Syllabus Intro to Humanities, Gr 10:
Once upon a time, roughly 5 billion years ago, a gravitational collapse gave birth to the solar system you're presently spinning around in. At first, things were a mess. Most of the cosmic matter gathered and fused at the core while the rest of it scattered outwardly into a flat, orbiting disc of debris.
As that debris field spun, it slowly (over the course of a billion years) started massing into clumps, thereby forming a number of stars and satellites, one of which we're all sitting on as it orbits its own star (the sun).
A billion years later, after things cooled down a bit on this home-planet, conditions were ripe for simple life forms to emerge, and eventually they evolved into increasingly-diverse complex organisms. It took mammalian life billions more years to emerge, but the planet was still hostile to larger forms of life, so there were a few mass extinctions. Each time, though, life continued to evolve.
Tens of millions of years after the last of those mass extinctions (that of the dinosaurs), ape-like animals began to emerge and at some point, they adapted by standing upright on two legs, thus heralding an evolutionary chain of events that would lead to the emergence of the species you, yourself, are a part of. That species' brain slowly grew and evolved to become self-aware of its own existence, and with the use of language (this one, the one you're using as you read this), created words to carry and record ideas from one generation to the next, words such as "human," which conveyed a category of life separate from all the rest.
Which brings us to this moment, whereby we find ourselves here in this class focusing on that very thing we call human. Welcome to World Studies, fellow human beings. Here, we'll explore what it means to be human and, if things go as planned, you may see more clearly your part in the ongoing story. ■