Jon Turk began to realize that he had a book in his hands when a village chief of Samburu handed him a club and asked him if he knew how to neutralize a charging lion.
He has published a book on the experience and more in Tracking Lions, Myth, and Wilderness in Samburu. It was published by Rocky Mountain Books on September 26. Her first traditional book launch event took place on October 28 at the Fernie Seniors Center. He lives in Montana, but has spent about 28 winters in Fernie.
Turk, who has a long experience as an adventurer, was part of the Samburu people of Kenya in August 2017 after agreeing to participate in a scientific expedition to the region.
He didn’t realize when he agreed to join the trip that it would end up relating so well to a question he had been pondering for some time: how to solve problems like “global warming, l ‘population explosion and water scarcity’ via what he calls a ‘revolution of consciousness’. Such a revolution occurred around 70,000 years ago among our Homo sapiens ancestors and helped them overcome near extinction, he said.
The common understanding, Turk said, is that it was the use of tools that gave humans the vanguard for survival. He disputes this point of view.
âThe story, taken from modern archeology, is that what happened first was art. It was symbolism. It was thinking about things that didn’t exist. It was cooperation, it was dance, it was music.
This awareness and cultural revolution, he said, is what gave our Stone Age ancestors the will to survive.
Turk’s book tackles this larger question, weaving it into the narrative that unfolded during his month in Kenya.
âI actually went through 70,000 years of evolution in a month,â Turk said.
The start of this accelerated evolutionary journey began when the village chief handed him the club to use in defense against a lion.
âAnd now I walk in the heat of the savannah during the day, the tracks are very cool, there is a lion there. I have a wooden club. And first, I get angry, âhe said. There were guns and machetes around. The club looked like a joke.
But he soon realized that anger wouldn’t help him get through the day.
“I have to reach another state of consciousness to survive.”
He and his companions came across a cow that had been eaten by the lion. They followed the leads. Then they found an even fresher death: a warthog. Turk had to move from a mentality of anger and fear to a mentality of “full vigilance” and “full presence”.
They never found the lion and Turk was never able to use the club. But he came across the first narrative element that would make his idea for a book a reality.
After that day, things calmed down. He spent time living and experiencing the cultural life of the Samburu people.
But he didn’t stay calm for long. There was an election in Nairobi. Things started to get dangerous again.
“Suddenly guns start popping up, and the friendly old night guard is replaced by a warrior with an AK47 and cross-cartridge belts and all that.”
He was suddenly faced with a more modern problem: storytelling being used to fuel the war between the groups.
He began to think about the fact that he might end up dying for no good reason. He wondered what potential attackers would have against him. And then he realized that they had stories in their heads about him. He was a symbol.
Turk’s book was then completed. The same storytelling tendency that he said was used in the Stone Age to unite people and empower them was now being used to create evil, he said.
It was too dangerous to leave the village by the regular road. The way back was from a nearby airstrip. He paid $ 300 to get on the plane for trouble.
Turk’s time in Kenya gave him the narrative and broad view of human history that solidified his book.
âOnce you see and step back from the great flow of human history, you can see our strengths and weaknesses,â he said.
The agricultural, industrial and computer revolutions have taken us far in many ways, Turk said, but also caused us serious problems. We are back to where we were 70,000 years ago in terms of needing to find a solution to survive, he said.
“And I call this new solution the revolution of consciousness, where we have to go back to the fundamental ideas of love, community, cooperation and oneness, and get rid of those 21st century stories that twist our minds. . “
Tracking Lions, Myth, and Wilderness in Samburu is Turk’s latest book. It has two ratings on Amazon, both five stars.