What is the most powerful geological force on the planet today? What power redirects rivers, moves mountains, alters the atmosphere, and creates chemicals never before seen in the universe?
This powerful geological force is human imagination. Human imagination so powerfully alters the planet that many geologists have renamed this current geological era the Anthropocene.
While not all geologists agree that we are in the Anthropocene, no one can argue the power of human imagination.
Human imagination is a powerful evolutionary force. Imagination shapes our lives, shapes our environment and imagination will continue to shape our future.
For thousands of years, human imagination has created artifacts. Anthropologists determined that humans had crossed the threshold into modernity over 100,000 years ago because of these artifacts that they created and left for us to find today. These artifacts were beads.
Artifacts of human imagination, like the Great Wall of China, can be seen from space.
Human imagination is powerful. Edison imagined the light bulb, and now lights are visible from space. Humans imagined bigger and better ways to build buildings and roads, and now we have mega-cities.
Human imagination often has unintended consequences. Early humans imagined ways to keep warm with fire and later imagined ways to move with internal combustion engines. Now, the unintended consequence of burning fossil fuels is excess CO2 that may contribute to climate change.
People imagine the beauty and joy of children, and now more than seven billion people inhabit the planet. Growing populations demand goods resources that compete with other species, some of which are declining at an alarming rate.
Cancer or Immune System?
Because of overpopulation, species loss and climate change, some people view humans as a cancer on the planet. They feel that Earth would be better off without humans. Some go so far as promoting voluntary human extinction.
Still, other people view human imagination as a benefit to Earth, more akin to the Earth’s immune system. A positive image of the future allows a greater benefit to the planetary community.
Imagining a Thriving Future
People’s positive images of the future are already giving us many benefits: global communication, green solutions to prevent CO2 emissions, preventing species loss, increasing economic prosperity and mental well-being.
Human imagination will save sentient life on Earth. For example, the B612 Foundation has a goal to predict and prevent catastrophic asteroid impacts, like the one that killed the dinosaurs. Their goal is to find potentially threatening asteroids, track their trajectories, and to deflect oncoming asteroids.
Unlike the dinosaurs, we have the means to prevent catastrophic impacts. ~ B612 Foundation
Unlike dinosaurs, we can see the consequences of our actions. And unlike dinosaurs, humans have the imagination to create a better future, for ourselves and for all life.
Humans promote life, consciousness, and love. Humans foster greater life and love here on Earth and elsewhere in the universe. As just one example among many visionaries, Elon Musk imagines that humans can create greener technologies and colonize space. To realize his vision, he has created Tesla Motor company to create electric vehicles and SpaceX, a company that makes low cost, reliable rockets.
Human imagination also helps lift millions of people from economic poverty. Muhammad Yunus, “Banker to the Poor” who won the Noble Peace Prize for his work on micro-loans to poor people, imagined that within 30 years, there will no longer be radical poverty on Earth. His vision is becoming a reality faster than he envisioned! According to the World Bank, the proportion of the population living in extreme economic poverty fell from over 40 percent in 1981 to around 21 percent in 2008.
While lack of imagination has threatened extinction for many animals, a hopeful imagination is protecting endangered species. The Species Survival Plan, begun in 1981 by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, seeks to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild.
The goal of the Epic of Evolution web site is to remind us of the astonishing solutions that have created this amazing world. These solutions inspire an even more awesome future!
My invitation to you is:
What flourishing future do you imagine for yourself and for your loved ones?
University of Oxford (2009, May 5). World’s Oldest Manufactured Beads Are Older Than Previously Thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 24, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/05/090505163021.htm