This lecture introduces what I call the “Social Package” that travelled from Africa from around 60,000 BCE throughout the entire globe. Traditionally, the emphasis has been on tools and weapons; here I want to emphasize the integration of tools with art making, hut making, and dance. The tendency in the scholarship has been to see these things as separate and to focus on ‘firsts.’ The point I want to make in this lecture is to focus on the time when the various elements of social functioning cohered as a mobile platform. It was this mobile platform that allowed humans to leave Africa and colonize the world. This “Social Package” begins to take shape around 150,000 BCE as evidenced in Blombos Cave in South Africa, thus its significance in the lecture. The end of the lecture focuses on the !Kung, who are among the last surviving Haplogene A people, of whom we are all descendants. They have been called “hunter-gatherers” but I argue that this widely used scholarly category belittles the complexity of their culture. Sadly their existing is under severe threat from the construction of game reserves, and now mining. I want the lecture to remind us that the world of First Societies is not over and not a ‘stage’ in the progress toward civilization. First Society people are still among us. What is our responsibility to them, now that they are on the verge of extinction. So the over-all thrust is 1: What is it that makes us social creatures 2: The First Society is closer to us – all of us - than we think 3: First Society people still exist and we should think about the impact of our world on theirs.
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