Humanity: a Product and Process of Socio-Biological Revolution/Evolution

He Zhao
4 min readFeb 15


(This is a small, but maybe the most important, piece of a much larger and more complex story. It might be at a future date either expanded upon, or fused with a longer text.)

The very features of our anatomy have evolved both according to, and in order to facilitate, the revolutionary social organisation that has given rise to Homo Sapien Sapiens and that is part of our core essence. Culture and nature are inseparable; they mutually, dialectically, shape each other, and shape us.

Here is only 1 out of very many examples:

Homo Sapien eyes have many unique communicative features which none of the other great apes have. Only human eyes comprise of black pupils floating on white backgrounds, and with expressive eye lids and eye brows, are able to deliver a great multitude of detailed and accurate signals to each other which are instantly understood.

Someone sitting across the bar, many meters away, looks in your direction. With a mere glance lasting mili-seconds, you can be certain of whether they are looking at you, or past you at someone behind you. This certainty comes from instantly perceiving the position of their pupils in relation to the whites of their eyes, the microscopic variations of distances within 0.01 mm, and from all the way across the room.

But not only that, also instantly, one knows whether the other person is indifferent towards you, flirting with you, or want to pick a fight with you, from the shape, position, and movement of their eyelids and eyebrows.

with only our eyes, we are able to transmit very many complex messages and emotional states, unlike other primates,

The eyes together with the movement of other facial muscles, all of which evolved for the primary purpose of communication, we have evolved a very powerful language of non-verbal expressions which directly and precisely communicate highly specific codes.

Add to this hands with nimble fingers capable of a great variety of gestures, and highly refined vocal chords capable of making a much wider variety of sounds compared to other primates; all these uniquely human physiological features together comprise a highly complex and refined multi-”platform” communication system, which evolved to facilitate life and social functions in the (relative to other apes) much more empathic and cooperative societies that humans developed.

Besides its crucial usefulness in team hunting and other cooperative activities (imagine the instant and silent communication between hunters necessary for tracking or charging a Mammoth), the development of this communication system has everything to do with collective child rearing.

In tightly knit human societies woven by intimate relations, where the survival and well being of each depends on the survival of the group and vice versa, infants, mothers, fathers, grand mothers, grand fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, friends, and lovers, all need to intimately communicate with each other constantly, express and perceive intentions, emotional states, and so on.

“It takes a village to raise a child” — African proverb

Collective child rearing, and by extension collective hunting, gathering, and the sharing of food with kin and non-kin alike, was the only social formation which made it possible for our species to afford the extremely (in evolutionary terms, over millions of years) *expensive* feature of a large brain (and the cranial capacity to accomodate it).

The brain is the most energy exhaustive muscle in the body, and requires the longest developmental period in infancy. The larger the brain, the longer the developmental period, thus larger brained offspring need more time, care, food, and protection than smaller brained offspring. Human babies need at the very least 10+ years to become self reliant, unlike the babies of other great apes, which can fend for themselves and survive independently after mere weeks or months.

Collective child rearing and primordial egalitarianism enabled human beings to become the highly sophisticated and exponentially more capable creatures that we are.

All of this became reality after our distant ancestors mounted a successful revolution against the dominant social order of their day, the hierarchical rule of alpha males through violence and fear, and successfully implemented a new revolutionary society of collective work, collective benefit, of sharing, of mutuality, in matrilineal and matrilocal clans with extremely high levels of solidarity, trust, cooperation, and egalitarianism.

Revolution and evolution, culture and nature, are inseparable forces at work, and mutually, dialectically, support each other.

It can be convincingly constructed and argued that we, Homo Sapien Sapiens, the slowest and weakest apes on the great plains and in the jungles, not just survived, but have become the most successful species ever, only through revolutionary communism.


But the human experiment is unfinished, and after at least 250,000 years of various degrees of primordial egalitarianism, sometime around 6,000 years ago, there was a proprietary, patriarchal, fascist counter-revolution which dominates with vengeance to this day.

This is subject for another time; but if we overthrew hierarchies based on violence once, we can of course do it again.



He Zhao

Radical Politics, Radical Design, Radical Rhythm, Radical Optimism.