Teddy Talks

The Cost of Humanity – I

It is very seldom that we think of the cost of humanity. We know of all the achievements of humanity but rarely we are taught what other around us had to suffer so that we could flourish. The cost of humanity is paid by nature and by everyone and everything in it. The ancient humans had to pay the cost of humanity so that modern humans could exist. This is a series where we delve deep into history to look at what we have achieved and at what cost.

Some 6 million years ago humans and chimpanzees shared a common grandmother and then began the evolution of mankind. For centuries we have thought of ourselves as the most amazing creation of nature but in reality, we are just another species. We think of ourselves in very high regard. We even think that we are at the top of the food chain. I mean look at our audacity to name ourselves as the wise ones. The word Homo Sapiens literally means The Wise Man. But in reality, throughout history, we can find evidence that we were and still are not the wise ones. Just because we are two-legged doesn’t mean that we are better than other organisms on earth.

From Four Legs to Two

As humans we have really come a long way, we have achieved so much but we have lost so much as well. All our lives we are being reminded of what we have achieved but little is known to us about the cost of these achievements about the cost of humanity.

The Cost of Agriculture

Humans have never been hunters, we’ve always been foragers. We would roam from place to place digging and foraging whatever we could eat and survive. We don’t have claws or large teeth to hunt or to take down our prey. Early humans would dig out roots to eat or eat whatever was leftover from the hunters of nature.

Tree of Evolution. cost of humanity
Evolution is not Linear

Eventually, we will discover how to sharpen wood and then stone to make weapons to hunt. We would work in groups and try taking down our prey. The discovery of fire is still considered as our greatest discovery because it had the power to destroy everything in its wake. We would burn down huge areas with the fire so that it became easy for us to travel and move because we were Foragers and it made things easy for us as well. The fire killed other animals while we burnt jungles to settle and cultivate the land.

Domestication of Wheat

About 13000 years ago we started dedicating out time towards sowing seeds and growing crops. The transition to agriculture began around 9500-8500 BC in the Hill Country of south-eastern Turkey, western Iran and the Levant. We domesticate wild grass and slowly after years of cultivation, it became what is now known as wheat. The domestication of wheat changed us from foragers and nomads into farmers and settlers. For the first time in history, we decided to settle down at a place and grow our food instead of salvaging it.

wild to domestic wheat
Domestication of Wild Wheat

The word domestic comes from the word Domus meaning house. So when we say that we domesticated wheat we mean that we gave it shelter but it’s actually the other way round. It was the wheat that gave us home. It was us who decided to make homes and settle. So, we can safely say that wheat domesticated us. Over the course of years, we would farm wheat and then many many other vegetables as well. It was a step in evolution. Around the same time, all over the globe people started agriculture.

The Problem with Domestication of Wheat

In the beginning, it would have been a really good run for humans with food growing in the fields and a few years down the line we would domesticate animals too. We would milk cows and goats and make dogs our pets and use them as guards. As people settled the population started growing. With more mouths to feed people needed more food so more people worked the fields for a larger amount of time to grow more food. The average farmer had to work harder than a forager and in return got a poorer diet. The forager ate a varied and healthy diet scavenging and got all the essential nutrients while the farmer was limited to what he could grow. The Agricultural Revolution was history’s biggest fraud.

Once we settled that place became a breeding ground for diseases. As long as we were moving we were not susceptible to diseases as much but once we settled diseases increased. The skeletons of the era show signs of arthritis, slip discs, hernia and a plethora of other ailments. The mortality rate went down. People didn’t know which of their offspring will survive infancy and which ones of them would perish so to counter that they started making more children. Years down the line the mortality rate went up as more of the kids were being born and surviving because our bodies are continuously evolving and we must have developed some resistance.

These permanent settlements will lead up to the beginning of kingdoms. Throughout history, we can see that we are great at the destruction. We have killed other species of humans and animals so much so that more than half of them went extinct. The only proof of their existence is the fossils. With the beginning of the new empires, will come new wars and destruction. We shall discuss more on that in the next blog.

Closing Point

Thinking from the point of view of science, we are not special for nature but just another one of many species that live in it. If one of the species grows exponentially then it will create an imbalance. Yet, we humans have grown so hugely and now we are creating an imbalance. 3,00,000 years ago we discovered how to make fire and how to make weapons and with that, we began the destruction of nature.

Inspired by the works of Yuval Noah Harari.

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