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Jan 14, 2014, 1:31p - Fiction

In the end, the sun burns out.


It's 2012. But humans have roamed this planet for 200,000 years, so I suppose it's actually something closer to 202,012. If you estimate 20 years per generation, humans have persisted for 10,101 generations. In the days of our great10,098-grandparents, there were no farms, no roads, and no cities. They had no mines, no smog, and no dams. There was no sound of airplanes overhead, no sound of metal on metal outside, just the sounds of squirrels squawking, waves crashing, and the wind whistling through the mountain passes and trees.

Even 500 generations ago, this was still mostly true. Village-building had begun, dirt paths had been trodden, and the first large farms were being ploughed. Our great497-grandparents had simple tools and large steeds and were hunting and farming with them. Cultural ritual and societies began forming, and humans began writing for the very first time.

100 generations ago saw the evolution of group thought in the birth of Christianity.

But the question is this: Faced with several billion years before the sun burns out, what should we expect will become of our species?

More consumption, more automation, and more fear of the unknown. More rules and laws. More choices, but less flexibility. More technologies and medicines. More science and truth. More English-speakers and perhaps Chinese-speakers. More democracies and more markets. Stabilization of world population around 9 or 12 billion.

I wonder when the next year-reset will happen, as it did 2012 or so years ago. Will it take a few hundred thousand more years, before we trick ourselves into thinking that we are young again? Or can we only drink from the fountain of youth once?

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