Magens Bay --San Thomas

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Humans: Why They Triumphed

"The process of cumulative innovation that has doubled life span, cut child mortality by three-quarters and multiplied per capita income ninefold—world-wide—in little more than a century is driven by ideas having sex." --courtesy of

courtesy of

This article suggests that all of the glorious innovation seemed to evolve radically since 45,000 years ago. And the most fascinating mystery was it all started from Africa.
 "Why it happened in Africa remains a puzzle, but Steve Kuhn and Mary Stiner of the University of Arizona have argued that for some reason only Africans had invented a sexual division of labor between male hunters and female gatherers—the most basic of all trades."

Going with this theory that human interactions have spurred the modernization.  The author also mentioned that, “An auspicious mutation so that people could speak, thinks or plan better, setting the human race on the path to continuous and exponential innovation.”

The author compares the ideology of having sex in human with trade in culture. –“Trade is to culture as sex is to biology.” Without mating, the best genes won’t be here today. From trade and exchanges, human have advanced to the unimaginable level. I wonder if the most advanced innovation from the most notably place in the world, Silicon Valley, has anything to do with the diversity we have.  –Best human mutations? Perhaps?

The author uses the example that “Nobody—literally nobody—knows how to make the pencil on my desk.” –True! It takes more than one person to make it. In some cases, it requires thousands and thousands of people to make one thing. And another case could be millions, according to the author.
Do you know before iPhone, there was one from GO, then another one from General Magic and last but not the least from Palm. So, innovation is indeed collective “enterprise that relies on exchange.”

I hope you enjoy our little visit to “Innovation.” It is our privilege to live in this era where innovation has been its best. I came across this quote from Margaret J. Wheatley,
"Innovation is fostered by information gathered from new connections; from insights gained by journeys into other disciplines or places; from active, collegial networks and fluid, open boundaries. Innovation arises from ongoing circles of exchange, where information is not just accumulated or stored, but created. Knowledge is generated anew from connections that weren't there before.”

Now the question is, have you exchange your ideas lately? In another words, Have you done your trade lately?

Until next stop,
Journey of Life


  1. Interesting - I've seen the premise (that intellectual innovation through trade is akin to genetic innovation through sexual reproduction) before; I think in a book by Jared Diamond called Guns, Germs, and Steel. According to Diamond, REAL innovation in an isolated setting is remarkably rare. As an example, he points that written language arose de novo in only four or so spots in the entire world. Everywhere else, it had to be imported, either through trade or invasion.

    Sir Isaac Newton, himself borrowing from previous intellects, once commented that "I can see far because I stand on the shoulders of giants." Human life-spans are short, and real genius is incredibly rare. Steve Jobs, for example, actually had neither. These realities necessitate collaboration for the sort of quantum leaps we've seen.

    1. This is a very insightful comment and provided much added value to this mentioned article. It really opened up my eyes to the world of innovation. I never thought about innovation through trade before. I truly believed (before today) that those who had invented something were based on their own intelligence. Of course they are smart but the trade made them stand-out!

    2. Well, I think it's worth pointing out that individual genius of course has a catalysing role to play. After all, the wheel, gunpowder, writing... at some point, SOMEONE had to have the vision to see how the odds and ends lying about could be combined to make the product.

      There's a famous quote - one of my personal favourites - of the poet and artist William Blake.

      "What is now proved was once only imagined."

      Bernard Shaw, the author of "Pygmalion" later added the observation:

      "Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."

    3. I must say the quote from Bernard Shaw is a just perfect for the beginning of innovation. And Closing, Mr. Blake has it. Thank you! Your comments are always inspiring.

  2. Visiting from NaBloPoMo. I love this post! So interesting!!! I am all for open sharing of ideas!

    I love sharing on my blog (I often have printables).

    1. Thank you for your visit, Ann! I can see from your writings that you love sharing. Keep them coming.

  3. Well based on the article and the comments I believe all applies, and Steve Jobs is a perfect example of individual genius, but after him there will be more to contribute to ideas to expand creativity, with Apple Electronics. I believe I've been doing my trade lately, by providing the best information, I can possibly give through blogging that can provoke a thought or idea in someone, that will lead to success or self-actualization to be the best human being that they can be.

    1. Yup. Definitely. From your writings, you have definitely shared ideas that can provoke a thought! I saw that you have couple of new posts that I haven't gotten time to read. I can't wait for tonight!

  4. Thank you lol Im trying to find the time, its hard when you have to work and do other things but Im trying.