The Human Herd
Its evolution man'
A thought provoking document
Would you not say that all of us on occasion wonder about our creation? It's a pretty intriguing question to a mind blowing subject and I'm wondering, have human animals evolved through the evolutionary process we have firmly placed on fellow creatures which share our world, or is there another reason why we are what we are? I'm sure one day in the not so distant future, some brilliant young anthropologist, palaeontologist or curious scientist will come up with an acceptable answer. Until then all we can do is make an educated, or perhaps not so educated guess! Whatever, this is just one of many seemingly unfathomable questions that often excites curiosity and tantalizes imaginations. The amazing fact that we can actually contemplate our creation (or demise) is most fascinating and probably the initial key to our separation from other primates.
Humans it appears, have been either equipped, or have developed over time, a remarkable ability to reason' (I prefer the latter explanation!) which either way, is most probably the single factor that has set us apart from all other life forms on earth. Every day we contemplate the future, delve back into the past, dream and scheme. Make countless life changing decisions, many totally against nature's original concept for us; creating a full set of new, often detrimental problems, not required by any of Earth's other inhabitants. A double edged sword you my think, but because of this amazing reasoning ability, there is little doubt that we humans are evolving at a phenomenal rate, while living almost entirely outside of Natures original concept! The negative effect of this process is terrifying and fast becoming catastrophic.
This account is based on a simple explanation, which is my personal theory for the absolute birth of mankind. I believe that in a mere moment in time and a nature induced fluke, we were catapulted from a gentle leaf and berry eating primate, living totally within the bounds of nature, into the amazing, often destructive creature that we are today. This theory is my own, although probably similar to various subject research projects. Also as I have no religious inclination and few intellectual claims, it is therefore not clouded by fear, intellect, control or spiritualism, but based simply on two of our greatest attributes, logic and common sense!
A brief, but important moment in the Earths history
The following account is my simple theory, which hopefully you will find interesting.
Around eight million years ago, the earth was warm, humid, covered with vast forests, swamps and lush vegetation. Amongst millions of other evolving life forms, it was also perfect conditions for an amazing variety of ape like primates to develop pretty much unhindered high in the forest canopy. They all lived quite happily in this lush tree top environment for thousands of generations. Suddenly, over a relatively short period in Earths history, there was a rapid, somewhat dramatic world climate change, effectively destroying most of the immense forests worldwide, replacing them with almost endless savannah grasslands. Unfortunately (perhaps fortunate for us) most other primate groups were specialised creatures and they swiftly died out as their forest home retreated and as a consequence, the loss of food sauce. (Swiftly in geological terms, is thousands of years as opposed to hundred of thousands of years!) Sometimes it is difficult get our heads around vast time periods, which are often just a blink in evolutionary terms
Well as far as I'm concerned, that was the moment, a one off opportunity for the early human species to make its first absolute mark upon this planet! Small groups of simple primate's defied nature and made that first dramatic step, or should I say amazing leap from high forest canopy home to lowland savannah dwellers. Perhaps the most significant stage in Earths history and quite possibly that moment was the Absolute birth of mankind! This relatively small group of extraordinary primates, against all probability, were able to avoid extinction, somehow adapting to a totally different environment and way of life.
To survive initially in this new, but hostile territory, they had to make quick but vital decisions, often totally against nature's original evolutionary process of the species, changing from passive vegetarians living a simple forest lifestyle into carnivorous savannah dwellers, barely surviving in a harsh new environment. They were only successful because of these new basic reasoning techniques, an ability to make decisions and powerful instinct to survive as a species. Even so, I'm sure it was touch and go in the early stages, but being able to override nature is, in my view the vital key and why we are here today. This newly acquired ability to reason enabled them to survive a dramatic lifestyle change, requiring quick adaptation to survival techniques nature could not immediately provide.
