Australian’s left Africa 75,000 Years Ago

Full story here.

AN ancient skull found in northern Laos suggests fully modern people had settled in mainland Southeast Asia as early as 60,000 years ago and probably contributed to the population of Australia.

The discovery at Tam Pa Ling — “Cave of the Monkeys” — not only pushes back the arrival of modern humans in the region by 20,000 years, it also bolsters genetic evidence that the first Australians left Africa nearly 75,000 years ago, followed by a second wave 25,000 to 38,000 years ago.

“Given its age, fossils in this vicinity could be direct ancestors of the first migrants to Australia.”

Geneticist Mike Bunce– from Perth’s Murdoch University and a member of the team that last year reported evidence from 80-year-old Aboriginal DNA, showing Australia’s indigenous people descended from the first wave of modern people to leave Africa — said: “What a great find.”

“We’re looking at fully modern people with no archaic traits at all — that’s what’s so exciting,” Dr Westaway said yesterday.

Dr Bunce agreed with Dr Shackelford that the remains indicated that mainland Southeast Asia was a crossroads leading to multiple migration paths.

“We know that ‘modern’ humans were in Australia by 50,000 years ago, so it’s completely consistent that they should be in Southeast Asia prior to this,” he said.

Why should we be connected?

As I come to the end of Jeremy Rifkin’s fabulous work, “Empathic Civilisation – The race to global consciousness in a world of crisis”, I find him returning to one of the perennial questions: “WHY?”. Specifically, Rifkin asks why should the global human society become increasingly connected by the digital age?” He is unhappy with the responses about economy, sharing, even relationship building. Is it the hammer and nail analogy, just reengineered as “when you have a PC connected to the internet does everything look like a network of relationships?” For along with increased empathic connectivity is also increased narcissistic connectivity. Nonetheless, Rifkin goes on to realising this relational sense of consciousness is synchronous with our knowledge of the relational aspect of the planet’s biosphere, and, therefore, the possibility that a connected world which is mostly empathetic will be able to solve the great challenge of the global civilisation – energy conservation.

The philosophers, politicians, and economists of the 20th century have been shown to have, almost invariably, created erroneous policy for the solution to the great challenge. The lessons of the 20th Century were hard won. Yet, let us consider whether we might not have taken a more peaceful approach. And if we might once have taken a more peaceful approach, might we not yet take that approach and expedite a collaborative solution for humanity. Effort is required. Abdu’l Baha, in his 19th century treatise, ‘The Secret of the Divine Civilization’, refers many times to the effort required to produce societal results.

“..through the restoring waters of pure intention and unselfish effort, the earth of human potentialities will blossom with its own latent excellence and flower into praiseworthy qualities, and bear and flourish..”;

“What (is) urgently requires, however, is deep reflection, resolute action, training, inspiration and encouragement. (The) people must make a massive effort, and their pride must be aroused.”;

“..everything hinges on the efforts of the elected representatives. If their intention is sincere, desirable results and unforeseen improvements will be forthcoming; if not, it is certain that the whole thing will be meaningless, the country will come to a standstill and public affairs will continuously deteriorate…. that the happiness and greatness, the rank and station, the pleasure and peace, of an individual have never consisted in his personal wealth, but rather in his excellent character, his high resolve, the breadth of his learning, and his ability to solve difficult problems.”;

“would instead bend their efforts to the production of whatever will foster human existence and peace and well-being, and would become the cause of universal development and prosperity. Then every nation on earth will reign in honor, and every people will be cradled in tranquillity and content. A few, unaware of the power latent in human endeavor, consider this matter as highly impracticable, nay even beyond the scope of man’s utmost efforts. Such is not the case, however, on the contrary, thanks to the unfailing grace of God, the loving-kindness of His favored ones, the unrivaled endeavors of wise and capable souls, and the thoughts and ideas of the peerless leaders of this age, nothing whatsoever can be regarded as unattainable. Endeavor, ceaseless endeavor, is required. Nothing short of an indomitable determination can possibly achieve it.”

“Effort towards what?”, we might ask. And we might, again, look at those teachings of Baha’u’llah that were ignored by the great powers in the 19th century, and the various philosophers, economists and politicians in the 20th century. Might not the teachings of the one source who has, over the course of the last 150 years, had a 100% success rate, where applied, be deserved a closer look at the whole of His message. Let us take one ‘for instance’. Baha’u’llah’s teachings explicitly demands the equality of men and women. However, in the 19th century, He didn’t make a simple demand for men to bring women to equality, he went a much further step of empowerment by directing fathers to provide, if the circumstance arise, special bias in favour of the education of girls above boys. More recently, international reports on the economic development of nations find that the education of women is the most distinctive indicator of the welfare of a nation.

