As we twitter with the whole world and fly to the far reaches of the globe on a whim, and as we enjoy clean water and unlimited electricity by flicking a button or turning a knob, we are empowered and feel invincible. Many of the values of those who not so long ago built their own homes, raised large families, grew their own food and made their own clothes, seem to be absent from our lives.
If we better understood the human monkey and knew how the world of credit that empowered us was created, we would not only tend to reconnect with those values, but also realize how lucky we are to be living in the best of all possible worlds. More importantly, we would find serenity in that knowledge, and be more inclined to do things that fulfill us instead of those that eat away at our insides.
This blog is meant to shed light on the evolution of humans and explain how the wonderful world of credit was planned and created. The hope is that young people will read it and choose to live productive happy lives instead of overdosing on shit.
Around 65 million years ago, after the dinosaurs died off, we primates were the size of meerkats, and perhaps just as cute. In Africa, some 7 million years ago, the hominine-ape split occurred, bipedalism followed, and we started using tools. At the beginning of the Quaternary, around 2.5 million years ago, the ice age we’re presently in began, and as water levels dropped, we spread far and wide.
Glacials (maximum ice) and interglacials (minimum ice) occur in fairly regular cycles of around 20 thousand years. The timing is governed in large degree by predictable cyclic changes in Earth’s orbit, which affect the amount of sunlight reaching different parts of Earth’s surface. The three orbital variations are: changes in Earth’s orbit around the Sun (eccentricity), shifts in the tilt of Earth’s axis (obliquity), and the wobbling motion of Earth’s axis (precession).
Our evolution was subjected to these glacial and interglacial swings that some refer to as the Sahara Pump. When the Sahara was dry like it is today we migrated either south to the Sahel region, north to the Atlas Mountains, or east to the Nile and African Rift valleys, and when it was wet, some of us migrated back. Around 3 million years ago, our cortex started to grow exponentially, and it seems to have occurred while we were in the African Rift Valley. In order to escape the big predators, we spent a lot of time in the water. In time we shed our body hair, and because we had access to an overabundance of aquatic food, our brain size went from that of a chimpanzee to what it is today. We then developed language, created complex tools, controlled fire, built shelters, buried our dead, wore clothing, and built rafts to cross large bodies of water.
70 thousand years ago, the warming leg of the interglacial we’re now in was interrupted by the Toba volcanic eruption that caused a one-thousand-year winter during which most of life on earth died out. In the following 30 thousand years, as the warming trend resumed, the hominids who had prospered in Asia slowly migrated westward to Europe. The Neanderthals, who had migrated to Europe prior to the Toba eruption had been severely affected by it and were not doing very well. Their population had dwindled down to a few breeding couples. As the hominids from Asia arrived in Europe, they mingled with the Neanderthals that were left standing, but the new arrivals prospered in a spectacular way while the Neanderthals disappeared. 10 thousand years ago, as the warming cycle that we’re presently in gained full momentum, we started developing agriculture and leading sedentary lives.