Stewards of the planet

Over the past few hundred years, we, the human race, have experienced an unparalleled explosion of knowledge.  Although our advances due to swarm intelligence have been growing since the beginning of life on the planet, during the recent past, knowledge of the natural world has increased exponentially.

The start of this rapid increase in the growth of knowledge can traced to the scientific revolution.  It was the spark that ignited a complete redefinition of the natural world and how we interact with it – the ignition of a never-ending search for reality and truth.

It was a paradigm shift in the truest sense, where the old way of viewing the world gave way to a new method of thinking, where only provable, testable, and replicable facts mattered.  This new approach to thinking has transformed the world.

More than that, it has transformed the human race to a position no other life has ever held.  We have become stewards of all life on the planet.

Our technology has the capability to transform the planet – for better or worse.  Our national governments are so large and powerful that they can unleash planet-destroying destruction, or they can simply create poorly designed systems that sooner or later crash upon millions of citizens, sending ripples of unforeseen consequences in all directions.  

Whether we want it or not, whether we like it or not, for the first time, our collective hand is on the tiller, steering the future of not just human life, but all life on the planet. 

This is not a small thing.  As of right now, we are the only known life in a 13.8-billion-year-old universe, which, based on most recent data, contains between one and two trillion galaxies and around 700 sextillion stars (that's a 7 with 23 zeros behind it, or 700 thousand billion billion).  Yet the fact remains: here we stand alone, stewards of it all. 

How long we stand depends upon us discarding childish belief-based thinking – i.e., my beliefs and desires actually matter in relation to reality.  Rather, we must embrace the progeny of the scientific revolution: only provable, testable facts matter in all areas of our lives.  

Yet political systems across the globe, ours included, operate as though they were immune from this reality.  How long is this sustainable before it comes crashing down?  We are stewards of an unbroken torrent of life over 3.8 billion years old.  Our political systems and the structures they create should have time-frames of centuries, not just the next political cycle. 

Around 66 years ago, the renowned physicist Enrico Fermi asked a famous question regarding life on other planets: "Where is everybody?"

If the universe is teeming with life, and many believe that it is, one would expect to see evidence of these alien lives – they could be millions or even billions of years ahead of us.  Thus Fermi's question.

SETI has been searching the skies for alien radio signals for decades, and so far the silence is disquieting.  Either we are the only life in the entire universe, a breathtaking fact if true, or we are one of a special many.  Either possibility is staggering. 

So where, indeed, is everybody?  Perhaps it is no more complicated than that it is damn tough to make it.  

From a life evolution perspective, we're just now reaching the hard part, the stewards of the planet part.  Whether we like it or not, our actions and choices are impacting more and more of the world around us, and this will not be changing.  We had better move forward with our eyes wide open.

We can refuse to embrace a fact-based political paradigm, but in that case, the future is preordained.  We will simply become some other planet's Fermi's Paradox as they look into their night sky and wonder, "Where is everybody?"

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change.  He is also president and founder of E.I.C. Enterprises (, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world primarily through K-12 education.  We leave the Truth to God.

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