The ebb and flow of the human tide
Like the great flood stories themselves, humanity revolves around a cyclical pattern of tranquility and upheaval. We fluctuate between personal / familial comfort and social / adventure seeking. Too much of one raises the value of the other.
Many of us grow up in a world with family structure. Loyalty and fraternity extend to friends, clans and country. We build into a community. Families bring up children, and children may in turn have their own family. This model has a comfort for most.
Sometimes the place is bountiful and easy, while others are harsh and austere. Finding the symbiosis between humans and their environment is a defining feature in human culture.
Like in all animal populations, there comes a point when younger, less established individuals move out of their birth community. It might be a locality is over-burdened and can no longer sustain further growth . It is often that inter-personal struggle does not offer adequate personal opportunity or integration of the young into established social structures. Packing up and moving on is in the fabric of our history.
Over the course of 10,000 generations, modern humans have reached nearly every region of the world, and have created existences in all manner of places.
In a simplistic viewpoint, this sounds like a benign growth model. We know that at its core, growth and progress are struggle. Even travel means finding food and shelter along the trail, and setting up to live somewhere is usually difficult and consumes a lot of energy and focus with no guarantee of success.
Hardly the first
Since our earliest days, it has actually been rare to find some uninhabited corner of the world. Most of the time, when people arrive anywhere, there are already inhabitants. Such visits by one culture to another vary from tourism to invasion. The larger the cohort moving from one place to another, the more likely that there is tension and conflict.
It’s been more than ten thousand years since humans reached the tip of South America, considered to be the last point in the great human migrations out of Africa. All easily habitable corners of this globe already have their communities.
In the last century, our population has swelled to over 7 billion. More of us are learning how to live in larger cities and taller buildings, but we are reaching the limits of our biosphere. We have to contribute more to our upkeep. We must understand more of the planet’s complexity, its balance and integration. One way to do that is to simulate our understanding of the environment needed to sustain us in an environment that does not have those conditions. Whether underwater or in space, in deserts or arctic zones, advances in such places are a success to our abilities.
We need to come up with new corners to explore, to settle, to make home.