This week we learned about the Neolithic Revolution and the rise of the state through our lectures and readings. Last week we were learning about the evolution of hominid stone tool making, which led to an extreme increase of hominid free time. This free time could be used to research towards future technological breakthroughs, leading the hominids to a better standard of life at an exponential rate. Stone tools are great, but compared to the idea of staying in one place, the increase of free time is huge. The Neolithic revolution gave the Earth a level of intelligence never seen before.
I 100% believe that the emergence of agriculture led to the rise of the state. If you’ve ever gone hunting before, you know how long it takes to find an animal. It can take hours, and there’s always a chance that you won’t find a single thing. Same goes for gathering, if you aren’t growing your own plants you’re going to have to walk further and further every day to find food. But, if you grow plants and animals in your back yard, you suddenly have a lot of free time. Not every human will then take that time to advance the society they live in, but even just a small percentage of them working will lead to great advances. At some point in time all humans realized this, which led to them all starting to practice agriculture.
As humans could grow more and more food in their backyard, less and less people were required to farm at all. People began what’s called specialization, letting them solely try to advance their society. To do that they need to get food, which the farmer is more than willing to sell to them/ But, there would have to be some way to exchange goods, and with the increasing amount of people trading goods, there is a necessity for some upper level of organization to regulate what and how things are being traded. Thus began the rise of the state, which started with the emergence of agriculture.
As for archaeological evidence of agriculture, there’s plenty. Just farming gave humans enough free time to make that farming even more efficient. Humans made large tools that could speed up the processing of plants, and those tools are left around to this day. Some examples are shoveling tools, grinders for wheats, and other advances such as how the buildings conducted air flow. There is evidence that humans built their agricultural buildings while keeping in mind how wind pulls bugs into spaces, and they designed around that, making it so bugs wouldn’t get to their food stores as easily. There’s also plenty of evidence for the emergence of the state. It seems like agriculture, that the groups that formed states were more likely to leave behind a footprint. We have evidence such as standardized currency, and communal buildings.
Comparing the emergence of agriculture and rise of the state, I have one thing to say in terms of human progress towards higher intelligence, and a higher quality of existence. The emergence of agriculture let our progress skyrocket, but left unchecked I believe we would’ve eventually peaked somewhere. But because we had the rise of the state, this progress was able to be managed in a healthy way, and will continue to guide humanities prosperity until the end of the Universe.