Time Mirror
Pedro Rivera O.


Paris, January 5th, 2997

Yamulcaya Rivera
Jardines de las Alturas de Pacora
Panama


Dear Yamulcaya:

As I previously interdigitalized you, after Vienna I arrived to Paris. Before making the inevitable visit to the Louvre Stellar Museum, I took a stroll through the Champs Elisées. Once there --you know how I am regarding photogrammar–I amused myself watching, among many other trivialities, an open air exhibit of supradigitalized virtual images of French colonists who work at the Mars mining station. It is a pretty place but I do not envy them. Actually, even if the weather permitted it I would not go beyond the Moon.

Paris continues to be a place that must be visited. The street antique stalls overflow the sidewalks. Who could imagine that long ago, many years ago in that international children playground stood a pretentious tower built by an engineer named Efel, whose name — I don’t know how to spell it–was related to the design of the locks of an old maritime channel which used to divide the American continent and crossed our Country? There are very few remains of those works regarded as monuments in their time: copies, photographs, genophotos, and photovideos.

I have always said that, except for the genes, nothing lasts forever.

In Paris a young girl belonging to the sexiclónica europensi series was my "guide", and she turned out to be marvelous. The bioengineer who handled her genome, a man named Bernard descendant from the Twentieth Century guy who realized the first heart implant in a human being, introduced a modification in her genital muscles, giving her a prehensile strength similar to that of the hands. A little bit weird, but nothing out of this world. The americanensi version is much more reliable.

But that is not what I want to talk to you about, but about an strange finding I made in the photoantiques sale. Can you imagine it? Suddenly I bumped into a book cover reading: Panama, a world of many faces! I bought it of course, I paid almost nothing for it, it was a real bargain, and I am dumbfounded: it is a photograms book about the people who lived in that Central American isthmus at the end of the Twentieth Century.

I have spent several nights without being able to sleep with my eyes set on those specters from the past. Blank, mocking, melancholic, cynical, naive, insomniac, bright looks. Lips of all kinds and thickness, dull and pointed ears, depressed and bulky cheeks, flat and aquiline noses (similar to the ones those of the Hittites who lived the iron deposits of the Black Sea around 1400 years BC). Nothing uncommon, is true, but they are our ancestors and, from a certain point of view I have the feeling that when I look at them I feel as if they were looking at me. It is the same feeling I get when I look at the mirror when I get up of bed. I see many faces which are my own face, a tight synthesis of what I am, the million of geneticosomatic combinations that are my heritage. It is a unique and multiple face, an addition and subtraction of the ethnic diversity. In other words, it is eternity.

Upon thoroughly scrutinizing and comparing those petrified images with the human beings who live in our time, it would be absurd to think that the so called Homo sapiens does not have a common origin, that definitely he does not come directly from the arboreal, insectivorous, biped, mammal, big headed primate, "the most searched for" alias missing link, and that from that point on, urged by unclear but intuitive reasons such as food, safety, curiosity, he travelled in groups to several regions of the planet in order to form that which in another myriad years was to be known as races.

I insist on it —and it is a well known fact– that races and ethnic groups are defined as biogenetic processes of adaptation to the environment under conditions of prolonged isolation. Height, skin color, eye angulation, hair flexibility and body structure are all aspects that developed in close relation with nature.

Inhabitants of the warm and arctic zones would undoubtedly adapt themselves better to the environment if they had thick, greasy, colorless and hairy epidermis. The skin of the inhabitants of zones exposed to extreme sunrays would necessarily develop pigmentation and little hair. It is also important to consider the diet, the life style and the technological resources related to survival. In an adaptation process to each habitat —in regions with temperatures as high as 50 centigrade degrees or as low as 50 centigrade degrees below zero, with the sun falling directly over their heads or living in regions of eternal shadows, subject to several barometric pressures, in plains at sea level or in mountains of rarefied air, adapted to a carnivorous, insectivorous or vegetarian protein diet, as provided for by the natural larder, the human gender suffered changes in its uniqueness.

Nevertheless, the original somatic features —Negroid, Berber or Mongoloid– are not immutable. Rather they are exchangeable and they develop according to the environmental conditions, the type of proteins consumed, and the quality and amount of chromosomatic shuffling around.

