THE FIRST GENERATION OF HOMO SAPIENS
by James E. Strickling
Note: This is an expanded excerpt from my book “MAN AND HIS PLANET “
It should be obvious that that no matter what the perspectives, our knowledge of the ancient past is not first-hand. Ancient history is for most of us what we’ve been told by others. And the “official” presentation is not allowed to deviate from a philosophy of gradualism. Contrary to this dogma, there are many ancient records that do not conform to gradualist, evolutionary dogma. And our interpretation of those records should not be constrained by such dogma. We must reject those constraints and think outside-the-box. When we do, a fascinating, coherent picture emerges as we ask the question “What might it have been like to have been a member of the first generation of humans?”
In my book MAN AND HIS PLANET, I have endeavored to expose the fallacies underlying both Darwinism (speciation by natural selection) and Biblical Creationism. I have demonstrated that Darwinism fails a logical analysis; moreover, it is in conflict with known facts. I have also shown that crucial parts of Biblical Creationism are based on a misinterpretation of the biblical account. So where does that leave us?
Notwithstanding anthropologists’ frequent assertions that Homo sapiens is just one more member of the animal kingdom, there is indeed a gulf between man and beast. This gulf is denied by many, partly because of a presumed gradual, evolutionary transition from one biological entity to another, culminating in man. But the Bridge of Gradualism does not exist in the fossil record; it is not a reality. The separation should be recognized as a great gulf that occurred suddenly.
I have argued that the progression of life on our planet actually resulted from a process of saltation; i.e., speciation came in jumps, when a living species suddenly gave birth to a new species (as a result of some external genetic disturbance). The two generations could not interbreed. (One observed example was cited.)
It follows that at some specific time in history, a population of Homo sapiens was born to a population of Homo (probably) erectus.
A number of interesting characteristics and behaviors of the first generation of humans can be deduced from this supposition.
There was no human culture to be passed along to the new generation. They were as intelligent as modern man, but culturally, their minds were “blank slates.” Even so, many of our earliest cultural elements were not a matter of protracted development, but came with the early generations – some from the very first.
One cultural element that came with the first generation was speech. And only within a framework of sudden, complete humanity can we hope to solve the mystery of its origin. I have described how this development likely occurred in MAN AND HIS PLANET.
Given the “cultural blank slate” in that first generation, there was no sense of right and wrong. There were therefore no customs and no taboos. There were no institutions, such as marriage. People wore no clothing.
We are born with a (latent) sex-drive. Since there were no customs or taboos – or clothing – sexual partners were more-or-less random. All of one gender were receptive to all of the other gender – a communal life style in every sense. An eventual recognition of a favorite partner could have been the beginning of the concept of possession. Clothing, initially an environmental defense, possibly led to the intensification of the feelings of sexual possession.
There was no concept of agriculture or animal husbandry. The gathering of fruits and nuts provided man’s sustenance.
As the awareness of more and more “people of like kind” increased, identification of individuals became necessary, and personal names “became fashionable” quite naturally. Familiar animals would likewise have been identified by kind and named.
Individual feelings of superiority and the eventual emergence of leaders with strong personalities ultimately led to hierarchies and tribal organization.
What environmental and ecological conditions would be necessary for the first humans to survive and proliferate?
With there being no agriculture, food was necessarily plentiful. Earth was man’s friend. Since there was no clothing, the climate was certainly mild, although not necessarily on a global scale. Seasonal variations were undoubtedly minimal, implying there was little or no tilt of the earth’s axis.
It is interesting to note that the characteristics ascribed here to the first-generation humans constitute a quite natural grouping:
- No clothing
- No marriage
- No other institutions
- No possessions
- No agriculture
- No strife! – since there was as yet no mind-set identifying “my stuff.” People quickly learned friendship, as Homo sapiens is by nature a social creature. This friendship, along with sexual attraction, probably led to monogamous relationships (“proto-marriage”) and the formation of families. (The concept of polygamy “invites other questions.”)
Man truly lived in a Garden of Eden.
Even without this reference to the Garden of Eden, the description above would bring it to mind for anyone familiar with the biblical Old Testament. And indeed, when we read the biblical account, we find Adam and Eve paralleling, thereby representing, the first population of Homo sapiens. (This would make sense of the perennial problem, “Where did Cain find his wife?” – Genesis 4:17) Therein is an historical dimension not typically recognized by creationists and off-handedly rejected by skeptics in general.
