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“Modern humans (Homo sapiens) are the only extant members of the hominin clade, a branch of great apes characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion; manual dexterity and increased tool use; and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies.

They began to exhibit evidence of behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago, and migrated in successive waves to occupy all but the smallest, driest, and coldest lands. In the last 100 years, this has extended to permanently manned bases in Antarctica, on offshore platforms, and orbiting the Earth.”

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The Wikipedia article on “Human” is written as though from the perspective of some extraterrestrial sentience.

Disturbing and important, to view the human from the context of animalia and nature in general. Unnerving because it must be written as alien to oneself. Important because it provides a rare moment to see all of humanity as a very small bubble in the foam of matter and energy, a set of scenarios beholden to one another, and to much that is not observable from within.

It is difficult to retain the sense of distance for very long, especially when the discussion turns to the contents of humanity, its groupings and behaviours. Our intimacy with the cultural context constrains us, obscures the point of view.

“Humans began to practice sedentary agriculture about 12,000 years ago, domesticating plants and animals, thus allowing for the growth of civilization. Humans subsequently established various forms of government, religion, and culture around the world, unifying people within a region and leading to the development of states and empires.”

Somewhere here the narrative gets tangled up in itself, insisting that states and empires are events of the same scale in time. 12,000 years of sapient to-and-fro stacks up to very little against the backdrop of the universe.

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