60 Menschenleben

Wie kurz ist eigentlich die greifbare menschliche Geschichte? Ungefähr 60 Menschenleben:

In science, a number of metaphors are employed to cast the huge span of deep time into a frame more easily pondered.  If the history of life on earth is viewed as the Empire State Building, all of human history is a dime on top.  If the life of our planet is viewed as a year, every event in the history books has raced past in the last few seconds of that year.

These images are generally used to demonstrate the impressive seniority of our universe, and the relative position of major cosmic and/or evolutionary events.  For those purposes, they’re fairly effective.  It’s certainly easier to wrap a mind used to events measured in minutes and hours around the idea that dinosaurs went extinct the day after Christmas, than it is to come to grips with the term „sixty-five million years.“

One thing that all those metaphors should bring home is not just that the universe is old, but that human history is astonishingly short — and not just in comparison to cosmic events.[…]

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., one the United States‘ great historians, is less than two lifetimes removed from a world where the United States did not exist.  Through Mr. Schlesinger, you’re no more than three away yourself.  That’s how short the history of our nation really is.

Not impressed?  It’s only two more life spans to William Shakespeare.   Two more beyond that, and the only Europeans to see America are those who sailed from Greenland.  You’re ten lifetimes from the occupation of Damietta during the fifth crusade.  Twenty from the founding of Great Zimbabwe and the Visigoth sack of Rome.  Make it forty, and Theseus, king of Athens, is held captive on Crete by King Minos, the Olmecs are building the first cities in Mexico, and the New Kingdom collapses in Egypt.

Sixty life times ago, a man named Abram left Ur of the Chaldees and took his family into Canaan.  Abram is claimed as the founder of three great religions.  A few lifetimes before that, and you’ve come out the bottom of that dime.  You’re that close to it.

Siehe auch: 13 Generations

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2 Responses to 60 Menschenleben

  1. Für euch habe ich eben einen kleinen Gehirnverdreher gebloggt http://t.co/looIjuKS1x

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