Archive for October, 2018

1.4 ANBOS a new species?

In a way. But initially only on the mental level.
An important and leading research has been that of the Max Planck Institute of Leipzig that analyzed the bonobo-genome in 2012.
It showed 1. that we are more related to the bonobos than to the chimpanzees (for us no news) and 2. that there has been gene exchange with our close relatives up to 4.5 mya but that this has since stopped. Of course, this may have been the result of geographically separation: the bonobos remained rainforest inhabitants and the australopiths became savannah inhabitants.

But the temptation to speculate that more was going on is great. That time is close to the behavioral changes that have followed (use of fire, making stone knives and scrapers). Behavior that only can be attributed to a species that has names for the things.

Not sophistication of group animal cries!

For our ANBOs, normal ape communication (cries, gestures, facial expressions and other body language) was only extended with names for the things.

But those names were produced with hand gestures, not with cries.

Animals – apes are animals – have no neurological control over their voice. Animal cries are controlled by the limbic system. So the extending of their normal ape communication included facial expressions and all other body language but excluded cries.

However, our ANBOs weren’t deaf, like present-day sign language users. Their thousands and thousands of sign words were formed with silent gestures but accompanied by consonants. Consonants such as t-k-f-s-ch-p are muscle-formed, are controlled by the neocortex. To form more and more names for the things, the voiceless consonants were crucial.

So from the beginning, consonants have been part of the sign language of our ancestors.

The Singing Neanderthals of paleo Stephen Mithen (2005) were still !click-language sign language communicators in our opinion, and the oldest GH-tribes that are examples for our original GH-phase, the Hadza, the San and the Pygmies, still haven !click-languages

In the long nightly hours around the campfire, the growing gestural communication with names for the things the proto-form of sign language underwent an accelerated development towards real singing.

The accompanying cries became a proto-form of singing. Later more about dancing/singing.

 

1.5 The oldest stone tools

When we meet the first ‘hard evidence’ of our ANBOs in the archeological record?

So the first ‘hard evidence’ of the use of fire and of the making of stone tools for cutting and scraping?

For the first use of fire the mainstream paleos can only find evidence in caves. But there is no indication that the ANBOs lived in caves, they made their forage trips over the open grass areas and spent the night in tree tops until they could stay on the ground around the campfire. We’ll talk about it further. But even campfires don’t leave an archaeological trace after let us say ten years. And certainly not if the researchers are not looking for it.
Stone tools do. In my texts I could show for years the following sketch in the 2000 article of the Journal of Archaeological Science[1] of the Kada Gona stone tools.

At 15 locations east and west of the Kada Gona river, Ethiopia, Sileshi Semaw and his team recovered more than 3000 surface and excavated artifacts, dated 2.6 –2.5 million years ago.

Makers of these well-flaked artifacts: Australopithecus garhi. Archaeological name of these earliest stone industry: Oldowan.

Other early Oldowan sites, older than 2 million years ago: Olduvai, Omo, Bouri, Lokalei.

We are not sure which fossil, if any, belongs to the population of animals that could name things. Brunet, head of the French group which found the 6-7 million year old hominid skull in Chad, is shown with the skull, saying: “It’s a lot of emotion to have in my hand the beginning of the human lineage…” But there is no label on the skull, and it is impossible to know if the skull in his hand is from an ancestor-bonobo, or from a prey of the ancestor-bonobos.
If this fossil is found in context with fossil remains of prey animals, thus in context of a slaughter place, then one may see this skull as a prey[2].

All these 2.5 million years old artifacts were found together with animal bones, many of them with stone-tool cut-marks. For us, these Kada Gona tools were the hallmark of the second big jump of our ancestors, as the consequence of the first jump: names for the things. Was it the climate again that triggered the jump?

For five million years, the climate had been stable without giving much reason for changing behavior. But 2,5 mya the Ice Ages, the periodical increase of ice caps on the poles and around the high mountains, began. From now there were cold periods (stadials, maxima) interspersed with warm periods (interstadials, minima).
By 2.5 mya it started with a dramatic cooling and drying. Jungles receded to a narrow and interrupted belt around the equator; savannahs turned into deserts. There were ever less trees to sleep in, ever more natural fires.

I said: “the Kada Gona tools were the hallmark” … until a more recent publication[3] about cut-marks on bones from the Dikika site in Ethiopia demonstrates that stone ‘knives’ for processing of bones of scavenged carcasses may have been used much earlier: 3,4 million years ago.

World's Oldest human tools discovered in Africa, dated to 3.3 million years ago Butchery tools: the cut-marks on the bones are the result of “hunting and/or aggressive scavenging of large ungulate carcasses”.
So the butchering of carcasses with stone tools must have preceded the start of the Ice Ages.

And who butchered? Even today (Inuit) it is the women who butcher the spoils brought in by the men! This division of tasks may already be so ancient. All the more reason to consider the refining of stone tools as a woman’s skill.

Names for the things may have preceded this manufacturing of stone tools if we take some recent experiments with groups of students in learning to manufacture stone tools seriously. One group was only showed stone tools, cores and flakes. The second group got the same basic material but also a skilled toolmaker, showing his skill without words. The third group got all of the second group but now with verbal guidance of the toolmaker.
Needless to say that the last group was the fastest in getting hold of the tool manufacturing.

  1. Journal of Archaeological Science (2000) 27, 1197-1214,
  2. We think that the first H. habilis fossil, found in context with fossils of prey animals, was a prey
  3. Nature, 12 Aug.’10 . More recently corroborated by the Lomekwi slaughter place discovered on the left bank of the Lake Turkana (Kenya) , dated 3.3 mya

 

1.6 The fire

Already as normal australopiths they knew the attractive qualities if fire and they were not the only animals who were lured by the far clouds of a natural fire. Vultures and other carrion eaters and even antelopes approached carefully, enticed by carrion and salty ashes.

The ANBO-females knew that some tubers and other plants, normally not edible, were edible after the work of the fire. Why about women again? Women have to feed their children. In everything they do, they are motivated by the need for more and better food for their children.
We guess this time it was an old and experienced woman, a grandmother who had the courage to take a glowing branch of an smoldering natural fire. Trembling with fear, she took it to a safe place, fed it with dry grass and wood and breathed in new life: fire.

Terrified, of course, the other ancestor-australopiths observed from a distance, screaming in fear at what the grandma did. She held a tuber on her digging stick in the flames. When she thought the tuber was done, she tasted it, went with the tuber to her granddaughter. Granddaughter would remember this moment ever in her life.

Too nice, this ‘just-so-story’? Then consider this: gorillas have been observed sitting near a smoldering fire in nights when the temperature on the savannah approached the freezing point. But no ape is known to ‘feed’ the extinguishing fire with combustible material.

But our ANBOs did. Because they already had a name for fire, they gradually lost their instinctive fear of the fire and got a feeling of power over it. After this, of course it took many generations before they had developed the technique to carry the fire from one campsite to the other, as live charcoal in a bovine’s horn or in some similar way.[1]

How dare we assume that this taming of fire occurred some 4 million years ago?
Most paleos don’t go farther back than the 790,000 years old Gesher Benot Ya’aqov site in Israel, where charred wood and seeds were recovered[2]. Some brave paleos accept the evidence from Swartkrans and Chesowanja dating 1.5 million years ago.

 

San women stop en route to roast an excavated tuber. What can be found after two years of such a road-fire? After ten years? After a hundred years?

There are two kinds of clear evidence that are indicate an earlier use.
One: as experimentally proven by Richard Wrangham[3], a raw (not cooked, not grilled, not roasted) chimpanzee diet would be simply inadequate to sustain larger-brained beings of human size. So there is no other way our ancestor-australopiths could have evolved into larger beings, than through some kind of radically improved food supply.

The paleos of the Wonderwerk-cave in South Africa have found traces of fire use and are convinced that they will also see these traces in the lower layers of 180,000 ya.

So! Still 2 million years to go!

But it remains traces in caves. We continue to claim that the ANBOs did not live in caves but foraged in open areas. The traces of the on-the-way fires are untraceable after ten years already. Certainly not if the researchers are not looking for it. So we assume that controlled fire existed far more earlier than these 2 million years ago.

The first ‘professional’ stone tools found at Lomekwi are 3.3 mya and the Dikika cut marks even 3,4 mya. They attest to a new niche for protein: meat. And with it a new behavior, unknown in other species. Behavior that can only ascribed to disposing of names for the things.

Not for the start of meat consumption, however. Already the common ancestor was a part-time meat eater: both bonobos and chimpanzees are. For the ANBOs we have to look back to the hides that could be found all over the Miocene savannah. In the following millions of years the hooligans of the savannah, ever more audacious with their stones, learned to chase away feeding predators from their prey. That was the moment when the males began to contribute to the diet: carrion became an increasingly important part of nutrition.

The best sources of carrion, the pachyderms (elephants, rhinos, hippos) had skins that were too thick for lions and hyenas and vultures to penetrate. Those predators had to wait until, after two or three days, the skin cracked open by decomposition gasses. But the ANBO’s with their knife-sharp stone tools could start processing the dead animal immediately! And again: women slaughtered, and men kept hungry hyenas and vultures at bay with their stones.

The Dikika stone tools of 3.4 mya may have had their first precursors 4 mya, and this date is close to the mentioned 4.5 mya, the date from the split of Max Planck Institut Leipzig!

For millions of years, the standard way to make a ‘knife’ or scraper had been to smash a stone against another stone or rock, and then pick out the best ‘knife’. In the new circumstances, this was no longer sufficient. I think knapping the ‘knife’ from a core stone with a hammer stone was too risky for long, bent ape fingers (they still needed those ape fingers for climbing quickly into trees for sleeping and safety). But in order to improve the stone ‘knives’ they needed some knapping technique; and in order to develop a knapping technique they would need shorter, “handier” fingers.

Evolution had to find a balance between the need for long, bent fingers for climbing and making nests in trees on one side, and the need for shorter, handier fingers for knapping better knives on the other. It was the use of the fire that altered this balance. Since the fire provided protection from predators, this made it possible to stay on the ground instead of climbing in a treetop to build nests. Because our ANBOs no longer needed to climb trees at night, they no longer needed long “ape” fingers. This allowed the development of shorter, handier fingers suitable for better knife production.

2,5 mya, the earth climate became even more cool and dry: the onset of the Ice Ages. Woodland savannah began to turn into desert savannah. The carrion competition grew more fierce. This is the time that the other australopith apes died out and that our ANBOs, thanks to their names for things, their ability to communicate with each other and the resulting wisdom of the crowd gained power over their circumstances.

  1. If you don’t believe that such an early ‘taming’ of fire can be postulated, ask Ralph Rowlett of the University of Missouri-Columbia in Missouri.
  2. In a recent PNAS article (March 2011) the paleos Roebroeks and Villa suggest that the real control of fire is not older than 400.000 years; we have to take in consideration that their research only concerns European archaeological sites, and that they emphasize that earlier use of fire was possible in an opportunistic way: using smoldering wood from a natural fire, keeping it smoldering in a gourd or something
  3. Cooking Up Bigger Brains (2008); Wrangham himself did a research experiment by trying to live on a chimpanzee diet of fruit and raw meat: he found it not feasible for humans!

 

1.7 the impact of fire control on communication

Most important was the impact of the campfire on communication. Before this forward momentum of fire control, communication was limited to daytime: during the foraging hours and the food sharing upon reaching the next sleeping place. Before twilight, for safety purposes, everyone had to climb high in a tree to make a nest, which effectively ended communication. But now, with a campfire keeping predators at bay, they could rest and communicate all night long! Those nightly hours could be used for nothing else but communication.

What did they communicate during this long nightly hours?

One might say: nothing at all, they just wrapped themselves in a hide and went to sleep while only one of them (a man of course) kept his eyes open and the fire burning. Speculating in this way however, one might easily overlook that they were a subspecies of bonobos: fervent communicators![1] In their new, more dangerous habitat they lived in closer togetherness than their rain forest ancestors, so they needed to be even more social. The new circumstances in combination with their bonobo-like inclination had already lead them to their new habit of names for the things.

So: what did they communicate? I propose it was the exchange of thoughts, expressions of what was going on in their mind: in other words, they were sharing emotions. For example the memory of some shocking event in the past day. Communicating these emotions took the form of performances. Let me dish up a possible ‘performance’ here.

The threatening encounter with the dangerous buffalo! The males had made a line with their stones at hand. The buffalo had hesitated, perhaps he remembered an encounter with a troupe of those apes, resulting in a hailstorm of painful stones. He scraped with his hoofs. After some long lasting seconds the buffalo had turned his back and moved.

Now, quietly around the campfire, a woman, with that threatening event in her mind, got up and imitated it with emotional gestures. The others screamed in approval. A man jumped up and imitated the buffalo. The emotional screaming increased. Other men jumped up and made the defense line, with imitated stones at hand. Then the ‘buffalo’ slunk off, and the screaming became jubilation. And calm returned in the group. But the nice performance stayed in everybody’s mind, and after several quiet minutes some women jumped up again and repeated the performance. And again, and again, until everybody wrapped himself in his hide to go to sleep. Evening after evening they did ‘the buffalo’ over and over, until a new event was subject of a new performance.

Generations after generations similar nightly performances became ever more sophisticated, and the gestured communication too. Sophistication means that the gestured ‘words’ underwent standardizing and shortening. Because when the beginning of a gestured ‘word’ is already understood, you don’t need to finish the whole gesture. In a group of women gossiping by sign language and cries, each woman wants to contribute her share. (Why women? Hunting men make no noise. But gathering women chatter and laugh: noise chases serpents away.)

Expressing such emotional thoughts the person used her/his whole body (just like bonobos do today) with accompanying cries. The others responded with imitating gestures and cries, and many of them jumped up and joined the communicating person. And when communicating very emotional items, the whole group was dancing and crying, over and over. From generation to generation, this behavior became ever more ritualized, controlled and refined.

When we say ‘ritualizing’, we mean, as neatly formulated in Wikipedia, “behavior that is formally organized into repeatable patterns, the basic function of which is to facilitate interactions between individuals, between an individual and his deity, or between an individual and himself across a span of time.” Ritual synchronizes the activity of participants, a phenomenon that contributes to group cohesion – which can also contribute to survival. Some scholars also suggest that human ritual behavior reduces anxiety. It makes me think of the ‘war dances’ of the Yanomamö[2] , as preparation of a raid. A more modern example may be the ritual drilling of recruits in the barracks.

They began dancing and singing around the campfire. In my view, dancing and singing cannot be separated here, which why we may call it dancing/singing.

  1. We can pass a fruit tree without noticing the chimpanzee group we were looking for, as it sits silently in the canopy. On the other hand, a group of bonobos will be heard from a far distance, screeching like a mob of barking dogs. See Frans de Waal’s book Bonobo (1997) and Craig Stanford’s book Significant Others (NY 2001)
  2. Napoleon Chagnon Yanomamö. The Fierce People (New York, 1983)

1.8 Why dancing/singing?

This development towards better expression through more refined body control affected both dancing and singing. First the dancing. Our ancestors were sharing emotions in an ever more ritualized mode of body language: their bodily expression of experiences, feelings and thoughts evolved into a kind of ballet, of formal dancing. In the course of this evolution, the specific gestures for specific meanings became more formally stylized. A more modern example of extremely stylized and formalized dancing is the 19th century Balinese religious dancing (as described by Dutch colonials) where women told a complex story without any word – just by dancing. In a way, present-day sign language for the deaf functions in a similar way: especially when this concerns a message with emotional and/or religious content, the sign language may look like a kind of ballet dancing.

Next the singing. Our ancestors were like bonobos, so much more expressive than chimpanzees, who are more silent. Just like their dancing was gradually ritualized, the accompanying cries and calls underwent ritualizing in the evening-after-evening performances. Over the generations, this gradually led to better neurological voice control. The more meaning and information one can convey by voice, the more impressive and effective the resulting performance will be.

I will get back to this combination of dancing and singing later, in the context of the origin of our religious feelings.

1.9 homo erectus

The control of fire turned the ancestor-australopiths into Homo erectus. Fire use began in one group of ancestor-australopiths, but soon spread throughout all groups, by exchanges of sex partners and group interactions (in a way similar to the dispersion of agriculture later on). The H. erectus population dispersed over Africa and started the first Out of Africa migration into Eurasia.

[Traditionally H. erectus is always imagined as a male. So we were glad to find a reconstruction of a female H. erectus on the blog-site “Kay Nou = Our House”. Thanks, Kay Nou. Her digging stick was nice; but she missed her hide bag. So we gave her one. Unlike in this picture, she was never alone on the savanna, nor elsewhere.]

