The very first humans lived in North Africa/The Middle East and they were just a made up of a few families/tribes trying to scrape enough food together to survive. Hunter/gatherer types. Some ventured further south (into Africa), some travelled east (into Asia) and others went north (into Europe) and they grew in number and the strongest physically had an advantage. There was no Law, no formal education. Life was very different to modern life and people came up with some ideas that seem crazy to us now. If they didn’t get a good crop (which was vital), they gave gifts to the ‘gods’ who provided rain. They offered some of their food as a sacrifice. And if it did rain they believed that it worked, and if it didn’t rain they offered bigger sacrifices – animals. Then if it rained they believed it worked, and if it didn’t, they offered even bigger sacrifices – humans. Human sacrifice was common practice.
In one of these tribes (in the Middle East) a man called Moses claimed that the creator of everything gave him some information to help people live together in a better way. It included the idea that human life is precious. This didn’t have a huge impact on the rest of the world at the time but it was an important concept that affected the way humans thought at a later point in history.
500 BC, the Greeks (‘Ancient Greece’) were getting organised like no-one before. They set up universities where people studied life and the world that we live in. They came up with some inventive ideas (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle being a few of them) and society was established in an organised fashion that enabled more thought about the world and the human condition.
Then in the first century, back in Israel, a criminal (a revolutionary called Jesus) was killed by the Romans. This would have gone by relatively quietly except that about 500 people went around claiming that after he had died they had seen him alive and well and had spent time with him, and nothing could stop them from denouncing this. Many went to their deaths refusing to. The ‘believers’ grew in number and when the Roman Emperor came to believe it too, the Bible became the established authority in Europe about life and the world we live in. Its teachings became corrupted at times and used for selfish gain by others but none the less, it became a huge influence on philosophy which in turn, affected the way people thought and acted.
In the 19th century some people started to question the authority of the Bible and new ideas started to shape society. Maybe there was no God, maybe humans were just physical beings. And then as late as the 20th century a German atheist (from a Jewish/ Catholic background) called Freud presented his ideas that the way humans think is shaped by their childhood and their environment...and so modern psychology was born.
And here we are, 7 billion mixed up people, living all over the world, shaped by many different philosophies and cultures, trying to make sense of it all. It's a mad world.