When we think of human evolution and advancements we tend to think of it in a linear line. Like for example, we can think that 50 years ago we didn’t have this or that in the world and now we do, and we assume it’s the natural progress of 50 years of mankind working together.
Evolution in nature is not linear, in fact it’s pretty random. Are humankind advancements the same?
Human kind advances in different fields at different speeds. Medicine, Psychics, Chemistry, space exploration, Marketing, weapons development, animal training, software, communication or anything you can think of, they are all improving at different rates for different reason.
Imagine for a second the consequences if we had advanced a lot faster on one field and a lot slower on another.
Einstein made some revolutionary discoveries that changed our concept of how the world works. If Einstein wouldn’t have been born, most probably someone would have eventually made the same discoveries.
If the Spaniard Cristobal Colón wouldn’t have convinced the Spanish Queen to fund the crossing of the Atlantic in the 15th century, America would have not been discovered in 1492 as it was. Somebody else would have eventually discovered it. The only question is if it that would have happened a year later, 10 years later or 100 years later?
I’m not going to get into the obvious conclusion of how something like that would have changed the history and therefore world we live in today. Instead I want to concentrate in how much as in amount, we would have evolved.
Imagine the electricity been discovered 100 years later. Would that have caused a simple delay of 100 years in evolution? Most probably we would have evolved in other things instead of during those 100 years.
Instead I would like to make a reflection of the consequences our present acts can have because of this effect.
What would you prefer
If you imagine a nice future of how you would like the world to be in 50 or 100 years, where would you prefer that we improved the most? Would you like a world with no sicknesses? A world where we have answers to the origins of the universe? A world with no hunger?
Throughout history we have several examples of societies that evolved specifically to their “obsessions”. Ancient military tribes dedicated an important part of their resources to defend themselves from other tribes. These tribes usually had a far more advanced defense and offense system than others that didn’t have that need. Their obsession with defense was probably necessary at the time for their survival, but it came at the cost of dedicating less resources to other branches of knowledge.
What percentage of the GDP of your country goes to the military, or research and development, education or space exploration (just to name a few)? If you look at the developed countries in the world you will find important differences in these figures, and they usually represent the different priorities those governments have.
But regardless of what they choose, are their acts aligned with their mission? Are they actually going in the direction that will take them to where they want to be in 50 years? Or are they just thinking of next years budget or the next general election? They are thinking short term or long term?
Do we even have a choice?
Some may even argue that we might not even have a choice. After all, we didn’t decide we needed a revolutionary scientist so Einstein could arise. It just happened.
Also even though different fields seem to advance independent of each other, on some occasions they step into each other. For example the M.R.I. used in medicine saving countless lives, was manufactured thanks to the knowledge we gained exploring the outer space.
Several other discoveries are produced accidentally, with no initial intention of improvement in that field whatsoever.
Even though these things occur, I believe we can maneuver quite a bit. Like a boat in a storm in the middle of the sea, you can either let yourself go and let the wind take you somewhere eventually, or you can use your sails to help you aim to your destination.