Solving the Grass-Civilisation riddle

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One of the benefits of being in a technological world is that we all get a chance to work out where we’ve come from and how that’s come about. In the past, we simply didn’t have the technological understanding to be able to understand key aspects of our past and origins. Now, we do. Unfortunately, as Francis Bacon pointed out four-hundred years ago, knowledge is power and so we can’t rely on those in power to tell us important facts, as they will naturally keep all important information to themselves. Instead, we have to work it our ourselves from first principles.

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One important fact that we can work out, scientifically, is how civilisation itself came into being on our planet. The official story is that hunter-gatherers in the delta areas of our planet switched from their existing way of life to a life of farming. In other words, they stopped moving around nomadically, gathering seasonal fruits, berries, nuts, eggs, tubers and hunting game. Instead ploughed the land and planted grass crops, such as rice, wheat, barley and oats. According to the official theory, this enabled them to free themselves from barbarity and the uncertainty of nomadic life, while also giving them the chance to settle, store and distribute food and thereby develop all the other aspects of civilisation; writing, pottery, religions, armies etc.

But, to put it bluntly, this official theory is stupid. No set of hunter-gatherers would ever switch from moving around nomadically, gathering the planet’s natural harvests and thereby eating a varied and rich diet, and switch to back-breaking toil to produce a mono-crop of low nutritional value. Grasses are not good food and the work required to plant, grow and harvest them is tortuous in a pre-fossil-fuel society.

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