Beginnings of Literacy

edited May 2013 in Early Man
All instances of the beginnings of literacy seem to have started at around 5,000 years ago -- whether in China, Egypt, the Fertile Crescent, or even the Americas. This might even be deemed part of the beginnings of civilization and urbanization. This is at odds with how long humans have been around and have been ensouled. What triggered this sudden expansion towards civilization?

MICHAEL: There had actually been 'civilization' before 5000 B.C. We remind you that 'civilization' is your word that comes from 'civis' which is Latin for city. Therefore your definition of a civilized people hinges on their coming together into groups capable of operating in concert with each other. After this little lesson in semantics, we return to the original question about literacy. To be literate is to have the means to transmit information from one person to another when they are too far apart to hear one another. The need for such a device as writing came about with the development of larger than tribal group living and the fact that groups with similar objectives could establish themselves in various areas, not just in one.

The notion that symbols could stand for words became obvious when the need for such transmission was felt. Keeping track of people and things was the province of the priesthoods of the time and the 'invention' of writing came from their order.

That didn't answer the nearly universal impetus aspect of the question.

MICHAEL: The 'nearly universal impetus' was an extension of the wave of congregating that took place around 3500 BC. Several of the centers of cultural congestion around the world experienced this need at the same time, almost as though there were already an interchange of information among them. There was little interaction between what has been labeled for practical purposed as the Fertile Crescent and the established cities of Mohenjo Daro and similar sites around the world. There was, however, an energy toward this end that made the development of writing possible.

So are you saying that with the exception of the past 6000 years of recorded history, the past 125,000 years of human history have been purely hunting & gathering and nomadic tribes? It seems very odd to me that we'd have our collective thumbs up our asses for some 119,000 years.

MICHAEL: Why would you stop at 125,000 years of human history? Why would you not want to compare to, say, 1,000,000 years or more?

125,000 years is considered the current extent of homo sapiens, or at least of what is known as homo sapiens.

MICHAEL: We have said that the ensoulment of the animal which was your 'ancestor' took place about 65,000 years ago. It would be fair to say that this is the place that one might want to start with when speaking of 'human history'. And yes, for much of that time humans were hunter/gatherers and there was no particular need for writing anything. Some of the art work from this period includes symbols, which were understood by those who were expected to see them, but there was no sending of missives to others, nor any need to do so.

The need for your scientists to extend the existence of homo sapiens, as you say, to a greater and greater history, has nothing to do with the fact that there was no ensouled animal cum human being extant on this planet before 65,000 to 70,000 years ago. The bi-pedal, stereoscopic visioned, opposable thumbed, palate-shaping of words animal who became ensouled had the tools to become homo sapiens and made very good use of them. If they had not, you would be the descendants of another species.

Channeled by Nancy Gordon
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