Reza Jafery

Blockchain Consultant @PwC / Content Marketer / Obsessed with Crypto, AI, the Future, and the Past

How Humanity’s Need to Be Certain Is Holding Us Back from Evolving Our Society

As I get older, something that becomes abundantly clear is that no one has any clue what the hell is going on.
I was listening to an interview with Graham Hancock last night. Graham wrote a book called Fingerprint of the Gods in the ’90s. It highlighted elements of human history that challenged the traditional narrative.
Graham wasn’t taken very seriously by the boys club that is modern archeology, and much of his findings were brushed off as the results of pseudo-science. If you look Graham up on Wikipedia, it says he practices “pseudo-archeology”.
Yet, as I researched Graham and the evidence he cited, I found myself taken aback. It didn’t seem as if his hypotheses were unfounded conspiracies, they seemed almost as probable as what we currently consider as scientific fact.
Our current understanding of human history is that the first form of modern-day civilization appeared about 5,000–6,500 years ago. Around 4,500–3,000 BC with a group called the Sumer. From there, modern history tells us; we started to work together, established norms and values, eventually started to map out the world; travel and explore; and finally, develop into the medley of trauma-driven; coffee chugging; biological mood-rings that we are today.
The only problem with believing that human civilization only existed 5,000–6,500 years in the past, is that recent evidence doesn’t agree with it.
Gobleki Tepe proved that history is wrong, but no one cares
A temple called Gobleki Tepe in Turkey was estimated to be around 11,000 years old. Graham Hancock believed this to be evidence that despite popular belief, there were organized civilizations in that period. How else would they put together a temple with organized and intentionally placed 7-ton pillars?
The response from modern historians and archeologists was, “Well how do you know hunter-gatherers couldn’t have done this?”, “If there were advanced societies at the time how come we don’t find old plastic bottles or other signs of advanced life?”…
I’m the highest form of the current evolved human and I can barely get a screen protector perfectly aligned with the screen of my iPhone. How the hell did a bunch of “hunter-gatherers” who had no form of civilization and community pull this off?
“To carve, erect and bury rings of seven-ton stone pillars would have required hundreds of workers, all needing to be fed and housed.” — The Smithsonian
This is a really big deal, but I get how it didn’t receive a lot of media attention. It doesn’t prove or disprove any assumptions we have, as much as it begs the question; how much do we know about human history?
However, this story and the lack of attention it had when first published shows us how modern historians and archeologists examine new information and decide whether or not to add it into the greater narrative of human history: they don’t.
There are even maps that we’ve discovered that depict landmasses and objects that have been submerged since the end of Ice Age. How were ancient humans both traveling across the world and accurately mapping it without professions that can only exist in civilized societies?
How a mastodon changed history
I’ve excitedly called friends about this subject only to find that they don’t care about it. So, I’m going to try and over-explain this to make sure we’re all understanding the potential gravity of this discovery.
An archeologist in America dug up fossilized remains of a mastodon that were found to be 130,000 years old.
Big deal right? Who cares.
Photo by Edoardo Busti on Unsplash
Plot twist: the mastodon’s bones had been cracked by tools that could have been man-made. The bone marrow had been extracted from one of its tusks, similarly to how early humans used to perform the same act. There is some debate on whether or not the tools used to break the bones were made by humans, but check out the evidence yourself and form your own opinion.
I don’t understand how more people aren’t talking about this, why it isn’t front-page news on every media outlet that exists. This means, potentially, that our understanding of human history isn’t just a little off, it could be completely wrong.
Here’s a professionally illustrated timeline, I spent hours on to help show how big of a deal this is.
“Human Existence Timeline in French” — Reza Jafery, 2019
As you can see, the timeline above displays the current understanding of human history.
That circa 5,000 years ago our ancestors formed the first civilization; Sumer, and that this first form of civilization eventually turned into the society we all struggle to function within today. It’s believed that at this point, homo sapiens had never stepped foot in the Americas. Which makes the fact that the mastodon fossils were discovered in California, a really big deal.
In that minuscule section of the timeline between “5,000 years ago” and “Today”; we invented cars, planes, trains, the internet, guns, democracy, communism, basketball, figure skating, space ships, sex toys, Dance Dance Revolution, Harry Potter fanfiction, memes, and the profession of being a mime.
We also discovered gravity, learned the general nature of our solar system, how to navigate using the stars, machine-learning, self-driving cars, what plants you could eat and not die, what plants you can eat and get high, that you can light stuff on fire and smoke it, and that women don’t like being objectified.
All of that happened in that tiny space between the professionally illustrated line at “5,000 years ago” and the present day. We were only able to make these discoveries because we formed civilizations. Civilizations allowed us to diversify our time and talents as a society, to focus on aspirations beyond “survival”.
Which brings me to my next illustration.
“Viva La Existance!” — Reza Jafery, 2019
This is the same timeline (and one of my eyelashes), but now that we’ve thought about how much humans have accomplished in the past 5,000 years, imagine what our predecessors accomplished with all the time they might have had.
If we’re to assume for a moment that Graham Hancock and the archeologists who discovered the mastodon in California are correct, and the remains do imply that humans were in the Americas at this time: what does that mean for history?
For one, it’d mean that we have to rethink how uncivilized we think a lot of our ancestors were. Humans existing in the Americas at that time would mean that they traveled 1,000’s and 1,000’s of miles over the ocean; in a period when we didn’t believe people could collaborate for much more than group hunts.
How long would it take these humans to form a civilization — given how much we’ve accomplished with our share of the timeline?
The problem with Graham’s theories was that they completely upended the timeline of human history that everyone currently breathing was taught. They showed how difficult it is to ruffle the feathers of history.
Humanity’s need to be certain is holding us back from evolving our society
My biggest takeaway from listening to Graham’s interview wasn’t astonishment at the thought of ancient civilizations pre-dating our current knowledge. It was disbelief, that the world of science and academic research is so broken and dis-incentivized that it pressures scientists and archeologists to find and publish research that supports already established theories and scientific “facts”.
If you’re a scientist, and you want to make a living pursuing academic research, your income and ability to obtain grants largely depend on the number of times you’ve been published in widely recognized academic journals. Academic journals have been around for a long time, and typically don’t like to publish things that challenge findings they’ve been large supporters of in the past.
This leads to a cycle of cognitive bias and to be completely blunt, academic circle-jerking; where the evidence brought to attention is rarely framed as anything but further proof of assumptions we already have.
It’s mind-blowing that this research wasn’t taken seriously, and that we, as humans, haven’t put more time and effort into finding out what our ancestors 130,000 years ago were doing.
How advanced could a culture have gotten in 130,000 years? Did they exist for the majority of that time? Did they have the same values as us?
Did they also like watching videos of people building houses underground at 3 AM?
I’ll probably never get answers to these questions, not in my lifetime.
The cold truth of the situation is, although there is solid evidence that our understanding of human history is wrong, it’d be a lot of paperwork to write that into all of our history books; and it would require authority figures to admit that they’ve been wrong for a very long time.
I’m not saying I don’t understand why people have taken such a hard stance of “certainty” around things. Whether it be religion or human history, it’s hard to get people to care about something that you’re not 100% sure about.
Do you think Jesus would have been able to convince his disciples to follow him if he only thought there was a god?
Could history teachers get kids to pay attention if what they were learning was “maybe-sorta” what happened?

