In The Beginning

In the beginning it was every man for himself. The single caveman was not much of a match for the various strong and fast carnivores. One prehistoric day a single caveman grunted at another suggesting they cooperate so one could distract the mastadon and the other could sneak up and bash it on the head. Dinner was had and cooperative civilization was born.

Based on their successful venture, the two cavemen tried it again. Eventually others copied the idea. Over time the guttural grunts evolved into more precise sounds that in turn became language.

The cooperative effort that became civilization was based on communications, knowledge, and trust. Communications enabled coordination. Knowledge enabled learning. Trust enabled risk taking.

Trust is the willingness of one individual to take a risk based on the expected behavior by another individual. Trust cannot be edicted. It cannot be purchased. It cannot be invented. Trust must be earned through behavior. Trust may be communicated as knowledge.

The final enabler of modern civilization was the extension of communications to writing. Writing enabled learning to transcend time and place. Writing was more accurate than communicating by word of mouth. Writing also allowed knowledge to move around geographically and well as survive from one generation to the next so the sum total learning could be based on previous knowledge rather than a continual relearning repeated each generation.

Modern Civilization

Modern civilization also depends on communications, knowledge, and trust.

Modern technology has made both knowledge and communications nearly zero cost. Trust continues to be earned by behavior and communicated as knowledge. Trust continues to be a relationship between individuals.

The Truth Postulate

Truth is knowable.

The Knowledge Postulate

Knowledge of truth is a prerequisite for trust.

The Cooperation Postulate

Trust is a prerequisite for cooperation.

The Civilization Postulate

Cooperation is a prerequisite for civilization.


— Russell Fish III, April 5, 1997