Finds from an earlier period, in the archaeological site Dmanisi (1,7 million years ago) and Flores (descendants of Java hominids from 1,6 million years ago) show a more primitive hominid, with a more primitive toolbox. So many paleos today believe that it was an earlier hominid, H. habilis or H. rudolfensis that spread Out of Africa into the Far East, developing to H. erectus. A later erectus group returned to Africa as ancestors of the Turkana population. For the humanosopher, this theory of a much earlier Out of Africa migration corroborates the early use of fire, because moving out of the tropics requires fire-use.

1.10 linguistic beings

Names for the things is what made us humans. It may have been the result of a casual and fortuitous girls’ play. It was not necessarily caused by some gene mutation or brain growth or the emerging of syntax: such developments were rather result, not cause.

As said before, disposing of names for the things does five things with an animal:

  1. It creates a feeling of distance
  2. It opens the path of grasping (understanding) the things
  3. It creates a feeling of power over the things (for example the fire)
  4. Transferring and accumulating knowledge
  5. Brainstorming, solving problems, devising plans.

Having several names for several things is by itself not enough to become a linguistic creature. Look at the family Washoe. This is the group of chimpanzees who were made to learn ASL (American Sign Language) when they were young and in a human family setting, presently living at the CHCI of Central Washington University of Ellensburg, in the lifelong care of Roger and Debbie Fouts[1]. The Washoe chimpanzee family is able to use 250 different names for 250 different things.

When the teachings of Washoe were not so rigidly limited to student teachers who were only allowed to communicate with her in sign language, but when that teaching had been like Penny Patterson did with Koko: communicating with sign language but also with spoken words (like we do that with our pets), Washoe would certainly have learned to use 1000 sign words and also learned to understand 2000 spoken words.

Koko, died June 19, 2018, not only knew more explicitly to sign what she wanted: “You key there me cookie” but also to express her sadness when her pussy had escaped and was drove to death: “Cat, cry, have-sorry, Koko-love, un-attention, visit me” .

The 37-year-old bonobo Kanzi was taught by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh to communicate using a keyboard with lexigrams. Once a researcher who had worked with gorillas showed him videos of Koko. Rumbough was astonished to see Kanzi beginning signing to this researcher.

What makes an ape into a linguistic creature? In other words, what transforms animal gesture communication into a language?

250 or even 1000 separate sign words, you may consider this as proto-language? Can you consider Washoe and Koko as starting people?

In our view, they are indeed comparable to our ANBOs during the million years that they had not yet started using the fire.

But only after our ANBOs could spend their nights around the campfire did their proto-language develop into language. Language is a stock of words, a vocabulary, an inexhaustible stock of names for a countless number of things: making one’s whole world into something that can be experienced primarily as a world of named things.

How do we produce our present spoken vocabulary? With phonemes: sounds that have no meaning of their own (the vowels and consonants of the alphabet), but are the building blocks of an endless number of words. We produce those phonemes with our speech apparatus: throat, tongue, lips and cheeks. But apes cannot produce enough similar phonemes, because their throat is too short and their tongue too narrow. Experiments in training a young chimpanzee to speak resulted in p-p for papa and c-p for cup, pronounced without vowels. The most serious handicap however is that apes cannot really control their voice. Their cries are neurologically driven by the limbic system: an evolutionary older part of the brain, the same that also produces our own cries of pain or anguish or rage or ecstasy. When we hit our thumb with a hammer, we cannot withhold a cry of pain: the older parts of our brain are beyond conscious control.

How could our ancestors – even Neanderthals may have been sign language communicators, be it with a rich !click-vocabulary – build up a stock of gestured words without being physically able to produce vowels? In his groundbreaking research on modern sign languages of the deaf (such as American Sign Language, ASL) William Stokoe[2] has showed that gestured languages can be just as flexible in combining gestures as spoken languages can be flexible in combining phonemes. Stokoe named the sign language alternative for phonemes cheremes: gestures without intrinsic meaning which by combing them can be used as building stones for an endless number of gestured words. Just like we speak all our words by uttering a limited number of phonemes in countless different combinations, modern ASL achieves something similar by combining 55 cheremes (base gesture elements).

So the gestured ‘sign’ language of our ancestors may have evolved from simple gestures denoting specific objects, into a stock of names or a vocabulary using combinations of cheremes, making an unlimited number of ‘words’ from a limited number of base elements: small and quick hand configurations, hand locations and hand movements.

To illustrate this development, let me briefly go into a nice parallel: the similar development of script (written language). 8.000 years ago, ever more people in the Middle East lived as farmers in villages. Each family contributed a part of the yield of their fields and cattle to the ‘temple’ (the common hall for religious anniversaries, for meetings and barter with other villages, and for emergencies). To prevent parasitical behavior and envy, the temple functionaries needed to register each family’s contributions exactly. In early Sumeria, these notes were engraved in the clay of the storage urns (later of clay tablets). The first notes were pure imitations, drawings. These were at best ‘minimal art’: a representation divested of all that was not strictly necessary for identification.

In due course, these representations became more and more stylized symbols. This was the start of Sumerian writing: pictograms, simple representations of what was meant. A simple depiction of a head stood for <head> and two wriggling lines for <water>. But soon these two symbols combined meant <drinking> and even <drink>. In this way, the pictograms became more and more schematic. The big jump came when some pictograms got a sound value, mostly the initial sound of the word-symbol. Soon there was a complete alphabet. The symbols did no longer point to some specific object, but came to represent just sounds – initially mostly consonants. By combining these by themselves meaningless symbols, now every possible word could be written easily. Such written language made it possible to record personal messages, enactments and laws, oral traditions, heroism of the successive kings, important events, scholarship, philosophy, everything. This written language started the historical era (before the invention of script, it was prehistory).

 

The earlier development of signed language may have followed a similar route. The cheremes (snippets of sign language) initially came into human communication as very simple and direct gestures. In due time, some gestures got the function of syllables: they evolved into building stones (cheremes) for signed words. Didn’t those cheremes make the gestured communication slower? After all, instead of making one primitive object-sign, you now had to combine some small gestures (cheremes) to indicate the same object. This question can be answered in two ways.

In the first place we can refer to the universal linguistic abbreviating propensity: the aversion to repeat an already uttered word or sentence element – and when you repeat it nevertheless, you do it mainly to give it extra emphasis. We may assume that from the beginning there was a natural tendency (just like in modern sign language) to make the language gestures as fast and simple as possible, if only for communication efficiency: when just the start of a gesture is already enough to be understood, you don’t need to finish the whole gesture. The faster you can produce gestures, the shorter the time you need to make your point or to contribute to a discussion.

In some cases however, the use of cheremes (even when these were as small and fast as possible) may have resulted in more complexity. For instance, instead of one gesture for the object “ tiger” you might now need to use a combination of three quick cheremes to indicate the same object. So why would people opt for increasing complexity? Here the second answer comes forward. The price one may have paid for a little more complexity, at the same time bought a huge advantage: thanks to using cheremes, the number of possible words and expressions now became really limitless. While primitive sign language might have had a gesture indicating “tiger”, it may not have had gestures specifying “reddish tiger” or “wounded tiger” or “a cloud in the sky shaped like a tiger”. The use of cheremes made it possible to say (gesture) all this, and more.[3] Eventually, they made it possible to discuss even abstract concepts for which no simple gesture would ever have been adequate. How important this was, we will see when discussing the evolution of the creation story as a central factor in the evolution of mankind.

Now three other questions occur that have to be answered. Firstly, is it admissible to infer ancestral behavior from the cultures of present-day hunter-gatherer tribes? The humanosophic answer is: yes we may, because there is a continuum between our modern behavior and that from our ancestors, a continuum that is transmitted by genetic inheritance, tradition and inveterate habits. Old usages and practices and customs stay alive till they no longer fit. The same goes for language characteristics: deeply rooted in communication practice, they are transmitted from generation to generation as a vital part of a culture.

But if is this a valid comparison, then may we also assume that the signed communication of our ancestors developed towards the same level of sophistication (especially regarding the emergence of cheremes) [4] as modern sign languages such as ASL (American Sign Language)? Our deaf populations possess modern human brains, don’t they, and are integrated into a modern urban culture that requires more sophistication, for example in order to discuss the stock exchange by ASL? The humanosophic answer is: yes, we may, because the modern sign language is a flower out of the seed from the gestured linguisticness of our Early Human ancestors. In essence, it is the same flower as we can see sprouting when our modern babies pick up language from their environment, irrespective of whether this is gestured or spoken language.

The third occurring question is: why would people eventually switch from gestured to spoken language? The answer is that signed language may be adequate, but less so when you have your hands full, or in a situation that you cannot see each other. For this reason, from the very beginning visual communication has been supported by making sounds such as guttural and dental clicks, labial sounds, and emotional cries. Even from the beginning of gestured communication, such vocal additions were structural word parts. So we may suppose a continuum between the most primitive gestured communication and the ‘click!’-languages of nowadays Hadza and San people (and our own gesturing even when we are talking on telephone).

There has been, however, a turning point in this continuum: the rise of the ability to communicate with sounds alone, without gestures. We will talk about this in the paragraph Anatomical Modern Humans.

To summarize: in the paragraph about the first use of fire, we speculated about the Australopithic population to which we could attribute the wonderful innovation of controlled use of fire. We found Kadanuumuu (estimated 1,5-1,8 m. high) a good representative because of his human-like posture, much taller than “Lucy” (1,1 m. high, dated 3,2 mya), and yet hundreds of thousands of years older. We supposed the use of fire here because such a taller population of Australopithecus afarensis must have had better food at his disposal. In its turn, control of fire in our view assumes the presence of linguisticness: feeling of power over the things.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor kadanuumuu Excavations between 2005 and 2008 in the Afar Region of Ethiopia uncovered an upper arm, a collarbone, neck bones, ribs, pelvis, sacrum, a thighbone, a shinbone and an adult shoulder blade. The partial Australopithecus afarensis fossil is dated 3.58 mya and nicknamed Kadanuumuu, (“Big Man” in the Afar language). The photo here shows an arm bone to muse about: apart from throwing stones, this very 3.58 mya bone must have been used to gesture with companions. Kadanuumuu as a linguistic being!

‘Ardi’, Australopithecus ramidus, from 4,4 mya Afar Rift Ethiopia, had an ape-like short thumb. The hominid species Australopithecus sediba, recently found in South Africa, was presumably from A. africanus origin and possibly a transitional species to H. habilis and even H. erectus. It has a human-like thumb but is only 1.98 mya, 2.42 mya younger than Kadanuumuu. Somewhere during those 2,42 mya long interval, the more human-like thumb of Sediba must have evolved. The skeleton of the much older Kadanuumuu, “Big Man” provides no hand- or foot bones, so in fact we cannot know yet what kind of thumbs he may have had.

  1. See www.cwu.edu/~cwuchci
  2. William Stokoe (1919
    -2000), Professor at Gallaudet University of Washington, DC, was the creator of the linguistic study of the sign languages of the deaf. Before, the sign language used by the deaf was generally believed to be a corrupt visual code for spoken language, or elaborate pantomime. Stokoe’s first and eye opening book was Sign Language Structure (1963) and till the end of his life he was the indefatigable champion of the language of the deaf.
  3. Cheremes emerged in thousands of generations of dancing/singing the creation story of their world. The story grew in detail and complexity; so did the gestured representation and performing.
  4. The research of Stokoe and others on signed language reveals how easy it is to produce adjectival or adverbial and other elements of syntax with modification of or additions to the gestured words by facial expression and posture changes: “Adjectives need neither to precede nor to follow nouns as physically distinct elements but can appear simultaneously as modifications in the performance of the sign language word. Likewise, adverbial modification of gesture action is natural effect of the way that visible gestures are performed.” Other grammatical elements of language such as the pattern of Subject-Verb-Object emerge spontaneously and inevitable in a social phenomenon as language: one cannot participate when one doesn’t know the meaning of the spontaneously emerged words, as little as one doesn’t follow the spontaneously emerged rules.

1.11 linguistic consciousness

There must have been a moment in history when acting from instinct became less dominant than acting from deliberation and consulting. No two captains on the ship of your thinking! With the advent of fire control, our ancestors demonstrated that unlike normal animals, they were no longer acting purely by instinctive reaction to sensory impulses.

Thinking? Animals? Of course animals do think. Most kinds of mammals and birds make scenarios in their brains: they weigh the different possibilities of what can happen or be done, in order to choose what is best. Intelligence is widely spread! We are used to seeing some kinds of animals or birds as more intelligent than other kinds, but every species exhibits its highest level of intelligence in its own special niche. The tortoise is the most intelligent animal in the tortoise niche. And where instinct is concerned: only ‘lower’ kinds of animals act exclusively by instinctive reactions. Group animals act largely by learning, example and intelligent trial and error. The animals we use to label as ‘most intelligent’, are nearly always group birds or mammals. But intelligence is also a personal quality: as far as intelligence is concerned, not all dogs are created equal.

But consciousness is unique to humans, isn’t it?

It depends on how we define ‘consciousness’. If you mean: being aware of one’s environment, then this applies to animals as well. Every mammal does continually process environment information, unless it has been knocked out.

Do you mean: self-conscious? Apes, elephants and dolphins evidently display self-consciousness. As proven in several experiments[1], they are able to look in a mirror and be aware that they see themselves.

 

What then is unique to humans? The main difference is not that we, as all mammals, are thinking beings, but that we on top of this animal thinking have names for the things.

And disposing of names for the things does 5 things with an animal, remember.

Animal thinking is the manipulating of things with representations (mental images of the things) in the brain. In our human thinking, these representations have labels, ‘handles’, ‘grips’: the names that enable us to ‘grasp’ things. So we are able to handle things better: not just when communicating about them, but also for easier and more inventive thinking. If we define creativity as the ability to combine things, then our names for the things make it easier to make new combinations, and therefore to think in a creative way.

So when we speak about a concept of ‘human consciousness’, we really ought to name this linguistic consciousness. Consciousness is not unique to humans, but linguistic consciousness is.

  1. G. G. Gallup (1970) Chimpanzees: Self-recognition and after him many others on other animals in addition to elephants and dolphins.

1.14 good natured

This is the title of the philosophically most relevant book of primatologist Frans de Waal (1996).

A question that has been much debated in the last few thousand years of philosophy: is human nature intrinsically good or bad? Many philosophers from the past, for example Plato or Hobbes, tended to the second option. In many forms of religious belief, for example ultra-orthodox Protestantism, an inherent badness (sinfulness) of human nature is postulated as well. On the other hand we have had philosophers, such as in the 18th century Enlightenment, who opted for a positive – sometimes even naively positive – view on human nature: just let Reason reign, install true democracy, and everything will be alright. Both views on human nature are simplistic.

In more modern philosophy, the trend is rather to avoid such moral presumptions about human nature. Modern philosophy has often (and not always in a fruitful manner) been reduced to playing with words and abstractions, while claiming to not being able to contribute much when it comes to moral matters. Whether we like it or not, by avoiding such moral positions, modern philosophy does no longer function as the moral beacon it once, alongside religion, was in human society and has made itself in a social sense largely irrelevant.

As for the anthropologists, they too seem to follow a pessimistic philosophical view on human nature. In the 1950s, shortly after World War II, among them the “killer ape hypothesis” of anthropologist Raymond Dart was influential. According this hypothesis, war and interpersonal aggression was the driving force behind human evolution. Science writer Robert Ardrey expanded on this idea in African Genesis (1961), suggesting that the urge to act violently was a fundamental trait of the human mindset. Ethologist Konrad Lorenz also emphasized this pessimistic view of human nature with his book On aggression (1966). According Lorenz, animals, particularly males, are biologically programmed to fight over resources. Movies such as Planet of the Apes (1968) show that this issue affected popular opinion[1]. In 1996, Wrangham and Peterson followed the Dart/Lorenz trail in their influential book Demonic Males, suggesting an evolutionary connection between violent chimpanzees and violent man.

However, in the same year the Dutch/American ethologist Frans de Waal countered with his influential book Good Natured, wherein he argued that many traits such as sympathy and comfort were already inherent in those demonic chimpanzees.
In the Introduction we have already shown that these characteristics belong to our second phase, that of the group animals. But because of our long third phase of GH economics, our tendency to harmony has become the gentle force that emerges like a cork wherever it gets its chance.

  1. Perhaps influenced by the German/American humanist psychologist Erich Fromm, in 1986 under US auspices the Seville Statement on Violence stated that while patterns of human aggression may be inherited, warfare need not be a necessary consequence.

