In the beginning . . .
Was there nothing and did some supernatural being create all we have now?
Was there nothing except a tiny condensed spot of everything which then started to expand, like a magician’s box out of which you can pull everything you need, from tiny grains of sand to mighty oceans.
You pays your money and you takes your choice.
If you fancy the Creation route or the Big Bang route it would be hard to argue against it all being created with a background of socialism.
After all the Bible tells us that God gave man dominion over all:
“And God said , Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of sea, and mover the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”Genesis 1:26 KJV
Now there are those that says this refers to man not woman but Genesis also says that God made woman of man which means they are flesh and blood. There is no mention of Adam or his children, or his children’s children, or his children’s . . . . well you get the idea, having to work for someone else and then buy back what he has produced.
On the other hand if you follow the evolutionary route then you accept the first blob split itself into two, and kept on doing so until they amassed as an entity which slowly but surely (and by slowly I mean over billions of years) evolved into the creatures we call man, or mankind, or homo sapiens.
Even as Charles Darwin was working on his theory of evolution Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx were highlighting their version of why all men are equal despite the many changes over the millenia.
In 1844 Marx wrote in his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts: “Man lives from nature, i.e., nature is his body, and he must maintain a continuing dialogue with it if he is not to die. To say that man’s physical and mental life is linked to nature simply means that nature is linked to itself, for man is a part of nature.”
This was 15 years before Darwin’s Origin of the Species but the theories were being bandied around before that. Darwin did, of course, have a great influence on Engels and his The Part Played by Labour in the Transition From Ape to Man, essays written in 1876.
Now that evolution was being taken fairly seriously Engels was highlighting that the earliest changes from ape to man were based on labour. His basic argument is that some early hominids had abandoned the trees and started to walk – bipedalism – instead of putting some of their weight on their forearms by resting their knuckles on the ground.
The benefits of this first change were many and various according to the scientists – including the fact that they offered less of their body mass to direct sunlight at a time when they were still living on the savanna.
Engels believed a major benefit was that it freed up the hand for other purposes allowing them to become more dexterous and capable of crafting rudimentary implements. He points out that this signifies that: “hand is not only the organ of labour, it is also the product of labour.”
As we know change does not happen in an instant and homo erectus did not become homo sapiens overnight.
The change in the hand led to changes in the brain as well and our early man recognised that more and more could be done with the hand and as such the hand developed further and the implements they manufactured could be used for specific purposes, such as developing flint to cut while lashing weighty stones on to fashioned shafts to make an instrument for hitting rather than cutting.
With these tools (some of which could be weapons) early man moved beyond basic foraging. This early stage, still the way many animals exist, meant consuming everything in an area, leaving little for replenishment, before moving to a new area, which would also be denuded.
Having developed the ability to create as well as consume these hominids recognising a need for mutual support sought methods of collabaration which meant they needed a method of commuinication.
“In short,” wrote Engels, “men in the making arrived at a point where they had something to say to each other. . . . The undeveloped larynx of the ape was slowly but surely transformed . . . and the organs of the mouth gradually learned to produce one articulate sound after another.”
The adaptation continued and encompassed a change in their diets, allowing them to inhabit new environments. With the consumption of meat, and later the discovery of fire, they had found a rich source of protein that nourished their bodies and their physical brains. Each now used individual abilities to work for the good of all: some would fish, some hunt and others craft tools enabling the hunters and fishermen to carry out their works more efficiently.
Engels suggests that following on from the development of the meat diet and control of fire our forebears began the domestication of animals. Then, finally, agriculture was added to hunting and cattle raising; then came spinning, weaving, metalworking, pottery, and navigation. Along with trade and industry, art and science finally appeared.
He goes on to point out that humans became distinguished from animals by their ability to manipulate nature in varying ways rather than just fitting into a singular niche.
Thus we find that whether Creation or Evolution there was no differentiation between individuals by means of class, servitude or mastery.
From each according to ability and to each according to need.