Stripped of any political content, today's conflicts in Northern Ireland are now what many wrongly assumed them to be during the Troubles: base, atavistic , sectarian clashes.
If there was one striking thing about this performance, it is that it reminded the audience that live theatre is probably our most ancient art, which is why something deep and atavistic thrills when the curtain goes up.
What I find most difficult, as a fairly new father, is balancing the desire - atavistic , primitive, not altogether politically correct - to protect my son from the dangers of the world.
His fate evokes the atavistic fear of Nature's fury that has been with us since the dawn of history.
Religion is pictured as old-fashioned, atavistic and dogmatic, defending superstition by burning scientific martyrs at the stake.
If anything, those two secular nationalist movements seem to be taking more radical and atavistic forms that reflect their ethnic and religious sources.
What if the attraction is an atavistic throwback to the prehistoric human fascination with telling tales?
It was these anomalies that first drew my father's attention to the close relationship between the criminal and the savage and made him suspect that criminal tendencies are of atavistic origin.
In this context, extreme sports may reflect an atavistic desire to artificially inject risk into lives that seemed devoid of the excitement that only risk can provide.
So why must all men look like atavistic throwbacks?