1.15 Gatherer-Hunters (GHs)

As we said: 99,5 % of the time of our kind our ancestors were gatherer-hunters, and essentially we have retained the gatherer-hunter nature of harmony and peacefulness.

Today most primitive societies are horticulturalist. We see a sharp distinction between the ancestral GH-behavior (equality between the sexes and the generations, complete absence of exercise of power, in short ‘noble savage’-behavior) and the interpersonal relationships of humans since the overpopulation situation changed human behavior.

The best short-term we may use here for cultures showing this more recent behavior is AGR, as this suggests both aggression and agriculture.

Horticulturalists slash and burn a field in the jungle where they grow sweet potatoes or plantains, and usually live in longhouses or shabonos. For some months each year, they happily take up their old gathering/hunting life, but most of the time they need to guard their village against hostile neighbors. War makes men important. AGRs are what becomes of GHs in an overpopulation situation.

Today there are scarcely people who still live as pure GHs. Even in the most remote territories the economic life has changed; even people who see themselves as GHs, do part-time farm work, keep some cattle or have some additional form of income. But in their child-rearing and communal lifestyle they still keep their old GH-tradition as a valuable heritage, and are proud of it.

The first anthropologist who studied the life of GH-people in comparison with the life of horticulturalists and primitive farmers was Hugh Brody.[1] To give an impression of the GH-mentality, here are some quotes from of his book The other side of Eden (London, 2001):

In a tent made from hides – but it can also be an igloo or a government’s prefab – the baby awakes. She is taken up, cuddled, breast-fed, and people are talking to her: she hears the voices of people in the room. Above all the familiar voice of her mother who says she’s drinking fine. It is her own decision if and when she drinks or stops drinking. The sounds of voices are reassuring to her. When she dozes off after drinking, she goes in mothers amautik, the baby carrier that is part of the parka, against mothers back. The mother senses by the baby’s movements when her child must relieve herself; then she takes the baby and holds her above a proper place, talking in a cheerful tone. While wiping her clean, mother says: “Now you’re done again my fatty, my darling.”

Grandfather comes near for a while and says, with his face close to hers: “Dear little wife of mine! You are my little wife? Yes, you are!” The mother smiles and holds her daughter up: “Mother? Yes, you are my mother!” Because the baby was born shortly after the passing away of her grandmother, she is seen as the atiq, the ghost of her grandma, and she has inherited her grandmother’s name too. Though all babies are cherished, an atiq is extra loved and adored as an obvious link in the chain of generations.

Babies are treated with respect – like everybody is treated with respect. Babies get all they want. They may sleep when they want, they never are brushed off because babies can never do something wrong[2].

From the beginning of their life children listen to stories. Nothing is concealed for the child: it picks up only what it can handle. Grandfather tells of the creation of the sea mammals, the principal prey of the Inuit. Stories with all sexual and bloody details, and mysteries. The children listen as long as they want, often hearing the same stories repeated, growing up with them. They see how adults respect each other and that everybody has her/his special abilities and tasks. They learn the names of the animals and plants effortlessly and grow up as Inuit.

All anthropologists who have studied the scarce GH-communities, report the same: notwithstanding the desert- or icy cold character of their environment, people are strikingly healthy and happy. They all interact with their children, with each other, with animals and plants in a respectful way. Nature is hard and merciless, meaning that for GHs, existence itself is precarious. On awakening, you will not know for sure whether you will find something to eat that day. But for them and their ancestors, even for their animal ancestors, it had always been that way.

Today, the few remaining GHs such as the Hadza still are living as noble savages.
Are they (so were our ancestors) better than us?

No way. Remember that we have become such special animals by having names for things. We have gone the way of understanding things. The path of understanding things better and better. We have progressed much further on this path today. We can now even understand ourselves.

The GHs are so nice because their primitive economy forces them to do so. They do not have a lot of respect for the more high-level economies they are confronted with, but they are greedy for the technological products of it. In the meantime, their world is to prey to the supremacy of even higher cultures. Their thinking, no matter how noble it may be, cannot outweigh those of the rest of the world. Their world of thought has only become a study material for future humanity. We are on the path to become more noble than they are.

The Hadza, living in north-central Tanzania around Lake Eyasi in the central Rift Valley and in the neighboring Serengeti Plateau. Considering genetic evidence and click language, their closest kinship is with the San people, but nevertheless the difference is obvious. It is not too bold to assume that they are the descendants of a population that never migrated from the beginning of AMM’s in Africa.

But as to determining a contemporary control group for pure GH-behavior, reflecting the lifestyle of our early ancestors, we take Hadza, Bushmen and Ituri Pygmies, and retrieve the following four characteristics:

– each person is equally entitled to food, regardless of his or her ability to find or capture or process it: food is shared

– nobody has more wealth than anyone else; so all material goods are shared

– nobody has the right to tell others what to do; so each person makes his own decisions; even parents don’t order their children around

– group decisions have to be made by consensus; hence no boss, ‘big men’, chief

– as regards shamanism: only Bushmen know shamans

– initiation fundamentally concerns girls, as celebration of first menstruation

We assume that professional ethnologists can sum up more GH-groups sharing these four characteristics.

  1. Hugh Brody is a British anthropologist, writer, director and lecturer. He was born in 1943 and educated at Trinity College, Oxford. He taught social anthropology at Queen’s University, Belfast. He is an Honorary Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, and an Associate of the School for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto
  2. GH’s do not yet have that automatic distrust of human nature that we, AGR’s, civilized and thus frustrated humans, may have developed; GH’s see humans still as essentially good natured; GHs impute special qualities and capacities to babies and children, on account of their being good natured: capacities which they as adults think to have lost.The reason why the Bedouin women (and on their example also the men) danced /sang naked around the Kaaba before it was banned by the Muslims. For their clothes symbolized the lost innocence and their nakedness were their newborness. The Muslims also deposited their clothes but covered their nudity with loose rags and they still maintain this pagan practice, just like circumcision.

1.16 noble savages

One of the authors, Couwenbergh with a real HG, be it a nice reconstruction in Neanderthal museum, Metmann,
from a unsuccessful photo of the other author, Van Setten

In the previous chapter, we exhibit a culturally optimistic view on human nature. Many of our readers, however, may have in mind recent books such as Keeley’s War Before Civilization: the Myth of the Peaceful Savage or Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage. [1] These studies contradict our ‘good natured’-view, you may argue.

Of course we studied these books eagerly. But they do not really contradict or falsify our ‘good natured’-view. Keeley produces an impressive list of massacres by and among pre-Colombian populations.

He neglects the cause: overpopulation stress. He only remarks that populations that did not engage in war, “were isolated nomadic groups (for whom flight is an option)”. Would he really have no idea that our ancestors lived millions and millions of years in “isolated nomadic groups”?

He compares the average deaths per year among the studied pre-Colombians caused by warfare with the percentages of our times, including the massacres of World war I and II, and concludes that the last percentages are very modest. And he ascribes this to the effects of civilization.

LeBlanc’s book Constant Battles emphasizes ecological imbalance as cause of war. Imbalance, provoked by primitive colonizers of islands, or by primitive agriculturers. Like Keeley, LeBlanc overlooks overpopulation as cause of war. He praises H. erectus people who didn’t induce ecological imbalance, but he considers chimpanzee warfare as evidence of our innate belligerence (ignoring that this behavior is caused by overpopulation). Therefore his Constant Battles is not invalidating our “myth of the peaceful, noble savage” as its subtitle pretends to do.

The overpopulation stress begins to flash at the horizon, at the appearance of the AMHs, the human variant to which we all belong today.

  1. War Before Civilization: the Myth of the Peaceful Savage (Oxford UP, 1996) by University of Illinois Professor L.H. KeeleyConstant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage (NY 2003) by archeologist Steven A. LeBlanc.

1.17 Anatomical Modern Humans (AMHs)

As said before, sign language is an extension of body language. Not just the hands and fingers play their role, but also the arms, facial expressions, and posture and movements of the body as a whole. In early humans’ emotional and dramatic performances, this body language function merged into a kind of dancing which over time became more and more ritualized. One of the essential features of dancing has always been the repetitive movements, which (just like walking, jogging or playing sentry-go) release endorphins. As such, it serves as one of our uncertainty-allaying mechanisms.

As for singing, I already mentioned how our ANBOs probably were very communicative animals, screeching emotionally all day long just like present-day bonobos. From the beginning, vocal sounds accompanied their gestured communication. Besides the screeches that were beyond conscious control (being driven from the limbic system) there probably evolved a more intentional application of conscious (cortical driven) sounds like [puffs] and [clicks] and [mmms], to support the communicating of still primarily gestured names for things. Such non-vocal sounds proved useful in the dark, too[1].

In the dancing-singing of the Creation Story, the cortical control gradually emerged over many generations: in line with Steven Mithen[2] we assume that the Neanderthals were indeed ‘singing Neanderthals’ and as a humanosophers we assume that their earlier Early People were already ‘singing’. Be it that we in ‘singing Neanderthals’ and ‘Early People’ we imagine women in the first place.

More scholars assume that the AMHs (Anatomical Modern Humans) were the first real speakers to communicate with spoken names, and that for the AMHs gestures were reduced to an accompanying role. In a relative short time during the great migrations, these AMH descendants of the African early humans replaced earlier humans wherever they showed up. These Anatomical Modern Humans are our nearest ancestors: every human today is an AMH.

Now what made these first AMHs so special? A genetic mutation, says Richard Klein of Stanford University.[3] Other paleos do not agree, but they do not offer a satisfying answer on the question either. Sure is that (apart from anatomical differences) the AMHs in Africa were culturally quite different from all earlier humans. Unlike their predecessors, they used bone, antler and ivory to make fish hooks and harpoons. For the first time in human history, they also relied on sea food: their camp sites were characterized by shell middens.

Scratchings on ochre from Blombos cave

 

At the South African Blombos cave some chunks of ochre were found that were marked with cross-hatched scratches 70,000 years ago. Researchers view this as art or even a primitive form of script, but we believe that these scratches were made to ease the scraping of ochre powder from the chunk (one can see earlier scratches under the fresh scratches). Most of the chunks are without scratches; it can be the particular property of one woman do it in this way. For communicative engravings limestone slabs would be far more adequate.

Anyway, the research of Richard Klein[4] shows how the AMHs hunted buffaloes with more sophisticated weapons.

Still the question remains: why did AMHs develop this new behavior, while the Early Humans did not? We have our own humanosophic hypothesis.

Communicating with only one’s mouth and without further body language makes lying more easy. When trying to lie with sign language, you have to keep too much nerves of your body under control (and the person you are trying to deceive, will already be closely watching your body language). The others will see more easily that you are lying. Even in today’s sign language for the deaf, lying is much more difficult than in spoken language[5]. But when you communicate primarily by sounds, you can lie with a poker face.

Of course the AMHs didn’t lie every day. But the fact that they could so when needed, may have made them a tiny little bit more self-confident and individualistic. This growing inner confidence made them a little more flexible, a little less restricted to rigid traditions. In the early human mindset, thus far mainly formed by traditions and rituals, tradition and truth were two closely related concepts. Once people became aware they were able to lie (to deviate from truth) this may have made them, by inference, more aware of the possibility to deviate from tradition as well. Eventually this made them more inventive. Unlike their conservative[6] Neanderthal counterparts, the AMHs began to manufacture new kinds of hunting weapons (such as fish harpoons and fish hooks) from other material than the traditional stone: bone, antler and ivory. These helped them to open a new food niche which until then was not being used by other early humans: the water world.

Maybe we overplay our hands with this theory about the effect of the new spoken communication. One may also simply ascribe the transition from Early Human to AMH to the fact that the AMH ancestors in the glacial period of extreme dryness were forced to search for alternative food sources – which they found at the coast, in lakes and in rivers. Therefore they became coastline dwellers, adapting to feeding on shells and other water animals. The oldest harpoons, found at Katanda, date from 90,000 years ago; the beads, used as jewelry, found at Blombos cave, are from 75,000 years ago.

Christopher Hensilwood says: “There’s more and more evidence that they could fish and hunt large mammals, and that they were making fine bone tools. When our ancestors left Africa, they were already modern, already thinking and behaving in many senses the way we do today.”[7]

However, this still leaves the question open why these Early Humans were able to make these ‘modern’ changes, and why this did not happen earlier than some 70.000 years ago.

Their extra nutritional niche: mollusks, fish and other water animals, enabled them to feed larger groups. The groups of the Early Humans numbered around 25 people; those of the AMHs could number around 100 people. In a small group, new ideas may find not enough support and die away, while in a larger group new ideas may easily find at least some followers. Furthermore: as a consequence of better nutrition, the number of AMH-groups also increased, which in turn caused more inter-group exchange of goods and ideas over larger areas. Hensilwood[8] points out the increase in population of modern humans, and how this easily explains both the new, modern behavior that lead to the ‘Out of Africa’-migrations, and the “creative explosion” that took place around 45,000 years ago in Europe. But the question why these Early Humans managed to achieve this, and why it did not happen earlier than some 70.000 years ago, is still waiting for a scientific answer.

Vocal communicating – just by larynx and mouth – must have had a strange effect on an Early Human: making her a tiny little bit more individualistic, a tiny little bit more independent from traditional thinking. Yes, I see this as a female attainment again; for the still-gesturing men this may have been a female foolishness, too weird and unreliable to use it in their ritual prayers to the Big Ancestor before hunting. Women had a leading share in the daily danced-singing of the Creation Story, but also in the allaying and charming and medicating of illness. I think the first shamans were mostly women.[9] So initially, the sophisticating of traditional sign language with ever more meaningful vocalizations may have been primarily a female concern.

AMH-behavior: the conquest of the water world with fish harpoons and fish hooks, and the explosive growth of their group size (number of huts) and the numbers of their groups, may have flourished around 120.000 years ago. Also the consequences from this behavior: increasing population and perhaps some population stress, resulting in the first Out of Africa II movement.

This first emigration wave (we could name it OoAII-A) not only let his traces in Skhul and Qafzeh (dated around 100.000 years ago if not earlier) but also the first AMH-groups arriving in Australia some 70.000 years ago. The AMHs bred like rabbits.

  1. The dark … for the Early Humans we have to consider their very sharp vision; even the slightest light was enough for them to see in the dark
  2. Steven Mithen Singing Neanderthals (2006) proposes the term Hmmmm for the pre-linguistic system of communication used by Early Humans: an acronym for Holistic (non-compositional), Manipulative (utterances are commands or suggestions, not descriptive statements), Multi-modal (acoustic as well as gestural and mimetic), Musical, end Mimetic.
  3. A friendly but rather negative review of his (and science writer Blake Edgar’s) book The Dawn of Human Culture (2002), including his theory that spoken language was the result of a genetic mutation, immediately followed by a cultural ‘big bang’, has been written by Derek Bickerton in Scientific American Sept. 2002, “A Bare-Bones Account of Human Evolution”. The review ends: “The likeliest conclusion is that language as we know it arose most probably through some fusion of preexisting capacities, around the time our species originated more than 100,000 years ago. Precisely how this happened remains one of the great unsolved scientific problems. Unfortunately, Klein and Edgar don’t bring its solution any nearer.”
  4. He discovered that the Early Humans from the Klasies River caves concentrated on eland—large antelopes—instead of the more dangerous buffaloes, although buffaloes probably outnumbered eland in the local environment. In more recent sites, by contrast, buffalo bones dominate those of eland. “Something happened after 50,000 years ago that allowed people to hunt buffaloes.” (Klein, R. G. & Cruz-Uribe, K. (1984) The Analysis of Animal Bones from Archaeological Sites (Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago).
  5. We remember the reactions of American deaf people on a speech of Ronald Reagan: they saw he was lying.
  6. We were in the excavation site Veldwezelt-Hezerwater (Belgium): two Neanderthal campsites, one from 130.000 ya and another from 34.000 ya. On the question: is there difference in stone technology? was the answer: not at all!
  7. National Geographic News, April 15, 2004
  8. Christopher S. Hensilwood is a Research Professor at the Institute for Human Evolution, University of the Witwatersrand. With Francesco d’Errico e.a. he excavated the Blombos cave (near Cape Town, SA) and found ornament shell beads from 75,000 years old. So 5000 years older than the engraved ochre chunks mentioned before.
  9. Remnants of this tradition can still be found in several aboriginal cultures, for example in Siberia; see also the work of Mircea Eliade.

1.18 the Toba-explosion

But there was a sudden end to this AMH population explosion. On Sumatra exploded the mega-volcano Toba, somewhere between 74-73,000 years ago.

