“And they lived happily ever after.” – this sentence most irritating haunted me for a good portion of my early life, and even today carries a feeling of hopelessness. ‘First of all’, said the young me, ‘if they really did live happy and long lives together, then I want to hear all about it! Why stop the narrative in the most interesting moment? There would be so much to learn from people who know how to make their happiness last. Second, no, they did not live happy forever! There must have been many sad or even tragic events in their futures,’ which is exactly why the author had chosen to cut it short with this shapely, critically-acclaimed lie of a sentence.
Forget Maslow’s pyramids and other psychological proposals and think about what we really need on order to survive – what the very basic needs of human beings are. Clean air, clean water and proper food to which we should probably add effective healthcare and relevant education if we intend to survive longer than twenty – thirty years. Everything else from international courts of justice, freedom of thought and religion and personal dignity to founding families and right to nationality becomes insignificant and extravagant if the basic needs are not fulfilled.
If I was to name one property of us humans which led us beyond the turmoil of hunters and hunted, a property which shoved us off the dubious comfort of African trees straight to the top of the food chain, a property which enabled us to achieve what no other known species could be dreaming of – art, science and technology, it would most certainly be our (relatively) immense brain capacity. In the harsh and unpredictable savannah, mere strength and speed turned out to be insufficient in terms of survival, therefore other means had to be considered. Means such as cunning, anticipation, planning and cooperation. Continue reading