Why’d It take So Long For Humans To Get Smart
We looked like us for a long, long time before we started acting like us. In other words, humans were anatomically the same as they are now some 200,000 years ago (except possibly for their brains, which might have been more elongated up until some 40,000 years ago). Why did it take so long for humans to become “civilized” (if the brains thing isn’t the answer) and start growing crops, building dwellings, etc.? According to Richard Muller, a Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, there are two reasons. First, there was the Ice Age. People couldn’t “people” until it abated. Muller also claims that a genetic mutation occurred somewhere around this point in history, blessing and cursing human beings with what he calls the “dissatisfaction gene”, meaning that humans are never satisfied and are always spurred on to try new things, seek out new life and new civilization, to boldly go where no one has gone before. His theory would explain the human tendency towards wanderlust, the impetus to explore.
Interestingly, Muller likens this genetic abnormality to the doctrine of “Original Sin.” And why not, if you really think about it? Were Adam and Eve not driven to partake of the forbidden fruit by their curiosity? Why could they NOT be satisfied with living in a paradise? But didn’t God CREATE them to be curious in the first place? THAT is a topic for another post. And then the whole idea of “Original Sin” is based on a false translation by Saint Augustine, anyway. But Original Sin does a better job, even though we now know it is incorrect, at explaining the human impetus towards violence and killing, than does the Dissatisfaction Gene, if we strip the former of its connection to curiosity and liken it to animalistic aggression. Humans are possessed of innate curiosity AND are inherently bloodthirsty. And often at the same time.