Archive for the ‘mammals’ Category

SCRIPT OF DOCUMENTARY

— The narrative is mostly based on the historical research done by Jared Diamond – ‘Steel, Germs & Horses’ (1997) —

When looking at the world of today and looking at the differences that
exist between Human beings on earth, one could ask if there is a
particular reason as to why a specific ‘race’ or ‘country’ or
‘continent’ ended up holding a more favorable position of ‘power’ in
comparison to other ‘races’, ‘countries’, or ‘continents’.

Where through economic principles of debt, entire Nations have ended up being
enslaved to western creditors with no way out.

Where entire populations are left to starve without regard from the Western countries.

Where one half of the world is actually working to feed the other half
that live in better conditions and enjoy more wealth, health and better
education.

Was there a pre-programmed advantage involved? And if so – did it have anything
to do with the Human?

Since the times when ‘modern civilization’ came into contact with the
‘forgotten parts’ of the world, the west was faced with a peculiar
question: how come populations such as the Aboriginals in Australia had
virtually made ‘no progress’ since the Stone-Age?

People of ‘Modern civilization’ saw themselves as superior in
knowledge, science and culture – giving them a ‘Divine Right’ to either
exterminate, convert or enslave the indigenous populations. Ultimately
the reason as to why one part of the world came to hold the more
fortunate position is then attributed to the particular evolution of
knowledge, science and technology within that society.

This is how history is being taught in schools and how it is recorded
in the history books. History books will typically emphasize the
superiority of the West in terms of philosophy, religion, science and
technology, and they will meticulously trace the ‘evolutions’ thereof.
Within that, the core belief of the Western world is reinforced – that
knowledge is the actual drive of ‘evolution’, ‘change’ and ‘progress’.
Recent historical research has uncovered that this is not so. In fact,
the role of knowledge, science, technology, religion and even culture
in itself are quite irrelevant factors in the journey of Humanity that
has resulted in the extreme inequalities that we witness today.

So, then what are the relevant factors?

The biggest factors that have in fact determined the inequality between and
within Human societies of today, are Plants, Animals and Germs.

To place this into perspective we will consider the startingpoint of
when – according to the historical record – ‘Human civilization’
started. This is said to be between 13 000 and 10 000 years ago, which
is after the beginning of a new climate cycle on earth – where it
basically became warmer on earth from that point onwards. (With ‘Human
Civilization’ I refer to a new type of ‘living together’, thus I’m not
talking about the beginning of Humans ‘living together’ as such, which
existed much earlier.)

If we look at the basics of Human Life on earth, we can ask: what do Humans
primarily require to be able to exist?

According to ‘standard archeological research’, Human Beings had
typically been living as nomadic hunter gatherers, where they would
settle and move according to a temporary favorable environment. Studies
of hunter gatherers in recent centuries have shown that such people
lived in what is termed an ‘egalitarian’ form of social organization.
‘Egalitarian’ implies nothing more than that every member of the group
is equally responsible for obtaining food, because otherwise there will
simply not be enough for everyone. Hence there will be no ‘social
classes’ of any significance in such a small society. Even the one
regarded as ‘generally more or most responsible’ looks and lives
exactly the same way as every one else, simply because they cannot
afford to be or look like ‘more’ than another.

Such societies are typically very limited in their ‘cultural products’,
because they moved a lot and their only means of transport was their
back.

To put it extremely simplistically there existed two basic types of
human societies: nomadic hunter gatherers and sedentary farmers. It is
quite relevant to make that distinction because all the current
societies that are regarded as ‘more advanced’ originated from
sedentary farmer societies. So the ‘step’ from the hunter gatherer type
of society to sedentary farmers appears to be the decisive ‘step’ in
the course of Human history. The history of Farming is said to have
started 10 000 years ago – thus marking the beginning of ‘Human
civilization’.

Let’s look at this point then.

What changes had occurred as a result of humans becoming sedentary
farmers?

What generally happens is the following: at one point on the band /
tribe will find a vegetable that it can cultivate in a controlled area
of soil, which will cause the available food resources to increase.
Everywhere where the circumstances have allowed for it man has
discovered that he could manipulate certain plants to become suitable
for cultivation. A direct consequence of a heightened food production
is that the population will be able to grow and a situation will emerge
in which some are discharged of their food producing duties. A new
‘class’ is able to emerge. In all societies where farming occurred,
hierarchy and social stratification have resulted from it. It seems to
be part of the Human program.

Simplistically, inventions such as ‘writing’, ‘the wheel’ and
‘metallurgy’ could only arise in societies where such a thing as ‘free
time’ existed, allowing for (some) humans to ‘explore reality’ and to
‘play around’ as part of a new ‘specialized activity’ pertaining to a
‘specialized class’. Thus, farming allowed for heightened food
production, which led to population increases, which in turn led to a
class emerging that is able to completely be free from food related
duties.

Thus agriculture laid the foundation for modern society, in which many
are able to never in their lives have to be concerned with
food-production. In terms of practical living, farmer-societies would
develop a higher level of effectiveness than hunter gatherers. So then
why didn’t everyone on earth become farmers?

