Cosmic idea, quite possibly trite

One of the foundations of my belief system is that humankind is in the middle period of its development, with no clear notion of how close we are to the final period. The first period being the one in which humans are just another lifeform, like lilacs or anteaters, completely inconsequential, and the final period is the one where we have figured out a common, moral way of self-sustaining life. This middle period arises with the rise of consciousness, specifically the formation of religion and our moral obligations to other humans and other species, most of whom we haven’t laid eyes on nor will we. Ultimately, this consciousness leads from religious thought, superstition, all sorts of false understandings of the workings of the universe to the beginnings of rational thought and ultimately to scientific thought, which allows us to create technologies that are capable of destroying human life and life on this planet entirely. The question is what will happen first: do we destroy ourselves through technological advances while we are still quarreling heatedly over false or inconsequential concepts like race, religion, nations, languages, political philosophies or do we rise above such things and learn to prioritize the preservation of human life? It seems inevitable to me that as long as any of us are attaching almost any importance to the interests of our “tribe” (however defined), and not to the human race’s interests, we’re heading towards destruction, whether that be enabling climate change, polluting the planet, waging atomic wars, etc. We are a very long way, to my mind, from reaching the third stage of our development, perhaps thousands of years in which we are living under this sword of Damocles.

Is this in any way a novel concept to you, or just a given of life?

It is always dawn, the mythical proto-phase. How long have humans walked the earth? How long civilization? How long history? What is that compared to a million years?

Heavy, man. Like…heavy!


The so-called final period sounds like a fantasy.

Sort of, yes. It might just be unattainable.

But I’m thinking more of other intelligent life forms in the universe, and how this is a universal process: most highly evolved forms extinguish themselves (and their environment) long before reaching that final phase, but given an infinite number of lifeforms, there must some who succeed.

You might want to check out Spiral Dynamics.

This is, like, every third science fiction story for the past hundred years. Those gave hundreds of variant answers. Some periods are optimistic, some are pessimistic. And all are outdated because nobody sees the real future.

No offense, but at my age there are no novel ideas, except for total crackpot fantasies, which this definitely isn’t.

In the '50s every other story was set in the aftermath of an atomic war. In the '70s they were set in an overpopulated earth. In the '80s in a polluted earth. Today they are set on an earth after climate change and global flooding.
The OP should read some sf from those times, and be amazed that we’re still here. We’re unlikely to die in a nuclear war. Population growth is slowing, and the news seldom even reports on air quality any more unless there is a fire or some weather pattern which makes things especially bad.

While I don’t think total annihilation of the planet and its occupants is inevitable, neither is total de-tribalism inevitable. If you look out 200 or 300 years things may basically be the same as they are today, with just better machines and computers to do the work humans used to do. Or we may have a massive war that kills off 90% of the global population, or we may get hit by a giant meteor and become extinct like most of the dinosaurs did.

To me, tribalism is a curse, but it’s the nature of human beings to form groups and defend their territories, and nothing is ever going to change that.

You can spend your time worrying about the future and what will become of the human race, or you can enjoy the here-and-now and have the best life you possibly can. I prefer the latter.

None taken. I was trying to say (trying again) that I’ve been thinking for a very long time that this was how all intelligent life evolved, 1)pre-intelligent life,> 2)tribalism and the rise of science,> 3)triumph over tribalism, which (#3) sometimes happens, most times not, and that this 3 stage process is just an inevitability in intelligent life anywhere in the universe.

What I’m hearing is mostly, yeah, everyone who’s thought about it at all operates on this assumption.

But that is where we will spend the rest of our lives…

You do realize that you just spent 5 minutes trying to persuade me that I shouldn’t waste 5 minutes trying to change anything about the future, don’t you?

Sounds like a Plan.

Latest in a long line of them.

I love it when one of those comes together…

You can spend as much time as you want trying to change the future, but it’s a waste of time worrying about something you have no control over.

I just think out loud here for a few minutes a day. Cosmologists devote their lives to such things. Are they wasting their time speculating about the origins of the universe, or the age of it, or how fast it’s expanding? They have no control over any of these things. I don’t understand what you’re complaining about.

Your premise about what is going to happen in the “third stage of development”, whatever that is, is utter speculation and a waste of time worrying about. We don’t know what the world is going to be like in 50 years, let alone 200 or 300 years. I can spend time speculating on the future just as well as you can, but it’s still pointless since nobody can predict the future.

Can not!!

The only prediction I’m going to make is that the ghosts of Jules Verne and Arthur C. Clarke will be visiting you tonight.