Baha’u’llah taught 12 broad social issues: There is One God, Religion is one; Humanity is one;  the unfettered independent search after truth; the elimination of prejudice; the equality of men and women; the universal education of children; the necessity and compatibility of science and religion; economic justice; universal peace; an international auxiliary language; and the power of the holy spirit. Of each of these he provided much encouragement for effort to exemplify and share the idea of these issues within a spiritual context ie effort towards purity of heart, love, generosity. He prohibited involvement of partisan politics as counter to the unity and spiritual education of humanity. He expounded a covenant with God and humanity. With this covenant He outlined an organisational framework to provide both universal participation in community life and leadership of the community at local, national and international levels.

Baha’is have built the organisational framework that Baha’u’llah provided, literally with blood, sweat and tears, but also with great love for humanity and a great willingness to learn. The Baha’i community have provided such effort as to be able to effect practice, often many decades before the world is politically assured. Being politically assured, the governments of the world are still unable to enact the degree of development that is being enacted in the Baha’i Faith. Mostly because the lessons of the 20th century are still being hard won. Effort is required to solve the great challenge of the future of humanity in the world. That effort is far better spent in the collaboration of Baha’u’llah’s teachings, than in any other. That is the effort to become a great lover of humanity, of human beings, to raise a generation of children and youth with a great love of humanity and service, to take an open and pure heart into all aspects of life.

Our connectiveness on the internet will have life when it has spiritual life – the effort to serve humanity through the teachings of Baha’u’llah.

My Blog Review for 2011

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for my blog. I must admit my posts draw few comments. However I am quite happy with the traffic that comes by. I am particularly pleased that it comes from people in many nations.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

In 2011, there were 80 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 453 posts. The busiest day of the year was July 2nd with 71 views. The most popular post that day was The Child Must Suffer. Interestingly this was a 2009 post about the optimization of child development. I wonder what provoked the interest on that day? Nonetheless it shows that posts can be relevant to readers long after they have been posted.

click here to see the complete report.

The Evolution of the Global Mind

The argument over the relative virtues of science and religion often revolves around an appreciation (or lack) for the process of evolution. Of the process of evolution, the most misunderstood or poorly communicated aspect is the process of selection. If we take a stroll down that story, we find a straightforward example in the age of the dinosaur. The dinosaurs had the run of the planet for about 150 million years. They were powerful in so very many physical ways. An asteroid slamming into Earth brought their run to a, fairly, sudden end. The insignificant mammal species survived the aftermath of the asteroid impact. They could handle the cold and dark and altered gaseous state of the atmosphere. They were without as many predators. They flourished. They had become selected just as their more powerful predecessors became de-selected.
With the dinosaurs out of the way, the conditions for mammal mutation were so favorable, primates were soon developed and 75 million years later, homo sapien sapien stalked out of Africa.
10,000 years ago very early forms of religion got a hefty boost in form, at the same time that humans discovered cropping. Cropping was aided by religion to form villages. Villages discovered manufacture of things too big to carry like storage pots. Storage pots led to towns. Towns led to embellishments – arts, crafts – and trade. Religion got another boost with the conceptualisation of monotheism and an idea of a huge unified society. Towns became cities. Cities became kingdoms. Kingdoms became empires. Religion received another boost, to either use a host empire to spread it message of a greater unity, as in the case of Christianity; or, as in the case of Islam, destroying the stagnant political barrier to its success. God, it seems, will not be thwarted In populating the planet and in reuniting it.
Once populated, and key empires had been constructed with advanced tools, the globalization of society could develop. Along with the possibility for globalisation, sciences became realised to an extraordinary extent. As the final connections between all the people’s of the planet were being established, Baha’u’llah founded the Baha’i Faith to purposefully assist the final unity of civilisation, a planet wide civilisation, and an extraordinary advancement of humanity.
While science is a key and fantastic tool in that advancement, it should not be confused with the prime motivator for the civilisation to be. It should not also be confused as a self organising organism in itself. The development of that civilisation, and the tools of science, like all previous leaps in human advancement, requires religion. In particular the teachings of Baha’u’llah provide the essential understandings of being that is required for humanity to continue to thrive, and the great leaps forward that will happen with the greater unity of the global mind of humanity.

The Spiritual Nature of Building the World

Religion has two effects in the world of humanity. Both foster the progression of civilization, the design and build of the human world.