Of course it was then and still is today, not that simple. Initially the change from primate to Hominoid was excruciatingly slow. We had to overcome daily life threatening problems in our new dangerous world, for many thousands of years, during which time; we gradually developed our almost unique reasoning ability as the species evolved. I would also suggest that today's relatively advanced Homo sapiens are still firmly locked in this process and the obvious complications are there for us all to see.
What do you think? Certainly not really beyond the realms of probability, you have to admit! Even if you do not agree with anything I have written, the above theory does seem a reasonable explanation for our existence. Of course if you have a strong religious belief, whatever your faith, you may dismiss my theory outright. You cannot possibly allow anything to knock your unwavering belief (Blind faith is in my view, the modified Human Herd gene!). Religion is a relatively new concept and amongst other things, the perfect answer to combat the fear of our impending demise and if you are not too bored, I have a theory about that as well.
Will we spiritually survive the monuments we have built to pacify our Gods?
For our species (humans) to evolve and continue to survive we have deep inbreed instincts. The most powerful of these is of course, the survival instinct. All other creatures on this planet have similar instincts, but unlike us, most other creatures generally do not concern themselves with an inevitable death! Here nature is in complete control of their birth, life and final demise. The human animal however, is pretty confused and often frightened, as we actually know that one day we will physically die! On one hand we can reason (there's that word again) and it's pretty scary knowing that almost from day one we are all on course, rushing towards oblivion! On the other hand our extraordinary powerful survival instinct will not let us die, as a species, or as an individual! Nature of course, is not at all concerned with individuals, just the species as a whole. While as individuals, we are concerned and understandably quite anxious about our approaching, inevitable cessation. Our fear of death and inability to actually accept such a concept; has left us with a dichotomy which is almost impossible to comprehend. Deep down we all know that like a fragile flower we bloom, wither and die, but our reasoning ability, fear of death and powerful natural survival instinct will not let us!
Over time humans have become nothing if not ingenious and soon came up with the answer to this problem. Why not simply live on forever! Far beyond our gradually or swiftly failing bodies which are possibly just vessels we use during our worldly existence. At the end of our earthly life, the convenient answer to our dilemma is to cash in the membership of various religions, that many of us have subscribed to throughout our human existence and float off to various paradises (depending on your faith) that apparently exist somewhere beyond the clouds. Or perhaps remain on earth and be re-born into a new human life. This is the reincarnation option of survival after death, favoured by some optimists.
Even the less savoury of us, have a chance to beat physical death, as hell is far preferable to absolutely nothing! Joking aside though, it appears most of us are conveniently booked to go somewhere after our earthly life is over. We cannot just die, or accept death. It is totally against the natural human survival instinct.
Sorry to all you optimists out there. Once more in my view, the bad news is that we all die! Only a memory remains after our earthly demise and even that swiftly fades. You will not accept this I know, but for me, believing in anything else defies common sense and logic.
Having said that, I have often wondered why intellectuals; and other extremely intelligent people, blindly and totally believe in a cause backed up by only hearsay, flimsy or no evidence whatsoever. One possible answer is this: As the title suggests us humans are a herd animal' (explain later), and to follow the herd we require a certain gene' in our bodies. Most of us have this gene which, today has been modified (an evolutionary process) in a variety of ways to basically stop us spiritually dying! Blindly believing in an amazing variety of religions, all you will have noticed give us a life after death. For those with this gene (which apparently is the majority), have little option but to follow the herd.
Although lacking this vital gene, I have little problem with others who blindly follow their chosen religion, as they have little option and it can also give comfort. There are many religious leaders however, who would and do use such an uncompromising faith for their own evil advantage.
Well there you go folks. I will leave it up to you and your imagination to fill in several million years of evolution that I have conveniently left out. All the above scribble is based only on my simple Logic and Common Sense, so apologies for anyone I have upset. Occasionally for my own comfort, I wish I could believe in a spiritual after life, but unfortunately I'm not allowed such a luxury (no gene you see). In fact at this moment I'm thinking back eight million years, visualising an unconcerned primate sitting happily with his mates in the forest canopy, munching on a few berries. In my minds eye he's looking directly at me. Is that a smile on his face, can he actually see the joke. I wonder!
