Think now about what the year 1000 resembled. People living on the North and South American continents did not even know there were other continents, nor did Europeans know of the millions of inhabitants there or in Australia, and visa versa. Peoples traded and there was some personal contact between a select few. The vast majority of people though, probably never traveled more than a few hundred miles from where they were born.
Now think about how much the world has changed in these last 1000 years as compared to the whole of human history. Peoples on all continents have met, collided in fact. We can turn on our computers and “chat” with people all over the world whom we did not know before that moment, and may never meet face to face. We know now the world is round because we have the image brought back to us from space of our planet tenuously and delicately perched in orbit. Six billion people now call Earth home. Many societies have urbanized. For those in the “developed world,” the pace of everything has quickened, life spans increased, we see farther, smaller, trade in such great quantity, fly through the air, drive across the land, build, tear down and rebuild again. Remarkable change. How different life can be now in the year 2000, as compared to the year 1000.
This is our juncture. After thousands of years living in caves, six or seven thousand years of human civilization, five hundred years of full continental contact, a few hundred years with our population over a billion, fifty or so years of practical, wide spread and widely accessible global travel and contact, and a few years of the internet, where do we go from here?
Think if we could travel back in time 1000 years and talk with average people all over the globe. I doubt anyone alive then could either imagine or believe humans would discover other lands on a round Earth, fly to the moon, and talk on a cellular telephone to any part of the globe. Those ideas would seem wildly far fetched. For all our advances though, people still make war, starve to death, approach life with greed, disrespect, and disregard for their fellow human.
If we could tell those average people in the year 1000 that in the year 2000, some would still be hating and killing people simply because of their race or background. That some people toil at work from which they receive only a tiny fraction of the profits. That some indiscriminately use natural resources and exclude others from the benefits of that use, and on and on. They’d believe that. They would have a reference point for understanding all that has not advanced as far and fast as our technology. This is human kind’s greatest crime of the last 1000 years, that our moral view towards the Earth and the opportunity we have to live, at all and together, has not progressed nearly as much as the rest of our culture, and that much of what we have accomplished benefits only a portion of the population.
View Response to this article
Send My Own Response