The Agricultural Revolution
The earliest humans were hunters and gatherers, which as the name implies means that they got their food either by hunting wild animals and fishing or from gathering wild plants. This lifestyle does not afford a lot of control over the food supply as it relies on the group of people coming across the food they need to consume and though they would almost certainly have had strategies for how and where to search, or in the case of animals track them down, it still did not provide any certainties. It also requires the groups to move around a lot since the food sources would be depleted in an area after a relatively short time. It also did not allow the groups to grow too large since they would need to be kept small enough that a single area would support them all.
However about 12 thousand years ago people began experimenting with planting crops and staying in one place to tend them and later harvest these plants. This both allowed and indeed required communities to be settled. With selection of plants that yielded the most amounts of crops for future planting, the domestication of plants and agriculture had begun and with it the control of the food supply. This created a larger amount of food, which could support larger communities which led to early towns and even cities to be created and population density to rise. However, it also led to a less diverse nutrition since plants that were not so productive would not be cultivated, but would have been harvested and eaten by a hunter gatherer if they found them.
The surplus of food also allowed specialization since not everyone had to be directly involved in agriculture to produce enough food for the community. People could dedicate themselves to various crafts such as woodwork, fabric creation, etc. In the course of time these specializations became more and more specific.
Without the agricultural revolution society would never have become what it is today; we would never have been able to live as closely as we do or develop as we did since many of the things we developed over time required us to have a base.
However it also brought things such as widespread diseases, a greater emphasis on social status and conflicts between people.
For better or worse – and I would argue, it has both in abundance, the agricultural revolution has changed human life forever.
Views of Ghosts in Different Cultures
With Halloween drawing ever nearer, I decided to write an article about one of its most common aspects (and costumes) – ghosts.
Before we start, we have to ask ourselves, what exactly a ghost is. Well, even this definition sometimes differs from culture to culture. But, something definitions have in common is that a ghost is usually a soul, or spirit, of a dead person or animal that can either be felt by, or appear to the living. However, the descriptions and behavior of the ghosts depend on the culture.
In the Western world, or rather English-speaking countries, a ghost is considered a manifestation of the dead. Its history goes back even before Christianity when people believed in animism, which is a belief that places, objects and animals have a spiritual essence, if not a soul. People had beliefs, which later translated into popular culture, that ghosts are mostly tortured souls that died a violent death. The ghosts could be released from wandering the Earth if the object that tied them to this plane was destroyed or a task completed. In Europe, mostly around the Iberian Peninsula, people left a window opened or removed a tile from the roof at the time of death to allow the soul of the deceased to leave undisturbed.
Everybody is afraid of something. However, not everyone has a phobia. Phobia is an intense and irrational fear of one specific trigger, although the American Psychiatric Association recognizes three types of phobia.
One, whose definition is synonymous with the broad definition of phobia is called ‘specific phobia’, where we slot fears such as arachnophobia, ‘social phobia’ which is a great fear of public humiliation and being singled out or judged by others in a social situation, such as public speaking and ‘agoraphobia’, which is fear of situations from which it would be difficult to escape if a person were to experience extreme panic, which is often misunderstood as a fear of open spaces, but could also apply to being confined to small spaces, such as being trapped on a public bus.
Scientifics are slightly geeky additions that have been with us since the eagle has known how to fly. Okay, not that long, but it's a nifty category that separates it from the usual ramble of articles.