Go back some 200,000 years ago, when Homo Sapiens first appeared on the plains of Africa, having emerged from a procession of Hominins, starting with various Australopithicenes & then the different versions of Homo. If there was some independent observer present at that time, could they possibly have extrapolated from our ancestor to the global technical human civilization of today. Is there any way theu could have inferred how this ape derivative would impact the world? At that point in time, there would be no precedent in earth existence for a creature with the inherent potential of humans, no precedent for the unfolding of human possibility.
At that point in time, we would appeared to be just another species struggling to make its way on this planet, an unimpressive entity, just as much prey as predator. This chimp cousin wouldn’t have been hi-lighted as most likely to succeed. More likely, we would be seen as some odd experiment, another stramge quirk of evolution, likely to be a bit player on life’s stage.
Yet somehow, these unlikely Homo Sapiens grew into the humanity of today. For better or worse, we Homo Sapiens created today’s global civilization with it’s advanced science & technology. Of course, there are a lot of things about our world one can dislike, including ecological threats, war & other manifestions of human violence and vast levels of inequality and injustice around the planet.
However, thinking back to the early days of Homo Sapiens, when our main technology was stone tools, it’s hard not to be impressed with our mental accomplishments. It’s amazing to see that in these ancestors of ours a creature that would be able to decipher the mysteries of subatomic particles, or gaze millions of light years out into the universe.
The birth of Homo Sapiens represents a quantum change in the nature of the world. At that point, there was no preceedent for the possibility of intelligence to decode the universe and impact the world, no way to extrapolate our world from theirs. The potential of understanding was an unimaginable quality, something that couldn’t be anticipated within the field of earth life at that time.
And yet our world did unfold from theirs. It was invisibly implicit in their being, a potential awaiting realization. Out of the soup pot of evolution, this fledgling species, these Homo Sapiens, emerge to alter the world, to change the equation of life. Their arrival divides earth time into before human and after human. With their capacity for learning, these homo sapiens are a new dynamic force sparked into the world, agents of a new form of possibility that it is our destiny to unravel.
- Some Thoughts on Secular Worldviews
- Creatures With A Future