Highpoints of Humanity’s History?

A few weeks ago, when I wrote my blog on Martin Luther King, I called him “humanity’s hero” because the civil rights movement and King’s non-violence changed things around the world.  As I wrote that, I wondered to myself, “What else might be considered a “humanity’-scale event?”.  My wife is teaching global studies this semester, so I’m thinking more about such things, I guess.  But I didn’t want to spend my time on the horrors of human life. I see that and think about it enough.

So, here’s my question:  If we built a spaceship and left the planet, what parts of Earth history would we want to talk about? What would be the high points of history that changed the whole world or a great portion of it?

So, here’s my list:

1) The Ice Age — big event changed the whole nature of the planet.

2) Invention of Fire — small event somewhere, changed humanity everywhere. Meant you could hang out at home.

3) Life of the Buddha — changed the way people thought about the world, for centuries to come, mostly in the East. Has some weird connection to quantum physics, I think.  (How real is real?)

4) Life of Jesus — Changed the way people related to each other. Because he was different than any other human change agent, he changed the way we change things — notably, with love and sacrifice.

5)Life of Mohammed — changed the game from “these are the Chosen People” to “Who are the chosen people?”.

6) The Magna Carta — a view of human rights and power-sharing that was incredible for its time.

7) The U.S’s Declaration of Independence — the start of rebellions for freedom all over the world.

8) (In Britain, I believe,first) Women given the right to vote — nice of us to acknowledge both halves of humanity for once.

9) Einstein — not “The Bomb”, but E = MC2 and relativity.

10) Life of Gandhi/Gandhi  frees India — the first (second?) non-violent revolution in human history

11) Life of MLK — Gandhi was not a fluke.  Proves there’s a difference between “not being slaves” and “being free to be fully human”.

12) The UN begins. First collection of people from all over the world.

13) Moon landing — first trip off the old home world. Forget the “race for space” — we ALL landed on the moon.

14) The UN Declaration of Human Rights — Great ideas. The US (and a whole bunch of others still haven’t signed it. Still, great ideas.

15) The International Space Station — when the first kid is born out there, what nationality will they be? “Earthian?” The next step “out there”.

16) “An Inconvenient Truth” — We finally start believing that the weather’s messed up and we’d better do something about it.

That’s all I’ve got. I’m open to suggestions.




One thought on “Highpoints of Humanity’s History?

  1. I was thinking about the invention (discovery, actually) of penicillin. It gave the medical profession a new understanding of disease, and a new way to fight against it. However upon further pondering, I have to withdraw the idea since it may conflict with the “good” things – misuse and overuse of penicillin has led to new, stronger, more resistant forms of Super-bacteria (whom I imagine to be wearing little red capes), which could eventually kill us all (i.e. MRSA).

    Did you know that the size proportion between a human and a bacterium is the same proportion as between a bacterium and a virus? Bacteria and viruses are TOTALLY different, but how often do people take antibiotics for a cold (which is caused by a virus)? And what’s worse, how many doctors over-prescribe antibiotics to their patients (mostly just “to get them off my back”)?

    But there have certainly been many forms of medical advance (both surgical and medicinal) over the past 100 years, which have led to longer, more productive, more fruitful, and more comfortable lives for us all. Maybe not a single event, but certainly a good thing that humanity has achieved.

    And the chocolate-mint milkshake isn’t a bad one either. But I don’t know who invented that.

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