In the most recent version of superman movies, Superman confides in Louis Lane that he hears (through his super hearing) people crying out everyday for a savior. I believe people do this in their own way, to their governments for help, to their family and friends for assistance and through prayers to their god(s) to which they believe. We are in desperate need of help as a species but why is this?
I guess the first thing we need to ask is have we, as humans, always been like this? Is this our nature to feel helpless? Not an easy question to answer. You can probably find evidence of this kind of reaching out throughout recorded history, through the stories we have written and the prayers we have said. But recorded history is a very small fraction of human existence. There is evidence that humans have been on the earth of over 3 million years but recorded history is only 2 to 3 thousand years, 6 thousand if you include the Egyptian civilization. This is only 0.2% of human history. For most of the 3 million years human populations probably remained fairly steady, with minor growth from the expansion of our species throughout the globe and fluctuations in populations from major changes in climate like the ice ages.
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Human populations probably started growing as many as 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture. There is some speculation in scholars as to which came first, the use of tools or the advent of agriculture. However, agriculture likely began with a simple observation of the type of weeds growing in the tribe's trash or bathroom area in one of their favorite hunting and gathering stops being the same tasty plant as was eaten for a few dinners the last time they were in that area. Over time humans realized they could cultivate these delicious plants; and so it all began. Agriculture allowed people to do a little bit more than just survive but hunting and collecting food daily resulting in a slightly higher birth rate. This lead to a rise in population for the first time since our species took hold on the earth. Agriculture allowed people to stay pretty much in one area leading to the development of village life which eventually increased in size to nice size towns then to cities. There is some speculation in scholars as to which came first, the use of tools or the advent of agriculture. However, agriculture likely began with a simple observation of the type of weeds growing in the tribe's trash or bathroom area in one of their favorite hunting and gathering stops being the same tasty plant as was eaten for a few dinners the last time they were in that area. Over time humans realized they could cultivate these delicious plants; and so it all began.
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The world population continued to grow for 10,000 years, being fueled by agriculture. Human population, as we all know, grows exponentially and by the 1700s the world population was estimated to have been approximately 8 hundred million people. In the early 1900s, after only 200 years, the population doubled to nearly one and a half billion, then doubling again by 1960, after only 60 years, to three billion, with a population today of over six billion people after only 40 years. Today, the experts are speculating that the world population will stabilize around 9 billion because the developing nations will become developed and eventually people will not have time to have the large number of children as we once did, as is happening in the US today.
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So... my question to you is "were people happy before agriculture?" I ask this because we have just seen that human population growth began with agriculture and not long after that we began recording history. Before agriculture we were hunting animals and gathering what we could to survive, the fabled "hunter/gatherers". Were these hunters and gatherers happy, content with their life style? We really have no way of knowing but we can make some concluding observations. For one they probably didn't know any better, until the advent of agriculture. We can also conclude that once agriculture began in an area, this limited the area that the hunters could hunt and the gatherers could gather. This probably led to clashes (war?) with the agriculturists eventually ALWAYS wining because they had population growth and time on their side.
It wasn't evil, just something that occurred. We did not notice it happening mostly because it happened too slowly, until recently. The sheer efficiency of agriculture's fuel for our population growth has brought our world on the brink of no return with disease, war and global warming. There is no arguing these things are happening because we are burning our natural resources at an unprecedented rate and our population is growing and to grow it consumes, just like every living thing and us humans are finding a way to consume more and more... Sure there are specific problems, like polluted lakes and streams, food shortages and modern day wars motivated by other things than land. Underlying all this is the great bothersome irritant of exponential global population growth. If we do not see this for the problem it is we will never be able to solve this global problem.
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Christopher Snyder is the Founder and Managing Director of Asia Products LLC and currently is living in Bangkok, Thailand.
He writes on a variety of topics including current events, politics, and travel ideas. He manages an e-commerce store buying products to sell on http://www.asiaproductsllc.com. He is documenting some of his more interesting travels in his Asia Travel Ideas website : http://www.apllc-connect.com.