The Two Journeys

When I was a child, we used to visit our grandparents and cousins on a train in another city. I remember I always tried to sit down at the platform to have a glimpse of what kind of machinery goes underneath the engine and the compartments. This was almost like the image above.

It amazed me to no limit how could someone build something so complex. Then came the computer and the Internet and we got introduced to even more complex marvels of the engineering trade. International Space Station is one such example. It’s hard to just imagine how such machinery can be constructed and then safely transported to space.

International Space Station

Not only that, people actually live and work over there. Indeed, it is an epitome of technical progress we have made throughout the history of mankind.
International Space Station

International Space Station

This outward journey has become possible because a generation learned from the previous one, then transferred that knowledge to their next generation, and the process continues. That is why the stuff we see around today is the sum total of all human knowledge gathered in the past millennia. It is very much like a relay race. A person completes their part of the race, handles the baton to the next one who repeats the process. The overall progress is the sum contribution of each participant.

Relay race

If a caveman time travelled in today’s world, he would surely suffer a heart attack, regardless of how healthy they were.

Reflecting on these outwards triumphs, I sometimes think why such a journey to (almost) perfection has not been possible for our inner selves. We are living in an age when knowledge accumulation and dissemination is at unprecedented levels. Only few areas are suffering from the battle of survival, most of the world is in an unprecedented period of safety. While the lessons on good qualities of honesty, truthfulness, empathy, respect, kindness, forgiveness and discipline are taught to every child, the world overall has not progressed much in this inward journey as compared to those living a thousand years ago.

I came to realize that unlike scientific advancement, our inner development is not a relay race. Each child starts from zero, absolute zero. When a person with the best of characters dies, their next generation still start again from scratch. Regardless of the level attained, the game gets reset for each new player. This is an unfortunate reality and probably nothing can be done about it (at least until the time when a brain can be interfaced with a computer and controlled in either positive or negative way).

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