...or at least a swift kick in the head.

There have been a great deal of phenomenal discoveries in the past ten-thousand or so years, since the human realized it could kill animals for food. There was fire, the wheel, architecture, iron and steel, the steam engine, Pasteurization, the motor car, the airplane, the telephone, the calculator, the computer, the cell phone, and console games. But have we found or invented anything to really take us to the next level?


We are still bound to our immediate spacial area; we haven't met (or been introduced to) another advanced life-form. We haven't found a cure for cancer or for AIDS; nanobots are still too expiremental to be considered a reality. We still leave our children a world which is worse than the way we found it; the forests are still going away. Our atmosphere is still disentegrating; cars still exist. Teachers are still paid less than garbagemen; the homeless still die in the streets...

The title of this node was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Myself, I would say that human kind has always been improving in subtle, little ways. One could give a long list of inventions, but inventions have never been the cause of the progress of civilization, instead being a result. There are a number of things that we haven't done (an infinite number, in fact) but meanwhile there are thousands of things we have, many of which are very impressive. We may be bound to our immediate spacial area, but only because we now see the phrase "immediate special area" as meaning "our planet" instead of "our continent," "our nation" or "our village." We haven't been introduced to representatives of other advanced lifeforms, but more and more have suddenly recognized the equality of others of our own species: slavery didn't really end all that long ago. We haven't found a cure for cancer or AIDS, but we have wiped out bubonic plague and smallpox, all but eradicated polio, measles and mumps. Nanobots are too experimental to be considered a reality, but how long ago were computers themselves considered science-fiction, and no one had even dreamed of microscopic robots? Teachers are paid less than garbagemen because... well, I'm not going to pretend to know all the answers here. I do know that more people would rather teach than pick up garbage for a living.

While it is true forests are shrinking and there are disturbing things happening over Antarctica, that there are measurable ways in which the world has, physically, become worse for our descendents, socially, the world has never been a better place. People are generally healthier, happier, and more free now than at any previous point in history. There are certainly some people in extreme straits, there are indeed dangers to be faced, and there is much progress yet to be made, perhaps more than humanity has made during its entire previous existence, but we have still come quite a long way. Maybe there will always be progress to be made, if not in technology then in plenty of other things.

The Monolith in 2001 transformed apes into creatures so above their previous state, that, beforehand, they could not have comprehended the difference. There may indeed be a state of being beyond our current level of enlightenment. If there is, I do not know what that may be. If it happens, those of us to whom it does not happen will probably never notice.

That brings me to wonder.... maybe, it has already happened.

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