At least 2,800 square kilometers of tephra (Greek word for ‘ash’) rose to the stratosphere, causing ash plumes to cover a large part of the world, from the south China Sea to the Arabian Sea. It left behind what still is the world’s largest caldera: Lake Toba.

For comparison: the largest volcano event in historical times was the Tambora eruption on the Indonesian island Sumbawa in 1815. It produced the ‘year without summer’ in 1816. But Toba ejected about 300 times more volcanic ash than the eruption of Tambora and caused maybe six years of climatic deterioration (‘volcanic winter’), which in turn caused the decimation of animal and human life over very large areas.

That most paleo authors do not mention the Toba bottleneck – in the discussion between Richard Klein and his critics Hensilwood and d’Errico e.a. we don’t find any reference to the Toba event – can perhaps be ascribed to the fact that thorough research on this catastrophe is fairly recent.[1]

So far, the effect on many species of life has been demonstrated in DNA research on the history of a growing number of species, such as bonobos and chimpanzees. Geneticists Jore and Harpending[2] propose that all humans alive today are descendants from a very small part of the earlier population: perhaps some 8000 breeding pairs about 70.000 years ago[3].
The impact on the northern hemisphere was more severe than in the south; nevertheless also Neanderthals survived the supposed six years of volcanic winter. The AMHs had even better chances, not only because they lived farther south, but also because of their broader subsistence strategy based on hunting and gathering coastal resources (shellfish, fish, sea lions and rodents, as well as bovids and antelope).

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor jwalapuram The ash plume drifted obliquely to the north and covered the peninsular India with a decimetres thick layer of tephra.

At Jwalapuram in India, archaeologists dug through a meter thick Toba ash layer (see photo). First, above the Toba tuff, they found many stone artefacts from about 74,000 years ago, made from limestone, chert, chalcedony and quartzite, with blades and bladelets representing a Late Pleistocene assemblage also assigned to the Middle Paleolithic. Digging deeper, below the thick Toba tuff layer (the white one[4]), they found many more stone tools that could be dated at about 77,000 years ago, of limestone, quartzite, and chert: scrapers, blades and a burin also identifiable as Indian Middle Paleolithic. This lithic assemblage clusters together with the lithic technology of sub-Saharan Africa, and indicates that the AMHs belonged to the first migration wave out of Africa. We will talk about this in the next paragraph.

 

According to the excavators, before the explosion this place was a ‘paradise’ on the shore of a lake. Then it got buried under two-to-five decimeters of volcanic ash. The next six years, with the atmosphere still full of ash particles, were a volcanic winter. During the next thousand years, the climate still was extreme cold: a glacial maximum[5]. But perhaps after some decennia of annual monsoons already, big parts of the area became sufficiently overgrown to harbor grass eaters again. So archaic AMHs must have lived in this area, and after the Toba explosion survivors reappeared as soon as grass vegetation and grazing animals reappeared.

The Jwalapuran excavation is not the only site showing evidence of the Out of Africa (OoA)-migration of the AMHs, both before and after the Toba explosion. Another recent excavation site is Jebel Faya[6], where 125,000 year old hand axes are found, showing a pattern of flaking seen only in early Africa. Indicating an out-of-Africa migration 20.000 earlier than thought before. Indeed, 130,000 years ago, there was a window of climate change. The Arabian Peninsula was more habitable than today.

  1. In an article in October 1993 Ann Gibbons, a staff journalist for Science, was the first one to suggest that a bottleneck in human evolution about 50,000 years ago could be linked to the Toba eruption. Rampino and Self backed up this idea in a letter to the journal later that year. The bottleneck theory was further developed by Ambrose in 1998 and Rampino & Ambrose in 2000, who invoked the Toba eruption to explain a severe culling of the human population. (Wikipedia)
  2. Population Bottleneck from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics. Copyright © 2001-2006
  3. Wikipedia “Toba catastrophe theory”
  4. these layers, together a meter thick, originate from aeolian transport and slope-wash during annual monsoons into this low location. The location is an important one
  5. OIS 5 – 130,000 to 74,000 years ago (warm)OIS 4 – 73,000 to 63,000 years ago (cold)

    OIS 3 – 63,000 to 45,000 years ago (warm)

  6. Anthropology Net 27 Jan 2011: Hans-Peter Uerpmann of the University of Tubingen and his team excavating the Jebel Faya site in the United Arab Emirates.

 

1.19 migration waves and genetic diversity

Map of early human migrations according to mitochondrial population genetics. Characters represent different haplo groups. All Out-of-Africa groups descend from the African L3M group.

The early OoA-migration was around 2 mya, by H. ergaster groups. Researchers name this Early People dispersion OoA I.
The AMH dispersion of OoA II occurred in two main waves. The first, from around 120,000 years ago, is called OoA II-A. The presence of these early AMHs has been demonstrated with their fossil remains in the caves of Skhul an Qafzeh. but everything indicates that this wave has not been limited to this evidence but that other groups of this wave have migrated further to the Far East, ending around 70,000 ya in Australia.

The second, OoA II-B (65,000 ya), took place after the Toba bottleneck, and within this wave fall the 7 mitochondrial daughters of Eva, as Bryan Sykes states in his 2005 book, and began dispersing all over the world.

OoA II-A took place in a warm period when the Sahara barrier was green. So perhaps this wave left Africa along the Levant. As mentioned above, AMH hand axes are found on the Arabian Peninsula dated 125.000 years ago. Paleos have found fossil AMH remains dated 120,000 years old in the Mount Carmel caves Skhul and Qafzeh (Israël). Their stone assemblages did not differ from those made by the Neanderthals who had survived the severe cold period after the Toba catastrophe in the same caves, which during that period were abandoned by the AMHs. The paleos see the OoA II-A wave as ‘archaic AMHs’, because they do not yet show the more modern life style of the post-Toba Blombos populations in the Southern tip of Africa.

We can follow the migrations by looking at archaeological remains. We can also reconstruct them by looking at the dispersal of different types of musical traditions[1]. But the most clearly we can follow the migrations by looking at the tree of mitochondrial genetics, as in the map above.
Genetic diversity in present-day Africa is extremely high (even between closely related groups or groups living in each other’s’ vicinity) and much higher than diversity in human populations outside Africa.

This diversity suggests a recent African origin for modern humans, because in the rest of the world the genetic diversity is much smaller.

Tishkoff[2] also suggests that the group which migrated out of Africa came from northern East Africa. “The diversity of groups in Ethiopia and Somalia is intermediate between that of the rest of Africa and the rest of the world,” according to Tishkoff, “Perhaps this group was isolated from the rest of the African continent before they migrated into the Middle East and Europe.” As said, this first OoAII-A group doesn’t show the life style of the southern AMHs of Blombos cave and other sites. So this archaic group may have been driven northwards along the Nile by the population pressure of more modern AMHs from the south. Because their first appearance outside Africa is on the Arabic Peninsula, near the Strait of Hormuz (Jebel Faya, 128,000 years ago) and they appear in the Levant 8000 years later, it is also possible that they left Africa by crossing the Strait of Bab el Mandab. Or should we suppose two emigration groups of archaic AMHs? Because their stone technology is a little different.

Most of the ‘archaic AMHs’ (OoA II-A) moved ‘beachcombing’ to the East. In this relatively warm period, lush vegetation on the Arabic Peninsula made it habitable for grazing animals and their human predators. Recently, African-looking hand axes have been found in Jebel Faya (UAE)[3] . From there, migration to India may have taken place, where we find them “spearing dinner and filleting meat” 76,000 years ago in Jwalapuram.[4] At the moment of the Toba catastrophe, most of them had already passed that area, beachcombing farther eastward. Their descendants populated Sundaland and eventually reached the Sahul continent (New Guinea, Australia, Tasmania).

Today we still find descendants of these early AMHs (OoA II-A) in the jungle of Malaysia: the Semang. The Malaysians name them Orang Asli, and in the Philippines they are named Negritos.

  1. Journal of World Prehistory March 2003 “Language, Symbolism and Music – An Alternative Multidisciplinary Perspective” from Francesco d’Errico et al.
  2. Penn State University
  3. By Hans Uerpmann of the University of Tübingen and his team, in 2010.
  4. According to Petraglia and his colleagues.

1.20 The OoA II-B wave

Yellow: the lower sea level parts remained until 10,000 years ago!

The AMHs in their home continent Africa survived the Toba disaster mainly in the southern coastal region. Perhaps the oyster beds have played an important role in survival, because their whereabouts are characterized by enormous shell middens.

We speculate that this population really started to show the ‘modern’ features that led to the Early People’s extinction.

Think what must have been the effect of a six years volcanic winter on these people.

They have not noticed anything of the Toba explosion. Only their world darkened and also during the day it became only dim light. Woman started to sing and dance, to awaken the Great Ancestor from his sleep so that she/he/it could restore the world for her/his children. They continued to dance/sing even when the night had fallen much earlier than usual. The next day the world was possibly even darker and now the men joined their choir with their stronger voices. Day after day they kept on going, until the men gave it up: even on the drums and flutes the Great Ancestor did not respond.

He had apparently let his children down and retired somewhere high in the air and did not interfere anymore with his world.

But He was not gone; He sat too deep in their inborn religious disposition. But He no longer interfered with them, that was clear, and that is why they no longer interfered with Him.

From now on they turned to the elements that offered salvation in need, such as the sea, the Great Mother of their oyster beds, the Great Mother of the prey, the Great Mother of their food plants. And to the Sun, which gradually showed itself stronger and which they encouraged with their dancing / singing.

Gerelateerde afbeeldingoyster bed (Wikimedia)

It may be assumed that the women had become more ‘no nonsense’: their children and men needed food they had to provide it, anyhow,

The women struggled to collect food in the twilight during the day and wood for their cooking fires. For the men it was no way to go hunting.

For the coastal population the oyster and mussel banks and other sea food offered a solution, the enormous shell middens provide the archaeological evidence for this.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor oyster bed south africa

Here another picture, from Oyster Bay Travel (Eastern Cape province in South Africa), that shows also other seafood.

As mentioned, the genome shows a bottleneck in all species around 73,000 years ago. But most species in Africa survived the disaster, except for the Early People – we mean the contemporaries of the European Neanderthal people.

But the post-Toba people have started to show different behavior. The paleos (we mentioned Hensilwood and d’Erricio), find in the post-Toba layers of the South African coastal caves and rock shelters new assemblages and fish spears and other tools from bone, ivory and antler, shell beads, engravings on ochre lumps. Especially microliths, very small stone fragments intended to be fixed in handles of bone or wood.

Another speculation is that the coastal inhabitants defended their dwindling oyster beds against the hungry women of inland living groups: there can only be one group of one oyster bed. The women chased their husbands on the wives of other groups to drive them away. The inland groups were angry about this unheard-of behavior: no group ever considered themselves the owners of a food source, and groups in need were always welcome to a group that was doing better. But this natural disaster broke through all norms: only the strongest group survives.
In INTRODUCTION I have already depicted human nature as a three-stage rocket. Also the noble GHs are subject to three conflicting impulses and that it is the circumstances that decide which drive is the strongest at that moment.

Maybe you wonder where the shell centers of the mussel bank people of Blombos cave stayed. Dr. Hensilwood points to the fact that today the sea level is much higher than at that time, and that the flood line was then tens of kilometers away. On the map below this flood line is visible as a gray-blue strip.

For now we want to suggest the possibility that it was the musselbank people who were not only the ancestors of our ‘modern’ cultural achievements such as bow and arrow, spear-thrower and rock art, but also of warfare and male domination.

War makes men important – statement by Marvin Harris in Our Child (1989). The war with the inland groups was purely a survival battle. For the first time men discovered that their gender was as important as that of the women. Until now, the men did what the women wanted from them. At the musselbank people, this ancient balance between the sexes was disrupted.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor blombos cave

Around 68.000 years ago was the largest concentration of musselbank people on the east coast of South Africa (on the map Sisubu cave and Border cave, the ‘shore district’.). The researchers state that this entire culture disappeared 65,000 years ago and that after some thousands of years that region was populated by AMHs with a more primitive culture!

They also discovered that Africa was then prey to desertification, and concluded that the musselbank people must have been emigrated to the north.

That they have populated the Arab peninsula (then green) via Bab el Mandeb.

And then further migrated, partly to the east and the Far East, and to Europe.

Genetically this musselbank humans are the 7 daughters of Eva from Bryan Sykes.

They brought with them the real Post-Toba modern-human behavior as we know today in the ‘primitive communities’ such as the Hadza, the San and the Pygmies, but also of the ‘wild tribes’ such as the Aborigines, the Inuit and the Indians. This means: bow and arrow and other hunting weapons, the most refined stone techniques, skin paintings, petroglyphs, and especially: male dominance.

Male dominance … is this only because of the survival behavior that the mussel bank people had to have during the Tobawinter: the women who chased their men off against women from other groups who were driven by hunger on their mussel beds?

We are now thinking of the Kwakiutl of Vancouver Island (Canada) of 70,000 years later.

Still being GHs, they live on the northwest coast, in a 3000 km long narrow strip from California in the south to halfway Alaska. On the left is the Atlantic Ocean and on the right the coastal mountains of British Columbia and the Cascade Mountains. The coastal strip, rarely more than 150 km wide, is a paradise. The Japanese wave stream softens the humid westerly winds while in the winter the high mountains stop the cold winds from the interior.
In this temperate climate zone, spruce, pine and cedar trees that can grow to 70 to 80 m grow in dense forests, while deer, elk and bear live at the edges and mountain goats and sheep on the slopes.

The sea was an even more important source of food for the Indians: whales, seals, porpoises, sea lions, sea otters, halibut and sturgeon. In addition, schools of pegs and smelt, and the eulachon that even dried are still so greasy that they are used as candle with a candle spit.
But the rivers were the most abundant. Six times a year, salmon swim upstream to spawn. With tons together, they could be caught and dried on long racks. That meant a week’s hard work, but it provided so much food that it could feed large groups, groups that split so that the vast paradise soon became full of more than a hundred tribes. Which of course lived with each other on foot of war. War makes men important, so also male dominance. Even without horticulture or other means of food growing, the people of America’s northwest coast became ‘wild tribes’.

The luxury of food richness made them live in permanent villages, in wooden houses, with huge totem poles on either side of the doors. The many free time resulted not only in beautiful carvings but also in decorative blankets, beautiful mats, fur cloaks, jewelry, armor and many other industrial products. All this industry served a social purpose: to maintain friendly relations with neighboring villages through the exchange of gifts.

In all GH groups there is this tendency to exchange gifts: it prevents jealousy and disagreement. Even today we are inclined not to eat food on our own but to share it with others, and to give presents at festive occasions. It is very deep in our manners.
But with the Kwakiutls it got an extreme form because the village leaders wanted to outdo each other in the display of luxury. Their mutual hostility got a peaceful form with this imposing behavior. Such a several days lasting festival was called potlach.

1.21 Out of Africa II-B

About 65,000 years ago, they crossed the red Sea at the Strait of Bab el Mandab. Presumably in several waves.

Dispersal of the AMHs

The mussel bank people had a slightly lighter skin color and were not frizzy, like the negritos of OoA II-A, but had straight hair.

With their ‘modern’ mentality, their better armaments and their larger groups, they pushed aside the negritos to jungles and other less attractive regions. They would later be replaced by the even more ‘modern’ Aryans, a savage horse folk from around the Black Sea. The mussel bank AMHs would become dalits, at least in India, with its hopeless caste system. May the free market economy finally bring salvation there.

The musselbank people also entered Europe, inhabited until then by Neanderthals only, around 45,000 years ago. Bur Europe seemed most empty: Neanderthals lived in very isolated little groups. As Early Humans, they now were confronted with a totally different kind of humans: black, numerous, noisy, armed with farther reaching spears (and maybe wolves!) and living from fish – people who didn’t react on your gestured communication.

So you could better avoid confrontations and retreat into an area without fish.
The musselbank AMHs seldom encountered a Neanderthal, they mostly stumbled on an abandoned camp or cave of them.

By 35,000 years ago, the AMHs had populated most of the Old World and forced the Neanderthals into mountain strongholds in Croatia, the Iberian Peninsula, the Crimea and elsewhere. The Neanderthal groups became isolated from each other, suffered ever more from inbreeding and would extinct some 30,000 years ago.

Finally, around 15,000 years ago, humans crossed from Asia to North America and from there to South America. The white regions on the map is territory that was never been tread by humans before.

