In their brief stay on earth spanning not more than 200000 to 100000 years, wise humans or Homo sapiens have achieved some marvelous feasts of success. Now they are as abundant and numerous as are some insects or some small birds. According to many safe estimates Homo sapiens started to manipulate fire, hundred thousand years ago. Cooked food was more wholesome and more nutritious and fire helped them to live in colder climates away from the equatorial Africa, the place of their first origin . Indeed controlled use of fire helped in the establishment of human diaspora on each and every part of the globe.
But Homo sapiens were not sole manipulators of fire. Cooked plant materials have been extracted from the teeth of Homo neanderthalensis who became extinct almost twenty four thousand years ago. Next success for Homo sapiens or wise man came with advent of agriculture, almost ten thousand years ago. Now he started to settle in permanent dwellings and with artificial selection of grasses produced high yielding staples. Artificial selection of wheat in Natufian culture of middle east and domestication of cow in Egypt are prime example of early successes by humans in the arena of agriculture. Agriculture brought with it abundant food supply round the year and free time to sit and ruminate. Humans were no more hunting gatherers now. This free time was used for the foundation of arts and invention of tools.
Ancestors of humans had been making tools for 1.9 million years now but a most potent tool was invented in this era, stylus or pen. It took the rudimentary start from drawings on cave walls and Egyptian hieroglyphs. This writing helped in transfer of one generation’s accumulated knowledge and experiences to the coming generations . Then one more turning point came with the invention of the art of metallurgy. Metallic weapons helped humans to subjugate fellow beings and can never be considered as a golden achievement of Homo sapiens. However invention of metallic coin in Lydea and then bank notes in Italy helped to enhance human commerce. Steam and electricity, gasoline and gunpowder, plastics and chemistry, medicine and surgery, airplanes and nuclear energy are some other magnificent pages of human history book . Now, Homo sapiens or wise man have put an indelible impression on face of earth in the form radioactivity and mega cities.
One last and major human achievement I want to allude to, is, computer and internet intertwined with Google. Google has put such a huge impact on modern human life that I can not control my wonder. I read about news, history, health, medicine, new discoveries, places and people on Google. My music and my books, my pics and my finance is managed by Google. It is swift link between me and my friend in the opposite hemisphere of the globe . I think henceforth I will never be able to live without Google. A few years ago, I happened to listen a BBC Radio program about impact of internet on human society .
Moderator of the program proposed, though in a lighter vein, “Let’s change the name of wise man from Homo sapiens to Homo googolians”. It sounded strange to me at that time but now I have no objection to offer .
MUHAMMAD ASHTAR,
Islamabad, April 20.