A Broader Perspective on Human History

way history

published 2023-10-15 15:37

updated 2023-10-15 16:26

I think the way we talk and learn about history leaves a lot to be desired. It's probably why lots of men can't stop thinking about Rome. It's perhaps the most glamorized part of history.

So let's go all the way back. Life similar to homo sapiens began between 2 million and 200 thousand years ago. We're certain We arrived around 200 - 300 thousand years ago. When we go that far back, the humans we're talking about are only anatomically similar to us. About 100 thousand years ago, we became behaviourally similar. We learnt how to control fire, make paintings, wear clothes. We woke up "one day", and Culture was born. We used tools, understood exchange, and created myths. At this point in time we're not the only humans around. Neanderthals and other Homo species were also around at this time, and likely also developed such capacities. Indigenous cultures in Australia have stories going back at least 40 thousand years! It's the oldest transmissions of information, at least as far as I know. 40 thousand years is a very long time in human history. But it accounts for only a quarter of our existence, or about half if you only count those of us who learnt to Dream.

It was only a few 10s of thousands of years before the origins of those stories that humans even ventured out of Africa. About 60 thousand is when we moved out of our spawn point. After we learnt about learning, we could handle a variety of ecosystems, eventually the entire globe. But something truly strange happened around this time. All the other humans went extinct. They came in contact with Us, and then ceased to exist. Very suspicious. What we actually happened is still subject to debate, but it is important to note the timelines do seem to align.

More recently, around 10 - 15 thousand years ago, agriculture was developed. Cradles of "Civilization" started across the planet, History was forged. We gave up being nomadic, settled down and learnt how to write. We discovered Math, and started practising science. We learnt how to architect buildings. I think it important to be able to conceptualize "Us" to at least this time scale. All of us share common ancestors going back a brief 60 thousand years. Most of us share a common ancestry with the origins of Agriculture about 12 thousand years ago. We should acknowledge all that history.