chapter  1
24 Pages


The idea of changing into an animal gripped the imagination of early man the world over-Agamemnon, Plato says, wanted to become an eagle, Ajax a lion, Orpheus a swan-and it works its metaphoric magic even today. Stone Age hunters felt the spell of animal sympathy and the altered state of mind that comes with it: in Aurignacian cavewall paintings of 60,000 years ago, men wear animal masks not only to stalk prey but to identify with their ancestors in dances. A cave-dweller in southern Germany 34,000 years ago carved a lion-headed human figure in ivory. E.O.Wilson said: “We are not just afraid of predators, we are transfixed by them, prone to weave stories and fables and chatter endlessly about them, because fascination creates preparedness, and preparedness, survival. In a deeply tribal sense, we love our monsters.”1 With such animal sympathy he who “was” a predator was a keener warrior.