Civil Action

I read that famed anthropologist Margaret Mead was once asked what defined that turning point in ancient times when there was evidence of civilization and humanity being born. Wondering of course if it was the creation of tools or the first cave drawings or maybe the seafood fork? Mead was quick to answer that the first evidence of human civilization was an ancient skeleton found to have a healed over femur, and evidence that that person went on to live.

In the animal world a broken femur means death, as you can’t run away from predators, get your own food or move around to avoid bad weather. A healed femur means that another human tended to the wounded, protecting them, gathering food to share with them, keeping them comfortable and safe to heal.  A human made the decision not to run to shelter in the rain, but to in fact carry another to theirs.

So sure, tools are great, art is essential and although I have never used one, fancy, specific cutlery is a royal must. But humanity, the essence of who we are as a civilized bunch of homo-sapiens, began when we helped one another – when we put aside our needs, gather a bit of extra, prioritize joy in another or make sure someone has a warm cuppa and cozy blanket on a freezing cold day. 

Our survival may now be less dependent than it was on outrunning the sabre tooth tiger, but it is just as interdependent as we navigate the ups and downs, challenges and triumphs that we call life.  In helping one another we evolve, we rise.

Photo by Ave Calvar Martinez on

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