Modern humans appeared 200,000; civilization 10,000; and advanced technology 500 years ago. Why no advancement for something like 190,000 years?


Modern humans appeared 200,000; civilization 10,000; and advanced technology 500 years ago. Why no advancement for something like 190,000 years?

In: Technology

It’s exponential. Certain discoveries make other pivotal discoveries possible. Agriculture is probably the main one. It took early humans that amount of time to figure out that planting certain seeds creates food, instead of being hunter-gatherers. Fire to cook food is a big deal because we get more calories from cooked foods than we do from raw foods, so we can get by with less food. From all of that, societal advances come faster. When you spend all of your waking hours searching for food, you’re not coming up with new technology.

There’s another interesting theory about how the switch from alcohol as primary drink to coffee/tea created The Enlightenment. That could be another factor in accelerating human progress.

Well actually for those 190,000 years most of the years humans were fighting each other. up until 1945 we were fighting each other for power and dominance we started living in peace after the globalisation policy of 1991 still many countries are at war. But its the hard truth.
Humans find violence deeply satisfying remove the satisfaction and the act becomes hallow.
-Alan Turing

Its because through out most of that 190,000 years we were hunter gatherers living in small nomadic populations. Once we began cultivating our own food, rather than hunting and gathering it, it gave us time to explore other aspects of our humanity. Food wasn’t in such scarce supply so family’s grew larger. Because we weren’t spending much time hunting and gathering anymore we could spend more time pondering. From this comes different forms of art, the invention of the wheel, etc. Because each invention grows on the last you get an increased rate of new inventions. Take for example the computer: the first thing that we would consider as a computer was created back in the 70’s (just over 40 yrs ago) yet now the phone you are holding has more computing power than that firs computer.

The 190,000 year gap you’re mentioning is the gap of hunting and gathering until humans finally settled down. You have to understand that this came as a natural process, not one where people suddenly woke up and realized ‘hey, let’s just grow crops and tame pigs and stop running after wild boars and berries’. It came gradually over a long period of time (potentially generations), with humans potentially not even being aware of going through such a radical change in ‘society’ (or rather through the creation of). What I mean by gradually is that we first for example found some vegetables which were good and we stuck close, then the seeds we were dropping led to more of them growing there etc. until we ended up farming over years and years of environmental change that made humans stick around in certain places.

This process was slow probably because it was dependent on population growth. Few people means that everyone can hunt freely for anything. More people means food becomes more scarce and some species may go extinct. Even more people means that we may have to start looking at vegetable food and other stuff in the first place.

And population growth was dependent on other factors which determined change in social structure such as the development of communication (language) – another slow process.

Again, it was a natural change, not necessarily a conscious one of settling down, and these are some of the factors.

I truly recommend Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari to get a glimpse of how we came to be, including some answers to your question.

Or check out this idea & more:

First of all, they were primitive. Not only their technology but also their diet was bad. Average human life was too low. We still don’t know much about 200.000 part but you wouldn’t like to be there.

10.000 years, these people started to settle. Normally, if you settle, nomads will raid and take away whatever they can and burn the rest. But some lucky people settled on very fertile farmlands near rivers, like Mesopotamia, Nile, india, china etc. The raiders didn’t need to destroy it. They settled when they captured. And they started farming, farms give more food. Food feeds more people, more people bring society, technology, economy. They need laws and police force and also army so that they don’t get raided. Those who were out of these areas either tried to capture land or kept raiding.

For example, Turks and Mongols kept raiding China because farming was not available in their homeland. They did not choose to be a nomad, the land decided that. And a city folk is no match against a steppe warrior who is master of bow and horse. They need to hunt to feed their family, while cabbage in your farm can’t run away from field like a deer.

What happened in the last 500 years? There was education opportunities but it was limited to certain people in certain cities. And they were not very good at transferring their knowledge to next generation. For example ancient Greeks had astronomical discoveries but they couldn’t keep their schools. Arabs and Persians translated them much later.

After fall of Constantinople, their intellectuals moved to Europe. But Europe was under church’s dominance. The writing system was mainly Latin, people didn’t have much choice but believe in what clerics were saying. Constantinople was key point on trade routes. When it was falling, Europeans looked for other ways to get to major location of trade, India. But they found out that the earth is not flat like Pope said. This started religion debates.

Some cool dudes in central Europe, declared that Pope is fooling people. They have no idea about what they talk about and religion should be in native language, not in Latin so that everyone could get education and learn it. People killed each other but good guys got religious freedom.

Remember the people who settled and who didn’t? The settled got fast technology with trade routes and wars, it is interaction after all. They made guns and cannons, big ships to trade more goods. Natives in America were not ready for that and european colonists killed or assimilated %95 of 2 damn continents of people.

Do you think it’s enough? Ofcourse not! There were African people with their archaic technology. When Europeans came, they didn’t settle this time. They just came for natural resources. And they enslaved millions of people to work for them. Slavery was so profitable that they moved hundreds thousands of black people from Africa to America to make them work in their plantations till death. Just check king Leopold of Belgium did in Congo.

Getting easy resources and trade made people of Europe to focus on technology to produce stuff even faster. Industrial revolution, steam engines, electricity etc

I love how everyone is suddenly an expert paleontologist with their own theories on why things happened the way they did lol