The fire & the spark of civilization

No single tool in the human arsenal explains our existence more than fire the very spark of humanity starts here with fire. There’s no way it happens without fire. Fire didn’t just change the course of our history, revolutionized our tools and our technology. In 12,000 B.C. There are no societies, no protections, no guarantees, just small bands of nomads, wandering the woods of Eurasia these people lived in very predator rich environments. Lots of animals who regarded humans as prey. Fire was a deterrent.

We began to experiment with fire and to put it to other uses. Beyond warmth and protection. The origins of cooking gave homo sapiens a whole new future on earth. In a small scale society, the women cook. But the men go out and hunt. It really creates the society. The fire on the hearth is a part of modern life that we’ve carried through time. Cooked food fed our brains, made us smarter, and gave us an edge over the rest of the animal kingdom. Cooking revealed the transformative power of the flame.

Fire gave us a bridge to the future, protection against predators, improved our chances for survival. We began using fire to harden our wooden spears, but the breakthrough came 7,000 years ago. We discovered that minerals could be melted down and cast into new forms. Mixing tin and copper gave us bronze, a material more potent than anything we knew before. We now had the power to create a new arterial world. Fire transformed the natural into the extraordinary. Metal opened up the floodgates to a new world of technology. We used it to launch empires, to build industries. It transformed weapons, tools, transportation, and ultimately, civilization itself.

For centuries, we relied on fire for the basics, heat, food, survival. Then we began to use flames to bend the world to our will until we had the power to explore other worlds and completely destroy our own. 1232 A.D., china’s capital, Kaifeng was at the centre of the Jin dynasty. Its soldiers fought with the high-tech weapons of the day, iron-cased bombs and fire lances. The Jin empire had been under siege by the Mongols for nearly two decades. So, the Mongols knew their enemies quite well. They had begun the war under the great Genghis khan who had conquered most of Eurasia before his death. Fireworks had been the hallmark of Chinese empires since the seventh century they were said to ward off evil spirits and chase away the ghosts. And they would become the inspiration for the Jin dynasty’s most terrifying defence against the Mongol hordes. It was a simple concoction, charcoal, the product of fire, potassium nitrate, and sulphur. This invention gave the Chinese a chance against a more powerful enemy and set the path for a new kind of war for the ages. This humble mixture of saltpetre and sulphur contains one of the most disruptive innovations in the history of mankind. Alexander rose: the irony of gunpowder is that it was first conceived as an elixir of immortality. Gunpowder originates in china. But it spreads and it spreads as a tool of war. The Chinese are first using it against the Mongols, but then the Mongols are using it in the middle east, and then using it in Europe and everyone’s learning from each other how to use this new technology, how to battle with it.

To our ancestors, fire was a mysterious force. There was nothing like it each new generation was taught that it was a gift from the gods because it held a power that could not be explained. But the true history of fire is stranger than anything we could have imagined.

Billions of years ago, earth was a sea of molten rock, bombarded by meteor impacts. But fire was no where to be found. It was missing something that only earth could provide: life lover the millennia, as the planet cooled, earth’s great oceans were formed. Out of the depths came life, the first organisms, releasing billions of tons of oxygen into the atmosphere. As life evolved over eons, plants began to colonize the land, the last ingredient in the recipe of fire. Soon, the earth’s surface was a tinderbox waiting to ignite. The crack of thunder and lightning would light the spark and the age of fire had begun 350 million years, fire swept over the planet. 350 million years, fire swept over the planet. Life on earth was forced to contend with the monster it had created.

Fire still reminds us of our place on earth. Even today, no matter how advanced we think we are, no matter how far into the future we project ourselves we are helpless when exposed to unexpected fire. But we survive, and we come back bigger, stronger, smarter. Some of the great cities, the most modern societies of their time. Rome, Constantinople, Munich, Moscow, all were ravaged by fire. But the one that really
changed the way we live, even to today, was the great fire of London in 1666 this is the fire that changed the world.

Fire is a force of nature, a force we can’t always contain. But we can’t give it up, we won’t give it up! Because we get so much out of it. By tapping the power of fire, we become closer as a species. It’s made us smarter, safer, it’s brought us together, and united us around our inventions, it’s allowed us to make the world smaller and smaller, and take us anywhere on earth we can dream and beyond right now, fire is fuelling our dreams of a new life across the universe.

Credits : Origins The Journey of Humankind ; Spark of Civilization

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