And in any species that acquired it, it would encourage you to hide your best ideas, lest somebody steal them from you.
And so some time around 200,000 years ago, our species confronted this crisis.
And we chose to develop the systems of communication that would allow us to share ideas and to cooperate amongst others.
Choosing this option would mean that a vastly greater fund of knowledge and wisdom would become available to any one individual than would ever arise from within an individual family or an individual person on their own.
Well, language is the result.
Language evolved to solve the crisis of visual theft.
Language is a piece of social technology for enhancing the benefits of cooperation -- for reaching agreements, for striking deals and for coordinating our activities.
And you can see that, in a developing society that was beginning to acquire language, not having language would be like a bird without wings.
As I said at the beginning, language really is the voice of our genes.
But, as we spread out around the world, we developed thousands of different languages.
Currently, there are about seven or eight thousand different languages spoken on Earth. And then another problem occurred.
It seems that we use our language, not just to cooperate, but to draw rings around our cooperative groups and to establish identities, and perhaps to protect our knowledge and wisdom and skills from being stolen from outside.
And we know this because when we study different language groups and associate them with their cultures, we see that different languages slow the flow of ideas between groups.
Okay, this tendency we have, this seemingly natural tendency we have, goes towards isolation, towards keeping everything to ourselves, whereas our modern world is communicating with itself and with each other more than it has at any time in its past.
And that communication, that connectivity around the world, that globalization now raises a burden.
Because these different languages impose a barrier, as we've just seen, to the transfer of goods and ideas and technologies and wisdom.
And they impose a barrier to cooperation. What will be the solution?
In a world in which we want to promote cooperation and exchange, and in a world that might be dependent more than ever before on cooperation to maintain and enhance our levels of prosperity,
I think it might be inevitable that we have to confront the idea that our destiny is to be one world with one language.
What do you think of the solution? Okay.
In today's lecture, I have presented to you how language shapes our humanity, what kind of dilemma social learning has created, and the possible solutions to the dilemma.
In our next lecture, I am going to talk about lingua franca and its functions.