1.22 Overpopulation and machism

Our species started in very harmonious groups with the women as the dominant gender. Survival on the savannahs was extremely precarious. Groups living in harmony flourished better than groups with tensions: natural selection advanced harmony within the groups or tribes. Millions and millions of years of harmony is what made us the most social beings in nature, while the other side of our nature – violently defending ourselves and our kin – was pushed far away to the background. On the sparsely populated savannahs, such violent behavior was only used against them threatening predators or when hunting, not against each other or their neighbors. Their groups, moreover, exchanged continual of composition, so that one cannot even speak of ‘neighbors’.

 

Women were dominant in religious performances, like they were dominant in medical care and magic and everything. Males should never put the success of their hunting at risk by using female speech to pray to the Big Ancestor: they clung on the sacral sign language for their hunting prayers. Nowadays before each hunting trip, the Semai hunters still use sign language to pray to their Big Ancestor. When we look at the important role of gestures in sacred rituals today, we see that sign language must have survived a long time in the sacral singing-and-dancing of the Creation Stories which had such a dominant place in the lives of our ancestors.

To get back to the point: let’s take a look at how overpopulation led not just to war, but also to male dominance. We need to make a difference here between male dominance and machism. So let’s clearly define both.

Male dominance means that men replaced women in highest status. In this hyper-religious phase of humanness it was tantamount to be leading in the adoration of the Ancestral Being – in the form of the concerning culture. In many cultural myths all over the world this is illustrated by the element of males taking over the holy flutes for their own ritual use.

The iconic Bushmen wallpainting with the elima, the menstruation hut, where the women do the moose dance. The boys form the first circle and the adult men form the outer circle.

It is clear that in this painting the women are still leading in the religious experience of the world. Today the San Bushmen still need the singing of the women to get in trance.

In the Pygmy culture, God is the forest, the Pygmies are His children[1]. Pygmies adore the Forest in singing/dancing their holy songs. For special occasions young males go in the forest and bring out the molimo, the holy flute. The molimo ritual is a male business: women and children have to retire in their huts, with doors closed. But once a year women take over the ritual, showing that they are the real performers of the holy songs. Men keep quiet, knowing that the women are right. After this performance, the women retire in their huts, satisfied to have made their point. The men stay around the fire the whole further night, most of them in trance.

This demonstrates a take-over of the highest status by men, but initially without losing respect for the women. But what later AGR machismo means, is humiliating women into the status of inferiority, even of slavery. Example of early exacerbation of male dominance are the AGR Baruyas of Papua-New Guinea, studied by French anthropologist Maurice Godelier in 1967-88.[2]

Baruyas are horticulturists, have gardens in which women grow taro and sweet potato’s. And they keep pigs. The Baruya men keep the kwaimatnié (flutes, rattles and other holy things) in the men’s house. At the age of nine the boys are brutally separated from their mothers and from the world of women, to be taught, during years of initiation, that the flutes were originally the property of the women, and that one of the men’s ancestors stole the flutes from them. The men justify this expropriation by saying that the first women did not know how to put their powers in the service of the community. For instance, “they killed too much game [sic], and were at the source of multiple disorders. It was necessary for men to intervene”.

An interesting indicator of gender relations in most tribes is the initiation rite. Initially, initiation only concerned girls (a boy’s passage to manhood was accepted after his first big hunting kill). As an example of the initial girls’ initiation ceremony, see the San wall-painting above.

Colin Turnbull describes the one among the Mbuti.[3] A girl’s first menstruation is still one of the happiest, most joyful occasions in her life – and in the community also. The girl enters in the elima, a specially built grass hut, with all her young friends, those who have not yet reached maturity, and some older women. Pygmies from all around come to pay respects, the young men sitting outside the elima house in the hopes of glimpse of the young beauties inside. The girls inside sing special elima songs in a light, cascading melody, the men replying with a vital chorus. On some days, the girls burst out of the elima, wielding saplings, chasing after any particular boys they fancy. On being touched, a young man is honor-bound to enter the elima, where he may have his first sexual experience, attended to by a whole bunch of women. Over the next few days, a succession of youth may find themselves similarly initiated.

The final test of a favored boy is, however, that he goes into the forest and brings back a large game animal.

  1. Colin Turnbull The Forest People (1961)
  2. La production des grands hommes : pouvoir et domination masculine chez les Baruya de Nouvelle-Guinée, Paris, Fayard, 1982
  3. Ituri forest pygmies

1.23 three steps into machism

Hunter-gatherer bands, stumbled in overpopulation-situation, in which the males have become warriors and aware of their importance for the survival of the band, take over the ancestral female dominance. That is the beginning of male dominance. The second step into machism is that men decide to build a men’s initiation house, somewhere in the forest or in a deep cave wideness, separating young boys from their mothers and from the world of women, stealing the holy flutes and other paraphernalia, and start their own male initiation ceremonies. The third step is institutional violence against women. This occurs only in the fiercest tribal warfare. In all tribal societies all over the world we see one of those three gradations of male dominance.

Chimpanzees are examples of how an overpopulation-situation, causing warfare between competing groups, also contributed to male dominance. But can we observe machism in our relatives, the chimpanzees? No. Among chimpanzees, dominant alpha males do need the support of women. As soon as this support fails, they lose their dominance.

From the very beginning of our species, defense was a male business. Males took care of the defense against big cats and hyenas, enabling woman and children to gather the food in safety. But while in itself this defensive task may have led to male dominance in overpopulation situation, it is not something that automatically also produces machism.

What made human males into machists? This is an important issue, because since the advent of overpopulation until modern times women have suffered from male violence and aggression, against our innate GH-nature. It is only recently (in our Western consumer societies) that women have begun to regain their ancestral high status. So what may be the historical root of machism in humans?[1]

As a general hypothesis, we may suppose that machism is characteristic for some horticulturalist tribes that live in overpopulation stress all over the world, but not for all of those. First, an example of a group where male dominance has been established, but without machism. An example are the Amazonian Xavante, described by anthropologist David Maybury-Lewis. The Xavante have chiefs, have extensive boys initiation ceremonies, but without violence against women. Because the Xavante live in relative peaceful coexistence with their neighbors, so not in permanent stress.

As an example of a band where not just male dominance, but also machism emerged, we propose another Amazonian band: the Yanomamö, described by Napoleon Chagnon. Their groups live in permanent threat of warfare. Chagnon observed[2] that young boys and girls are treated differently: the girls have to help their mothers at early age and spend a great deal of time working, while the boys spend their childhood playing with other boys. The boys are also encouraged to be fierce. When a toddler slaps his father in the face, father is glad and encourages his child to slap harder. From early childhood they see their mothers and sisters beaten up by their fathers and other men, for the slightest omissions. Even his mother encourages the young boy when he inflicts a blow on his sister. The boys are quick to learn their favored position with respect to girls.

[Note that this is characteristic of all the wild tribes, including the Arab, and thus for Muslims and many other not-western cultures. Even Western societies have not yet transcended the ‘tribal tribes’ stage. See Donald Trump: the example of stage I and II of our human nature par excellence. Civilization progresses painfully slowly.

How can this cultural attitude have emerged in an ancestral egalitarian GH-society with female high status? Because an overpopulated world brought new situations, where for the first time women found their food sources plundered by intruders. In such a situation, they wanted fierce men to defend their food sources from stealing intruders. As overpopulation progressed, women also wanted fierce men to protect them against raiders who might abduct women who were collecting fire wood or garden produce.

In such a hostile overpopulation-world, the ‘fittest’ groups are the groups with the most violent males. Therefore, in these groups women will see violence as a good quality in males and promote this warrior-attitude in their men and sons.

The Yanomamö have lost their traditional initiation rituals and religious festivals, and have serious problems with male youth.

The Xavante still have their initiation rituals, age groups, songs and dances. By advancing colonist plantations their habitat is so shrunken that they have ceased to be nomadic and live in horseshoe villages on the open savanna. But still women build the ‘beehive’ houses and collect the food, while men hunt tapir and deer, and plant crops (maize, beans, pumpkins) in shifting cultivation. They are not involved in warfare.

three steps into machism

Hunter-gatherer bands, stumbled in overpopulation-situation, in which the males have become warriors and aware of their importance for the survival of the band, take over the ancestral female dominance. That is the beginning of male dominance. The second step into machism is that men decide to build a men’s initiation house, somewhere in the forest or in a deep cave wideness, separating young boys from their mothers and from the world of women, stealing the holy flutes and other paraphernalia, and start their own male initiation ceremonies. The third step is institutional violence against women. This occurs only in the fiercest tribal warfare. In all tribal societies all over the world we see one of those three gradations of male dominance.

Chimpanzees are examples of how an overpopulation-situation, causing warfare between competing groups, also contributed to male dominance. But can we observe machism in our relatives, the chimpanzees? No. Among chimpanzees, dominant alpha males do need the support of women. As soon as this support fails, they lose their dominance.

From the very beginning of our species, defense was a male business. Males took care of the defense against big cats and hyenas, enabling woman and children to gather the food in safety. But while in itself this defensive task may have led to male dominance in overpopulation situation, it is not something that automatically also produces machism.

What made human males into machists? This is an important issue, because since the advent of overpopulation until modern times women have suffered from male violence and aggression, against our innate GH-nature. It is only recently (in our Western consumer societies) that women have begun to regain their ancestral high status. So what may be the historical root of machism in humans?[3]

As a general hypothesis, we may suppose that machism is characteristic for some horticulturalist tribes that live in overpopulation stress all over the world, but not for all of those. First, an example of a group where male dominance has been established, but without machism. An example are the Amazonian Xavante, described by anthropologist David Maybury-Lewis. The Xavante have chiefs, have extensive boys initiation ceremonies, but without violence against women. Because the Xavante live in relative peaceful coexistence with their neighbors, so not in permanent stress.

As an example of a band where not just male dominance, but also machism emerged, we propose another Amazonian band: the Yanomamö, described by Napoleon Chagnon. Their groups live in permanent threat of warfare. Chagnon observed[4] that young boys and girls are treated differently: the girls have to help their mothers at early age and spend a great deal of time working, while the boys spend their childhood playing with other boys. The boys are also encouraged to be fierce. When a toddler slaps his father in the face, father is glad and encourages his child to slap harder. From early childhood they see their mothers and sisters beaten up by their fathers and other men, for the slightest omissions. Even his mother encourages the young boy when he inflicts a blow on his sister. The boys are quick to learn their favored position with respect to girls.

[Note that this is characteristic of all the wild tribes, including the Arab, and thus for Muslims and many other not-western cultures. Even Western societies have not yet transcended the ‘tribal tribes’ stage. See Donald Trump: the example of stage I and II of our human nature par excellence. Civilization progresses painfully slowly.

How can this cultural attitude have emerged in an ancestral egalitarian GH-society with female high status? Because an overpopulated world brought new situations, where for the first time women found their food sources plundered by intruders. In such a situation, they wanted fierce men to defend their food sources from stealing intruders. As overpopulation progressed, women also wanted fierce men to protect them against raiders who might abduct women who were collecting fire wood or garden produce.

In such a hostile overpopulation-world, the ‘fittest’ groups are the groups with the most violent males. Therefore, in these groups women will see violence as a good quality in males and promote this warrior-attitude in their men and sons.

The Yanomamö have lost their traditional initiation rituals and religious festivals, and have serious problems with male youth.

The Xavante still have their initiation rituals, age groups, songs and dances. By advancing colonist plantations their habitat is so shrunken that they have ceased to be nomadic and live in horseshoe villages on the open savanna. But still women build the ‘beehive’ houses and collect the food, while men hunt tapir and deer, and plant crops (maize, beans, pumpkins) in shifting cultivation. They are not involved in warfare.

  1. First of all: is it not a pure AGR-characteristic. Some Australian aboriginal groups know machism, while on the other hand the continent traditionally did not provide the basic condition for agriculture (grains, fruits or vegetables that can be conserved until the next year). Agriculture was imported only recently, by English colonists. So by tradition, all 263 Aboriginal tribes are GHs.
  2. 67 The Fierce People (1983), chapter 4
  3. First of all: is it not a pure AGR-characteristic. Some Australian aboriginal groups know machism, while on the other hand the continent traditionally did not provide the basic condition for agriculture (grains, fruits or vegetables that can be conserved until the next year). Agriculture was imported only recently, by English colonists. So by tradition, all 263 Aboriginal tribes are GHs.
  4. 67 The Fierce People (1983), chapter 4

1.24 Overpopulation

The first indication of overpopulation (accompanied by the start of wars and male dominance) in European AMHs may date from the onset of a cold period of OIS-2[1] about 35.000 years ago. Hunting territories shrunk, groups were driven together in the southern refugia. The cave paintings of Chauvet and elsewhere may be seen as male initiation sanctuaries: as places for secluded male rituals, separated from the women. At the same time, female rituals became more concentrated on the growing importance of food plants like peas and lentils, the boons of Mother Earth which they venerated with the renowned

Venus figurines such as the Willendorf statuette.

Many paleos wonder why the AMHs in Europe developed brilliant cave paintings and Venus statuettes (the ‘Upper Paleolithic Revolution’), while those living in Africa for much longer did not produce that many art works. For example, archaeologist Richard G. Klein theorizes about some brain-related gene mutation leading through symbolic language to symbolic art.
The question about Klein’s ‘Upper Paleolithic Revolution’ is: where has it be gone after the end of the LGM[2]? The Magdalenian reindeer hunters followed the reindeer tracks into evermore northern tundra regions, forgetting the cave paintings of their ancestors. For the next page of the ‘Upper Paleolithic Revolution’ we have to look elsewhere: to the Levant.

We think there is a more simple explanation: technological inventions may have been fostered by a colder climate, where in a long icy winter (when people lived mainly from food gathered in autumn) for males there was less to do. This may be corroborated when we compare the technological activities of Inuit gatherer-hunters with African gatherer-hunters such as the San. Also in artistic activity such as rock art, San people are less masterfully than the cave painters of Southern France[3].

About 16.000 years ago, it was the time of beginning horticulture. In regions of Eurasia with a high density of long-houses (the combined huts or shabonos of semi nomadic horticulturers) the wild tribes with struggles for survival arose. War makes males important.

But on a more fundamental level, it was only the situation that had changed (war), not the males or the women themselves. So the males had to suppress their incertitude, to allay their own doubts: they declared their newly-won importance holy. A deep incertitude of the males made a new phenomenon a necessary: a constant denigration of female abilities. Present-day religious fundamentalists still display this primitive incertitude, by isolating and over-protecting their wives, by limiting female freedom of action, or by demonizing love affairs or abortions.

A good question is: was male dominance not a legacy of the early AMHs? Was their immigration Out of Africa not a result of overpopulation? Even the most egalitarian tribes like the Mbuti (Congo) know a certain degree of male dominance. So when you say male dominance may be very old, I agree. For example, as we can see at chimpanzees, male dominance may always have been a strategy to cope with situations of overpopulation and/or competition. Both peacefulness and a warrior-attitude have always been strategies to cope with specific environmental challenges. For most of human history, a predominantly peaceful way of living was the most successful way to interact with the environment. When about 20,000 years ago overpopulation started to become an environmental factor, gradually a warrior-like style of living became the more successful attitude.

Here is an narration about horticulturers, already forty years in my memory, so I have forgotten the source. It is from a visitor or missionary and I retell it in my own words:

Oh what a noble people, so respectful for each other and for their children! So much better humans than we in our western civilization!

One day men learned that strangers were roaming in the north of the territory. So they had to go down there. Perhaps whiteman would like to come along? Oh yes, sure, whiteman was always ready to learn some new.

They stalked the camp of the strangers. It appeared that the men were hunting and the women gathering, so they found only old people and children in the camp. All of them were slaughtered ruthlessly. A desperate girl crawled to the petrified on looking visitor for help. “Oh, you want to fuck her, whiteman?” asked a helpful Indian, “wait a moment”–and he pushed his spear through the girl’s body into the ground.[4]

This event accurately reflects the recent reports of prehistoric mass slaughtering in Kenya[5] 10.000 ya, a 7.000 ya massacre near Frankfurt (Germany)[6] and a 4.000 ya from the Middle Copper Age in Croatia[7]. This reports caused great enthusiasm in some cultural pessimistic professors, but for us they confirmed once again the consequences of overpopulation in the recent past.

From these stage 2-reaction events we may conclude that humans are very social, but only to those they see as fellow humans. For the prehistoric horticulturers, the strangers were not fellow humans. Not even humans. To them, these others were rather a form of harmful wildlife that you need to destroy.
It can also be concluded that this awful behavior didn’t make them less social: it had survival value. Only one group can make a living from a given territory. They didn’t have a government yet to regulate things.
Even the Arab tribes in the beginning of the Islam still lacked a government; the Islam of Mohammed was an attempt to civilize the wild tribes.

