Humanity is audacious. We have the audacity to believe that we are capable of exponential growth in perpetuity. And yet, humanity cannot sustain itself forever. We must stop periodically and rest: to sleep, to eat, to heal. Humanity cannot manage exponential, our bodies are more designed like natural fallow systems. Rest is not a choice but biologically mandatory. Yet our expectations today run in contradiction. Our media is full of hope that we can advance quicker than the truth: 2001 a space odyssey was long ago, back to the future part two came and went, blade runners, are not hunting for androids
Not only do we stop, sometimes we stop catastrophically, and perhaps after stints like these. There are several periods in history where we backslide. Each time our superiority becomes plump and full of arrogance stating it’s impossible to fail. Yet the empire falls and fades. The insurmountable libraries of Rome, the mystic and architectural knowledge of the Mayans and Egyptians, the religious supremacy of England.
Late antiquity they call it. That awkward phase into the darkness. A few struggled to remember while the rest didn’t know they should care. A Barbarian ruler was finally the emperor of Rome and choose to divide it and in turn, Romans started to forget. Of course, it was much more complicated than that, but it feels relevant.
If this period of time didn’t happen – to give humanity the reprieve from change it needed, the fallow time it needed to re-energize for the next phase, would the Renaissance have happened?
Patterns in history should be not ignored. These cycles continuously happen again and again regardless of whether we are audacious and arrogant enough to believe that our miraculous century is special. Patterns of history, life and our universe, are there to see and learn from. While we may be special to this galaxy, to believe that we are so special to have the amazing power to leapfrog against such a process, is as simple as getting into our flying car and driving to your home on the moon.
This post was originally published on one of my old blogs. I backdated this to the original publish date.