It would be most interesting to find a written record from antiquity describing the lifestyle suggested here. And whatever the truth in the details, the Genesis record apparently does preserve ancient memories of man’s earliest experiences.
The Garden of Eden is part of the biblical narrative that purports to describe “The Creation”—the beginning of all things. This narrative is perceived by many as the singular, accurate account of the beginning of time, matter, and life and all of the natural laws by which all things are governed. There exists also a multitude of other colorful creation stories from all quarters of the world. Included in many of these are references to the Golden Age of Man. This age is viewed as a time when ideal natural living conditions prevailed, conditions unequaled during any other period of the world’s history—the Garden was not localized.
Adam and Eve possibly represent not only mankind’s first generation, but also an unknown number of subsequent generations*.(Adam is Hebrew for “The Man.”)
There is no way of knowing how long this age lasted. The Book of Genesis apparently presents a much abbreviated account. Indeed, it actually appears to be an embellished “regional snapshot” of man’s primal living conditions – followed by Adam and Eve’s ejection from the Garden for their disobedience. With their loss of the Garden, the Golden Age is terminated. What details does the Book of Genesis actually provide that might be relevant to such speculations as proffered here?
Genesis 1:29, 2:9 – Man was initially sustained by foraging for fruit and seed-bearing plants.
Genesis 2:19-20 – Animals were given names early-on.
Genesis 2:25 – For an unknown period of time, Man wore no clothing.
Genesis 3:18,19 – Agriculture eventually became a necessity.
Genesis 3:7 – At some unknown point in time, clothing was adapted.
Genesis 3:20 – People were given names early-on. Adam, i.e., The Man, named his wife Eve.
Genesis 3:22 – No initial “sense of right and wrong” is affirmed with “the advent of new mental horizons”
Genesis 4:8 – Murder (evil) resulting from jealously
An analysis of the similarities and differences of the world’s store of creation myths suggests that H. sapiens had populated much of the Old World during the time prior to the Golden Age. Assuming that an entire geographically extensive population of H. sapiens arose at once from a population of H. erectus, this diffusion is to be expected – given the geographical distribution of H. erectus. (Note too, that the magnitude of the geographical range of early H. sapiens, pre-established by H. erectus, would offer no firm clue to the rate of the early sapiens geographical expansion.)
Despite the Creationists’ numerous misinterpretations (see MAN AND HIS PLANET), the amazing accuracy of the Old Testament is apparent from its very beginning.
PS Theories of the Genesis of modern Humanity
The other theory is “Divergent Evolution,” which posits that the various races of mankind were spawned out of continuous admixtures between the different proto-humans (Homo-erectus, Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal, etc.) many millennia ago. The countless hybrid amalgams then underwent localized evolution like the single ancestor of the “Out of Africa” process.
While these hypotheses are considered to be at loggerheads, they are united by one key concept: the idea of progress. While each gives a different origin to mankind, both proceed from the assumption that as time goes on, mankind has become better. Although evolutionary theory does not imply that superior adaptations are also superior in terms of intelligence or beauty, this notion is particularly hard to shake with regard to human evolution.
Radical Traditionalism rejects the modernist assumption of progressive human evolution, regarding it as the exact opposite of how the universe functions. For Traditionalism, all things begin at their zenith and gradually degenerate, through a series of stages, into mere shadows of their former glory, a pattern no less true of human beings. The purpose of this essay is to explain how this rule has applied to mankind, who has not risen to mastery of the world from the lowly origins of some apelike ancestor, but rather has fallen from godhood into his current, all-too-human condition.
To do so, it will first be necessary to describe the Radical Traditionalist understanding of history. Like all tenets of Traditionalism, this conception of history is held to be a revealed truth passed down through a chain of initiation. What recommends the Traditionalist outlook to the non-initiate is its coherence and explanatory power. In the following essay, I show that Traditionalism explains archaeological and historical records and harmonizes with ancient myths as well. The modern empiricist will likely disregard such myths as the fancies of primitive imaginations, but that begs the question, for it is just another version of the progress thesis that Traditionalism rejects.