Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Human Ontology 201

Why is it that a person can sit in front a a movie or television screen and experience a fabricated reality from two dimensional light patterns?

Why does the soldier experience an adrenaline rush during combat?

Why does the marathon runner experience an anandamide high after a lengthy period of strenuous exercise?

Why does the human psyche shift so dramatically after puberty?

Why does sex sell?

Why does violence attract?

Why drink coffee before work?

What is art, and how do people experience it?

What is the creative process?

What is culture?

What is a nation?

Why are sports and rock concerts so engaging?

What is religion?

Why do people believe in spiritual truths despite the lack of concrete empirical evidence?

Are we all just autonomous genetic robots hallucinating on our own endogenous tryptamines and other assorted neurotransmitters, or is there more to us than that?

Welcome to Human Ontology 201

You first homework assignment is to consider the former questions. These questions have no clear answers yet, but perhaps, your search might lead to a new understanding of what it means to be human.

The world as we know it is much, much more than it seems, and we are slowly losing it. Anthropologists, biologists, botanists, and most environmental scientists, through extensive acts of observation, data collection, and analysis, have come to realize that the success of human population development and survival depends upon a society's regulation of natural resource depletion and waste production.

Modern humanity began in Northern Africa. Favorable shifts in climate provided the ecological room for an increase in human population densities. More rain= more plants= more foods; medicines; cultural tools for clothing, shelter, hunting, economy, and political exercise. Less rain= fewer plants= fewer food sources and other ethnobotanical adaptations.

During the time of our ancient ancestors in Africa, northern Africa was rich in ecological life, thus accommodating the development of human societies. However, after the occurrence of a global warming trend, ancient human populations deforested the rich ecological systems of northern Africa, turning the land into a desert.

From Africa, our ancestors slowly migrated into the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Climate trends over thousands of generations continued to shape these populations in much the same manner as in Africa. Successful populations benefitted from favorable climates, while poor climate shifts destroyed societies and forced migrations. Human civilization has its birth in the Fertile Crescent. Again, like Africa, the Fertile Crescent is now a desert.

It can never be understated that human society is dependent upon botanical life. What is over looked is the extent that humans have shaped botanical life on earth as well as the ecosystems of the planet. Most importantly, however, we can not ignore the fact that the environment has shaped human society and the cognitive abilities of our people.

But we've forgotten something, something key to understanding our very nature. Without this key, we are unable to unlock the door to a better understanding of the human ontology.

In order to pass Human Ontology 201, you must find this key.

Here's a hint, though. The key is in our most important plants. Find the plants, and you'll find the key to human ontology.

Once you pass Human Ontology 201, you may proceed onto Cognitive Evolution 301.


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