For most of the history of mankind (Circa 200,000), people have lived under the cloud of perpetual fear and violence. For most of the past, until the 21st Century – the chances of an individual being a victim of violent death were quite high.
If you were a woman living in the past, you were very likely to be raped, or taken as part of war booty, sold off, mistreated, abused and all manner of other things.
If you are a woman alive today, you are very lucky to be in good times. It might not seem it to you; you might be battling bulimia nervosa, or anorexia. You might be juggling a career with looking after a baby, or the high walls and glass ceilings of a mans world. But things have never been better. Today you can work, earn your keep, buy a house, invest, join the army, dress as you like (unless you live in some conservative outposts in the world) – you can choose to be inseminated by a sperm bank, you can live with and marry another woman, you can choose not to have children etc etc etc.
The world is better for you. Indeed, the world is better for all of us.
To appreciate the present, to really appreciate it, we must know the past. Know it not in books, or in pictures or photographs, or through archaeological findings, but know it as if we have lived it. As if the past is ours too.
To understand where we are, we must understand what came before. Today we live lives in which fear of violence being inflicted on us is low, lower than it has ever been. In the past, a sail on the horizon, or a new group of visitors to the village – would have led to fear. Fear for our welfare, the welfare of our children, our life, our food supply, our daughters…
It is hard to imagine the lives of constant fear the people of the past lived in. I am sure they had happy moments, golden shafts of sunlight piercing the clouds – but I believe, that for most of the time, they lived under the pall of fear.
…to be continued…