This is the first post of this type that I have written. It’s highly opinionated and may not reflect the current accepted understanding of the topic. The objective of this post is to not discuss facts, but to start a conversation about where we are headed to as a species.
The process of evolution involves the passing of genetic knowledge from one generation to the next. That is how we get our "instincts" or our "fight or flee" response. Modern societal life urges us to suppress these instincts and act based on conscious thought. Survival is not completely dependent on physical attributes; it is biased towards thought, action and communication. While not fully suppressed, our responses have become more nuanced. As we proceed though the generations, these responses will gradually become insignificant.
We know very little about exactly what genetic knowledge is passed on and how it has changed over previous generations. However, for the first time in the history of life on earth, we developed methods to pass on knowledge to following generations without relying on genetic material. As a result, upcoming generations will have access to exponentially more knowledge. We already have access to more knowledge than Einstein or Newton even though we may not have their mental capabilities.
We are a fairly young species - merely 200,000 years old but we have already escaped the cycle of evolution. Instead of environmental triggers shaping evolution, we shape the environment itself. And due to this, we resist change. Any mutations or any deviation from the ordinary are "cured". Would humans 200,000 years from now look different than us? Maybe not.
One aspect of evolution of life on earth is that each major iteration has given life the ability to sense more dimensions and even motility in those dimensions. If we look at the timeline of evolution,
- 4000 million years ago - Single celled non motile organisms (one dimensional)
- 900 million years ago - Single/Multi celled organisms capable of travelling on flat surfaces (two dimensional)
- 500 million years ago - Organisms capable of moving in 3 dimensions (animals, fishes, birds, etc)
We exist in four dimensions - three spatial dimensions (along the X, Y , Z axes) and the time dimension. We can freely move in the three spatial ones, but our movement in the time dimension is not controlled by us. We are continuously moving through time. After all, when we move in three dimensions from one place to another, we do not move instantaneously; it does require some finite amount of time. In a sense, we already move through the time dimension but in only one direction (forwards) and at the same speed. In fact, all objects in the known universe are continuously moving through time even if they are stationary in space.
As a thought experiment, we can imagine what happens when an object stops moving in time - it would seem to disappear since it is now stuck in the past. Try to imagine to how objects would appear when they are moving slower or faster than us through time.
You might come to the conclusion that since we are moving at a constant speed, we always perceive a "slice" of time. In the way a sphere printed on paper looks like a circle, we also perceive only the "current" slice of the universe.
What if the next step in evolution is the ability to move through time? This would not mean "time travel" the way it is portrayed in popular culture where our titular heroes jump through time It could mean experiencing several or all moments in life at the same instant. When you see someone, you instantly see all of their past and all of their future. Emotional responses are redundant since all outcomes are already known. Could this be the next step in human evolution, the age of the Homo Deus? If it is possible to know your future, it also gives rise to the question whether free will truly exists - a discussion for another time.