By Raya Bidshahri, 26 Jan 2013
Most of us are so preoccupied with our own small insignificant personal lives that we forget that we are a part of a remarkable, exceptional and ambitious species. Not just any species but an intelligent one that is capable of leaving a positive mark on the universe; one that has by-passed millions of others to become the most dominant on earth; one that is capable of comprehending the nature of the universe; one that is capable of intelligent thought. There is no other species that we know of that can do the things we do.
But most of us often forget this and therefore, it’s time that we changed how we view the world and ourselves. We are not simply violent living beings capable only of bloodshed, as most newspapers lead us to believe. We are not merely ordinary clumps of matter floating in the cosmos. No, we are much more that that and that brings me to an initiative that is truly profound – even from a cosmic perspective: The HUMAN Project.
The project was founded by two remarkable and inspiring ladies based right here in Dubai: Erika Ilves and Anna Stillwell. Their project wonders what our generation should do to advance humanity and gets us to think about the challenges facing our species. They remind us that we know more and are more connected – that we can think bigger and dream bigger. They remind us that we can mobilize in an unprecedented way. They invite us to “wrap our minds around the big questions: Who are we, humans? Who should we become? Where should we head next?” They exhort us to start a conversation about the rest of our lives and find our place in the grand scheme of things.
The HUMAN project is all about realizing what it means to be human and being excited about it. It’s all about setting more ambitious plans for our species because we’re worth it. Truth is, there’s a lot to be excited about when you are a species that is capable of creating exponentially advancing technology, decoding the fundamental units of nature and observing the farthest depths of the universe. One could write books and books about our many achievements in all fields along with how much we’ve grown as a species.
When it comes to technology, the fact is that in the past fifty years, our computers have grown to be a hundred million times more powerful and are continuing to grow exponentially. Just look at all the wonderful and ubiquitous tools of technology we are surrounded with and take for granted – tablets, phones, laptops, telescopes, and super-computers… the list is endless. We are designing computers that can allow the deaf to hear, apps that can diagnose you as accurately as a doctor and all sorts of complex things at the nano-scale.
It was only about 500 years ago that Galileo looked at Jupiter and its moons and was amazed by what he saw. Today, we have thousands and thousands of images of the farthest regions of our universe taken by Hubble and many other telescopes. Our knowledge of the universe we live in has grown by leaps and bounds in the past several thousand years. We’ve grown from the inaccurate geocentric model to quantum physics in almost no time.
During the existence of our planet, 99% of the species that have ever lived have gone extinct; it’s just something every species is prone to – except for us. We, with our knowledge and intelligence, are an exception. Genetic engineering, biotechnology, and gene coding are examples of how we’ve amazingly gained control of nature. And to think that we evolved from single-celled bacteria – makes it even more note-worthy.
But we’re just getting started. Looking at cosmic time-scales, we are still young and so is our universe. David Deutsch has written that anything is possible unless prevented by the laws of physics. And the laws of physics do not prevent us from being immortal. They do not prevent us from colonizing space nor do they prevent us from creating a world that is no different to Heaven. We don’t have to be simply humans, we could be Martians or even Andromedans – It’s all up to us! The truth is, no other project has such an phenomenal vision for Humanity.
In fact, it’s based completely on a cosmic perspective and a rational view of things. Having a cosmic perspective is another factor that will make you realize how wonderful it is to be human. In a universe constituting mostly of cold, dark and empty space, life let alone intelligent life is rare. We, however, despite these conditions have been lucky to evolve into such an intelligent species. Carl Sagan is known to have quoted that we are the way for the universe to know itself. Considering that we are made of the remnants of an exploded star, this is absolutely true. We are conscious stardust – That’s a part of what it means to be human.
Considering everything we’ve done in the past- It’s about time we stopped spending so much time and energy on insignificant global matters and set more ambitious plans for ourselves. Even the mere knowledge of understanding how exceptional we are, will help empower us as we aim to achieve even more extraordinary things.
So let’s do it. Let’s re-define what it means to be Human. Let’s think on a cosmic scale and act on a cosmic scale. Let’s colonize space and earn our reputation in the cosmos. Let’s unravel the mysteries of the universe. Let’s gain infinite knowledge and progress. Let’s push ourselves forward beyond the power of our imagination.
The HUMAN Project website
Click here for The HUMAN Project iBook
Jason Silva and The HUMAN Project trailer