To understand these effects, we must first understand the nature of the human as being a presence in the world.

The human nature is founded on an animal requirement to protect itself and dominate others, through which it can protect it’s future progeny. We call this the ego or the identity.
The protection and domination roles are implemented and amplified through language, the constant deriving of meaning (story) from events, and interpreting those events in such a way as to allow us ‘reasons’ to protect ourselves or dominate others. The identity will latch on to any story that might give protection or domination leverage, and any story will. The identity creates the world both through it’s story and by creating meaning, maintains an unawareness of reality and it’s Creator. This ‘being unaware’ is the fundamental vehicle brought into being by the prime creative force, the Word of God, for the nurturing of the reality of the human, the soul. It is in the human being that language can enormously heighten the expression of the animal nature, but through which giving up protection and domination, detachment from worldly appetites, following the revelation of Baha’u’llah, and the creation of an extraordinary future, can find expression.

The Great Educators provide a fundamental story with two objectives: the spiritualisation of humanity and the progress of civilization.
The spiritualisation of the human being requires that the identity allows a new story to be entertained. The story of spirituality for this era, is the story provided by the Great Educator, Baha’u’llah. It includes showing us to look for that which we are unaware, the Creator. It includes looking at our ego, to bring it to some discipline, moving it aside to allow a calmer, vulnerable yet powerful mindset. It includes encouragement to replace stories of disunity with stories of unity with all humanity. It leads to diffusion of our ego, softening all protection and domination, and allow the full expression of love, justice and service to all humanity.
On the other hand, the civilizing of the human being occurs through the re-identification of the ego with the new story: the unity of humanity, the elimination of prejudice, education for all, equality, equity. The ego, scrambling to reassert it’s efforts to protect and dominate, will utilize the new story. For only the ego can create the world, as only the ego is unaware of the Creator. Now the new story becomes a motivator of new design, new building, new wealth production, new distinctions.
The era of Baha’u’llah has the signal characteristic that the mass of humanity will have access to the tools of spiritualisation, of giving up their desire for protection and domination. Three milestones might be anticipated in the emergence of both of these effects from the revelation of Baha’u’llah. The first milestone of the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah is World Peace, the giving up of domination and protection of other nations or regions of people through the amassing of weapons. This is synonymous with the agreement between all nations to support each others borders and the participation of all peoples in local, national, and international policy. The second milestone of the dispensation of Baha’u’llah is the widespread education of humanity to its own unity, a forgetfulness of parochial identity under an identity as Earthlings, the achievement of equity of all people, and the free movement of people over the planet. The third milestone of the dispensation of Baha’u’llah is the minimization of the ego to the basic fulfillment of its needs (food, water, procreation, shelter), and the extraordinary access to the creative resource  of the collective mind. Such creative power will ensure the protection of humanity from the many environmental disturbances of the planet and the solar system, and simultaneously realising the scientific paradigm shift that will enable humanity to escape the planet on new adventures into the solar system and the galaxy.

Freeing humanity from the confines of the planet will see the modification of the cultural norms of the Earthling, that humanity will create over the next 100’s of years. We cannot image what the mindset of those norms will be. The language, the noun, the verb, that we use today, will have no relevance in that future. What sense the analogies of the spiritual winter, to those who live among the twinkling of stars, who live for 200 or 300 years, who travel at relativistic speeds? Yet, so it shall be that a Great Educator in some form, will appear among them, and shoulder the rejected love that will perturb that disrupted mind, and create another great attractor of civilization.

If only in acknowledgement that, like the prophets of the past, we have no language like the language of the future, we have no mind to recognize the constructions, let us not dwell more than a moment on the vast horizon of the future. Long enough to wonder, long enough to allow ourselves the reflection that this wonder, this excitement that we feel in anticipation that we will, indeed, dominate the stars, is just another form of our unawareness of the Creator. Let us then deal with our immediate pathway into the future, our immediate moment. Let us see a great space immediately before us, free of vengeance, free of anger, free of fear. To the extent the image of tomorrow is cluttered it, it is only cluttered by our vengeance against our broken hearts. Let us move the vengeance aside. Let us ask forgiveness from the Creator, and as the Creator forgives, we might harbour no less love and forgiveness of ourselves, no less love and forgiveness of others. Let us make effort in this. The path is open, only our own veils, our own stories, hide it. Let us fill our minds with a letting go, an openness to the Holy Spirit, the Creator.

And so we build the world and go joyfully to the next.