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Humanity's Evolution, Part VII

Updated: May 3

"What about you?" I asked him raising an eyebrow. There were few historical anthropologists interested in studying our ancestors before the enlightened ages. Gershom may not have studied them as long as I, but he was still considered an oddity in our field. "You are delving into time periods where even the 21st century would be considered an advanced civilization," I accused.

Gershom nodded his head. "There is a popular trend in our field to analyze the past to discover when our ancestors became more like us. You tend to lean in this direction," he said looking at me for confirmation. I didn't disagree.

"I don't. I am more interested in seeing the exact opposite," he said his dark eyes carefully regarding me.

I found his viewpoint shocking, and I must admit I didn't hide my surprise as well as he did earlier. "I see," I said and cringed at how lame I sounded.

Gershom shook his head apparently amused with my discomfort. "You don't have to pretend to understand very few Little Dragons do. Most of us are scared by what we call the darker elements of our history. I have discovered, however, a benefit to studying these traits in our ancestors."

I began to look on the opinions he stated during my lecture in a different light. "No wonder you argued against giving the new inhabitants a measure of guidance," I said. "The value you place on the more unsavory aspects of our history is high. Why is that?"

A guarded look had come across Gershom's features as I spoke but I saw it start to recede at my question. Something else began to emerge. Was it hope? "In becoming more energetic we left most of our physical needs behind. The inhabitants of the planet project won't have that luxury. You and others tend to see this as a disadvantage, I don't. Tell me do you understand what it means to starve?"

I gave him a questioning look. He pressed his point. "You and I know academically what starvation is probably better than most Little Dragons because it existed in history. But now can a Little Dragon truly grasp what it means to live in a constant state of hunger with no idea when it will end?"

"Of course not," I said. "Little Dragons no longer need to eat unless we want to but I fail to see how experiencing starvation proves your point. I hardly call suffering from a lack of food an advantage."

"It isn't in itself," Gershom admitted. "But used as a means for testing another physical entity it can cause tremendous growth," he leaned into me his eyes suddenly animated. "Lets say an individual is facing a food shortage. He or she has enough for their family for now but it is uncertain what tomorrow will bring. Another family nearby has nothing. They are starving. The family with means now has a choice to share what they have with the less fortunate one or keep it for themselves.

The situation no longer becomes academic it comes down to the true nature of the person involved. Whatever choice they make will define them. It will show who they really are. When injustices or trials are inflicted on a population or person then there is a chance for them to really understand themselves. That is when a true choice is made. A moral code changes the scenario. A society that believes it already has the answers will, in my opinion, not face as many of those pivotal moments. The true choices will be less and so will growth."

His words troubled me. Our history was littered with instances where true change only happened after we experienced the terrible consequences of our actions. Is that what it took to evolve to our current state? It was a deeply depressing thought. I had hoped that if we could give the emerging inhabitants some guidance they could do better. Gershom firmly believed based on the evidence of our past it would damage them.

Could I be wrong? Was I relying too much on my hopes rather than cold hard facts?

"The next lecture will be starting soon," Gershom said breaking into my thoughts. "If you want to eat, we should do so now."

I nodded my head giving him a forced smile.

That ends Humanities Evolution, Part VII. Next month is Humanities Evolution, Part VIII.

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