Design and Language
You might say that we wandered out of Eden some 80,000 years ago. Our Homo Sapiens ancestors lived in small bands in caves along the coast of southern Africa where they had been pushed by a warming trend. Mega-drought in Africa drove them almost to extinction, leaving, some researchers say, just a few thousand people surviving. It may be that stress triggered a dramatic shift in human capacity – for at some point our already powerful brains took the leap to symbolic thinking. Language and design followed closely. Not that humans hadn’t communicated before or created remarkable artifacts. Our new capacity for symbolic thinking allowed us to create connections between objects and constructs of our own invention, ideas, laws and stories that we organize our social life around. Symbolic thinking opened the door to the ultimate tool in the human tool-chest – our fertile, restless and limitless imaginations. Not just any old imagination, but one that is constantly seeking to organize the world into new forms and structures that fit the contours of the human mind.