Should you have got this far, you are probably thinking to yourself, just what all this has to do with The Human Herd' title! Well it is my belief that we humans were and today still are a Herd animal'! However advanced intellectually you and I may consider ourselves, a major catastrophe to our earth will almost immediately rip away the thin Vail of sophistication we have developed and before you can say evolution sucks' we will be back once more wandering the plains with other surviving herd animals.
Today there are many obvious signs that our ancient herd instinct still exists. Try wandering around your local high street shopping area on a Saturday morning (Does it vaguely resembles The Serengeti)! How about the strange power of advertising on us, or the uncontrollable prompted hand waving during slow songs at pop concert's (is that weird or what!). Do fifty or sixty thousand people really go to premier league football matches just to watch football, or two million faithful attend The Hajj annually because of their religious devotion, I don't think so! Just a couple of quick examples! First though, let us go back into history, somewhere close to the beginning of our story.
Initially, having made this earth shattering transition from jungle to savannah grasslands, as recent contented herbivores, suddenly having to rely on meat for our survival, we were somewhat vulnerable to our more adept competitors. Already established were a whole variety of vicious predators that roamed the grasslands, feeding on weaker members of countless grazing herd animals that migrated across the vast endless plains. Naturally at first we were a little short on vicious meat tearing teeth and bad attitudes, but we did have a developing brain, small though it most probably was several million years ago! Now as any member of the female sex above the age of twelve will inform you, brains (however small) will eventually succeed over brawn and although new kids on the block, we quickly established ourselves as the top predator.
Today surviving wild grazing herds still migrate through the grasslands of central Africa, now widely recognised as the original and ultimate bastion of our first footsteps on this earth. Unfortunately this ancient savannah is quickly being eroded, as the human success story continues, ever gathering pace! Several million years ago, it was a different story, vast herds of grazing animals then ruled the grasslands, wandering through never ending plains seeking new grazing areas according to ever changing seasons.
Once established as savannah dwellers, to survive we had to adapt our new lives further and follow migrating herds as very basic hunter gatherers. Simple as human life was in those days we copied these vast grazing herd's lifestyle techniques, becoming a roaming omnivore and The Human Herd' at that point.
Our evolutionary journey through the following several million years is generally restricted to educated guesswork and fertile imaginations, which lets face it, is also the basis of this simple account that you are patiently wading through. Many well informed palaeontologists have a different, far more precise but, as it is mainly guesswork, not necessarily a better viewpoint than mine.
The history of human life on this planet is possibly the most fascinating story that will ever be recorded, and in my view, we are now probably at the peak of our most interesting evolutionary stage. If we can struggle through the next crucial half century or so, without a self inflicted human catastrophe we may just have cracked it. Fingers crossed!
Looking well into the future, many combined factors will possibly make us into far less interesting creatures. Such as, strict control of our over populated planet, mass global trading, loss of individuality, human cloning, encouragement by church leaders to cling onto various religions etc. Just a few obvious negative points to consider! Although I guess that would be a small price to pay if in return, we eventually have world peace, controlled human population growth, no wars or poverty, the battle against various endemic diseases won and space exploration. Once this new baby in our heads (Reasoning) has grown up, I believe there will be absolutely no limits, making our present progress pedestrian by comparison. I would love to jump ahead five thousand years, just to look back and check out how we have progressed.
Oh' of course there could well be a major fly in the ointment. I have conveniently failed to mention perhaps one of the major likely negative factors that will not only be extremely inconvenient, but likely to threaten our species of overall survival. The consequence of full out Global Warming' is an unknown factor and I'm fearful that the burning of fossil fuel and general human carelessness is little more than just fuel for a fire that is already way out of control. There is little doubt that Scientists and futurologists are worried, far more than they would wish to share with us.
