THE PAST WORLD
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726)
I have great respect for the past and for historical studies. The future emerges from the past through embedded conditions which have resulted from evolutionary social trajectories. The starting-point in the search for a clearer understanding of the future is knowledge of the past. In this section, the documentary novels, Heartbeat, Rocket Ride of the Secret Cosmonaut and Voyage of the Moon Dream, memorialise world-changing scientific breakthroughs, namely, the first human heart transplant, the first human in outer space and the first manned lunar landing respectively.
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Going back much, much further in time, the novel One Million Years Ago creates an epic adventure story set in the Cradle of Humankind in an ancient region of what is now South Africa, centred in a family of hominids who must face a series of dangers and challenges in order to survive.
Understanding time gives one proper sense of scale. For example, the Big Bang is thought to have happened about 13.8 billion years ago, with the Solar System forming 4.6 billion years ago and life beginning on earth some 3.5 billion years ago. So a million years ago is a mere pinprick in cosmic time. Humans first appear about 300,000 years ago with modern humans being around for approximately 50,000 years. Civilisations begin to develop 6,000 years ago. What this means is that humanity and our societies are all in their infancy. What amazing technologies, achievements and cultures lie ahead in our deep future?
Understanding time gives us a better sense of scale and teaches us how to innovate to create a better world. Hence my respect for the past. By honouring past breakthroughs, we may be inspired to develop something new which has never been seen before, unleashing our creative and collaborative forces.