otherPriorities.com was supposed to become a site for texts and think pieces, written exchange and debate on Africa, the West, and the Rest of the World. It didn’t work.
I will now use it to offer short stories in which I pursue the origins of humanity and explore what has since gone differently in Africa and the West. The stories are based on facts, occurrences, and images from the media and science as well as my personal and professional life as a Swiss diplomat in Africa.
I invite you to follow the evolving story. And a notice to the reader: All of this is eclectic, anecdotal, and apodictic.
Recap: 3.2 million years ago, Lucy took us down from the trees. She was a hominin, no longer ape but not yet human. Other hominin fossils date up to a million years further back but Lucy’s skeleton is 60% complete and gives us the greatest possible insight into her intermediary species of the hominins. The first human, Homo habilis, dates back to 2.6 million years ago. Like the chimpanzees, hominins had for ages used sticks and stones as tools. What promoted them to becoming human was that they now started designing and producing their tools, most famously and out
A few years ago, I was still a frequent flyer and thus a frequent reader of ‘airport books’. Once in an airport bookshop, I could not resist when I fell upon a paperback with the subtitle, ‘The Real Science behind Sex Differences’. When I entered the diplomatic service in 1980, we still received two years of training, the first of which was at the ‘Graduate Institute for International Studies’, in Geneva. There, I learnt diplomatic correspondence and the redaction of a ‘Note Verbale’. A note verbale is a formal instrument of official inter-governmental communication with legal force. It has
The three foremost reasons that people give for having sex are love, pleasure, and babies. No one ever mentions the survival of the species, or evolution. What they fail to see is that the fitness for survival of an individual – eat, drink, sleep; fight or flee – only makes sense if this fitness is passed on to the next generation. And the link between fit genes of a man and a woman and the next generation is making babies. In this process, the genes are not only passed on but also reshuffled, duplicated, and altered. Biology has programmed