Fire and the Society of Early Man

            I believe that the invention, by early man, of the process by which to make fire was the first step in separating early man from the other organisms in his world.  Fire served early man in a multitude of different ways, for example by making meat more palatable through cooking or as a source of light and heat at night.  Because of its various uses for early man fire was probably considered a very powerful tool and the ability to make fire a very sought after skill.  Fire was so important to early man that I believe individuals that were especially skilled in its creation probably held a very important position within the groups in which early man lived.  This line of thinking leads me to believe that the invention fire making lead to the first human social structure that was not dominated by the largest and strongest alpha male.  If the first societal structure of humans was created because of fire it is reasonable to think that they were created in the same time frame, therefore strengthening the Big Bang theory of human evolution.
            As stated above fire served early man in a multitude of different ways.  Fire was used as a source of heat and light, the latter being very important because humans are not nocturnal animals while many other their predators probably were.  Fire was used for cooking meat to make it easier to digest.  Fire was a useful tool for defense against animals, because most animals of any size have an instinctual fear of fire.  A fire created a gathering place for early man, a place where the first origins of language and culture possibly developed.  Overall, the creation of fire was probably the first and most important invention that separated early man from other similar animals of his time.
            Another interesting aspect of fire is that its creation, even for modern humans with greater knowledge but under similar conditions, is no easy task.  I do not think that once a technique for creating fire was found every individual of a group had the motor or mental abilities to start a fire.  Being somewhat of a pack “animal”, early man’s the social structure of early man was probably dominated by one or two of the strongest, or alpha, males.  There is the possibility that these alpha males were not always the members of the group who were able to regularly create fire.  If another male or female in the group was able to create fire and regularly shared this fire with the whole group this individual may have gained a secondary or even primary position of power within the group.  This suggests the possibility that the ability for individuals to create fire could’ve possible created the first non-instinctual societal structure among early man.  If we consider the creation of fire a distinctly human trait then I think we can call this first societal structure the origin of the first human society.  If you subscribe to the Big Bang theory of human evolution then this theory makes perfect sense.  First early man creates fire, this fire creates a natural gathering place for individuals and the first semblance of a societal structure among humans.  From this gathering place come the origins of language and a combination of some form of language and some form of societal structure result in the first human culture.
            I believe that the creation of fire was the spark that lead to the development of the human species and the development of how humans interact with each other.  Fire was so important to these early humans that its creation could’ve been secondary only to the procurement of food in importance to these groups.  Because of this the individuals who were able to create fire probably held some position of power within the group that was not theirs naturally or theirs if they weren’t able to create fire.  To me, this birth of a societal structure along with fire strengthens the Big Bang theory of human evolution.          

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last updated 2/6/06