As children growing up in Kamuning, which was dotted by stone quarries in earlier times, we were used to calling this type of rough stone “adobe.” That’s because this was how our parents and all the adults around us called it.
But the stone we are familiar with is not really adobe. Adobe is the Spanish term for “mudbrick” (from Arabic ‘attob’). The real adobe, particularly the sun-baked or unfired type, was the quick-and-dirty earthen material used for Mediterranean construction since time immemorial.
There are these two big, clear-glass jars that I’ve long refused to throw away, but allowed to just lie around the house because we couldn’t decide what to use them for.
These jars are at least 50 years old, probably manufactured ca. 1950s, perhaps even earlier. I remember my Lola Itang used one such jar for her magickal liniments of garlic and ginger soaked in coconut oil and kerosene, which she used as remedy for miscellaneous muscle, joint, and tummy aches. I remember the other jar was formerly the fuel base container for a gas-lit lamp. The rusty tin caps have long been discarded.
THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. Before Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), or some 800,000 years ago probably, our human ancestors Homo erectus discovered how to wrest fire from burning bushes, and how to control and use this terrifying force of nature. Eventually, they learned how to artificially create fire. We now simply call it “fire”, but to be exact, it should be called Artificial Fire, or A.F.
Thus with A.F. did H. erectus people broaden their food sources, expand those parts of the brain that created culture and language, spread to all parts of the world, and thrive in all ecosystems. A.F. paved the way for the next waves of Homo to dominate the living world, and build civilizations that would transform what it meant to exist as humanity.