Did Star Trek get it right? Hundreds of years ago, teams or people started work on buildings that would not be completed before they died. In some cases, these buildings were not completed until 25 generations had passed. Cathedrals.
Today, the average lifespan of a corporation has dropped to about 15 years.
When we start talking about legacy, this is a very big difference between our forefathers and us. Modern technology can finish most building projects inside a year or two.
Maybe we’re just not being ambitious enough. Maybe we’re just too focused on the gratification aspect of our projects. As in, we want the gratification NOW!
What are we building that we will leave behind for future generations? Now, it seems … nothing. We’re just breaking a lot of stuff.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we as a species could lift our eyes a little and aim at something that we know we CANNOT finish in our lifetimes. How would that impact our planning, our resource selection, our workflow and our commitment?
Right now we are focused on short term concerns: making money before we die, making our nation proud, raising our children. But there seems an overall lack of long-term perspective. We live for now, for today.
Well, carpe diem is all well and good as a recipe for enjoying life, but what about the future of our species? Regardless of what ends up happening with the climate and environment, sooner or later, we’re going to need to leave this planet for one reason or another. Are we going to approach this in our idiosyncratic, individualistic and combative way? Or will we, by then, be able to put aside our differences in favour of a shared vision of a better future for all humans?
Sci-Fi series Star Trek is very strong on the idea that, it was not until humans came together as one, with one planetary government, that extended space travel became possible.
What if they are right and that is true?
Is that the great filter of Fermi’s Paradox? That only civilisations that attain global piece and cooperation manage to eventually venture unto space and meet each other? Is the entire mental capacity of a species necessary to overcome the challenges of inter stellar travel?
Right now, the closest thing we have to a generation spanning project is Wikipedia … and it hasn’t been going very long. In some ways, ChatGPT is generation spanning in that it has access to billions of resources … going back as far as resources have been digitised.
I think we need more of this. A kind of democratisation of all recorded human thought that can be sifted and combed for insights and discoveries.
The say that a purpose led life is the most fulfilling. What if that was true for everyone? That we ALL knew what we did contributed to the grand project of the betterment and care of the human species? I know a few people who would sleep better at night.
Now? Now we just have anxiety.