Social Progress – -?

Like Quark always said…

Once, you learned all you knew from parents, locals, the Shaman, your own experience. You had to remember all you learned.  There was no paper, pen, or knowledge of writing. Life was hard. The Shaman was in contact with the scary Unseen Forces, and was generally obeyed, but had to share power. Only the Strong thrived, and everyone agreed (one way or another) that the Strong should rule with the help of the Shaman, and occasionally protect the weak.

Gradually, life became more complicated, and writing was developed as a way to deal with the complication, and make up for loss of memory. The Scribe took his place (a notch below) next to the Shaman. For a longish time, the Strong, the Shaman, and the Scribe together ran the whole show.

Five hundred years ago, or so, the printing press was invented and Modern Times took off with a roar.  Suddenly, mass literacy was a thing, and books began to flood the world. (By comparison only.) The Scholar arrived on the scene. The Scholar knew he was Smart, because he read books, and, having absorbed the Scribe in his ranks, began to think that the Smarts should rule the world.  The Strong and the Shaman dissented from this judgment, and a war commenced which continues to this day. The Strong also changed, and as Money developed a life of its own, began to incorporate Wealth into his arsenal in addition to Power.  In fact, it was discovered that Money IS Power, frozen, portable Power.  Previously, the Strong was a Warrior, but it was found that Warriors could be bought if one had Wealth.

Along the way, the Shaman, who had been the one who told you how the World works and how to navigate in it, organized and thrived.  He created Institutions. Once organized, the Institutions began to ossify and fossilize, and sputtered into ineffective mediocrity and became less than servants of the Strong. Meanwhile, a new type of Shaman arose, based on the Scholar.  It was the Journalist, aka the Pundit, and with advanced technology, the Talking Head who now proposed to explain the World and everything in it.

Put in these terms, it sounds rather presumptuous, and it is, to assume Man or Society have evolved in any way other than in our Toys.  Our Toys have become able to tap into the Universal Fire, and have placed us all in danger of extinction.  Humans haven’t changed since we were hunter-gatherers clustered about the newly discovered technology of Fire. Contrary to the fond sanctimony of Captain Picard, we haven’t “evolved” much beyond our roots.

Because we are, cosmologically, still at our Roots. Granted, we have gone from beings who gazed dumbly at the Stars to beings who set out to explore those Stars, but we are still rather young, as a species. (Yes, Voyager is yet within Solar influence, but it is on its way.)

The human lifespan is a lousy yardstick for measurement of society or biological progress, but learned writers seem to make that mistake all; the time. They forget the dinosaurs were around longer, and were by that definition more successful, then humans. The verdict on our type is not yet in.

About that Neanderthal DNA – –

Jean Luc Picard, “We’ve evolved beyond that.” Lily Sloane, “BULLSHIT!