The Ascent of Man - Harvest of the Seasons

In his inspiring and continuing effort to make sense of the history of humanity's intellectual development, Jacob Bronowski explains the transition our ancestors undertook about ten thousand years ago when they abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and adopted instead the choice to work the earth, cultivate the land and domesticate animals.

Interestingly, and rather wisely, Bronowski uses the Bible, not as a religious text, but as the historical expression of a population that had to make sense of this revolution, and as an illustration that can be used to help us understand the tension and difficulties that this transition entailed for those on both sides of this development.

We may take it for granted today, and perhaps even as primitive, but the development of agriculture has had an almost unimaginable impact on the world as we know it ten millennia after its inception. If you pay attention, however, you will soon learn to see it everywhere around you.

And here is an amusing tongue-in-cheek take on the biblical the story of Jacob, as illustrated by the idealist Perchik in The Fiddler on the Roof:

Curious for more? Check out the rest of The Ascent of Man.
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