• Thank you to Carol and Steve Bowman, the forum owners, for our new upgrade!

Sink or Swim

Shiftkitty

Registered User
A radio talk show host used the phrase "sink or swim" today, and my mind decided to drop in a scene of youngsters, boys and girls, being taken to a cliff and thrown or pushed into the ocean. It was a survivable height, but still a terrifying fall. I think the cliff was on an island somewhere because the kids (they were probably pre-teen) had to swim ashore, which was some ways off. Only the strongest would survive the ordeal, thus ensuring that only the strongest would have a chance of passing on their bloodlines. I had a sensation that I had gone through such a thing and survived, though some of my friends didn't.

Does anybody know if such a thing happened, or is it more likely my imagination writing its own story? (Or was this in a movie somewhere and I'm just recalling the scene?)
 

argonne1918

Senior Registered
Oh, I'm sure it was true. Maybe you can do some research on it. Maybe anthropology books or websites.
 

argonne1918

Senior Registered
It sounds like it was not the US. Maybe some island in the Pacific or Asia? Maybe the food supply was not that good and they had to thin the population. Too bad they didn't have any form of birth control.
 

Shiftkitty

Registered User
I don't know. I didn't really get a sense of time. It was a primitive society, I got that much. Hunter/warriors type. What struck me about the scene was how egalitarian this rite of passage was. The girls didn't get a pass; they were expected to be strong as well.


I'll have to poke around and see if this was done anywhere. It could be that my mind was just crafting its own little story.
 

Cryscat

Senior Member
Shiftkitty said:
I don't know. I didn't really get a sense of time. It was a primitive society, I got that much. Hunter/warriors type. What struck me about the scene was how egalitarian this rite of passage was. The girls didn't get a pass; they were expected to be strong as well.
I'll have to poke around and see if this was done anywhere. It could be that my mind was just crafting its own little story.
Its also possible that it was such an ancient practice that no record of it survives today. It sounds like it was brutal and other practices probably replaced it.
 

Shiftkitty

Registered User
I hope so. The more I meditate on it, the more real it seems. I can see one boy kicking and screaming in terror. We're all scared, but he's really not taking it well. It takes two men to heave him over. I get picked up and tossed over by one man and I'm too scared to scream. I just hold my breath. The water hurts as I hit, and a little air escapes my lungs, but I'm able to surface. The boy I was describing didn't fare so well. Screaming all the way down, he had no air in his lungs when he hit the water and now, fully submerged, he's thrashing. He's wasting all his energy and what little air might have lingered. If I try to help him, he'll likely drown us both. I surface and get my bearings and begin my swim for shore. The men will soon be along in a boat. No, they won't help any who tire out, and if anyone tries to climb into a boat they will be beaten with paddles.


The boats are long and kind of flat. As I was meditating, I thought I'd focus on the boats if I could. They're not canoes, I think. These are kind of squarish, not very tapered at the ends (more round) but they're flat-bottomed like a canoe. They're carved out of a single piece of wood.


I'm not sure, but I think I see some abalone mother-of-pearl in the decorations the men wear. I think it's abalone. Don't quote me on that.
 

Sister Grey

Senior Registered
It sounds rather odd since getting rid of the weak is usually left to Mother Nature, who generally did the culling all too well in primitive times and didn't need any help. There are initiation rites but they weren't generally intended to kill you, just make you tougher. Maybe it was a one-time thing and not something that left any mark on history?


On the other hand it kinda sounds like the rednecks I grew up with, so, I donno. ;)
 

argonne1918

Senior Registered
Like I said before, there may not have been enough food for everyone. If it were that far back there may be no written or oral history of it.
 

Shiftkitty

Registered User
That's why I decided to meditate on the boats. The closest I could come up with is called a "punt". Punts are primarily used in shallow water where they can be propelled by poles, though they were sometimes paddled.
 

BethC

Senior Registered
shiftkitty,


I'm pretty sure I've seen something like this or read about it...but it seems more modern in my memory...and more like military training or something. I'm sure it would have started in ancient times. I can't really place it. I did a quick search, but didn't find anything yet. Very interesting though.
 

BethC

Senior Registered
hmm...I reread that it was girls, as well...so Spartan is probably out.


The part that sparked that...oh yeah, I remember...reaction was the part about hitting them down with the paddles...but not sure from where I remember
 

Shiftkitty

Registered User
I'm kind of at a dead-end myself on this one. Maybe someday the Fates will be kind enough to let me see more.
 

Sister Grey

Senior Registered
Determining fitness for genetic survival from a single specialized talent would have been a really bad idea. Of course, something being a bad idea doesn't mean humans won't try it. If they did this for any length of time the tribe probably did subsequently die off.

The part that sparked that...oh yeah, I remember...reaction was the part about hitting them down with the paddles...but not sure from where I remember
I remember (dimly) a couple of movies with similar scenes, I think one was subtitled but whether it was a foreign language film or if just some scenes were, I have no idea. One I think was about refuges or survivors from something trying to clamber into boats and being beaten off; lord knows what the others were, horror movies, maybe?
 

argonne1918

Senior Registered
Sister Grey said:
One I think was about refuges or survivors from something trying to clamber into boats and being beaten off; lord knows what the others were, horror movies, maybe?
Even the survivors in the Titanic lifeboats had to beat off people in the water who were trying to get in.
 

Shiftkitty

Registered User
Sister Grey said:
Determining fitness for genetic survival from a single specialized talent would have been a really bad idea.
Unless that talent was critical to the survival of the tribe, I'd suppose. Not that I got that feeling, it was more of a "We're tough, see? And this is how we prove it!" Part of me wants to say this practice didn't last too long before a new chief changed things. I meditated on the scene last night as I was going to bed and had the sensation that the man who became the new chief had lost his best friend in this ritual and his first act as soon as he got some authority was to abolish it.


The more I think about it, the more I see South America somewhere. Peru? Possibly a pre-Inca tribe? Maybe some obscure group that was swallowed up by a larger tribe?
 
Top