From 10,000 BC to GameStop

The GameStop story — small retail investors taking down wall street big shots— is taken as an exception, an outlier.

But I see it in rhyme with human history. If you watch 10,000 BC on Netflix, you will know what I mean.

Throughout history, we human took down much bigger animals by what? By doing it together.

To do it together, we used a tool that is only uniquely available to human beings — the language.

The language ability, according to “60 Lessons of Science and Technology History” by Computer Scientist Wu Jun , was due to a gene mutation in our ancestors’ brain, the FOXP2 gene mutation. The same did not happen to apes, not even to the Home neanderthals.

The Homo neanderthals, who dominated the European continent at a time, were bigger in body and brain size than our ancestors, the Homo sapiens, who were originated from Africa.

Our ancestors were able to migrate to Europe and finally beaten the Neanderthals mostly by our ability to communicate a message such as “..tomorrow there will be a battle in the west side so bring your weapons”. There is no fundamental difference between it and “there are some shorts on GameStop so bring your cash to buy the stock to morrow” on Reddit.

According to Dr. Wu, our ancestors first attempt to migrate to Europe and Asia (about 80,000 to 100,000 years ago) was not successful. They were beaten by the much powerful Homo neanderthals and withdrew back to Africa. The second time our Ancestors tried and succeeded, but it was about 20,000 years later.

20,000 years is a long time (some perspective: China is said to have 5,000 history of civilization, and the US history is 300+ years)

In 20,000 years language can develop a lot (think of Shakespeare English to today’s).

A much more sophisticated language can do two things: 1) to spread knowledge fast, e.g. how to make bows and arrows and throwing darts. 2) to mobilize more efficiently. It was bows and arrows and the organized assembly that enabled the Home sapients to drove the once dominant Home neanderthals to the southern tip of the European continent by the Strait of Gibraltar” , and finally into extinction. (Sorry for them).

The language process never stopped. The content it carries is getting richer and richer and the speed at which it spreads is getting faster and faster. Finally we arrived at Internet and Reddit.

Language is powerful.

Which may be, just may be, worth a second thought after our first thought that it is breach of freedom of speech to ban any accounts on Twitter, Facebook…? If some speeches break us, weaken us, may be it is worth banning ?

Imagine the battle was in the west but some of the Homo sapiens tribe members were misguided to the east. What would happen? A weakened assembly that would be likely beaten by the Neanderthals. Repeated enough times and today it would not be us who stand on this earth but the neanderthals.

The freedom of speech is to speak truth fearlessly and therefore we should treat it as dearly as the air we breath, and defend it with our lives. But when we sensed there is a lot of pollutants in it — the false statements and misinformation. We should instal air filters as we do in cars and air conditioners.