Since the very first behaviorally modern humans walked the Earth some 50,000 years ago, there has been an enhanced sophistication in their cognitive talents and an expansion of brainpower brought about by a gradually increased utilization of the human brain’s extraordinary architecture. Fossil evidence of significantly more creative activities, like making tools out of bones, or markings and decorations on stones, which indicate a greater self-awareness and a capacity for symbolic thinking, began to appear at about that time, but there are competing ideas and sporadic finds that suggest it may have been possible even many years before that time.
In any event, once the capacity was reached it eventually began to appear more widely in the regional human populations, and advanced rapidly after that point. Considering the hundreds of thousands of years which it took for Homo sapiens to reach this point, it only took about 40,000 years after that early epoch to land a man on the moon. This rapid acceleration, comparatively speaking, includes an extraordinary development in syntactically grammatical language and abstract or symbolic thinking, and with thousands of years of experience to build upon, humans have made exponential progress in scientific technologies, as well as achieving a greater understanding of the Universe in which it all takes place.
Sadly, it seems we still have a great deal of work to do in bringing all the diverse cultures and human populations up to speed on how best to proceed along the lines of modernity.
Part of the reason for the disparity in advancement for every human population can be attributed to regional differences in cultural priorities and beliefs, a variety of socio-economic conditions, as well as a lack of resources or an imbalance in the availability of opportunities that exist worldwide.
However, the limiting factors in these examples alone are not sufficient to explain the lack of advancement in the wide range of humanity. Economic standards can be improved eventually with appropriate investment and attention to correcting whatever imbalances exist in the many regions that have them, and with a dedication to improving education and investment in forward-looking endeavors, we can help to provide the next generations with the tools they require to improve the status of whatever regions need it.
Beyond these material or phenomenal concerns, though, is the urgent need to understand and appreciate our responsibilities as the species that can alter the future for the better, or risk failing to do so through ignorance or apathy. We all have a part to play in the unfolding drama of life on Earth, and in order to promote a better future for all, we must be willing to do what is necessary to ensure that future generations are equipped to meet the challenges they will likely face.
Coming to terms with our true nature as evolved human beings, in my view, now requires a degree of attention to our “inner evolution.” With the rapid pace of the last 40,000 years as a guide, it seems clear that we have accomplished much in the phenomenal world of science and technology, and made great strides in coming to terms with our fellow humans, in spite of all the competition and adversarial relationships that exist among the countries of the world. The same cannot be said of our progress in understanding ourselves.
The broad range of human interactions these days includes just about every variety of cooperation and conflict that one could imagine. There are no limits, it seems, to what might possibly develop in both the promise and the peril represented by today’s modern humans. A significant factor in this uncertainty is the apparent lack of attention to our inner lives—what one might wish to describe as our truest selves. We spend so much time concerned about the events in the wider world of human society, and yet we often neglect to consider sufficiently the most important influential factor in all of human life—our own subjective experience of consciousness.
It may seem to us as though our own experience of our existence is less concerning than the events of the wider world, until we realize that every single event in the wider world is populated with each of us. Every participant in world events, from the lowliest individual to the heads of state and the most famous and celebrated individuals involved—each of us has only the same singular experience of our existence.
Even though our individual experience is only one of many, the ripples of consequences of the collective experiences of all, combine in every case to influence events in one way or another. Many times throughout human history, while the famous and celebrated have garnered much attention for their actions, and in many cases, rightfully so, none of those actions could have come to fruition without the participation of every individual involved.
Whether we are the leader of the free world or the least well-known and unrecognized participant in a crowd of thousands, each individual contributes a portion to every moment in the larger range of world events. We may never learn of the contributions of every individual in these events, but rest assured, if the majority of unknown spirits participating in an event can alter the outcome, as we see many times in large scale events, it is only possible with the combined strength of each individual.
How important it is then to bring to each endeavor we undertake the most aware and considered self that we can be! This then becomes our most important task, regardless of what our social status or prominence in the world might be.