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Our History in 700 Words

February 21, 2015

From humble beginnings, a tribe of hunters and gatherers cast seeds in a meadow and discovered how to control the growth of crops. They also looked up to the heavens for answers and passed on stories about what lies beyond human experiences. Agriculture and religion were born, the first two building blocks of our history. 


The tribe became a village. Slowly, as the village began to grow from the food sources provided by fields of grain and the sense of direction given by the stories passed on from each generation, these ancestors of ours began to expand beyond the banks of the river by their original village. There was a primitive peace that afforded the time and mindset to contemplate deeper things: universal truths, the future, the hereafter, the perfect society.

Their village became a city, the center of activity for a growing region of travelers, merchants and other hunters and gatherers. They began to interact and trade with these foreigners, and markets emerged. They began to domestic animals and learned new ways to sharpen hunting tools and project them with accuracy toward their prey. Breakthroughs in architecture and medicine made life a little more pleasant, but it was still a struggle.

 The city became a nation. The people living in it became territorial, and said people from the outside can only go this far. People from within and without fought each other for food and resources. More cities with fortifications and barracks were built. Governments that collected taxes were formed for the sake of protecting the people. Some resisted, forming underground communities based on different political ideals or religious beliefs. At times these small communities saved the heritage and traditions of their people by guarding them from outside influences. At other times these communities contributed to a slow decay from within. 

The nation became a civilization. As each city within the nation's border expanded, their influence on other lands grew through culture, technology and warfare. Within the cities and especially in the small communities, revolutions sprung up as one ideology clashed with another. Some claimed they represented the will of the people. Others claimed they stood for the long-held tradition that the people have forgotten. Wealth accumulated over generations caused the separation of classes, the haves and the have nots. 

Merchants formed guilds to capitalize on the knowledge and experiences of those who came before them in their trade. These guilds eventually convened to form the foundations of universities. Education became the entry to the road to success in a new society that was based on the accumulation of knowledge. Science and new discoveries soon replaced the wisdom accumulated over centuries, the traditions that helped define the people, and the heritage that told them who they are. Some used new discoveries and technologies to try to improve every day life. Others saw them as a way to control their enemies.

New discoveries in the realms of science opened up new worlds. Universal truths contemplated by ancient philosophers were replaced by confidence in human intuition. A world economy that multiplied through capital interest emerged. Wonders that once could only be imagined became just one click or one purchase away. 

The civilization became a new world order as other civilizations seamlessly exchanged ideas and wealth. The details that set us apart as a nation and civilization hardly matter anymore. Our past is like our childhood and adolescence from which we have learned and moved on. All that matters now is that we are human. In the past we had leaders to lead our village, city, nation and civilization. Who will lead us now? Generations of students who were taught to try to find ways to change the world , equipped with ideas, ambitions and know how; but no time-tested wisdom, no virtuous end and no one knows why. 

It's time to wake up, to claim an identity and be culturally conscious. We are a generation that knows how to do so much, but has no idea what to do with what we know how to do. I believe a sense of purpose will come once we claim the identity revealed to us through our history; no matter what village, city, nation or civilization your ancestors came from -- make them real to you.

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