game.” (my emphasis GP McN).
My letter to Yuval Noah Harari:
Dear Professor Harari
Never in the history of evolutionary science, either before or after Charles Darwin, has an eminent and respected academic of evolutionary history been so erroneous in his or her analysis of the underpinning, founding seed and driving forces of the evolution of the genus Homo. With respect, Professor Harari, a penalty kick requires a goalkeeper and a goal; the species Homo exists as a socially and environmentally constrained species, or it is simply not human.
A penalty kick – far from being a solitary and introverted illustration of human conduct – is actually one of the highest expressions of bipedal neotenous culture and behaviour of the genus Homo. If an elbow is not an anatomical and physiological instrument of high- value fouling, what may it be? A Steven Jay Gould spandrel or exaptation? An evolutionary by-product? Or an adaptation for which there is no clear fitness or survival advantage?
No. The elbow of the Homo species is not some kind orphan anatomical offshoot without significant function, rather it is an exquisitely engineered evolutionary skeletal instrument for violently inhibiting opponents during open bipedal neotenous football play.
A recent and seminal paper, published in the Journal of Passienic Sciences found, through a series of elegant studies conducted at the Sep Blatter Faculty of Forensic and Passienic Anatomy at the University at Visp, in the canton of Valais, that a set of related elbow and hip genes and gene sequences correlate with both elbow and hip hit-plasias (ELB-HIT alpha 1, and HIP-HIT beta 2), and these are expressed in the teenagers of Homo sapiens, Homo passiens and Femo passiens, most potently of all in Homo passiens professional football players, with the highest expression occurring in defenders who have secured the most yellow and red cards during highly charged contests (particularly during Derby matches between local rivals).
So indeed, Professor Harari, since you raise the issue, evolution did produce elbows for sophisticated gain-of-function fouling, and now we have beautiful genetic information that confirms that. With the greatest respect, and also acknowledging your excellent work in a number of fields, it must be stated that your attempt to intervene in the field of bipedal neotenous football is indicative of a degenerative and profoundly unfruitful adherence to a “sapiens” mindset that is long out of date, and which denies bipedal neotenous football as the generative seed and driving force of human evolution.
With a view to finally establishing whether indeed Homo passiens is the original founding species of the genus Homo from 2.5 million years ago, and H. sapiens is a recent and derivative species from 200,000 years ago, I challenge you to a debate in the town of Stenhousemuir in the Forth Valley, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
A suitable time would be during the Forth Valley Festival of Passienic Culture and Arts, held annually in that town, which attracts many thousands of football fans, academics and student visitors from around the world. As a World Archaeology Heritage Status Area, Stenhousemuir is the spiritual home of prehistoric football archaeology and artefacts, and is therefore a highly appropriate venue to hold an international forum and invite public discussion on whether bipedal neotenous football is the true seed and driving force of human evolution, so that this question may be finally settled, for all time.
Professor Gordon P. McNeill
Department of Archaeology and Paleoanthropology
St Andrews University,
This feature is an excerpt from Homo Passiens: Man The Footballer by Mike McInnes with illustrations by Matt Kenyon. The book is available from Amazon HERE