For farming to really be worth the trouble one needed two things: an
effective vegetable and a big mammal to assist with muscle power.

There exist round about 200 000 wild plant species on earth (including
non-edible ones, such as trees). Of those 200 000 wild plant species
only a few hundreds had been successfully domesticated and of those
hundreds only a few dozen are used in today’s world for world-wide
production. What does that imply? It means that Human societies did not
necessarily have access to effective vegetables for domestication and
food production. Within that, bear in mind that none of the vegetables
we eat today existed as such in nature: they were genetically modified
through a long processes of domestication thousands of years ago. That
no significant new plants have ever been domesticated in modern times,
suggests that humans did explore all available possibilities already in
ancient times. That gives us a pretty sober picture as to the apparent
‘abundance’ of the earths ‘natural resources’.

The big mammals that were used could be seen as the first ‘machines’,
with the sole difference that this ‘machine’ wasn’t ‘invented’ and
build by the human, but simply existed and walked around in humans
natural environment. All Humans had to do was to capture the thing.
Though such mammals weren’t readily available anywhere. In fact, very
few mammals have ever been available that allowed for effective
domestication. (To establish a clear definition, Domestication = an
animal bred in captivity, with controlled feeding and breeding, as
opposed to ‘taming’ which is capturing an animal born in the wild)

Having a big domesticated mammal constituted quite a big ‘advantage’
because in addition of it offering superior muscle power, it also was a
source of fertilizer, a means of transport, a source of meat and some
could also produce milk. Mammals were especially utilized to pull plows
which allowed for an exponential increase in the surface that could be
sown, instead of having to put the grains in the soil manually.

Now, amongst the 148 big herbivorous mammals, only 14 ever proved to
be effective for domestication.
– To begin with, one must be able to feed the animal (consider that the
biggest percentage of all the grains in the world today are being used
as food for cattle).
– The animal must have a fast enough growth rate.
– It must be willing to mate in captivity (which many mammals don’t ever).
– The animal must have a genetic disposition. For instance, while
horses had been successfully domesticated in Eurasia, African zebra’s
were – and are still today – impossible to domesticate. The animal
simply does not submit to the Human. And this goes for all the big
mammals of the African continent, such as rhinos, hippos, buffaloes,
elands… etc.

Much research, money and effort has been directed towards increasing
the amount of domesticated species in modern times – it has virtually
amounted to nothing. This suggests pre-programmed conditions in nature,
leading to outflows of inequality.

From that perspective different people on different continents simply
did not have an equal startingpoint: certain environments allowed for
more possibilities than others, either offering the Human ‘many
opportunities’ or either limiting him to an extreme degree.

For instance, after the time Humans firs set foot on the Australian
continent some 10 000’s of years ago, all big mammals that existed
there, went extinct. The same happened in Native America: by the time
of the arrival of humans, all big mammals – except for the llama and
the closely related alpaca – were either hunted to extinction or
perished through the climate shift.

With everything discussed so far, a pattern has now emerged. South
America had just one domesticable specie, while North America,
Australia, and Sub-Saharan Africa had none. In contrast the remaining
13 mammal species all existed on the Eurasian continent (including
North Africa), because the natural environments there were more
supportive of those species. Merely by determining the spread of these
animals, the course of history already became predictable.

Obviously once a particular technique of food production had been
found, that method was then able to spread to other peoples/societies –
crops and animals could be used outside of the area where the method
was first ‘discovered’. Though here again the environments played a
decisive role.

If one look at the size and the orientation of the big landmasses of
the earth, one will notice that there are differences. For instance the
American and the African continents have a smaller surface than
Eurasia. If we then look at the orientation of the landmasses we see
that America and Africa both have a vertical orientation on the map.
The vertical distance between the two remotest points of the continent
is called the ‘north-south axis’. Eurasia has a very broad horizontal
orientation, which is termed a ‘west-east axis’.

Why is this relevant? It has to do with the climate differences on the
different latitudes of the Earth, such as the Equator. These latitudes
run horizontally across the globe – on maps this is depicted as
horizontal strokes. This implies that on a landmass with a large
horizontal axis, the longest distance of that landmass will find itself
laying entirely within one latitude or climate. Hence Plants and
Animals that are able to live on one area within one latitude, will
most likely be able to live in other areas within that same latitude.

However with Africa and America – because of the vertical orientations
– the landmasses are more ‘divided’ by different latitudes. One merely
need to consider the desert on the equator in Africa, nearly ‘cutting
off’ the upper and the lower halfs of the continent from each other.
Thus different latitudes will ‘cut up’ the continent, making transfer
of Animals and Plants along a vertical axis more difficult. Let’s
illustrate this with a practical example: for instance, while the llama
existed as a domesticated animal in South America – and while a type of
wheel had been invented in Mexico – the two never met. As a consequence
of this, the wheel never got any practical application other than being
used for small toys. The two area’s were ‘cut off’ from each other
through the climate barrier of Central America.