In any threatening situation, humans fall back into mode 2 of our human nature.

Today we still see the same behavior in AGR-societies such as Rwanda. In a civilization, such behavior can be revived by ideological indoctrination and can happen even when the supposed threat is in fact an imaginary one, such as the Japanese (the Nanking massacre) or the German civilization (Holocaust). In the just-mentioned cases, the Tutsi, the Chinese, the Jews were not a real threat, but ideological indoctrination had caused them to be felt as a threat. In a sense, such indoctrination created an imaginary overpopulation situation.

  1. Marine isotope stages (MIS), marine oxygen-isotope stages, or oxygen isotope stages (OIS), are alternating warm and cool periods in the Earth’s paleoclimate, deduced from oxygen isotope data reflecting temperature curves derived from data from deep sea core samples.
  2. Last Glacial Maximum
  3. December 2001 we visited the Cave de la Marche, one of the many caves on the river La Marche, near the south- French Lussac le Chateau. In 1937 the owner discovered that the sandstone tiles with which the small cave was filled to the brim had served as ‘slates’ for practicing drawing. They date from 1420 BC and thus from the Magdalenian. After wiping the slab with a mixture of ocher and fat, the student could start a new drawing. Many drawings also contain caricatures! The many overlapping lines of each drawing are reconstructed with the microscope. It is now clear how the cave painters of Lascaux and Chauvet could become so competent.
  4. Surely not from Jesuit Relations, field letters from the missionary priests, published for two hundred years beginning in the early 17th century as a fundraising tool. Because the Jesuits found their own civilization superior, and urged the native men to beat their children and to suppress their women
  5. Science News, January 21, 2016
  6. Science News, January 21, 2016
    Anthropol. Anz. 74/2 (2017)

 

1.26 leadership, shamans and animism

We humans, linguistic beings, are the only species that can exchange individual ingenuity, ideas, skills and goods. We can consult each other in order to handle the challenges of our environment. Having started long ago as a tiny population of ape-men trying to survive in a hostile environment, thanks to this special faculty we now are the dominant vertebrates. This special faculty enabled our ancestors to survive in hostile environments and climates, and to survive big catastrophes that for many other species spelled extinction. It is this uniquely human faculty of being able to consult each other in order to make common decisions (democracy) that we will present as the base of a new, universal human self-confidence.

In the original groups of 25 individuals that existed at the time when our human nature was formed, during the long-long time of our Early Human ancestors, it may have been relatively easy to arrive at common decisions. In his 1990 book Our Kind. Who we are, where we came from & where we are going, Marvin Harris looks at today’s small populations: with 50 people per band or 150 per village. Everybody knows everybody else intimately, people are bound together in the reciprocal exchange of killed animals and gathered food.
We, humanosophers, make a strong distinction between true GH-cultures (food gatherers) and AGR-cultures (food growers). Examples of the first are the Hadza (Tanzania), the Pygmies (Congo) and the !Kung People of Botswana (still true hunter-gatherer cultures, as our prehistoric ancestors were millions of years long). Examples of the second, of the food growers (AGRs), are the Mehinacu of Brazil’s Xingu National Park or the Semai of Malaysia (both horticultural societies) and all later ‘wild tribes’ and farmers and cattle nomads, and still later ourselves, still being AGRs, still retaining traits of the ‘wild tribes’[1].

Since chance plays a great role in success of hunting and even in gathering, individuals who have a lucky catch one day, may need a handout on the next. So the best way to guarantee a daily portion of food is to be generous. Anthropologist Richard Gould said: “The greater the amount of risk, the greater the extent of sharing”. Richard Lee in The !Kung San (1979) watched small groups of men and women returning home every evening with the animals, wild fruits and plants that they had killed or gathered. They shared everything equally, even with camp mates who had stayed behind and spent the day sleeping or taking care of tools and weapons. “Not only families pool that day’s production, but the entire camp – residents and visitors alike – shares equally in the total quantity of food available. The evening meal of any one family is made up of portions of food from each of the other families. Foodstuffs are distributed raw or are prepared by the collectors and then distributed. There is a constant flow of nuts, berries, roots and melons from one family fireplace to another until each person resident has received an equal portion. The following morning a different combination of foragers moves out of the camp.”

What about leadership? In GH-societies leadership is unknown. To the extent that political leadership exists among simple AGR band-and-village societies, it is exercised by individuals called headmen. However, they lack the power to compel others to obey orders. How can such a headman lead? Among the Inuit, a group will follow an outstanding hunter, especially the leader of the whale hunting party.
But in all other matters, his opinion carries no more weight than any other man’s.
Among the Amazon Indians, headmanship is mostly an irksome job. As the first one to rise in the morning, the headman stands in the middle of the village and shouts, rousing his companions. If something needs to be done, it is the headman who works at it harder than anyone else. After a fishing or hunting expedition, he gives away more of the catch than anyone else. In trading with other groups, he is careful not to keep the best items for himself.
Among the Mehinacu the headman is a kind of scoutmaster. Among the warlike Yanomamö he is the captain at the raids. It is his task to patrol outside the shabono (village) in the morning and to risk being shot by a raiders group.

He has also to maintain the biggest garden in order to feed guests (every man tries to keep his garden as small as possible!)

Among the Semai, who are horticulturists like the Amazon Indians and with a gift economy too, the headman is more a spokesman for public opinion than a molder of it. Disputes in the Semai community are resolved by holding a becharaa (public assembly) at the headman’s house. This assembly may last for days and involves thorough discussion of the causes, motivations and resolutions, ending with the headman charging either or both of the disputants not to repeat their behavior lest it endanger the community. Somebody who neglects the becharaa verdict, is really endangering his ife[2].

In hunter-gatherer societies, the principle of making decisions by reaching consensus of all adults in the group is the most frequent model of decision-making, although there are a few exceptions. The Gwi hunters in Botswana discuss their intentions carefully to avoid mutual interference.

Gwi hunters in discussion; pay attention to the participating child

Today most tribal AMM-groups, usually numbering some 150 people, are horticulturers living in an overpopulated region. Even when they live in peace and equality, in every social group nonconformists and malcontents try to use the system for their own advantage. Individuals who take more than they give and lay back in their hammocks while others do the work. But such freeloaders have to watch out for the shaman.

Hunter/gatherers such as the Hadza, the Kung San, the Pygmies, live in huts, built by the women on each campsite, and knew no headmen and no shaman, and are not animists. They live free and easy as GHs, singing the creation songs of their world.
Horticulturists however are AGRs, live in longhouses and shabonos, have an headman and a shaman. They know taboos and heavy initiation rituals. Every band- and village society has one or more shamans or witch-doctors with a special aptitude for communicating with the spiritual world and more specific: with the tribe’s god and other ghosts.
To go into trance they took hallucinogenic substances, danced to a monotonous drumbeat, inhaled magic smoke. For healing they have a rich repertoire of huffing, puffing and sucking practices, and multiple other tricks. This shaman, woman or man, is not the headman. In their spiritual world, illness or disease was not primarily physical, but rather caused by evil spirits. But from her or his divinatory trance, the shaman could pinpoint and accuse a freeloader, who might be lucky to be only expelled.

 

In all aspects that we will encounter in the following paragraphs about the transition from small populations to modern democracy we have to realize that our ancestors were AGRs, animistic creatures: believing that souls or spirits exist, not only in humans, but also in animals, trees, plants, rocks, mountains, rivers, the sea, the air and so on. People always believed – and some of us still believe – that these spirit beings can be induced or compelled to help us in hunting or winning a match, in healing from an illness or winning in the casino, in surviving a dangerous voyage or going to heaven.
For example, among the Inuit each man had to have a hunting song: a combination of chant, prayer and magic formula that he inherited from his father or his uncles. Around his neck he wore an amulet: a little bag filled with tiny animal carvings, bits of claws and fur, pebbles, insects, and other items, each corresponding to a personal spirit helper who protected him against hostile spirits and helped him to succeed.
(Real GHs such as our example Hadza, Pygmies and San, don’t know such ‘specialists’, and our prehistoric ancestors of the millions of years ago neither.)

Another human characteristic that stems from our ‘wild tribes’ past is tribalism: a strong feeling of identity with our parental tribe. As modern free market consumers, today we have learned to view ourselves primarily as individuals. But for a member of a tribe it is nearly impossible to feel what it means to be an individual. Being a tribal person means: being a member of one special family, and this family being part of one special clan. A broader loyalty may be felt for the special tribe to which that one clan belongs. That is what we have to keep in mind now we experience influx from non-western societies in our western societies.
An even wider loyalty can be felt in confrontation with a common, shared enemy: without such a shared enemy, our unity will disintegrate. For the Nazi ideology was its built-in antisemitism a ‘modern’ form of tribalism and our populists still try to awaken this feeling in us today.

  1. think of soccer
  2. presumably Otzi, the ‘iceman’ found in 1991, had violated the rules of his community, was on the run and hunted down by the community’s avenger

1.27 from headman to Big Man: the rise of distribution

Just like today in small tribal societies such as the !Kung San and the Semai, in the past reciprocity was long the only form of exchange practiced in egalitarian band- and village people.

Among more agricultural populations, another way to give and take arose with the seasonal feasts among the bands.

Gobekli Tepe, East-Turkey: a huge hill full of sanctuaries, built from large hewn sandstone pillars, dated some 9000 years BC

When wild seeds ripened and game was abundant, neighboring bands gathered on a special place, each bringing an abundant stock of food and beverage in baskets and bags, for days long festivals of dancing and singing and the ritual renewal of group identity.

A well-known archaeological example of such a festival place is the famous Gobekli Tepe site (see above) and for example Stonehenge was a later festival place.

The start of it was the fact that ‘wild tribes’, locked up in their territory and in permanent fear of enemies, could no longer keep their ancestral initiation rituals. They got a youth problem. As an outlet they organized races with tree trunks or other heavy blocks. Also between neighboring ‘wild tribes’, everything to prevent outbreaks of hostilities.
This resulted in many places in severed sandstone pillars, jointly cut out and towed to a shared but non-occupied festival place.
At such occasions, no longer the headman alone could be responsible for the abundant stock of food and beverage: each family had to help with contribution of food and beverage. The headman now functioned as the administrator of the stock.
This megalithic culture has lasted thousands of years, but everything stops once and usually a natural disaster, a catastrophic drought and famine are the cause.

Agriculture had become the prime source of food. Saving the stock became a permanent and institutionalized necessity: a stored surplus to overcome bad harvests. The headman-redistributor became the Big Man: a prestigious figure with a storage building to whom each family turned over his surplus on preservable food such as wild cereals, nuts and sweet potatoes, yams or taro. Only on places where such products could be harvested or cultivated, could redistribution emerge and with it the role of the Big Man. This is why even today we won’t find Big Man figures in Aboriginal tribes: in Australia, there were little to none preservable and storable products to cultivate.

Full agriculture leads easily to overpopulation stress. A situation of overpopulation happens to apply to our next of kin, too: the chimpanzees. It is interesting to look back for a moment to apes here, as they represent the most primitive component of our nature. For most of our evolution time, we lived rather like the peaceful bonobos. But when suffering from overpopulation stress, we live more like warfaring chimpanzees.

Do chimpanzees have Big Men? Normally in chimp groups the alpha males change every four years. But Frans de Waal mentions one interesting case.[1] One alpha man managed to remain in charge twelve years, manipulating his rivals by redistributing surplus food. Even when he was not the successful hunter himself, he distributed the coveted prey. The largest morsels were for the most serious competitors, and for himself he took little or nothing. Chimpanzees are political animals.

Back to our own species: the Big Man became a prestigious figure. Even when he had to work harder and to reserve smaller and less desirable portions for himself, the headman-distributor was compensated with admiration and prestige. Every woman was proud to become his wife, and he was good enough to embrace many of them. Every boy’s ambition was to become a Big Man.

 

A classical anthropological study of Big Man is the late Douglas Oliver’s The Pacific Islands (1951). He studied the Siuai, a village people living on one of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. In the Siuai language, the big man was known as the mumi. Organizing great feasts and publicly demonstrating the tribe’s (and his own) prosperity by giving things away was the essence of mumihood. Therefore, great mumis consumed less meat and other delicacies than ordinary men. The Solomon Islands saying is: “The giver of the feast takes the bones and the stale cakes; the meat and the fat go to the others.”

As long as those Big Man societies lived in peace, there was little inducement to change anything. But the combination of seaworthy canoes and restless, energetic young men enticed to visit other settlements and islands, to trade, exploration and raiding. The great mumi consumed less and gave much, gaining prestige and adoration. His ongoing effort helped to increase production: the mumi and his followers initiated agrarian methods and improvements such as dams and canals. All this augmented his prestige. His (again, restless and energetic) sons inherited this prestige and adoration without having to establish it by modest and self-sacrificing behavior. Their young followers weren’t content with ‘bones and stale cakes’ either. It were these young men who manned the canoes, and it depended on the defensive force of the visited settlement whether it became a trade visit or a raid.

We already mentioned the Kwakiutls of America’s northwest coast.

Kwakiutl chiefs also became war leaders who by boasting and potlatches recruited men from neighboring tribes to fight alongside them on trading and raiding expeditions. The Tobriand chiefs were equally war lords. Anthropologist Malinowski stated that they conducted systematic and relentless wars, venturing across the open ocean in their canoes to trade or to fight with islands over a hundred miles away.[2]

Trobiands preparing for a raid

What was the root cause of this propensity to warfare, universal among horticultural and early agricultural societies? Especially societies that had seaworthy canoes or riding horses? Two million years long our ancestral groups lived in peace with each other, so making war is not an inherited property.

However, when we discussed “Human nature” we already saw that good was “what is conducive for the survival”. Picking fruits and other food is good. Hunting other animals is good. For the AMHs who were living in evermore larger groups and who were confronted with a situation of overpopulation,[3] other groups were not human. Humans were people of their own tribe only: people with which one could communicate.

‘Inuit’ means ‘human’. ‘Yanomamö’ means ‘human’. People with another language weren’t really humans: they couldn’t even talk properly. When Early Human groups met each other, it was a reason to feast: they knew each other and there were relationships. But when AMHs were confronted with a group of strangers, fighting and murdering was good, because only one group could live from the territory.

Raiding another group was good. The winner of the confrontation seized the survival means of the looser. In situations of overpopulation, raiding is good – but dangerous too. The young Jane Goodall was the first to discover that chimpanzees raid each other’s groups. Chimpanzees patrol into another group’s territory very quietly, hoping to meet a single foraging man and to kill him. When they repeatedly succeed in doing so, the other group is weakened so much that they can take over all its women. In The Fierce People about the Yanomamö we can read that these people behaved in a very similar way.[4]

An important factor in the propensity to warfare were the young men. The !Kung were alert for high aspirations of young men and had their methods to “cool his heart and make him gentle.” The Mehinacu and other Amazon tribes invested much time and effort in long and extensive initiation ceremonies during which the young men were ‘tamed’ and integrated in the males’ world. The Yanomamö lived under such an overpopulation stress that they had no time left for initiation rituals, and consequently they had a serious problem with their young men. The problem was worsened by the fact that most men had more wives, which caused a women shortage: in many tribal societies, finding women is a motive for raiding[5].
Generally, in most cases it were the young men who manned the canoes and were eager to kill and to become a man.

The root of all this evil is that the victims are not seen as fellow people by the slayers. Or perhaps the root is that we believe what we like to believe. Power corrupts. When we are in power, it is easier to believe that our victim is not a fellow human but some kind of weed. For raiders such as the young horse-riding Mongols or seafaring Vikings, villages of unarmed farmers were a sort of fruit that they only had to gather.

It is the raiding that has been the motivation to develop counter-measures in the form of religious structures (monotheism) and political actions (subduing ‘wild’ tribes), both aiming at the restoration of social order in the interest of trade and prosperity. This is what we mean by ‘civilization’ as a historical process.

