So far the process of human becoming is the movement from our first footsteps as homo sapiens into the world of today. This movement hasn’t been a slow and gradual linear process from our species birth. Rather, most of what is different in the human world has happened fairly recently in the human timespan.
It is easy to see that there has been a process of acceleration of change in human existence. Life today is more changed from life in say 1700, than life in 1700 was from 2000 years before that. And this change has continued to accelerate over the last 100 years.
This acceration is particularly dramatic in the knowledge sphere. Science continues to zoom ahead in an increasing ability to formulate an increasingly rich and fine-grained understanding of all aspects of the world. The advances over the last century in physics, cosmology, biology and other areas are a great achievement for humanity in its impulse to make sense of our universe. And technology follows along as the manifestation of understanding into physical possibility.
You can appreciate how dramatic this acceleration is if you think in terms of the state of humanity and human knowledge 10,000 years ago at the beginning of the Neolithic period, when agriculture and permanent settlements first appeared. Or even more, if you place it in context of the gradual evolution of life from single celled organims over 3.6 billion years.
This accelerating human knowledge project is, of course, the dynamic force driving human becoming. It is this accumulating ability to understand, this blossoming collective intelligence, that opens the world into a field of possibility. An in-depth discussion of the acceleration of knowledge, the processes involved and some of the implications can be found in the book “Acceleration” by Ronald G. Havelock.
Looking backwards, we see humanity as an unfolding into today, a movement from basic homo sapien into modern (or post-modern) global technical civilization. As a collective humanity, we are not a fixed entity but rather a trajectory, a vector flowing towards the future, potentiality revealing its promise.
The knowledge we have gained on the universe and ourselves that we have gained in our time opens up a new perspective on what it is to be human. It allows for a new self-image of humans as agents of possibility.
And the increasing acceleration of change just makes it that much more vivid that humanity is a becoming, that we are unfolding into a future that promises to be profoundly different from the world of today. Everything we’ve accomplished to this point is just a prelude. It seems obvious that we are just at the start of the human adventure, a journey into what might be.
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