There is no way that I can cover the history and state of humanity in a few web pages, but what the heck, I'll give it a try!
We live in an age of burgeoning science and technology, generating new possibilities for people. However, we also live in a time where its possible for us to lose touch with our nature, even our planet. I hope (and pray) that the combination of scientists and technologists coupled with a large dose of human ingenuity and integrity -- give us the answer to the equal volume of burgeoning human social, economic and resource issues. I'm honestly not so concerned for myself, as for my children and grandchildren.
So, as my mother (who I believe was Confucius re-incarnated) used to say: "A journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step." I think she wanted me to leave.
It's been a long time since I've been taught anything, and maybe things have changed. However I remember history (I really enjoyed it), was about learning date of kings and queens, wars, plagues, famines. History was always about my country (with a touch of Ancient Greece and Rome thrown in).
What if we were to take a more personal look at history -- our own. Instead of living at the whims of kings and princes, Earls and Courts, Marks and Spencer, what about living for our selves, our families. And don't get me wrong. I'm not saying go whack the neighbor because he has more cheese than you. I'm saying that if we look deeper, we will find that there are no real nations or states. There are no Kings and Princes. That we have to learn how to take personal responsibility for our lives. But I jump ahead of myself as usual.
One of the technologies that has emerged over the past 20 years is DNA testing. This is a result of us beginning to understand the Human Genome. The obvious use of this (the money-maker) is in Crime investigation. However, another increasing money-maker is in Ancestry -- which is of course, our personal history. People have always been interested in their family trees, origins, etc. We think of ourselves in terms of nations of origin, tribes, clans, gangs, families, etc. But most family trees go back -- I'm guessing -- no more than 10 generations.
Maybe 400 years.
A few families in Europe can trace their history to ancestry to Athelbert the Unwashed, or Eggbert the Alchemist, or Norman the norman. I could go on. (Duke of Earl).
With DNA testing, we can now trace our ancestry (excluding their phone numbers and emails) to between 70,000 to 150,000 years, essentially to the first homo-eruptus. Ok, stop kidding, homo-sapiens.
Anthropologists have long believed (true scientists never "know", they "think", "theorize", or "believe") that people like us appeared around that time in central Africa, what is now Ethiopia and Sudan, and that about 70,000 years ago, groups started to migrate all over the world. It's ironic that the birthplace of humanity are the scenes of such terrible crimes in modern times. (Darfur).
At that time, the planet was a different looking place. Ocean levels were lower and there were land bridges, for example, between Siberia and Alaska. (That place is called Beringia, as it is now the Bering Sea).
DNA researchers think (at the moment), from all the testing that has taken place in the past 20 years around the world, that in fact we are all descended from -- believe it or not between 1-18 Adams and approximately 26 Eves.
As people started to disperse around the planet, the DNA shows changes. These "clips" where changes occurred result in new Haplogroups.
Because men have both X and Y chromosomes, we can be tested for both paternal and maternal DNA haplogroups. Women have only X chromosomes and their maternal lines can be traced.
This may be a route my Mother's family used in their ancestral migration:
And this may be the route my father's ancestors took:
And this is an actual photo of my friend Bill's maternal ancestors (mine too maybe):
Without going into too much detail, the point is that we humans share a common ancestry. We are all brothers and sisters. It doesn't take much biblical reading to know that we are supposed to take care of our brothers and sisters.
We have our bright spots, but our history does not show us in such a good light so far.
I believe I came up with the expression that: "At our best, we are childlike -- full of wonder and imagination. But at our worst, we are childish, nasty, cruel and downright bad".
I also have another idea. With the emphasis on "Child", we have lived on this planet for about 3.5 million years, only the last 70,000 have we been intelligent enough to look for food, migrate to suitable climates, and house and protect ourselves. Dinosaurs lived on this planet for 100,000,000 years. We are relative newcomers. If we start to treat ourselves, as our best selves, be child-like, helpful, imaginative and understanding, think what we could solve and accomplish.
If we were able to travel back further, we may find that our DNA comes not from here at all but from cometary soup that likely seeded primitive life on this planet.
If we look at the imposition of dogma**on us over the last few millennia, it divides us and brings out our worst selves.
One last piece. Only a little time ago, a group of Australians (i.e. white) men, ventured into the interior of Papua New Guinea. As PNG was settled at coastal inlets, it was "believed" that the interior of the island chain was devoid of humanity. This group of three, pretty awful buggers, took locals into the interior to search for gold, and discovered what we would describe as "prehistoric" tribes. More than one million people who had never ventured out of their realm. The only good thing these brothers did (as far as I can tell), was to bring along a film camera. The film was long lost, but around 1980, film makers went back and spoke to the people who were kids when the first explorers came, but were now old men. You can download the film by clicking on the map. It's too big to show on the site, and it's about impossible to obtain.
I always come back to John Lennon's song, Imagine. "Living life in peace". We are so close. We have to -- as my paternal ancestor might have said, "bury the hatchet" and smoke a peace pipe or two.
Meanwhile, this guy will do just fine!
In the american vernacular, if the Hatfields and McCoys could do it, so can we. We need mutual respect, mutual trust, sharing our wealth, our toys, and our knowledge and understanding. Being tolerant and truly caring for each other, always keeping in mind, our common ancestry. Heck if we in America can be tolerant of the - for lack of a better word - brothers - who ran our nation for the past eight years, we can put up with anything.
We are not enemies, we may look different today, but we are all -- the original brothers and sisters.
There: our history in one web page.
* Wells wrote "War of the Worlds" and "The Time Machine" amongst other classics.
** favorite bumper sticker: " My karma ran over my dogma".