It is believed that, humans of our kind, were born some 2,00,000 years ago in Omo, a place in East Africa. Evolutionists say they were not born. They evolved from apes. Apes are our ancestor. Charles Darwin, an English naturalist and biologist, in his theory of evolution (1859) says that all living beings that we see around or have become extinct are descendants from common ancestor. A human is an another animal in vast kingdom of animals. He is vastly superior to a monkey as a monkey is to a rat and a rat is to an ant. This was a big blow to the people who held firmly a belief that humans were privileged beings created by nature for a purpose. They refused to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution. It is anathema to many , even to this day, to imagine that long long ago a man came out from womb of an ape. If such thought ever crosses their minds, it is an act of blasphemy for them and and they would run to the nearest church, mosque or temple to seek pardon from the God. All religion in their sacred books and scriptures have linked birth of humans to divinity. In Christianity Adam and Eve fell from Heavens and in Hindu religion Lord Brahma after rising from naval of Lord Vishnu became a Prajapati- father of all living creatures.
The theatre of this wonderful and fascinating play is universe. How universe came into being? This is the most enigmatic question humans are struggling to find answer. Religions, philosophers and scientists have said and written about this. Besides , there are some myths and traditions. According to one myth among the Boshogo people of Central Africa, there was nothing in the beginning except darkness and great God Bumba. Universe came into being from God Bumba’s vomits. He vomited the sun, the moon, the stars, the animals and finally he vomited a man, and his abdomen ache ended. Religions hold a belief that universe had a beginning and it didn’t begin of its own. Its creation was not an accident. The God created it with some intent. Aristotle, the most famous Greek philosopher, believed that universe existed for ever. Something eternal. There was no beginning. German Philosopher, Immanuel Kant, studied whether or not the universe had a beginning. He felt that there were logical contradictions either way. Science came out with its theories on creation of universe. Among them the ‘Big Bang Theory’ is widely accepted one. The theory says that universe has a beginning. It began suddenly from nothingness some 13.8 billion years ago. With it were born space, time, energy and matter. This nothingness expanded like a balloon. The expansion was initially slow. Later it speeded up and it continues to expand to this day. This expanse according to ‘Big Bang Theory’ is universe. After more than 9 billion years of Big Bang, some 4.5 billion years ago Earth was formed and 3.8 billion years ago tiniest living creature emerged on it. Homo Sapiens, zoological nomenclature of humans of our kind have evolved over billions of years through complex and chancy process of natural selection
Before Homo Sapiens and many thousands of years along-with them lived many generations of several species of humans- Homo Erectus, Homo Rudolfensis, Neanderthals and some more. The odds of natural selection didn’t favour them for long, besides they couldn’t defend themselves from onslaughts of incoming Homo-Sapiens from African Continent, and they got extinct over the period of time. No other species of humans now exist except for our kind. Humans for most of their existence lived like any other animal except that they stood upright on two hind limbs and carried on their shoulders a bigger skull. It was 70, 000 years ago humans moved significantly away from the seemingly common path shared with humans of other kinds and other animals. They chose a different course that set them apart from all other animals and at hugely elevated position.
Yuval Noah Harari in his best seller, ‘Sapiens- A Brief History Of Humankind’ says that it is believed that in long course of evolution brains of humans by pure chance of natural selection got differently wired. This lead to revolution in their cognitive abilities.They gained the ability to process and transmit larger quantities of information about their surroundings. They transcended the objective reality of their surroundings and weaved myths and stories around imaginary characters, things and places. They shared and believed in these myths. These myths became rallying elements for social corroborations. Humans spread from Africa to other places on the earth. Their numbers increased greatly so increased their social interactions and contradictions making room for many more diverse myths and legends to emerge. At first, it briefly seemed strange to me that my social values and beliefs have origin in man’s propensity for gossiping and his cognitive ability of creating fictional stories. And in his ability in believing as if his fictional stories were real and also making other men to believe in them. Gods, religions, nations, money, laws, equality, rights, democracy, and many other like these have no objective reality. But these social constructs are something real in our minds. They are part of our daily lives. They influence our decisions and preferences. They shape our world view. There is limitless possibility for humans to create newer and diverse myths and fictional stories and legends forming new imagined realities in our minds for forging larger social collaboration for further progress. Humans are also not averse to do away with some existing imagined realities. They do it. Without these social constructs, creation and absorption of new social constructs and doing away with the defunct ones, world will become disorderly and disjointed, and stop progressing
I agree that behind the humongous progress that humans have made in short span of time is their cognitive abilities. We are in stage of development, popularly known as ‘Internet Age’. In this age we notice that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc are hugely popular. Facebook has nearly 2 billion subscribers and number is increasing. There are reports that people are getting addicted to social media. Some fear that addiction may reach to epidemic levels in a few years from now. Is it humans’ propensity and love for gossiping reason for popularity of social media ? Humans gossiped and created myths and fictions to forge greater and larger social collaborations for their further progress. But we witnessed that diametrically opposite happening on social media. Does our biggest asset cognitive ability need an upgrade to deal with social and economic issues that have arisen due exponential growth of ‘Internet’?