Global warming and cooling of varying degree's, has happened many times since we first walked this earth. In fact, going back to the beginning of this story, it was most likely the effects of global warming that brought us here in the first place. It would be the ultimate irony if in return, it destroyed us totally! I doubt that is natures plan (just a clear out of an annoying species!) and even if it is, we may have progressed far enough not to allow a final holocaust of such magnitude to happen. Having said that, with our over human population, loss of up to a third of land to the sea, a global scramble for the remainder, amongst a myriad of other disputes, the dramatic effects of full out' global warming, will make all of the wars and skirmishes of the last three centuries appear like a school yard scuffle in comparison! With luck and skill, perhaps 5% of the human population will make it through the mire, which should be enough to ensure the survival of our species. No doubt 4 per cent of those remaining will be saying; 'Doesn't god move in strange ways'!
All I'm simply trying to say is, apart from the thumb, our actual physique and other peripheral stuff, all pretty much unique to us, what really separates humans from other creatures that share our world, is the undeniable fact that we can REASON. Every other creature is almost totally dependant on nature for survival. Although an underlying reliance on nature, we can also make our own decisions in complete contradiction with nature and we do every day! Nature has no feelings or favourites and is only concerned with the survival of the species. Any species! The obvious daily tasks such as eating, sleeping, copulating etc, are quite natural functions for us, which ensures our present well being and continual survival of our species. Most other social stuff which fill our days, have been invented by us, not nature. It is my somewhat radical belief that we as human primates (that's all we are folks), have no more or less rights than any other animal on this planet! Of course in reality, we are top dog by the proverbial mile and all other creatures (apart from most insects) have little chance against us.
Because of our fear of death, general good life and reasoning abilities we are desperately trying to extend our lives beyond the period set out for our pro-creation. As far as nature is concerned, that is the only reason why we are here and definitely not required after that! Example again: Various diseases, arguably headed by cancer, are just one of natures many way of quickly getting rid of aging humans, once we have done the job(ie creating the next generation), we are totally obsolete! There is absolutely no emotion involved, as nature is only trying (desperately in our case) to preserve a fine balance between all species, therefore as far as nature is concerned, individuals have no consequence whatsoever!
Unfortunately we are messing up the whole system. Uncountable billions of humans have already come and gone, in the short time that we have been around and yet, there are presently about two billion humans more than our planet can reasonably cope with. Thought provoking and terrifying in itself! We are just too successful. Another thought for you, life on earth is so intrinsically complicated considering, if an asteroid wiped us out tomorrow in universal terms it wouldn't really matter one jot! Would it?
Religion is a relatively new concept, built on control of the species and fear of physical death. Common sense tells me, although it can give comfort to many, overall, apart from the fear aspect religion is and always has been about total control of the masses by a few! It can also be dangerous, destructive and on the face of it to me it appears total baloney. This should be pretty obvious to everyone, but fear of life and our ultimate physical death will not let us admit it, even to ourselves, but we cannot accept that our total being is only worth half a blink in real time (whatever that is). Impermanence is a frightening reality for all of us and much easier not to face it! That is why I believe even the most devout god fearing Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc, should they have the privilege of consciously experiencing that final moment, will finally realise that, they are about to become dust, with absolutely no consequence whatsoever!
The fact that we are all, in our own way, desperately trying to extend our earthly life and not happily rushing off to our various heavens, says volumes to me and you, should you care to admit it! Nature, not religion, will have the final say, eventually controlling, or extinguish us! Or will it! Can we one day escape nature completely. It is an interesting thought.
Sorry folks, I have gone on a bit there. The beauty of reason is that if free, we can all have our own thoughts and if inspired, actually write them down. That is why, assuming you have read this document, the preceding pages of waffle are just my own personal thoughts. I'm sure, (should we survive the next few generations) far into the future, we will be regarded by whatever we evolve into, as a confused, simple, but fascinatingly interesting creature!
Thank you for your time and interest.