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Comments

September 11th, 2019

You’re right that humans in California 130kya is a big deal, but I don’t think any archaeologists think humans arrived within the last 5000 years. According to wikipedia, it sounds like 16kya is pretty widely accepted, but many theories suggest arrivals before 40kya. Even if there were humans in CA 130kya (though the evidence you linked isn’t that convincing), this doesn’t mean advanced civilization existed back then. The land bridge from Asia to North America has emerged and submerged repeatedly throughout Earth’s glacial history, so massive ships wouldn’t have been necessary to get to the Americas.

Scientific communities are reluctant to believe in new, outlying evidence, because jumping to conclusions based off of outlying evidence is dangerous. Just like how you jumped to “Humanity’s Need to Be Certain Is Holding Us Back from Evolving Our society” from mostly made-up pretenses.

September 12th, 2019

The article states that archeologists believe the first provable human civilization appeared around 5-6000 years ago with Sumer, not the first human. Gobleki Tepe has monolithic structures that seem to have been built by a civilization, but modern science and the academic world don’t accept Gobleki Tepe as enough proof that a civilization existed at that time, because it would disrupt the current timeline we’ve been teaching for decades. Wikipedia might agree, but scientific journals do not.

Which is why I made the point that academia is holding us back from advancing, even if you don’t think the mastodon is sufficient evidence of the beginnings of a civilization, you yourself said that civilization existed at Gobleki Tepe, which scientific journals, and modern archeology, disagree with.

It seems like the only one jumping to conclusions here is you my friend.

September 12th, 2019

Also, in regards to the possibility of humans in the Americas 130,000 years ago. The reason this leads me to believe that they would have had to sail is that the closest provable appearance of human life we’ve found to that time period was in the Amazons, these people we’re inexplicably found to be of Polynesian descent. If you check out maps that used sources from that time period, there were no land bridges that could have facilitated the migration.

September 13th, 2019

The problem isnt how and when our race got here. Its what we’re doing NOW and in the FUTURE to at least survive if not evolve into superior beeings.

Like you said in the title of your article, NOBODY seems to have any clue whatsoever what is going on, where we are going, or where we are suppose to go. And the only conclusion that come into my head is that the direction we are today is BAD, really BAD.

I mean, as a society, we are living now the GOLDEN AGE of a stabile and positive society. We dont have external threats ( asteroids, aliens, etc ), we dont have internal threats ( bubonic plague - micro threats, dynosaurs - macro threats, etc ), we have evolved in the last 300 years like crazy -technologically, but emotionally and mentally we are not very far from the Neanderthals.

Worse than that, we aren’t adapting or better said reacting to the natural conditions we create. And last species known for not adapting and reacting was extincted 65 million years ago.
I understand that for thausands of years, this strategy ( acaparate and dominate everything or distroy it ) was the good one. When our closest neighbours were very large felines, or very large everything, and the humans fought them with sticks and chants, its ok for long term strategy to kill everything in your path and then ask questions. At least when there are 100.000 of your peers on the Earth.
Nowadays we are 70000 times more than those 100.000 people. The kill everything and dominate your environment isnt anymore the best strategy for long term. Every of our action can cause mass extiction.

So my questions are :

  • are we able to evolve 5 minutes more than our 10k years ancestors ?
  • is there any other long term strategy for our race ?
  • can we do something about it ?

Or we will die, like the true parasithes we are today ?

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