Another point is that one cannot randomly move a Plant from one
location on the globe to another. For instance, plants have
pre-programmed time-cycles. If one moves a plant with a particular
time-cycle from one area on the globe to another area where the days
are shorter, the plant will not be able to survive. Similarly, Animals
that have become resistant to the germs that live in one particular
climate, will become sick in a new climate with new germs. So Animals
and plants are bound to their climatic environments, limiting their
‘free movement’.

So from that perspective the Eurasian continent has had the ‘most
favorable’ conditions, allowing for the widest and fastest spread of
domesticated Animals and Plant-crops. On top of that Eurasia has been
the continent with the most available domesticable big mammals in fact.
Thus by its very conditions, the Eurasian continent was more supportive
of the Human.

Let’s now finally turn to the subject of Germs.

Why would Germs be so important?

When the Spanish conquerors invaded Native America, they had many
points that ‘helped’ them in having a certain advantage over the Native
people: they possessed fire-arms, were mounted on horses, were
protected by metal armors and had metal swords, though they were not in
great number. The Spanish killed, conquered and converted many of the
natives – but the majority was in fact killed by Germs which the
Europeans had brought from overseas. So the cause of the near
extinction of the Native Americans was not due to the Conquerors, but
the Viruses. So who really conquered America?

Though, where did these germs come from and why didn’t the Native
American Germs kill the Spanish instead?

It seems the Europeans got their Germs from their mammals.

In the process of living together with their Animals, farmers took over
their Germs and overtime they build a resistance towards these Germs.
Amongst the diseases that have been traced to cattle-germs are: the
measles, smallpox and tuberculosis.

A second origin of new diseases was the growth of populations in itself
due to sedentary living. Because what happens with sedentary living:
groups of people start living in their own sewage, causing many
bacteria to infiltrate the drinking water. Thus the bigger the
populations, the more Germs. Cities typically have had to deal with
epidemics. The building of underground sewage systems was the first
point that allowed to really break the pattern. And only till the
beginning of the 20 th century did European cities become
self-sustaining in terms of their populations, whereas before a
constant inflow of healthy farmers from the outside was required to
compensate for deaths due to crowd diseases.

Another point that has benefited the Germs in Eurasia was the trading
routes. Since they were build in Roman times, a more easy transfer to
the different parts of the continent became possible. So now the
populations of North Africa, Europe and Asia became one large breeding
ground for microbes.

Obviously none of these points were ‘intended’ or even understood.

Thus we could push the point even further and ask whether it is really
the peoples of Modern civilization that ended up dominating the globe
at all. From a certain perspective it is the germs that are dominating
the globe. Perhaps that’s why scientists call groups of microbes
‘Microbe-Cultures’ ?

Let’s have a look at how germs operate.

Some will enter the organism and will then start modifying the organism
so as to develop what from a human perspective are ‘symptoms’ or
‘side-effects’ of the actual disease. Though from the Germs
perspective: this modification of the body is what allows him to spread
more effectively.

Some examples.

Influenza, common cold and ‘whooping cough’ microbes induce the human
to cough or to sneeze, thereby launching a cloud of microbes towards
potentially new hosts.

The cholera bacterium induces massive diarrhea allowing the bacteria to
spread through the water supply of which many will drink.

Then there is the rabies virus that on top of getting in the saliva of
an infected dog, will drive the dog into a frenzy of biting and thereby
spreading the virus.

Other bacteria will induce genital infections to spread through the human act of sex.

From that perspective it becomes difficult to ignore that more advanced
species than the Human exist in fact on earth. It is even becoming more
and more uncertain whether the human will be able to adapt to the
evolution-speed of new emerging diseases. They have been with the human
since day one, and while the human’s genetics haven’t changed since the
beginning, the germs have been mutating incessantly.

So – within establishing why The Western world has ended up having such
an advantage over other continents and peoples, we have found that
Human beings have had very little say in their particular destinies.
There has in other words been no real directiveness from the Human
within his own history, because if one really look at it – as soon as
certain conditions were in place the human would start acting in a
predictable pattern. At all times the human has been directed by fear,
greed and the desire for power. Nothing ‘revolutionary’ has ever
happened other than the human acting out his program, which has
resulted in the world we see today.

So why have Human beings never applied common sense to their reality?

For instance, with the technology, the resources, the
producing-capacity and the knowledge that exists today, one could
easily end things like starvation and poverty forever – allowing for
every human on earth to live a dignified life from Birth to Death. That
would be common sense, because then there would be no more unnecessary
suffering through things like war, exploitation and other behaviors
that are based on inequality.

Remember that ultimately, the ‘position’, ‘status’ and ‘power’ one
currently hold in this reality is a result of conditions that existed
on earth 10 000 years ago – and that it has very little to do with
one’s individual capacity. It was instead pre-programmed through the
unequal conditions of the earth. This implies that equality should be
considered, because otherwise humanity will eternally remain a slave of
the past. There is no intrinsic reason why Humans should keep
‘following’ the pre-programmed path of inequality that has been set out
since the beginning. Therefore all the suffering that is occurring as a
result of it – is completely unnecessary and it can actually be ended.
It only requires the will to do so and with the possibilities that are
currently available, humanity has really no more excuse.

It’s time to stop.

Gabriel Zamora Moreno