Homo Sapiens and Homo Erectus. In the origins of the species we now call human, there is an extraordinary lesson which bears significantly on how we conduct ourselves today.
The large conflicts of our body politic, immigration, gun control, women’s rights, education, food and shelter for the weak and vulnerable, all elements of our social safety net have a single common thread which strings them all together.Homo Sapiens and Homo Erectus.
What are or are not the bounds and responsibilities of one for the other and if none, are the disenfranchised or weak to struggle on their own and fall prey to the biological imprimatur; survival of the fittest.
The history of Homo Sapien and Erectus is, amongst other things, characterized by their use of tools, methods of hunting, (providing for their kith and kin) and with the very disparate outcomes.
Both species arose in the Rift Valley of Southern Africa and both species had well developed the use of the hand axe, the tool triangular in shape, not unlike today’s computer mouse, which edged with a skil developed of chipping, one harder rock on the edge of another, allowed then existing man to develop the roughly sharpened lethal cutting and killing tool easily manipulated by a single hunter. The immediate benefit for both species was the transformation of early man from a nut, berry, vegetarian to a meat eater. The density and portability of protein afforded allowed the first significant migration which headed the then nascent species North to Europe, East to Russia, West to Spain, and from there, to colonize the world.
Two mission critical characteristics distinguished the species ultimately causing the demise of one and the ubiquitous and flourishing success of the other.
Homo Sapien, over time turned the large and sometimes unwieldy hand axe into the increasingly technologicaly efficient tool of a spear. Ultimately, the technology developed such that it was easily made, reasonably affixed to the end of a spear and in time to a bow, as the tip of a lethal arrow. Such efficiency, of size and lethality allowed for a whole new range of hunting skills which included the group skill set of hunters herding and pressing animals of prey into the waiting arrows and spears of the awaiting line of firepower. As such, the need of a group, to undertake the endeavor, and the success of the outcome in pounds of meat and numbers killed or caught dramatically changed the whole of the course of the civilization of this species, from which came the earliest notion of commonwealth, an endeavor in which all depended in one fashion or another on each-other.
Conversely, Homo Erectus continued to use the more cumbersome and unwieldy hand axe which limited his kills and the provision of food to his own innate skill as a hunter, but without any of the added benefit of the skills of the group, the technology as developed by the group and the greater range and accessibility to food supplies. And he ultimately perished.
In these hyper political times of debate, all in some fashion or form related to the question of the social contract, the right or wrong of our collectively taking care of our commonwealth, weak or strong, or the alternative view which obliges the weak, poor, disenfranchised and less strong classes of woman and children to essentially fend for themselves, is there not a two hundred thousand year old lesson here which will foretell the outcome of one choice versus the other.