In the Musical “Oliver” the title urchin asks simply for “More”. Over our long history the vast majority of humanity, having “More” than the bare basics of food, clothing and shelter was a dream. Sometimes they didn’t even have even those and failed survive. Anatomically modern homo sapiens appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago. If we go by the introduction of The Big Bang Theory, we think mankind’s progress was pretty straight line march from there. Actually it wasn’t till 12,000 year ago that we got around to domesticating plants and animals to have agrarian societies. It it is only in the last few centuries a good part of humanity has risen beyond subsistence. Given the history of mankind, is this real and sustainable progress or just an aberration. If we use as a baseline our earliest forebears we can determine what constitutes “More.” Even though being blessed with a better brain and opposable thumbs, they spent their time much like the rest of the animal kingdom, finding food and shelter, resting and procreating. All they had to work with was their own physical abilities. In order to actually have more required first of all was taking time from there basic pursuits and investing it thinking of new ways to improve and physically putting it into practice. Better hunting and gathering tools and practices, fire, domesticating dogs and then other animals and finally agriculture to name some milestones on the way to “More”.
Unfortunately, it took enormous amounts of time to achieve to these breakthroughs. Even though our ancestors had some tools 2.6 million years ago, it took another 800,000 years just to get to fire or 400 times the the birth of Christ to the present. Given this timeline major innovation was a rare occurrence. Even when it happened it often was lost and had to be reinvented again and again. Just because something was discovered or invented in one place didn’t mean was duplicated elsewhere. Innovation was hardly early on the path to more. Continue reading