  1. He told this in a lecture that Couwenbergh attended
  2. The Trobriand Islands, 1915
  3. Even the American northwest coast Indians (Kwakiutl et al.), still being hunters and gatherers, arrived in an overpopulation situation, due to the richness and abundance of their territories, populated by some hundred tribes. It led to sedentism, trade, warfare, social stratification. Perhaps the potlaches were a means to avoid and reduce wars between the tribes. The population never reached the phase of city states and empires because it lacked cereals. (James Deetz, The First Americans, Time/Life, 1973)
  4. Strong villages should take advantage of weaker villages and coerce them out of women; to prevent this, the members of all villages should therefore behave as if they were strong. Thus, the military threat creates a situation in which intervillage alliance is desirable, but at the same time spawns a military ideology that inhibits the formation of such alliances: allies need but cannot trust each other. They are obliged to behave aggressively in order to display their respective strengths. Alliances between villages involve casual trading, mutual feasting, and finally the exchange of women. The most intimate allies are those who, in addition to trading and feasting, exchange women. Alliances with trade and feasting but without proceeding to woman-exchange, are weak alliances. Nevertheless they serve to limit the degree of war. The Yanomamö tend to avoid attacking those villages with which they trade and feast, and rarely accuse each other of practicing harmful magic. Allies bound to each other by ‘affine’ (marriages-bound) kinship ties, are more interdependent: are under obligation to exchange women.” Napoleon Chagnon The Fierce People (NY 1983) p. 147
  5. Remember the ‘rape of the Sabine women’, an episode in the legendary history of Rome

1.28 the roots of states

Yams, sweet potatoes, taro and dried salmons are calorie-rich but perishable goods: they can be stored for only a few months. In the Levant (the ‘fertile crescent’ in the Middle-East) could cereals be harvested and stored till the next year. Only on the places where wheat, rice and maize could be found and cultivated, chiefdoms could evolve to states. The first actual states, based on a wheat-economy, emerged in the Middle East.

Endowed with wild cereals and animal species suitable for domestication (sheep, goats, cattle and pigs), the Levant and the foothills of the Zagros Mountains (today’s Eastern Turkey) facilitated an early conversion to a more sedentary way of life. The climatic warming after 12,600 BC enticed foraging women to build ever more permanent huts near rich fields of wild wheat, to prevent that other foragers were earlier on the spot to harvest the food[1]. The women learned to store their seasonal yield, so that they could pound the grains with pestles on grinding stones during winter and spring time, producing flour for baking bread every day.

Natufian culture, about 12,000 BC until 9500 BC

The population of this region – named Natufians after the archaeological sites around Wadi al-Natuf – bloomed until a return of cold and dryness around 10,800 BC[2] caused famine, forcing most survivors to return to their ancestral nomadic way of life. Some women, trying to placate the Great Mother Earth (who had been so generous before and apparently had got angry now) by returning some of the best grains to special places. And behold: the great Mother was grateful and produced more of this same quality wheat in the next season. This was the beginning of agriculture. Selecting the best grains for Mother Earth was the beginning of cultivation. In essence this attempt to influence the powers of nature was the first form of ‘sacrificing’ that in later times, when men took control over religion, would develop into more specific forms, involving altars, priests and temples.

When around 9,600 BC[3] a better climate returned, this initial grain-sowing ritual led to preparing fields for harvesting crops. This led to permanent villages with common storage facilities as a part of the common ritual building. The shaman, who we have to name ‘priest’ from now, and his assistants, administrated the distribution. Here we see the Priest, instead of a Big Man, as the distributor. But the basic rule is a similar one: he who has the say over the distribution, has the power at his grasp.

How did it work? When a family was not able to deliver the required quantum of the harvest to the temple, it received a survival quantum from the stored grain, on security of the property of its field. When in the next seasons the same family kept failing to meet its debt, then eventually the property of the field went over to the temple. From then on, that family was serf of the temple. This kind of process was the actual start of stratification between owners and serfs: the temple was rich, some people were rich, most people were poor.

The distribution administration required some way of registering the quantity that each farmer family had contributed to the Temple. How this was done in the Natufian temples is unknown, but it had to be done to prevent free-riding. In the first Sumerian city-states, this need for administration would lead to the development of writing on clay tablets (around 3500 BC).

Peaceful as farmer-villages may be, they could not do without some kind of defensive force and a headman: there was always the threat to be raided by vagrant groups. Later on, growing differences in wealth between different settlements may also have fostered the rise of some kind of military force. In the Stone Age, volcanic obsidian was the most sought material for producing razor-sharp ‘knives’.[4] The Late Natufian world became the scene of extended trade routes, not only of obsidian from Anatolia (today’s Turkey) but also of shells from the Red Sea, of exotic stones for making ornaments, of cereal seeds, Dead Sea bitumen, lumber, hides, dogs, sheep.

Villages that profited from their location on trade routes or from their own production, became rich while others remained poor. Rich villages could feed more people. Producing trade goods led to division of labor (using specialist production workers).When a rich village needed more territory or a better water supply, it could take over and integrate poor villages and grow into a small town. When a poor village was unwilling to be integrated, the rich village had the greater military power to subdue and enslave the poor village by force. The leader of the military expeditions was the headman, the chief. And here we see the origins of the historical conflict between ‘church and state’: who is in charge, the High Priest or the Chief/Big Man/King? The Sumerian cities during the Uruk period were probably theocratic, headed by a priest-king (ensi), assisted by a council of elders.

On the Standard of Ur, 2600 BB, the first chariots appear, pulled by onagers

Sumer was the first chiefdom that became a state. Situated in a rainless but swampy and flood-prone deltaic zone of the two river mouths, the fields of wheat and barley were dependent on irrigation works. The local farmer population had to furnish high taxes and free labor for this water infrastructure. Organizing this labour required an advanced administration. Sumerian cities were the first civilization to practice intensive, year-round agriculture, showing around 5000 BC the use of core agricultural techniques: large-scale intensive cultivation of land, mono-cropping, organized irrigation and labor division.

By 4350 BC, mud-brick structures with ramps and terraces called ziggurats, combining the function of fortress and temple, began to loom over the larger settlements. By 3500 BC there were streets, houses, temples, palaces, and fortifications in Uruk. Perhaps the definitive transition to a city state occurred in Uruk, or else in one of the other Sumerian cities such as Lagash, Eridu, Ur, or Nippur.

All these had become flourishing independent kingdoms by 3200 BC, dividing their territories by canals and boundary stones. Each had a central temple dedicated to the city’s particular patron or goddess, and each city was administered by a priestly governor (ensi) or by a king (lugal, literally ‘Big Man’) who also was intimately tied to the city’s religious rites.

Frequent wars among Sumerian city-states boosted military technology. The first recorded war, pictured on the Stele of Vultures, between Lagash and Umma in 2525 BC, shows the king of Lagash leading an army consisting mostly of infantry. The infantrymen carry spears and leather or wicker shields, and wear copper helmets. They show a kind of phalanx formation, which requires training and discipline. This suggests that they were professional soldiers.

In Egypt, where just like in Sumer agriculture was dependent from regular flooding – in this case the predictable annual flood of the river Nile) the development of cities, administration and culture took a more or less similar course – with the difference that in Egypt, government and its power base became more centralized. The richest places were the few cities that could rely on two crops each year: thus Abydos, Memphis, and Thebes

became the power centers of ancient Egyptian civilization. In ancient Egypt, the construction and maintenance of irrigation canals was a major endeavor of the pharaohs. The Old, Middle and New Kingdom each were periods in Egyptian history when strong central government flourished in times of ‘good Niles’ (ample yearly flooding), followed by periods of ‘bad Niles’: stagnation in economy, accompanied by social, military, and artistic decline.

Commercial network of Phoenician (Byblos, Sidon,Tyre) trade

Egypt, lacking forests, got its timber from what is Lebanon today. This trade gave rise to important city-states such as Ugarit, Byblos, Sidon and Tyre, that came to flourish as the Phoenician civilization. The Phoenicians traded in Lebanese wood, copper from Cyprus, and ever more goods from evermore regions, such as tin and silver from Spain. They also intermediated between the Hittite and the Egyptian empires, keeping them and the trade in peace (the beginning of diplomacy). This lasted until around 1200 BC: some of the last documents from Ugarit mention severe starvation in Anatolia. This induced migration from the Mediterrean and other regions. The so-called Sea Peoples embarked on piracy raids, causing the collapse of many cities and empires such as Ugarit, Mycene, and the Hittite empire. This marked the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age.

The influence of the commercial Phoenician civilization in the Mediterranean area has been immense. It created many trading factories, which in later times developed to cities themselves (see the map). One of the most important innovations was the Phoenician alphabet, mother of modern writing. When the Greeks adopted this alphabet, they just needed to add some signs for vowels. From the Greeks, alphabetic writing was brought to the rest of Europe, eventually leading the modern West-European and Russian alphabets.

It is astonishing that we have no scriptural legacy from any Phoenician town. Being traders, Phoenician people must have written a lot, but they didn’t share those writings outside their society. Very frustrating for us now, but this secretive behavior served these people well over the years[5], allowing their small and unarmed societies to survive among the military superpowers that surrounded them. Nevertheless, the Phoenicians were the far-ranging sea traders who went from society to society carrying discoveries, inventions, techniques, customs and many material objects from one to the other. They were important go-betweens, incorporating one of the positive characteristics of a free market situation. Other societies wrote frequently about the Phoenicians. Those many bits and pieces together give us an idea of this unique Phoenician ‘free market’ phase.

Harappa seals

Less known than Sumer and Egypt, the Indus civilization was equally important, larger, and technologically more advanced. Also known as the ‘Harappa’-civilization, it developed around 6500 BC in the fertile Indus valleys and flourished until about 1200 BC it collapsed by drought and a decline in trade with Egypt and Mesopotamia. It was first of all a trading economy. Archaeologists have found over 1000 cities and settlements for this civilization; mayor ones were Harappa and Mohendjodaro in today’s Pakistan, and Mangalore and Lothal in India. These cities show an astonishingly modern planning, architecture and technology: houses built with baked uniform bricks, two or more floors, bathrooms with water supply.

Archaeological finds do not indicate male dominance, belligerence, stratification, monotheism; idols or temples have not been found either. These cities could not have thrived without schools and literacy. But till yet there is no script found or deciphered. Is it the same mystery as with the Phoenicians?

These cities could not have been built and maintaine d without a central government: some kind of king or city council. But so far, no statue of a chief or commander has been found. The only ‘big man’-figure is a priestly statue (see left, so the government may have had a religious or sacral character. For the rest many male and female figures have been found representing activities (dance, music, painting), and fertility figurines.

Trade was important for the Harappan civilization due to its convenient location halfway between Sumer and Egypt on one side, and India and the Far East on the other side.

The Harappan civilization

The town of Lothal had the most modern seaport facilities of that time. The Indus civilization must have had a stimulating cultural influence on other civilizations, but the only evidence for this are its many seals.[6] Official Harappa seals have been found in Sumer, Egypt and other places in the Bronze Age world. These seals were marked with the (not yet deciphered) Indus script writing, and inscribed with elegant portrayals of real and imagined animals (suggesting a symbolic or religious intent). No emperor or Big Man figure is found on these seals: this indicates a society without a centralized autocratic power. Perhaps they were used as a kind of money, but this is not clear yet. In Mesopotamia, it took until around 600 BC before the first money appeared.

The Harappan civilization was a bronze age civilization, and like many civilizations of that time (such as the Minoan, the Ugarit and the Hittite) it ended around 1200 BC. This was a time of change: the onset of the Iron Age, and of migrations such as of the Sea Peoples. The invention of iron melting-and-hammering has been attributed to the Hittites of Anatolia, but recent research has found iron working in the Ganges Valley around 2000 BC, and 1200 BC in Africa. Sure is that around 1200 BC steel[7], as a stronger, lighter, and cheaper material, replaced bronze for tools and weapons all over the civilized world.

Another important change at this time was the transition from iconic script to alphabetic script, an invention which made it possible to write down every spoken word without having to make new icons for every word. The oldest alphabetic script stems from Ugarit , a Canaanite city-state which around 1300 BC was one of the centers of the literate Bronze Age world. It was an important link in the sea trade between Egypt, Cyprus, Creta, and the Cyclades. The town was burned around 1190 BC by pirates. Perhaps this catastrophe accidentally baked the writing tablets in the archives of the merchant-king, the temples, and the houses of rich merchants. Many of these tablets were written in an alphabet of 30 tokens: 27 consonants and three for a,i, and o. They give information about the Ugarit society and show the high status of women, especially the mothers. This is characteristic for more Bronze Age civilizations, such as that from Elam and Indus.

The onset of the Iron Age (1300-600 BC)[8] appears to have been triggered by a catastrophic drought and starvation, the breaking adrift of the Sea Peoples (pirates from Greece and Anatolia) and the devastation of Bronze Age civilizations such as the Hittite empire, the Mycaenean, and the Ugaritic civilizations, with at the same time a temporal decline of Egyptian and Mesopotanian civilizations. It was the beginning of warfare and raiding by horse-riding pastoral peoples from the Russian steppes. The decline of the Hittite empire contributed to the rise of the Assyrian empire that would dominate the Middle East for centuries. At the same time, the onset of the Iron Age started the decline of the ancient high status of women: in society in general, and particularly in the agricultural religions. The rise of monotheism around 600 BC established the definitive victory of male dominance in religion.

To conclude this chapter, we should make some general remarks about the development of free market societies: for both the Phoenician and Harappa societies were typical representatives of this new category.

In a free market situation, the deep rooted power of being human: our linguisticity that enabled us to exchange individual ingenuity, ideas, skills and goods, comes to its full advantage. Even in the late GH-times, tribes already could experience a shortage of one good and a surplus of another good within their own territory. So tribes were eager to exchange goods, and both tribes participating in such an exchange were satisfied and tended to be friends where otherwise they might have become hostile.

Exchange is inherently neutral: on the market place, the saleswoman is not interested in the race or the social status or the belief of her customer. Any customer who has enough money to buy her merchandise, is a good customer. The customer provides the saleswoman with a living, and the saleswomen provides the customer with a needed product. If the sale is closed, both are happy and therefore both appreciate each other positively.

In a broader context, those societies flourish where markets are free from enforced influence by despots such as kings or military elites, because in such societies the creativity and ingenuity of each individual get the most opportunities. In antique Greece and Renaissance Italy we see those city states flourish with prosperity, science, arts and philosophy and so on, where despotism was kept within bounds.

  1. For centuries, this was performed by pounding the corn stalks with their digging sticks with a woven basket to catch the grains; only later, when the good grains shucked on the ear, the women began to make and use a sickle, threshing the grains at home; still later they cut the whole culms, to use the straw for stronger loam for the walls of their huts
  2. Perhaps caused by the Laacher See explosion, the LSE-event
  3. The start of the Holocene we still live in; eh, some writers propos e the Anhropocene for now
  4. Archaeologists can determine the source of origin of an obsidian tool. The Anatolian obsidian source was the base of Hasan Dag volcano, and the significant trading in it gave rise to the settlement Catal Huyuk. Because the obsidian blades and spear points had to bear sacred incantations to insure their swiftness and flight to bring down the kill, the manufacture required priests and priestesses. Half of the buildings in Catal Huyuk were shrines. The city was not just a major trade center, but also a religious center.
  5. For example. Phoenician seafaring merchants had discovered the tin deposits of the British islands. Tin was a vital metal for making bronze, but its deposits were small and scarce. The Phoenicians kept the knowledge of the Cornish tin mines closely guarded secret so they could control trade in the metal and charge an high price for it.
  6. For now 4000 seals have been found, some 2000 of it in Mohenjodaro alone.
  7. Iron in its natural form is too soft for tools – though harder than bronze –unless it is combined with carbon to make steel.
  8. The conventional end date for the Iron Age is about 600 BC, although technically, we are in fact still living in the Iron Age today.

2.1 The origin of capitalism

PART TWO: NEW VIEW

In the Introduction and in passing in Part I, we promised to introduce the new view on human nature and a new creation story into our globalizing-human coexistence without imposing it upon anyone.

We’re going to do that.

But first let’s talk about our globalizing-human society.

Our globalizing Western society is capitalist.

But if you google ‘capitalism’, you will not find a word about what big money does to a person. Only the invisible hand of Adam Smith: if every entrepreneur strives for his own interests, everything will be fine.

But a Dutch professor, Bas van Bavel, published a book[1] wherein he explains that with the invisible hand of capitalism everything not will be fine. And we don’t need a book for experiencing that since the 1980th, when financial capitalists got free hands, our society tumbled from one crisis to another, with deterioration in Western prosperity.

Marx, Keynes, Friedmann and all other economists don’t know anything about human nature, just like philosophers. Where may we find the roots of capitalism?
In the ‘wild tribes’-phase, starting with the first overpopulation situations? No, that was the phase of the cruel narration of page 60, the phase of the first horticulturers, the phase of the megalithe-festivals (Gobekli tepe p.65) when people tried to create more peaceful ways to deal with the overpopulation stress; the phase of the first trade, the other way of peaceful contacts between the wild tribes.

