There are terms like progress that are widely accepted in our culture. Humans are progressing over time. Each generation is better than the previous one. Each new invention will lead to a better world. But is it true? We are all aware of the current and past crises closest to history, but what about the oldest crises, those that occurred during the Neolithic era?
The Neolithic period is from 7000 BC to around 4000 BC. What emerged as the greatest revolutions of mankind : agriculture and livestock. When we study this time at school, we have the impression that it is a great discovery that has changed the destiny of humanity. A breakthrough that everyone has accepted as an improvement to follow. But it was not really like that, everyone did not accept it. For some, agriculture and livestock were lagging behind and they still preferred to be hunters and gatherers.
The Neolithic period
The Neolithic, one of the most important periods in history, is also one of the most unknown. In the Neolithic period, the pillars of the world in which we live emerged, such as cattle and agriculture, war, property, writing, division of powers, and so on. But, on the other hand, we can also say that this is the moment when the problems of humanity have begun.
This is an important moment because it is at this time that humanity began to transform the environment to suit its needs and that the population has started to grow exponentially. This is also why, at the moment, we are experiencing the transition to a new geological era, a big global change. This step in another era began in the Neolithic. Therefore, understanding the Neolithic period and what the previous geological change meant can give us clues as to how to manage the future.
What we learn in school about the Neolithic
The Neolithic was, as essayist Yuval Noah Harari calls it, the greatest fraud in history: "Instead of announcing a new era of easy living, the agricultural revolution has left farmers a generally harder and more difficult life. less satisfactory than that of the hunter-gatherers ". The hunter-gatherer life was better, they were less stressed by lack of food, their diet was more nutritious, they had fewer diseases until they started to live more concentrated and with animals, and they did not did not know wars.
The idea that we learn at school that it was in the Neolithic that we learned to domesticate plants and started to create cities and put an end to famine is false. Many agricultural societies have abandoned it to become hunter-gatherers, before going the other way, and so on. The various natural disasters, such as epidemics, deforestation and soil salinization, have led to these processes of return. For 5,000 years, they moved from one state to another depending on the weather conditions.
The Neolithic heritage
The Neolithic period left us a clear message: a well-regulated and transformed natural environment can feed a large number of mouths. But this message has been perverted by man. The irrational exploitation of the environment, the accumulation of seeds, social inequalities and the spirit of supremacy over the weak are some examples. The hope of a society in harmony with the new economy has been shattered by the refusal to share.
We can find impressive constructions made by great civilizations like the pyramids or the Parthenon, but what do they represent if we compare them with the passage of all humanity to agriculture? Once the idea that only one Neolithic revolution broke out in the Middle East has been ruled out, we consider that there have been several more or less simultaneous starting points. Wheat in the Middle East, rice in China and corn in America. All of them constitute the agricultural revolution which, thanks to the migrations of the first farmers, reached Europe.
This is one of the most characteristic factors of the Neolithic, the movement of people in the Middle East. The Neolithic Revolution led to a population growth that had never existed before, which led to the migration of people, ideas and materials. Although this is an uncertain period, we are certain that this distant revolution has changed everything and is not yet over. The lessons it hides can be very useful for a present in which humanity takes nature and its resources to the limit of their possibilities.