20 November 2006

Come together

“One thing I can tell you is you got to be free
Come together right now over me.”
[‘Come Together’ – The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969]

People come together in the larger interests of the community they live in. You may not believe this, going by the events around you, but it’s true. It’s a human trait, a tendency, to come together; and this trait has been with us even before civilisation. I say even before civilisation because the ‘coming together’ of people happened when the first human communities were formed – much before the ancient civilisations (as we recognise them today) were established.

This ‘coming together’ to form one homogeneous social and economic group is the first sign of human organisation. It’s most likely to have happened during the early Neolithic settlements, when man evolved to a pastoral life (herding animals and breeding them as a source of food) and practised agriculture (growing crops) on flat land near rivers. These settlements required to be managed too, and the first government, or the ‘coming together’ to form a political organisation, was probably established around this time.

Still, managing the environment was a challenge. Predators preyed, the land was not fertile enough, a lack of water or too much of it destroyed food and lives, climatic changes were misunderstood and misinterpreted, or sudden geological events created terror. Life was uncertain. Man began to hope – and pray – for an ideal world for himself. A world where no fear or distress existed; and even if these did exist, there was a way to find courage to overcome them.

And so, man created religion – a ‘coming together’ physically, socially and spiritually to free oneself from uncertainty, fear and distress.

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