The Answer to Life
Being one of the physically weakest species, how were we still able to take over the entire planet? What was it that gave us an edge over our cousins?
There are more than 5,500 species of lizards, more than 1000 species of sharks, about 360 species of our canine friends, and only one species of humans. Kind of strange, is it not? What happened to our distant cousins? Did we all come together and eliminate them all? Were they not able to adapt to the changing environment? Why us, why were the weakest chosen to conquer the whole world? The game sounds rigged, somehow someone managed to pass us the better set of cards. Evolutionary Biologists believe these cards were speech, or better yet our ability to communicate by making a particular set of sounds.
What does this change then? A person having the ability to curse some random stranger in a bar shouldn’t change much, and we somehow managed to take over the entire planet by these means. We managed to be the only one of our kind, kill off our cousins like it’s a season finale of a particular medieval TV show.
Now, through these sounds that our mouth allows us to make, we were able to pass on the knowledge that would take countless years to learn through behavioral means. We were able to become more intelligent more refined individuals. A community capable of forming effective strategies and building on them as they move forward. Imagine being one of our big strong Neanderthal cousins just simply planning to drink water from the river like they do every day and suddenly a group of naked men with sticks and stones break your bones, just because they notice your patterns every day and planned a coup. There was no other way to defeat the big brawny beasts.
“Communication is key” makes a whole lot of sense now. Right? Now imagine what would have happened if one guy out of all of the Homo sapiens would’ve not understood the whole plan. He would’ve walked in the opposite direction when he hear the“ollloolololololollololo” battle cry. Now that guy would have been the reason for the downfall of an entire civilization. Imagine the guilt he would have to carry all his life, walking around knowing that he is the reason for his clan’s demise. So we had to communicate but also communicate effectively.
Communication somehow opened a channel in our minds a channel that let us share and build on each other’s ideas. We were able to effectively work towards solving problems because everyone had a clear idea both about what the problem was and how the solution would help in tackling the said problem. We had to build strong channels of communication. Had to figure out that “Ooga” means strike and “Booga” means brace. We had to practice a lot and a lot of our ancestors probably had to pay a price because they mistook one for another.
But that is still not the most crucial aspect by which communication changed the course of history. Communication gave us a power far greater than any other, the power to build relationships. Now some relationships need no form of verbal communication eg. The jawbone of a homo erectus found in Georgia which was 2 million years old had none of its teeth and lived a long time like that meaning someone was helping him eat his food which symbolizes that strong raw emotions of love, care, and kindness existed even before we could label them. I am not talking about these somewhat spiritual kinds of relationships. What I want to talk about is relationships based on mutual gain more than anything.
A relationship that was built on mutual gain had to have a huge amount of trust in it without which it cannot possibly survive. The one who signals the others to attack must have a significant amount of trust in the other members that they will attack at that given moment and vice versa, and trust can be only built when you communicate your goals properly and when those goals lead to a mutual gain in the end. It becomes a symbiotic relationship. So to maximize my gain I would have to trust the other person and he has to do the same, and through this very strong bond, we were able to create civilization as vast as ours, where even though most things might hold no real value, there is always trust behind every one of them which gives that value to these things.
So how does this answer the main question? What is the answer to life? The answer is people, these beautiful living, breathing meatballs we have all around us, those who trust the way the world works and try to make the best out of this uncertainty of the universe. By communicating effectively with people we found out that relationships don’t just have to be black and white. It is not only just “I love you “and “Me want to bash your head in with your own bones” There’s a fine grey area that says both of us need each other so why not just coexist and eliminate our common enemies? And this understanding gave birth to countless relationships, be it the one person you just nod to as you walk down the hallway, or the one person you play a particular sport with but don’t interact anywhere else with. All these bonds which may look fickle and superficial have been the most crucial part of our existence