# History: Social science perspective
Deep Time, curiosity stream
The Cognitive Revolution
An animal of No significance
13.5 billion years ago Big Bang(matter, energy, time and space)
Story of these fundamental features is called physics
about 300thousand years later, matter and energy formed atoms which then combined to molecules: chemistry
3.8 billion years ago on earth, organisms for formed: biology
70thousand years ago, homo sapiens started to form structures called cultures: history is the subsequent development of these human cultures
Africa and India smashed into eurasia 100 million years ago.
These mountain ranges were important for farming as the moist air passing through them cools, condenses and falls as snow/rain.
Mesopotamia came into existance. Farming is believed to be started here around 10000 years ago. It was at the junction of africa, india and europe.
more civilisations come into existance: Egypt, Indus Valley, Yellow River China
Species: animals who mate with each other
Species coming from a common ancestor are bundled together under genus
genus species:: homo sapiens:: man wise
We are members of the great apes. Just 6 million years ago a single ape had 2 daughters. One became the ancestor of all chimpanzees and the other is our own grandmother.
Humans are all members of the genus homo.
Humans first evolved in East Africa 2.5 million years ago. 2 million years ago some of them left the homeland to settle in North Africa, europe and asia. Owing to the adaptations in the different geographic and climate conditions, human populations eveolved in different directions.
Snowy forest of northern Europe and Western Asia: Neandrathals- bulkier and more muscular than sapiens were better adapted to the ice age western eurasia.
Eastern regions of asia were populated by Homo Erectus who survived for 2 million years. Most durable species till date
In Indonesia, lived homo soloensis: man from the solo valley who was suited to the life in the tropics
Humans living in Flores underwent a process of dwarfing. Humans reached flores when sea level was low but were later trapped on the island with little resources and underwent the dwarfing. Homo Floresiensis
In 2010, Homo Denisovan
While these were evolving in europe and asia, evolution did not stop in east africa. Homo Rudolfensis, Homo agate, Homo Sapiens. From 2 million years ago to about 10thousand years ago, the world was home to several human species simultaneously.
Why are giant brains so rare in the animal kingdom? The fact is, a jumbo brain is a jumbo drain, its even harder to fuel.
In Homo sapiens, the brain accounts for 2–3% of total body weight but consumes 25% of the body’s energy when the body is at rest.
Humans diverted energy from biceps to neurons. This pays off nicely today because we can produce cars and guns while an ape and rip a man apart.
Significant milestone was the domestication of fire. Best thing that fire did was cook, foods like wheat rice and potatoes which couldnt be digested otherwise. Fire not only changed the chemistry but also its biology, it killed
This led to less chewing time, smaller teeth and smaller intestines. Which in turn made it easier to having larger brains. Having both larger intestines and larger brains are energy consumers, its hard to have both.
150 thousand years ago, even though they had domesticated fire, there were only a million humans. Homo sapiens at that time had features just like us brain and teeth.
1. Interbreeders theory. As the African immigrants spread areounf the world, they bred with other human population. Sapiens bred with neandrathals until the two populations merged. if this is true, eurasians today are a mixed bred. Similarly when sapiens reached east asia, they interbred with the local homo erectus. Chinese and Koreans.
2. According to replacement (incompatibility, revoltion, genocide) theory, sapiens and other humans had different anatomies and mating habits. If that is the case, the lineages of all humans can be traced back to east africa 70thousand years ago.
The populations did not merge, but a few lucky neandrathal genes did hitch a ride on the sapiens express. Competition for resources may have flared up into violence.
Too familiar to ignore but too different to tolerate.
The tree of knowledge
Sapiens populated east africa 150 thousand years ago, they began to overrun the planet and drive other species to extinction only about 70thousand years ago. 70 thousand years ago they drove other species out of the planet. About 45 thousand years ago, they somehow crossed the sea and landed in Australia. The period from 70 to 30 thousand years ago witnessed the invention of boats, needles, bows and arrows. First forms of art, religion, commerce, social stratification date from this era. This constitutes the cognitive revolution.
A parrot can say anything einstein could. Whatver advantage einstein had over a parrot, it wasn't vocal. What is so special about our language then?
Our language is amazingly supple. We can connect a limited number of sounds and signs to produce an infinite number of sentences each with a distinct meaning.
This enabled them to gossip for hours about other humans. Reliable information about who could be trusted meant that small bands could expand into larger bands and sapiens could develop tighter and more sophisticated cooperations.
Even today the vast majority of human communication mails, calls, newspaper columns is gossip. It comes so naturally that it seems language evolved for this very purpose. Gossip usually focuses on wrongdoings.
Only homo sapiens can speak about things that dont really exit. Why is fiction important even though it can be dangerously distracting and misleading? Fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things but to do so collectively. The biblical creation story, dreamtime myths of aborigional australians and the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give sapiens the power to coordinate flexibly in large numbers.
The legend of Peugeot
Large number of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths. Any large scale cooperation, a modern state, a mediveal church, ancient city or an archaeic tribe is rooted in common myths that only exist in peoples collective imagination.
There are no gods, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings
Modern business people and lawyers are powerful sorcerers. The principal difference between them and tribal shamans is that modern lawyers tell far stranger tales.
How exactly did Armand Peugeot, the man, create Peugeot, the company? In much the same way that priests and sorcerers have created gods and demons throughout history. In the case of Peugeot SA the crucial story was the French legal code, as written by the French parliament. According to the French legislators, if a certified lawyer followed all the proper liturgy and rituals, wrote all the required spells and oaths on a wonderfully decorated piece of paper, and affixed his ornate signature to the bottom of the document, then hocus pocus — a new company was incorporated.
Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, Sapiens has thus been living in a dual reality. On the one hand, the objective reality of rivers, trees and lions; and on the other hand, the imagined reality of gods, nations and corporations. As time went by, the imagined reality became ever more powerful, so that today the very survival of rivers, trees and lions depends on the grace of imagined entities such as nations and corporations.
Myths can change rapidly. From believing in the myth of divine right of kings to believing the myth of the sovergnity of the people. Homo sapiens have been able to revise the behaviour according to changing needs. this opened the fast lanes of cultural evolution bypassing the traffic jams of genetic evolution.