At one point in human history, mankind rejected the laws of nature and began to develop a social system comprising of all the humans that existed. This system is defined today as “society”. Early humans developed agriculture, government, architecture, art in the form of etchings, pigment paints, music, arguably dance, and most importantly: recording of events also known as history. Such epiphany doesn’t appear out of thin air, unless readers are considering the possibility of a creator according to his/her tastes and views. Therefore, there must have been a height or climax to prehistoric men. From extensive research, I found that this climax was actually a discovery of a well known substance, one we all use daily. I’m not talking about salt, or agriculture, animals have already mastered those techniques; this was completely human intuition. This revered occasion was the arbitrary discovery of soap.
You might think I’m losing my marbles, but I am being very serious about this. It all starts in early recorded Babylonian and Sumerian tablets, rich in the history of our predecessors. Indianna Jones would murder you and I for a chance to glimpse on these tablets. Anyways, these tablets revealed the birth of soap (2200BC) and human sacrifice. Here is the story in a chemistry approach and an archaeology approach:
The ancient Babylonians realized that washing clothing in a certain river made their clothing cleaner compared to washing it in other rivers. On the top of that river, human sacrifice was performed, and the corpses of the brave sacrifices were cremated, their ashes and melted fat thrown into the river. As the ashes and fats slowly flow down, the ashes were purified into Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) and the fat slowly liquefied. The mixing of these fats (C3H8O3)and Sodium Hydroxide became Sodium Stearate, or Soap. This solution left a bubbly discharge, of which the average civilian would wash their clothing in. It was only a matter of time before they discovered exactly why all that was happening, though the chemical formulas weren’t discovered until 4 millennia later. After the discovery, humans began to notice the difference between dirty and clean, later black and white, to desire or cringe, law and chaos, even what is and isn’t aesthetically pleasing. After this, humans were able to separate themselves from their instinctive side, and move on with their new-founded curiosity and innovation. Soap is the pinnacle of human civilization, the peak of which man discovered independence from natural forces and government by the world around them.