About the book.

A Brief History of Man

When and why we cre­at­ed God, and how belief trans­forms our evolution

is about what we now know, and how we know it. Because for the first time in man’s his­to­ry we can look back and say, sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly, where we came from, how we got here, and what it is that makes us who and what we are.

Soon after we leave Africa, about 70,000 years ago, our evo­lu­tion sud­den­ly takes flight. Our pop­u­la­tion explodes and we quick­ly begin liv­ing as cul­tur­al beings in an increas­ing­ly orga­nized, proto-society.

We begin to trade, to use per­son­al orna­men­ta­tion, to rit­u­al­ly bury our dead, to paint caves in an incred­i­bly orga­nized way, and to pro­duce the thou­sands of “Venus” fig­urines that we have now unearthed. And it is at this point that we begin to speak.

Yet all this hap­pens in the depths of the Ice Age, and at a time when our clos­est neigh­bour and near­est rival, the Nean­derthal, sud­den­ly per­ish­es. Why? What are all of these devel­op­ments for? And why do we sud­den­ly become so much bet­ter at sur­viv­ing because of them?

Because what we begin to do once we leave Africa is to prac­tice belief. Belief is what makes us who and what we are, and is what near­ly all of those prac­tices are used for. But what we believe in is immaterial.

God does not sur­face until much lat­er, because belief and God serve two very dif­fer­ent ends and have very dif­fer­ent his­to­ries. The lat­ter only emerges with our need for a legal code, and that only hap­pens after the end­ing of the Ice Age and the arrival of agri­cul­ture and the first vil­lages.

Belief, on the oth­er hand, is our ulti­mate response to our under­stand­ing of what it means to be human. For we are first and fore­most prob­lem solvers. And belief is our way of solv­ing all of our problems.

View the pro­mo for it here.

See the Table of Con­tents, and read the Pro­logue here.