In second place, the segments of groups which repeat the migratory experience of their ancestors in order to live in isolated settlements during long periods — sometimes hundred thousand years– did not have any other alternative but to exchange the same genetic material in the bioreproductive activity. The consequence of this was that some common, exclusive, diverse characteristics were fixed, and eventually these created on one hand, new human morphologies and on the other, infinite ethnical variables. A process that continues to be identical to the one faced by the descendants of the common human stock when they were separated from the continental masses!

According to conventional schemes of course, in Africa the ethnic groups derived from the Negroid race were Bantuids, Bushmanids, Hottentotids, Negrilloids, Nilotids, Paleonegroids, Sudanessids. In America, they were Amazonianids, Andeanids, Appalachianids, Colombians, Fuegianids, Isthmianids, Lakerianids, Pampeanids, Plaineanids, Sonoranids, and Subarticaneanids. In Asia: Ainuids, Armenianids, Indomelanids, Indomelanesianids, Mongolianids, Negritoids, Palesiberianids, Pareids, Sindianids, Tungusids, Turanianids, and Vedicanids. In Oceania: Australianids, Paleomelanesianids, Papuanids, and Polynesianids. In Europe: Alpinids, Dinarids, Ladogids, Laplanderids, Mediterraneanids, Nordids, and Norids.

Neither should we have any doubts as to the fact that the occasional contact —even it is one in a thousand–contributed to modify the genetic structures of ethnic groups apparently isolated from the rest of the world. It has been confirmed that, for example, the old Ethiops kept very well defined features from their remote and occasional contacts with members of the Berber or Caucasian branches.

It is not likely that prolonged periods of isolation, which originated the first races and later on their continentals variables, had an absolute character. According to specific circumstances, men from diverse branches and ethnic groups, had encounters and disagreements since very remote times, and many of them were not registered by history. Those contacts took place over the frontiers or by means of triangulation and neighborhood radiation. Genetic exchanges may have even taken place, if not a common branch. Is not there a somatic resemblance between the Eskimos and the naturals of the Canadian northeastern part of that Country? And also with the Plaineanids (Sioux) who lived in the basin of the Mississippi? Are not there common features among the African Ethiopids and the Atlantic-Mediterraneans of Europe? And what could we say of the Fuegianids of Chile compared with the Asian Mongolians? And what about the Ainuids from Asia in comparison with the Australianids of Australia and the Paleonegroids of Africa?

There is no doubt whatsoever that in hundreds of thousand years and as a product of freezing of the seas, navigations never heard of, unknown geographical configurations and migrations caused by the rhythm of the seasons, human settlements were created —some of them ephemeral– but another ones worthy of being taken into account as those which emerged in Mesopotamia, Egypt or Greece if they are seen in perspective, applying with a certain reserve a relativistic criteria of classical anthropology or considering them, on one hand, as a product of an uninterrupted process of biogenetic accumulation and as a socio-cultural one on the other. For example, in Africa there were stories about valuable cultural centers before the Nordic groups that arrived in Europe had learned to cover their intimate parts with cotton clothes. Many of those settlements disappeared without leaving the slightest trace. There were consequences from others, which origins nobody can give testimony. But of one thing we are certain, that the genetic descent was always protected.

You will be able to understand what I am talking about, once you have the book in your hands. Those psychosomatic records, printed in two dimensions without any relief or chromatism in close to 700 pages made of wood pulp, will most probably seem strange and remote to you, and yet so close to you that they will make your heart shrink. It will be easy for you to realize that behind those faces is the global history of humanity, the real and true one: another destiny much higher to the one suggested by the simple registration of social conflicts and wars, which are the reasons of the individuality of all sociopolitical structures, as well as the scientific-technical-artistic accumulation. Somehow they will be as the faces of anticipation: a metal-language which attempts to reveal, more than the past, the future of humanity. As I understand them, their objective is to provide us with information about the human condition: process and evolution, to be and not to be at the same time. All of which creates unity in diversity. And it was possible to register all that in photographs taken one thousand years ago in the city in which, because it was a place of constant passage, your ancestors engendered you.

Yours,

PRO


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