Human Civilization Today: Standing High Upon The Shoulders of Giants


All of human civilization -our modern world, itself, alongside all the endless blessings brought with our natural understandings being exploited in the form of inventive technologies- only exist due to the combined efforts of all mankind. Two sayings in particular seem most apt in conveying this idea: How no one person is ever an island, all to themselves; as well as our each standing high today perched upon the shoulders of giants.

Sure, they might just sound ridiculously, if not altogether absurdly, contrived in nature or inapplicable to our daily/personal lives. But they also possess definitive meaning and particular resonance for us, all the same. This thusly works out to symbolize an important notion as it relates to our concerns here: Epitomizing the essential truth that we are all in this crazy adventure called life together – a reality that holds true even throughout time itself!

Further, that we are one and all human beings: Sharing in our most fundamental characteristics and cornerstones, whilst still remaining unique as individuals. Ultimately, all those many individuals combine as one to result in a whole wide world… being the all of human civilization, itself! But even so, that civilization is nothing without the near infinite amount of blood, sweat and tears by all the many countless generations whose time came before ours, here on this swirling blue ball otherwise known as Earth.

So I very much possess an utter, unwavering certainty that we exist where we are today by benefit of our place atop the shoulders of the most towering of giants. That same giant? ‘Tis none other than the all of humanity that has come before us and our time! Every single last individual, from the mightiest and most famous to the lowliest of long forgotten wretches, has in some way or another contributed to our getting here just now. In addition to recognizing our divine Creator, the efforts of our forebears mustn’t be forgotten in any way – or, far worse still, simply ignored out of egocentric tendencies/focus. Certainly, not a single one of us would be in this fantastical future world had it not been for all those many who preceded us here in the modern day.

We -every last one of us- would undoubtedly be living buff naked in caves, each uttering guttural sounds to one another in the most undeniable form of primitivity imaginable had it not been for the endless advances culled from our stores of learned and acquired knowledge. We can enjoy existing in the form that we do just now solely due to the progress that was made by all whose time came before our own.

“Speaking” of such guttural sounds, for starters let’s limit ourselves to thinking about language as an example illustrating this quality – imagine just how absurdly long it must’ve taken to develop and evolve even only but a single human language.

In so doing, we’d have gone from one word to several by adding more with each successive generation. Consider how, at some point in time, someone had to come up with a verbal utterance for everything… and then still have to have it get shared with and accepted by others! Somebody muttering “rock,” or “food” while pointing energetically. “Food,” which soon evolves to fruits, veggies and meat; from fruit, it was on to apples, peaches, tomatoes and lemons.

So it was through just such a process that we went from once saying “Grunt” for “Howdy ho there, my close friend and good neighbor!” and an ‘ol fashioned “Groan Glurggle Hack… *spit*” for “I say, my dear chap! The relativistic effects as undoubtedly concerns that most incomprehensible of unquantifiables, time dilation, can have many a number of different startling implications vis-a-vis the singularity of gravitationally collapsed space-time!” (What can we say? Ogg and his fellow cave dwelling contemporaries were apparently true forward thinkers!)

Then, on top of that, came literacy and the written word – an even more difficult and time consuming endeavor that came far less naturally than verbal speech did. Once developed, creating a nearly universally literate world required thousands and thousands of years. So the mere fact that any one of us can today convey the most basic or rudimentary of ideas to each other, it’s something that owes itself squarely to those who developed our language, words and vocabularies to start with!

All the more, those many different technologies, discoveries, inventions or assorted such efforts responsible for the modern world of today? Each one, requiring nothing less than the combined efforts from all of mankind! Electricity, demanding the research and knowledge as had been made by many a countless souls – stretching all the way back into the very most ancient of times.

Everything by anyone, throughout all of time, hasn’t simply benefited from the contributions of others, but in fact exists only because of the collaborative resources of all mankind working in tandem throughout all of human history while forever being carried through time progressively in one direction: Directly ahead.

Even Albert Einstein himself was an eccentric nobody hack without all the prior research, learnings and knowledge by the many that came before him – there would exist no theory of relativity without Newton, Galileo, and countless more. Ford might’ve best replaced those last two letters with an O and an L, had not all the numerous many inventions and conceptual know-how preceding and surrounding his time not taken place precisely as it did.

For just try to stop and envision it! Every last automobile? They, with their spark plugs, engines, axles, ignitions, gasoline, oil, tires, windshields, metal frames, speedometers or gas gauges, air filters, water lumps and so very much more – not only did each one of these things come from a totally different individual, but every last one in fact required a vast array of souls all working tirelessly as part of teeming cooperative endeavors.

One person discovers oil fields lurking hidden below unforgiving desert sands, another who first realizes that oil might make gasoline, still others to refine such processes better and understand how it burns as a combustible fuel. All the while, still hundreds more build the means and infrastructure to siphon those natural resources from the ground, purifying it, and subsequently shipping it across the entire world.

Likewise, even once Ford and others did “put things together” at long last, imagine the tens of thousands who were necessary to initially build the machinery and industry to produce those very automobiles! Then, after that, the veritable army of hard working souls needed for delivering, selling and repairing them all in the years that laid ahead. For us to momentarily step back and look at the so-called big picture -just here, with this one small aspect to modern life- is as breathtaking and marvelous of a thing to behold as it is incomprehensible in magnitude.

Coming to one of the important ideas I’d have gleaned from this topic? The simple fact that well and truly nothing tangible or actual makes us the slightest bit more advanced, improved upon or superior to humanity -whether that should mean of the near (a century back) or the far distant (some millennia ago!) past, alike! What this refers to is straightforward enough to grasp: There is absolutely not a single thing that separates us from Yohan of the unenlightened dark ages or Ogg the Caveman, except for the ongoing collective knowledge, discovery, advancement, invention and technologies made by all of human civilization over a span of thousands of generations.

So indeed, not a one of us living (whether in the past, present, or future) is a one-person island all to themselves. Every idea -good, bad or otherwise!- that’s ever been or shall ever so be requires nothing less than all of humanity to have been realized, just as it is; first, in working to develop and build that thing, and then in advancing or improving it ever more towards outright perfection!

While on this topic, I’d also take the opportunity to relate matters to this here effort of mine. What I’d present with this work… these various ideas I’ve developed over some time? My sole genuine hope (assuming there should even be anything of worth whatsoever hereabouts) is just that someone out there only might use this as a stepping stone to build off of – be that personally, for themselves; or else in some larger, more generalized sense. So if this might get used as some starting point for others, in presenting a slightly different vantage point encompassing a more modernized understanding regarding our place in the world…? Then I most certainly couldn’t ask for anything more than that as relates to this entire endeavor!

Because no one man or woman has ever had ‘all’ the answers; just the same way as every single thing in today’s world exists only because it was already well on the way to being built by that towering giant – as individuals, with our lives we each make our own contributions as best we can, in whatever way we might prove able to. Then, others pick up the torches to carry them onward from there in our stead… building from, improving upon oor expanding any and all works.

Furthermore, the more that something is contributed to in such ways ensures that thing shall be all the better for it! The absolute greatest of human efforts -those coming the closest to attaining genuine perfection- have been worked on by the greatest number of souls, each one spotting and ironing out problems just as they contribute their own unique insights and advancements to the collective effort; equally true, often the most flawed of concepts are those carried out purely in isolation – by lonesome individuals.

To end this post on the very same note it began, I’d leave matters with another maxim as further advice for one to go by: “Only together may we ultimately be strong.”