This is how Thomas Hobbes, one of the signature names of the Enlightenment defines the human life in the beginnings of the history of the humankind, or as philosophers call it; the original position. According to Hobbes, if it were not for the social contract; an eternal ceasefire agreement that bred states, constitutions, democracies, monarchies, trade agreements, and corporations, people would be stuck in an endless cycle of waging war against each other. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, on the other hand, saw the matter differently. For him, the original position was this pure state where people were devoid of greed and violence. They were fragile yet this was a good state of fragileness, because they also feared harming other beings for the fear of being harmed in return. Not that the threats were abundant. They slept under trees and fed themselves with the fruits of those trees, then they fell weak by age and died. At the moment those placid ancestors learned to use a stick agaşnst an animal, they lost their purity and stainless goodness for the greed and violence were set aflame in them.
From an anthropological standpoint, it is unlikely that this was the story of the first men, and from a psychological standpoint, it is unlikely that a stick was the cause of violence and greed in humans. But surely the stick was something. It was the first innovation. It was also the creator of two powerful notions; defense and safety. It was doubtlessly the beginning of a fight, against all the threats that could be the apocalypse of feeble humans.
The humankind was not naturally positioned at the top of the food chain. Rather, it climbed there, through countless innovations, most of which oriented towards two themes; sustenance and defense; rather primitive than methodological, isn’t it?
Therefore, the permanence we have been stressing all along is not s strategy, it is an impulse. It is an all-encompassing concept that can be molded to fit any unit of life and all things involved in it. As discussed in the previous installment, the permanence of innovation was caused the permanence of risks, so surely there was greed behind them, a greed for dear life.
There are a handful of ‘uncontacted’ tribes on earth, living in a different continuum than we do. The mainstream media, when it pays any attention to them, presents them as hollows of the old world, freshly out of a time machine. The majority of these tribes sternly refute any contact with strangers, but limited attempts that went far enough capture footage reveal that Sentinelese had newer tools each time to combat their unwanted visitors.
Now, when especially when contacted the first time, the Sentinelese lived in a simplicity that would bring tears to Rousseau’s eyes, however, each time they came up wth new tools and methods to assert that outsiders were not wanted. So, what? Did we force them to abandon the blissful original position? Did we poison them? Should we expect the invention of a Sentinelese telephone a millennium later? No. It is just the recurrence of threat pushed Sentinelese to innovate. Moreover, we were not the only beings that pushed them towards that. Maybe it was germs, decreasing population of sea creatures, or maybe it was weather. We had accomplices from nature with which we fought a long time ago.
Sentinelese innovated in a way that suited their needs. The lifecycle of innovation is not linear so we have no way of knowing where the wind takes them.
However, before demonizing innovation as greed-inducing and preying on desire, we need to realize that the core of that desire is to sustain. It is even possible to say that adaptation is nature’s way to innovate. This makes innovation a piece of our character as constituents of life, more than a conscious practice utilized to achieve domination.