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Neolithic Revolution Essay

When one thinks of History, one tends to consider Human History as the center of the subject, and to think of it as separated from the other species surrounding us. Not only is this commonly accepted, but we also think of Human History on the similar time frame. The focus is almost always given on relatively recent history, namely the last thousands years. In a previous paper, I argued that the beginning of agriculture and the Neolithic revolution were the most influential development in Human History. I might have been wrong, as my focus was on a small time frame of a thousand years.

For the sake of good comprehension, we will first examine what was argued in favour of agriculture, than how was this argument flawed as we take in consideration a larger time frame, giving the focus on the Cognitive Revolution of the Homo sapiens. In the previous paper, I argued that the Neolithic Revolution was the most influential development in Human History. Effectively, I had argued that the domestication of plants, crops and animals, said to be set around 12 000 BCE, was the roots of civilization as we know it. As a matter of fact, one of the Neolithic Revolution’s consequences was the beginning of permanent settlement.

This revolution announced the end for a significant part of the population of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle . The soaring apparition of cities, communities of settlers and complex forms of society are a result of the rise of agriculture. Moreover, I argued that through the apparition of cities, technology rose (usage of stone, wood and bones), as a foreshadowing development of the present . Although this may be an interesting take on human development, if one takes a larger time frame, agriculture doesn’t seems so much as the most ground-breaking event to happen in Human history.

Effectively, in order to fully explore this critique in depth, we must question the whole concept of the time frame. It seems like “big History” have been dismissed from common analysis and study of the subject. Most of the time, when one refers History, it is almost always territorial-based, fragmented and speciesist. Truth is, not only “big History” allows us to think beyond linear specie narcissism; it also permits us to conceptualize the world within a broader picture, more complex and complete than the usual analysis of the past.

As an illustration of the importance of conceptualizing the world with different, non-linear and broader time frames, one can see various large-scale phenomenons cannot be fully understood unless we take a step back from the usual shrunken time frame. An example of this would be the development of Homo Sapiens, when they started evolving differently than the other Homos, 200 000 years ago. As a matter of fact, the Homo specie used to have different branches roaming the Earth at the same time, 2. 5 millions years ago. However, Homo sapiens developed differently.

This can be explained through the domestication of fire and its use in the every day life . Used as a weapon, as a heat producer and as a way to cook food, fire was essential . We can analyze the use of fire as a foreshadowing of the future, as it is the beginning of mankind having control over the surrounding nature. This will later be seen in the Neolithic Revolution, as Homo sapiens will later change vegetational patterns . Once again this shows the importance of looking at history through the lens of a bigger picture, as the Cognitive Revolution was essential to Homo sapiens’ development and predicted the Neolithic Revolution.

The use of fire as a cooking method permitted Homo sapiens to develop with larger brains , with more cognitive abilities, social skills and complex language . Between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago, the Cognitive Revolution took place as Homo sapiens developed new ways to communicate, share information and think about fictive realities, which will be an essential part of the creation of communities seen in the Neolithic Revolution . The symbolic, fictive thinking was brand new for Homo sapiens, and is one of the main differentiations from the other Homos .

When we take a look at a bigger frame of History, we realise that the beginning of agriculture was indeed a considerable event in Human History, but on a bigger time frame we become conscious of the importance of the Cognitive Revolution as being one of the most influential event that happened to Homo Sapiens, as it made us become the advanced, technological beings we are today. Although it seems impossible to single out the most important development of Human History, the analysis of a big time frame give us new perspective on what seems ground-breaking or not. The Cognitive Revolution is the core of who we are nowadays.

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