Humans evolved. Not just like that. About half a million years of evolution made the Humans that we are now. All that can be said in just 2 words – “Humans evolved”. This is on the genetic basis. For the non-biotechnologists who are reading this, this is not a technical write up that you fear it might be. It’s not. The limbs, the ears, the backbone, rudimentary appendix, – everything evolved and became almost constant 80,000 years ago ( I guess). Language evolved, brainy people evolved – after a period of time civilization evolved and then something important came up into the brains of the Humans. That is nothing but the culture.
Culture – unsurpisingly isn’t related to genetics at all. For example, in the beginning when Humans were still nomads, they feared different stuff. People in the rain forests feared the lightning as it caused forest fires and burnt down their homes. People in the deserts feared the sun as its scorching heat burned them to death. “Humans will worship anything that they don’t understand and what they fear.” So, people in the desert started worshiping the Sun – the God of Ra. People in the rain forests worshiped lightning. Zeus was born. Religion was born.
Religion is just a part of a culture. People can change religion. A modern man is fully authorized to change his religion in a secure state. He has the right and will to even adapt to a completely different culture. It takes place in the lifetime of the man. Within about 20 years? 10 years? less? This ladies and gentlemen – is the “cultural evolution”. The evolution of the brain. The replication of thoughts which spread like wildfire.
Cultural evolution and genetic evolution are two parallel evolutionary processes that go hand in hand. Genetic evolution gets carried on to the children. Cultural evolution also gets carried on to the children but not necessarily. A child if he wants can follow the western culture in India, but he cannot really change his eye color that he inherited from his father. This is the boon and also the bane for the “Cultural evolution” when compared with genetic evolution. Cultural evolution is fast unlike it’s counterpart. A ‘new’ gene in the gene pool for example green eye color in India needs atleast 5 generations of mating to be dominant. Cultural evolution is different. It takes place withing years, days, or maybe minutes?
Let’s get clear with what is actually cultural evolution. It’s just the evolution of the thoughts. I say something to you like – “There is no God!”, you take it in, think about it and come to your own conclusions. It maybe the same as I said or something opposite, but now I’ve planted a thought in your mind. You might say your conclusion to some other person and he/she will come to some conclusions. The cycle repeats. “A thought is replicated”. Just like a gene. This is just a simple example. Books are the best “Cultural mutation inducers”. They change people views. Thoughts.
But, in the course of “Cultural evolution” where man went wrong? Does it really seem a bane that thinking about good ways to improve a society, working towards it, building a good environment for your own species? If we see the outline of the issue it’s perfectly alright, but in the real sense, it’s not the case. The only bane or the problem of the “Cultural evolution” is that it is fast. Everything happens in a matter of couple of years. Industrial revolution changed the whole world. It changed the perception of a modern man of his environment, of the materialistic world. Cultural evolution increases just exponentially. Lots of changes happens within a short time – and that’s where the twist is.
Let me give you an example. Humans cut down the trees. We cut down the forests. To make new furniture, to build ships, for buildings, etc., We just exploited the nature as hell because it’s good for us. It’ll improve the standards of living for many people. But, Human thoughts failed to perceive that such improvisations are short lived. We failed to understand that cutting down trees will only cause other global miseries. The cultural evolution – or the evolution of thoughts was so fast that it overlooked this fact. Only down the track when the next generation came, we understood our own mistakes.
That’s where man went wrong. Cultural evolution was too fast for him to catch up unlike genetic evolution. A thought originated in the population. Let’s say that thought was ‘Let’s cut down trees to make furniture’. Soon, this spread like hell in the population unless a new thought like ‘Less trees means more global warming’ comes up. But, the problem is “THIS THOUGHT COMES WAAYY TOO LATE” like in the 21st century. Cultural evolution outruns genetic evolution and thats where man went wrong. Infact we did nothing wrong, just the evolution changed us. But again, unlike genetic evolution, cultural evolution is in our hands. We can seed thoughts in other people’s minds. When we realize this, it may not be too late for us to prevent a catastrophic effect on our planet just by us. When we realize that we just need to check the cultural evolution from evolving too much to bring in more catastrophe. We’ll have a safer planet. More importantly, a Greener Blue Marble. Period.