Brampton, Mar 22 (IBNS): Medium’s Asha Bajaj interacts with Barry Brown, author of “Humanity: The World Before Religion, War & Inequality”
1. Your book, Humanity: The World Before Religion, War & Inequality has gained a lot of praise from historians in India and North America. But before we go into that, please tell us a bit about your background and early childhood.
I grew up in Toronto and was raised Jewish although most of my family was not very religious. My earliest ambition was to be a theoretical physicist but my math skills were weak, so while I kept reading books and articles about Science, my focus began to shift into history and literature. By the time I was in High School, I had decided to become a writer and so I immersed myself in meeting people from different backgrounds and lifestyles, reading about different cultures, histories and the personal struggles of people who faced discrimination and other hardships in their life. At home and School, I was often punished and beaten for nothing more than thinking independently, so I had an immediate empathy with others who faced similar uphill battles. By the end of my time in High School I had started my fledgling career as a writer. I had my first paid poetry reading at a Toronto library and my first play was slated for production. However, the Director who chose my play suddenly moved out of Toronto, so it was never staged.
In my late teens I decided to drop out of High School and leave my family home. I bought a train ticket for Vancouver and rode the rails to the West Coast. When I arrived in Vancouver, I already had a wide range of experiences and personalized education. I’d become a vegetarian, begun to practice yoga, spent time studying the I Ching, the Baha’i philosophy, Japanese poetry and many other subjects. My life in Vancouver seemed not much different from Toronto. I wanted to expand my way of thinking so when I was given the chance to live in an abandoned logger’s cabin on top of Mt. Tuam on Saltspring Island (B.C.), I took it. I communed with others and experienced a very rugged life. I cut wood for my cast iron stove and heater, gathered water from a mountain stream and generally lived a life close to that of the early settlers. This experience also had its limits and one day while on a ferry boat traveling back to Vancouver, I met a young man with the Hare Krishna books and began to read it. He told me the group…