A while back, I nonchalantly chose to read a book that would forever make an impact in my perception of humankind. History will always have its objectivity: fossils, evidence, documents, and in the more modern times, pictures & videos. But with all this documentation and evidence comes the subjectivity of the human mind. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind surveys the history of humankind from the evolution of archaic human species in the Stone Age up to the by-him-proposed intelligently designed humans of the future.
What I took in the most, was the basic essence of Homo sapiens: the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers, believing in things existing purely in its own imagination (gods, nations, money, human rights), and that we are not significantly happier than in past eras – even though happiness today is one of the modern goals in a person’s life. He also believes that the treatment of domesticated animals is among the worst crimes in history. Wild animals are a rarity we only get to see in zoos nowadays, and humans have taken over most of the world. But domesticated animal numbers are so high in comparison with human and wild animal numbers, that it begs any thinking adult to realize just how painful our footprint is getting to be in this world.
With this great book, I learned to appreciate the world a bit more. And to analyze and question many of today’s magnificent developments. Thinking about our beloved – but neglected – Mother Earth, and also thinking about our fellow human brothers & sisters who live in less than fortunate circumstances (but nonetheless tend to be happier than many of us in the modern world), and ultimately on behalf of the simplicity of life, I write this article in order to encourage all of us to remember our humanity.
In today’s world of Instagram, blogs, & Snapchat…we lose our humanness to the overwhelming (& often unnoticed) invasion of technology. The curious thing is that it only shows how truly human we are: desperate for that sense of community we have long lost in our evolution into successful, ambitions, & independent individuals. We rarely make time for a meal, much less to share with others. When we eat out, we are more concerned about the perfectly-taken picture we will upload to Instagram the second our food comes, rather than embrace that glorious moment the waiter puts the plate of food before you and the sharing of the curious glances around the table.
When was the last time you had an orange? Did you buy it at the supermarket, or did you pick it from the tree yourself? I can take a guess. Did you buy the cheaply-priced net of machine picked oranges produced in mass form somewhere out there, or did you individually choose the oranges yourself from the fruit bin at the supermarket (at least you chose them right)? Did you pay twice as much for the handpicked-stamped BIO-sworn variety? And in some parts of the world, did you ignore the farmer on the street selling his own oranges to feed his family, or did you bargain with him so he could lower his price?
Humans are curious beings. At our finest, we can do such amazing things. At our worse, something so strong as Mother Nature can cripple and die. Even though our footprint is making its mark in this world, I like to think we can each do a little something of our own to make it a better world. No need to make a public announcement of everything, no need to donate good money to institutions, no need to do the socially accepted thing in each given situation. Just be human. Eat. Care. Love.