I attended a conference recently that put forward an interesting idea that has haunted many of my thoughts in the weeks that have since past.
Suppose for a moment, that history isn’t so much comprised of events in a linear fashion, but instead is ultimately constituted by the years yet lived by our fellow humans, past and present. If you were to take the years lived by all human beings in the last 10,000 years, not including the 20th century, and weigh it on a scale against the previous century, the scale would be balanced. What this means is 50% of human history happened in the previous century, because of the explosion in population growth never before seen. This idea is revolutionary. Take the scale and weigh the last ten years against the previous ten thousand and twenty-five percent of human history happened in the last ten years.
It’s as if all the great thinkers of the past, all the writers, the artists, the visionaries were looking ahead and saying to their peers: “This human thing is going to be BIG, and you have no idea how big. Prepare yourselves!” And now we have inherited their work, their ideas, their philosophies, and their stories.
These are revolutionary times.
Some call for optimism, others predict catastrophe, but those who pretend that human life is completely cyclical, and has and always will remain constant should not be ignorant of the fact that – though cyclicality did indeed comprise most of human civilization, we are now facing something truly and startlingly new. We are on the forefront of a frontier that the species has never seen before.
As consumers, as artists, and as human beings, there are consequences for these facts.
Industry responds to this in a variety of ways. One fascinating trend is toward sustainable, recycled, small-scale housing. See: Tiny Texas Houses, Phoenix Commotion, and Discovery: Architectural Antiques.
Tiny Texas Houses recently had a three hundred word essay contest posing the question: How would living in a small scale recycled home inspire you? The winner receives a home! I entered this contest because three hundred words is a small price to pay for a home, and because I legitimately am in awe of the minimalist qualitylifestyle I think these houses have the potential to create for people.
“And we cannot hear the birds.”