There is a schema that measures the history of the Earth as 24 hours from the beginning of its formation (meteor shower) at minute 1 to right this second, midnight. In that schema, we humans show up at about 11:58 p.m.
In Earth time we just got here. No wonder we are so flimsy, unreliable, impulse driven, immature. We are still at that age where when we see a piece of candy we think: “I want candy.” And very soon afterwards: “I take candy” and a bit later: “I throw out candy wrapper.”
In a couple more hundred thousand billion years we’ll probably see that there might be a way to approach things differently. We are already hearing voices of people, just like us, who tell us that everybody wants candy and that everybody should share the candy they already have and that everybody needs to decide if candy is actually a good thing since we have to all dispose of the wrapper in a way that doesn’t cause ice bergs to melt and polar bears to die and viruses to run around this tiny little rock with the speed of dragonflies, who may also be endangered.
I think that we will. I have faith in us. Yes, faith, because we can learn. Not just about gadgets, which we are great with and have little facility presently to think about the effects of but as animals, as citizens of this beautiful blue planet, this star lazily rotating in an immense garden of other planets, asteroids, stars, suns, moons. I’m not saying “we got this (existence”. I’m saying that we could got this.
People used to regularly murder other humans in service of an unknowable god. Most of us don’t do that anymore. It wasn’t effective in either bringing rain or stopping rain.
Some people used to murder babies if they were twins, albinos or even ‘funny looking’. Most of us don’t do that anymore either.
We used to use hair spray. We used to drop H-bombs. We used to think smoking cigarettes was glamorous.
We don’t do those things anymore. We do other stupid things on the daily and its hard to look as Donald Trump and White Supremacists as being anything other than an evolutionary step backward, or two.
But while Donald Trump was President the Webb Telescope began to take pictures of further reaches of the Universe than any of us had ever seen. Lin-Manuel did Hamilton. The world came up with a valid, effective vaccine against COVID. New drugs for AIDS became well distributed. Smallpox was eliminated. Access to the internet was expanded even for poor children in some places.
While it is true that politically and economically the outlook is poor indeed, even disastrous, it is also true that people are political and economic beings in ways that are both immense and tiny, both inside and out, in the market place and in their homes.
We still love our children and our friends. We love to be with one another and to, yes, help and comfort one another. We are not so young, that we don’t see the immense value in kindness and empathy.
We are all very young here, some of us more so than others it’s true, and midnight is looming politically in tiny ways as well as large but we are making progress, we are learning. We just have to help each other hang on until we grow up a little bit more