Happy 12,014!

Thanks to the farmers, I can enjoy my Portuguese stew.

Thanks to the farmers, I can enjoy my Portuguese stew.

Since twelve thousand years, farmers have laid the foundations of civilization as we know it. Maybe we should start counting the years from the day the first person started to plant an edible grass in the Near East. This grass came to be wheat and we own our history to it.

If anyone asks me to separate tare from wheat, I wouldn’t know how to start. I just don’t know the difference between them. I only know that wheat is something good: it has been with us for over twelve thousand years thanks to a hunter-gatherer, who was sick of wandering under the Near East sun. He got a fixed address and started to plant some edible grass: instantaneous success. In the spare time, he still invented the bread, the porridge, the couscous, and—he deserved—the beer.

I’m a big fan of this guy. Not only due to the beer, but especially because he was the first farmer. And farmers made possible civilization as we know it. From the Fertile Crescent in south-west Asia, where they also invented the pea, the sheep and the goat, they spread through Europe, Asia, and North Africa. In India, they met another wave of farmers coming from China, who had invented the rice, the pork, and the flu.

In these migrations looking for new lands to cultivate, the farmers propagated their technologies (including how to separate tare and wheat), languages, ideologies, religions, and diseases, creating the most favorable conditions for, when they crossed the Atlantic 11.5 thousand years later, they did not become a colony of Inca or Aztec farmers.

Not that the American farmers weren’t enough clever: they were doing an excellent job indeed. They invented the potato in the Andes, the manioc in the Amazon, and the corn, the beans, and the turkey in Mexico. However, for their bad luck, they started it a bit too late, only 5.5 thousand years ago. They didn’t have time (and space) to advance their technologies and diseases as well the Eurasians did.

As for me, in spite of all the wisdom accumulated in the 42 years that I completed today, I’ll keep myself ignorant about tare. I won’t google for it, I won’t wiki for it. It will remain as a simple remind that there is always something more to learn. Because, as you know, it is much bigger outside.

With that, I wish you all a wonderful and inspiring 12,014!


Categories: Culture, History, Science, Scientific Culture

Tags: , ,

2 replies

  1. Dear Mario,
    Thanks for this interesting words in your blog. I appreciate this column with equal pleasure that I enjoy to eat a wonderful Portuguese stew at Mrs. Sonia’s house with your family. Thank you again.
    For this occasion, in this ‘Mario’s nameday’, Flav and I came here to wish a happy anniversary and a great 12.014 for you.

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