It’s remarkable how much more mature we are today than we used to be.
Joe Rogan, whether you’re a fan of his or not, actually breaks it down quite well at the beginning of his standup special Strange Times. He says if the US was founded in 1776, and some people now live to 100 years old, the country was founded around “three people ago.” That means three people ago, we were writing with feathers by candlelight (if you were privileged enough to be literate) and living to an average age of 54 (for men).
If you think about it, people only began to think well after the scientific revolution—which ended in the late 1600s—transformed our views of nature and gave us significant developments in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. And the Industrial Revolution, which gave us modern manufacturing processes, ended only in 1840. That’s less than two people ago.
It seems like we don’t often pause to recognize how astonishing this is. Humanity today is even leaps and bounds more intelligent and more mature than it was, say, 20 years ago.
For some reason, though, we rarely empathize with recent humans who had it much worse. Looking back on all the discoveries we’ve made, problems we’ve solved, conveniences we’ve created in such a short amount of time, it’s difficult to deny that things have gotten a hell of a lot better.
It’s pretty inspiring because we’re just getting started. We’re beginning to understand ourselves and our world better, and learning how to live healthier, happier lives.
Humanity is in the throes of a technological revolution. We have all of human knowledge at our fingertips through the internet. It’s nearly impossible to communicate how incredibly powerful that is, albeit dangerous. But based on the societal and thought advancements that followed other revolutions, it’s pretty damn exciting to ponder what’s next for us.
So, yes, we’re facing our own set of significant threats and crises in the modern world. But we’re trending upward, and that means if we play our cards right, things will get effectively infinitely better. We can’t quite begin to imagine how much our lives will improve, just as we, three people ago, couldn’t have predicted we’d be where we are today. It’s only getting better.