Important trade in the late stone age was obsidian, chunks of volcanic glass with which razor-sharp shards could be made. Find places of this became rich by the barter trade therein and a good example of it is Catal Huyuk (9,400-7,700 BC), excavated since 1958. No trace of capitalism. Only evidence of the peacemaking influence of trade between fighting wild tribes. Catal Huyuk was a really town. But no traces of walls or even palisades. During her 1700 years of existence, Catal Huyuk has retained her complete GH equality between the sexes. No trace of survival battles with other groups. Agriculture and animal husbandry, both women’s inventions, were main sources of existence. The only form of worship that archaeologists have been able to find is a statue of a goddess, found in a storage room of grain, not in a temple or so.

Even in the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley (2600–1900 BC) we cannot find an archeological trace of capitalism. And do not make me believe that it was not a flourishing trade community. It was a community with archeological evidence of a priestly man and a dancing girl and seals that can be seen as kind of money, as an efficient alternative to primitive barter trade. But even in this flourishing society no trace of inequality or private property, no trace of palaces or temples, in short no trace of power. Only abundant traces of welfare.

Ownership, property, greed, stage I and II behavior are all inherent to capitalism, but not to trade or market. They are also not specific to money. Money is the ideal universal medium of exchange, trade and market easing. Nor are they specific to production or service; these are just ways to make money.
Ownership, property, greed and other stage I and II behavior are even not inherent to too much money if this serves as a provision for the old age or for incapacity for work. Yes, not even if you lend too much money to someone who is short of cash.

It only becomes capital as soon as you start to make more money from your too much money.
You can do that by lending your too much money to interest.
Judaism and Christianity and Islam were always against that. They regarded it as usury. But as soon as capitalism started to play a role in their societies, all three monotheisms were able to find their way out. Where Christian bankers initially could not calculate interest, people went to Jewish bankers, because those were allowed to do so to non-Jews. The Church itself went wrong with indulgence-trading, which caused a rupture. But also with the Protestants, the practice proved to be stronger than the doctrine.

kauri1

When does the coin appear?

As soon as the exchange of one product against another plays a major role, one looks for something universal that is valuable to all parties and that is not perishable. For example, shells or salt.
Photo: kauri shells

But if you live by the sea, it is too easy to be rich, and salt is difficult to keep dry.

It seems that the Lydians (on the south coast of present-day Turkey) were the first with coins. They used as a universal exchange tool electrum, a natural mixture of gold and silver that they found in a small river. They melted it and poured it into drops which they rounded and provided with a stamp on both sides. Voila, the first money.

The neighboring Ionian city states took it as the better alternative to shells or salt. Because the contents of gold and the cheaper silver could differ quite a bit in the Lydian coins, they were now minted in either gold or silver. Later, a cheaper copper coin was added to the file, and since then the successful merchant has been characterized by his leather pouch with coins. Which of course attracts robbers, pickpockets and burglars.

Minting is blacksmith work. Also the manufacture of safes. That work was not something for an ordinary village farrier. The goldsmith could hear to the sound how pure a coin was when he dropped it on a table. The same experience had the money changer, and not only by listening to the sound when dropped on his banca (tabletop) but also by weighing.

Both were well protected against robbery and burglary, and more and more merchants kept their coin supply with them instead of converting their houses into bunkers. The banca owners took the money in custody for a fee and the merchant received an exchange bill of parchment as proof, stating the amount of gold and silver and the name of the banca owner.

The merchant felt safer when he set off for the owner of a piece of land near a river where the merchant wanted to start a shipyard. The landowner trusted the bill, and indeed he could get the amount of gold and silver from the banca owner in exchange for the piece of land.

However, the landowner preferred to leave the large amount of money to the bank (much safer), and went with the bill to a contractor for a new house.
And he … anyway, the bills began to fulfill the role of our banknotes: a lot safer than walking around with bags of gold and silver.

The system was based on the confidence that the banker would indeed give the right amount of gold or silver if the holder of a bill asked for it.

After the invention of printing, the bills of beautifully printed paper also became available. Banknotes: fiduciary (trusting in good faith) money. The paper value was a pittance of the value stated on gold or silver. And only rarely did anyone ask for cash.

People deposited not only their excess money, also people borrowed money from the bank. The banker demanded interest for it, far more than the fee for depositing. The banker liked to lend money. Especially big money: paper money. As always, the opportunity makes the thief. The banker lended far more paper money much more than he kept gold and silver in his safe. The people trusted that they could still exchange their banknotes for cash.

Until, even if only through a rumor, a bank run arose …

Making more money from your too much money can also by gambling. But that almost always goes wrong. A less risky form of gambling is investing in shares, or speculating with it. Shares!

After the Middle Ages, trade in Europe flourished again. First in the Italian city-states of Venice, Florence, Genoa and Siena, with all the splendor: architecture, artists, scientists and poets. Followed by the Portuguese, with voyages of discovery on increasingly seaworthy ships, and then the Spaniards. Until the Dutch experienced their Golden Age (1600-1700) and the English after them starting their ruling the waves.

Yes, we are talking about ships. These are, just like bridges or railroads, capital goods for building that you cannot lend at a single bank. A lot of people have to make a share of this. Shares!

A Dutch invention. the Seven Provinces had fought loose from Spain and started a polder republic. On the seas, their barges were supreme, they picked up many Portuguese and Spanish colonies. In 1602, the VOC (the Dutch East India Company) was established and for the required ships, it issued shares for a large public. Anyone who, thanks to the thrift and / or exploitation of poor drudges, had gained more money than he needed for living, could now make more money from that money. But it remains gambling. If the voyage of the merchant had been successful, the investor could see his share multiplied. But ships can also perish and then … money away.

What is the major disadvantage of this way of making money with money? Entrepreneurs are accountable for their social responsibility: the degree of exploitation of their employees, the environmental damage, their tax liability. But shareholders are only interested in the return on their share.

At the end of the 70s the stakeholder model was replaced by the shareholders model. From now on the bad dog of finance capital clung to the leg of the free market. From now on, the process of moving employment to low-wage countries began at the expense of employment here.
What? Shareholders the real owners of the company? The gamblers owners of the fruit machine or the casino? The creator of that idea, Jack Welch, regretted it at the end of his life as the stupidest idea ever. But the idea is still alive today.

Big money corrupts, just like power. It throws people back in stage I of their human nature. Wrong stuff. Hedgefunds and more of those gambling systems and tax-rulings, get away with it! Bring us only crises, environmental damage, accident. People have birthright on GH satisfaction.

… But wait a moment.

That bad dog on free markets leg of finance capital, causing crises and breakdown of the welfare state here and causing globalization of the free market, has also caused many people in those low-wage countries to be lifted from the deepest poverty!

Perhaps that bad dog is the modern-day version of the cruel warriors of the Iron Age who united and civilized the “tribes” as slaves within their empire. Perhaps our crises are the contemporary version of the horrible religious wars.

Civilization has no other option than to move along this horrible road. Today we didn’t still not totally surpass the “wild tribe” phase of the overpopulation when we started to breed as AMHs. We still have a huge job to do before we have regained the ancestral harmony. We are only at the beginning of the realization that we as humans have ever lived together in this harmony.

So just leave the bad dog alone?

Oh no, because then mankind does not even fulfill the 2015 climate appointments of Paris, just to name a few. But ever more people take action against the bad dog. Piketti, Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, Gabriel Zuckmann’s plan for making the tax avoidance of the multinationals, the Follow This shareholders group of Shell: the number of people and groups of people is growing.

And we, humanosophers, also want to contribute something.
Okay, we have already made a nice contribution in the above by solving the problem of the origin of human language, the problem of why we are the only species that is using fire, the problem of the birth of God and religion, the problem overpopulation and of male dominance, etc.

But for now we want to contribute two things. A new idea for the organization of democratic elections. And a new belief.

  1. The Invisible Hand (2016)

 

2.2 New idea for the organization of democratic elections

In 1906, the old statistician Professor Francis Galton fulfilled a long-cherished intention: to demonstrate statistically that the opinion of experts prevailed over that of non-expert intellectuals, and above all that of the mass of people who did not belong to these groups. When he learned that in Plymouth a farmers market would take place where an ox was awarded for the person who came closest to the weight of the animal, he persuaded the organizers to have not only the name and address but also the appeal filled in on the lottery tickets. More than 800 tickets were sold. Galton received the pile of cards afterwards for his statistical calculations. A small number was unusable, he kept 787 cards to demonstrate that the opinion of joint experts was more accurate than the opinion of the crowds. But to his surprise, the average of the ‘crowd’ of market visitors turned out to have come closest to the right weight.

Since then, this mysterious phenomenon has gone through life as the wisdom of crowds concept and has been tried many times and in many ways (guessing the number of peas in a jam jar).
However, the concept only appears to work if the individuals of the mass are diverse in nature (the statistical diagram of Galton in his Nature publication also shows strong outliers both upwards and upwards), and are strictly unaffected by their choice (because otherwise: herd behavior).

Our proposal is to bring this mechanism into line with the democratic elections.
The big difference with the referendum is that it is not about one issue, with only three choices: yes, no, or not voting. The referendum invites populist influence and causes herd behavior. It has recently led to Brexit and Trump: both with political consequences that are not in the interest of the mass of voters.

Our proposal is a summer festival. A festival to celebrate our democracy. To celebrate our freedom and relative prosperity. A living situation that the non-Western and unfree humanity yearns for. A living situation that is certainly worth a celebration.

A festival at the end of each school year. A five-day summer festival, when the classrooms are empty but before the families travel to distant places.
A festival with all possible festivities but during which every citizen who wishes to participate in the way he/she is governed, can express her/his opinion for the coming reign.

Previously, the festival has long been subject to talk programs and articles in the press. In addition, the wisdom of the crowd and the crucial importance of each uninflated individual choice were discussed extensively. The schools have been practiced in the higher classes with old voting guides, so that the children can playfully get an idea of which party they appear to adhere to. Children have a longer future to look after. The age restriction is also released: anyone who feels able to fill out a voting form is welcome. The children discuss this at home at the kitchen table so that their parents become more and more familiar with this form of co-governance.

Expressing her/his opinion for the coming reign, the voter does that by filling out a form, sort of voting guide. The guide contains thirteen issues: the thirteen most important ones that have been discussed in parliament during the last reign.
Each of the issues is initiated with objective figures and facts. Under this objective information the positions that the various parties have taken with regard to the issue. Important: the names of the parties are omitted, and the order of the list is also random. The voter makes his own personal choice, without knowing which party he supports with this choise.

It requires some thinking. No one can be forced to do that. And it takes more time (we estimate an average of twenty minutes, but still less time than filling in a tax form ). Voters must therefore give up beforehand. Where they also have to indicate whether they want to be invited for the morning shift, the afternoon shift or the evening shift.

The strictly individual choices also require that the voting forms remain secret, as well as the exam assignments of the schools.

The polling stations will then also be the empty classrooms and the voters will be in neat rows, just like the exam candidates. The forms must remain secret until the end of the week so they cannot be photographed or overwritten and there will be surveilled.

Afterwards the voting form is published and everyone can see at which party he/she appears to adhere.

Will not these be elections for highly educated people?

Like the tax forms, they are also intended for the less educated. The local voting committee can make provisions for people with a disability.

With this form of voting, the voter can influence the way she/he is governed for the first time. The citizen becomes a serious party. Many populist parties will therefore oppose it. Another advantage is that no one can call out that he is not being listened to: everything has been done to make his voice heard.

2.3 new belief

??

Oh no, no god belief, rest assured. A human faith. Based on a new Creation story. The story as we have outlined in Part I.

Started as normal animals, with our names for things we took the path of understanding things. At first we understood very little, and since we do not like to live with uncertainty, we have always filled the gap in our knowledge with God-faith. Today we already know so much that God-faith is discredited. Especially because our free market economy cannot function with that old God belief.

But we still do not know enough, so we still need a shared belief to be able to live together well. It should be the task of the academic philosophers to design that new faith, but they still do not see it as their assignment.

A new belief in what?

In the power of being human: the power of consulting each other. The power of understanding things better and better. In the power of democracy, the power of the wisdom of the crowd.

How can such a new faith be heard? Should the humanosophers proclaim it as a kind of prophets?

Well, better not. We are thinking of a big project, in which universities worldwide take part. And preferably on the initiative of UNESCO. But that is of course an utopia.

Why UNESCO? Mankind has already established a universal document, in 1948, after the end of the last world war: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is based on the dignity of every person. That concept of being human could not be further elaborated in 1948, because the relevant disciplinary sciences still had to start their spectacular flourishing. But after the breakthrough of the free market economy and its prosperity, they began to market their data from the 1970s onwards.
Unfortunately, the philosophers (it is philosophers’ work) were becoming postmodern and sitting on their hands. So we still live with NOTHING. But hopefully not for long.

Our utopia is that now UNESCO considers the time has come to strengthen the foundation under the Universal Declaration with the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Origin and Nature of Man. To this end, she invites all universities paid by governments to participate in the project. It can be largely via the internet, in the manner of Wikipedia.

The UNESCO organizes the election of a writing group of five science writers and invites participating scientists to nominate people there. The election takes place and the writing group is formed.

Already at the first announcement of the intention of UNESCO rises a tumult

from all bastions of spiritual control, such as the Vatican and the Muslim world. They feel that their power base (their control over human origin and nature) is being challenged.
But UNESCO ensures that it does not want to change anyone’s faith. She only wants to fill the void under her Universal Declaration, now that it is finally possible. Nothing more.

UNESCO provides the project and the writing group with a well-thought-out statute to protect it against every governmental or political influences.

The tumult has aroused curiosity throughout the world. Articles are being devoted, panel discussions on the TV’s. Everywhere in the world people are wondering and are starting to follow the development of the project. The election of the writing group gets all the columns and each subsequent step will generate interest. Everyone is human and therefore curious what this project may bring on credible stuff (all knowledge institutes in the world participate!).

 

The writing group gets the assignment to come up with a hull story within a year. Because one needs something to shoot arrows of comment on. We would, of course, be proud if our story was considered useful as a hull. It would not be that strange because we are the only ones who have one on offer.

The hull story is translated into all languages and immediately becomes a bestseller.

Not only scientists, everyone can comment. But just like Wikipedia: it has to have quality, otherwise it does not even reach the writing group consultation.

But objections from the scientific world that the story of creation counts unproven assumptions does not require the writing group to take heavy because it is not a scientific project. It is a philosophical project. It relies on as much science as possible and it closely follows all new insights from the disciplines of discipline, but it remains a philosophical project. The western alternative for the theological projects.
This project grows accordingly and is open to any deviant insight.

The writing group is given three years for processing of all relevant comments and to publish the first provisional-definitive edition of the new Creation Story.

That too is translated into all languages and a bestseller. The project is soon paying for itself.

And again the writing group waits for the comments. She makes her own independent choices. The group does not consist of an odd number of people for nothing: knots need to be cut. Ideas that did not make it in one edition will get a second chance in the next one. Because the project will never stop. Because the disciplinary sciences continue to go on. From now on they are even accelerated, because there is now a model to which new findings can be tested.

The project will, in addition to tumult, also soon cause new hope and optimism. This way an alternative Creation Story is created without being forced upon anyone. It comes on the market and one buys it or not. But because it is science-based, more and more educational content is tuned into it. All humanities benefit from the project.

It represents the only truth that is available to a person: a truth that used all the knowledge that humankind has today. A truth that can be constantly adjusted. A truth that always stays on the road, on the path of understanding better and better.

Can this utopia ever become a reality?

Why not? Only UNESCO we can better forget for the time being. Perhaps Europe can start with it. Or else an even lower echelon.

In fact, the idea is only with us, humanosophers. But if the wing beat of a butterfly in Brasil can eventually cause a tornado in Texas …

Comments to:

Frans Couwenbergh

Hezelstraat 4, 6576 JM Ooij, Netherlands
+31 6 2097 8214
fcouwenb@mens2000.nl
www.humanosophy.com

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Used abbreviations

GHs: gatherers/hunters (the phase from 2 million years ago to 10.000 years ago)

AGRs: agriculturers (the phase from 10.000 years ago till now)

NT(s)Neanderthal people

MSA(s): Middle Stone Age people (African NTs)

AMH(s): Anatomical Modern Humans (H sapiens people), like we are

(m)ya: (million) years ago

ANBOs: Ancestor Bonobos (ape-men), our earliest human ancestors

Paleos: all scientists that are important for our story.

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