The 5,000 Year Leap

*By Ann Streit, CLW Founding Member & Heritage Book Club Lead

While scholars differ, it is widely accepted that mankind learned to control fire around 300,000 years ago, providing warmth, protection, a way to cook food and a place for gathering socially.
A mere 288,000 years later, neolithic man began to farm and keep livestock, a much more reliable source of food. It only took another 8,500 years for man to invent the wheel. Great civilizations rose and fell for thousands of years, their great cities and temples became buried in the sands of the Sahara or were overtaken by jungles and rodents.


In seventeenth century America, people didn’t live so differently than they had during the Iron Age, 2,000 years earlier. The people of Jamestown in 1608 used tools similar to those of
ancient Persia. Their clothes, made of thread spun on a wheel, were woven by hand. Medical treatment was based on superstition rather than science and an ox-drawn cart was the best mode of transportation available. Life expectancy, even during the advanced Greek and Roman civilizations, is estimated at about 25-35 years. From the 1500s to 1800s, life expectancy in Europe hovered between 30 and 40 years of age. In 2020, the average life expectancy was nearly 80 years, in the developed world.

 

Today, if we choose not to fly to our destination at 500 or more miles per hour, we can drive down the interstate in air-conditioned and heated vehicles at 70 (or 80) miles an hour. We can
use the powerful computer we keep in our purses to make reservations at our next destination where we expect potable water, toilets, clean 300-thread count sheets on the bed, television
with a remote control and perhaps a swimming pool. After checking in, we can go to any of a myriad of restaurants where we choose from a vast selection of food, the ingredients often transported thousands of miles, knowing that refrigeration and hygienic cooking techniques keep the food healthy, as well as abundant.

 

Though life had stayed relatively the same for hundreds of thousands of years, something happened in the eighteenth century that allowed us to go from ox-drawn cart to a rocket to the
moon, in less than 200 years. If you would like to know the answer to that question, join the Heritage Book Club where our August book selection is The Five Thousand Year Leap: 28 Great Ideas That Changed the World. (Spoiler alert: it has something to do with America’s Founding Fathers and the miraculous document they created.)

The Heritage Book Club is an ongoing book club/discussion group that delves into the ideas, documents and books that define who we are as a people. We explore Western Civilization, its Judeo-Christian foundation and how our Founding Fathers took the
wisdom of the ages and created what would quickly become the greatest nation on the face of the earth. We have multiple clubs popping up across WA, with more to come!
Please check the Conservative Ladies of Washington website to find a location near you. Can’t find one close to home? We would be glad to help you start one for your friends and neighbors. Contact me if you have any questions: annstreit@comcast.net.