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Long-Time Social Evolution

April 14th, 2014

Human beings, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, has been around for some 200,000 years now. But we (assuming you are human, as am I) didn’t just spring up from nowhere. The precursor to Homo Sapiens was Homo Eructus–specifically, the south-east African branch called Homo Ergaster, or Homo Rodesiensis. We are told the story of how humans came into the world from out of Africa some 150,000 years ago. But when we did leave Africa, we found that there were already out in the world other species, all very much like us, and all descendents our our common ancestor Erectus: Homo Neanderthalis, Heidelbergensis, Atecessor, Denisovan…spread all over the Eurasian continent. Humans lived beside, fought against, and sometimes mated with these other groups, and eventurally humans out-survived them.

All this time, we humans were forming families, grouping ourselves into tribes, co-operating in hunting groups, foraging together, and also fighting amongt ourselves. In short, we were engaging in the formation of societies.  Just as humans evolved over these years–developing lactose toleration, adding to or subtracting from the melanin in our skin, getting taller or shorter–so also our societies were evolving.

Is it any wonder, then, that we cannot, within one generation or less, move ourselves away from the stultifying bifurcation in our political (social) thought between conservative and liberal?

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