My summer reading has been James C. Scott’s new book, Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. In it, I discovered this tasty morcel to open your eyes: “only 240 human generations have elapsed since the first adoption of agriculture and perhaps no more than 160 generations since it became widespread”.
160 generations! Really! Personally having known five generations (from my great-grandmother born in the 1880s to my children born in the 2000s), that’s only 155 more to go to get to a time when agriculture was not the main deal. How short modern human history is! How much we take the present for granted! How fast we are changing ourselves, our environment, our planet!
PS. It’s a great book, vintage “Jim Scott thinking” applied to archeological evidence from Mesopotamia and beyond.
[This post is my first in what I plan to have as a new series of brief blogs on ‘statistics to open your eyes’]