Agricultural revolution was the biggest fraud in the history of humankind!
Disagree? Well, let me take you through a story of the ancient past and then maybe you will change your opinion.
Foragers, who lived hunting animals, moving from one place to another in search of their destiny somehow managed to discover a new lifestyle involving domestication of animals and plants. It may sound like a sweet transformation from a hasty violent life to a simply satiated life pertaining to “Malgudi’s” but it wasn’t.
Foragers were living their life of glory, but then few outliers started planting crops, manipulating animals to other uses rather than eating, plucking out the weed, watering etc. They started doing this about 10,000 years ago near Middle east, where the humans were happily hunting for last 50,000 years, which ultimately led to the agricultural revolution.
But why do something different when you are getting all the nutrients and supplies from something you have been good at?
Well, look for the answers below, but first, you must know what agricultural revolution did to Homo sapiens!
Our ancestors started growing corn, wheat, potatoes and rice and the energy they got from it was nowhere near of what they use to get off hunting animals. Rather it added to humans as a luxury or an add-on to try something new, but it took a toll. Now people began spending more energy cultivating crops and got the worst in return. They worked more, got less as compared to a hunter-forager. Wheat requires water, a perfect land to grow, and don’t like sharing land. So, they have worked for hours to pluck out the weed and support growth. In a way, it’s clear that humans didn’t domesticate wheat rather wheat domesticated humans!
Then why did humans exchanged a brighter life with a life that was miserable as hell!
Wheat did not give them economic security. A forager got much more variety and led a life more robust and free. They got several animals to hunt and kept moving for more, but a peasant settled in a place and if the crops got damaged by fungus or a calamity, then they had nothing to rely on. Moreover, it did not provide them security against violence too. They had to protect their land because it was all they had to survive and losing it would mean starvation. So, they fought for their land and got inducted in violence. They had to work more in farming and so got affected with ailments like slip discs, hernia, and arthritis.
I may pronounce the advantages too by saying that the agricultural revolution brought protection against cold, rain and wild animals. But certainly, its disadvantages outweighed its advantages. People started settling in small numbers to do farming, and then they expanded and started forming villages. While they did that, they expanded exponentially and started raising more and more children.
Now, wait!! You may say that the agricultural revolution led to the increment in the human species and this expansion was good for the Homo sapiens on a whole because a species existence depends on their population. More the number of DNA strands, more are the chances for a species to survive and not get extinct. A species cannot exist without multiplication of DNA same as the company would go bankrupt without money. But why would any sane human expand lowering his/her standard of living?
“Today we live in huge emirates and comfortable houses and we may proclaim that f**k you! Agricultural revolution was the thing which gave us all this. I agree. But, was it worth it?”
Let me portray it this way.
“A small girl living in the Middle East during the early first century about 2,000 years ago on the verge of agricultural revolution is dying of no food to eat because their crops are affected by fungus and their ancestors left hunting years ago. Would she say that my suffering is worthwhile, because after 2000 years people will have food to eat”. Can you justify this? Would you die today on an exploration mission just so the future populations can enjoy more luxurious life? I hope not! “
Now that you know this, I would rather say that you will agree to the fact that the agricultural revolution was a trap! We humans have a history of falling into traps. Well, we learned it from our ancestors! Humans miscalculate once in every 10,000 years and it changes the destiny of Homo sapiens. But why do we miscalculate?
Maybe because we always look for something substantial, and are unable to anticipate the consequences of our decisions. Let me give you an example, farmers started growing wheat, and then they introduced new techniques to improve productivity with a rigid gesture of “hard work” so that they can feed their children more. But what they neglected was that they were raising more and more children and certainly this “hard work” was going to fall short of the requirement because the consumption increased. And then they did more and more and it never stopped!
This is the same vicious circle we follow today in our lives. We wanted to lead an easy life, but rather got introduced to more hardships. A young college graduate thinks of a life after 10 years or so and dreams of drinking aged wine under the bright sun on the Miami Beach. Well okay! But most of the times till then they are burdened with kids, family and responsibilities. They need cars, house, necessities and what not and hence he/she starts craving for more and more and it never stops!
But was there any going back. I mean sometime in 10,000 years our ancestors must have thought that Oh shit! We fu***d up! Let’s go back to the start. But it wasn’t easy. Maybe because nobody remembered that how they lived differently like we forgive the sufferings our elders some 70-80 years ago. Or maybe, it was impossible for a village to turn to foragers, as foragers could exist only in small groups. So would some people in the community would starve to death while other go back to being foragers, well I hope not. And the doors were shut forever.
We don’t want to go back today. But not all of us are happy! We have started running at the ten timed pace of what we actually did. For example, we used to have posts delivered and people only wrote what was important and sent it to the receiver. It would take three or more days to get a reply and the process wasn’t hasty. But today I’m flooded with various emails and text messages daily of what I couldn’t help but respond and the cycle goes on.
Few of us may even uninstall Whatsapp sometimes saying that the life is getting messy and start experiencing the void, a vacant picture. These people resemble those who didn’t take up agricultural revolution and continued being the foragers. But did these foragers who were very few in number, affect our lives today? Certainly not, but the agricultural revolution does. Similarly, few people not on Whatsapp won’t affect the future changes which I cannot predict.
But I can certainly predict this that humans have always sought for luxuries. They transformed from Spartan foragers to satiated farmers, and took some decisions which influence our lives today and today what you decide would surely influence something, maybe 10,000 years after, who knows!