I’ve been thinking of this on and off, usually at odd moments when I’m reminded of it, but I think the topic is interesting.
Basically, that the invention of the internet has vastly accelerated the evolution of the collective human mind.
I was thinking of this, because I noticed that there are 5 year old children who know more about how to operate technology than I did when I was in high school, effortlessly using concepts I wasn’t even aware of then, and I started wondering about the learning process for the human mind.
When I was in high school, being totally blind, I used paper with physically raised lines so I could trace my place and write essays for school by memorizing where I left off. That was my advanced technology back then; no computer, just me and my instructor and a folder full of papers I couldn’t physically see.
Going way back, the learning process for all people in all societies was community driven, and could only be accomplished through the location of physical boundaries, such as instructors and physical learning materials. As such, the pace of learning was limited by locale, and by the knowledge of the instructor, and the quality of the learning materials available to each person. This meant that the collective human mind was limited, and could only evolve in leaps and bounds in specific areas, and it took a long time for advancements to propagate outward to people in remote communities.
This was still true for the most part until the 1980’s, prior to the widespread use of the internet, when, if you wanted to learn something, or research a particular topic, you had to either seek out another person with this knowledge, or go to a library in order to find the right materials, which could take days, weeks, or months, depending on how difficult the subject of study was. This too limited the pace of evolution for the collective human mind, since the vast majority of learning materials could only be provided through written materials, which needed to be published and distributed.
The invention of the internet as we know it today has changed everything, and I think the results of this are so ingrained in our daily lives that we as a global society don’t even notice the impact of this evolutionary process on learning.
My writing this to you right now is a prime example of this, using a screen reader so that I can access virtual written materials that have no existence in the physical world, yet I am conveying all of these concepts to you through this medium regardless, making people think about this subject all around the world.
The ability for humans to learn new concepts, is so simple and easy now that we take it for granted every day; yet the net result is the exponential growth of knowledge that is collectively available, instantly, for all people around the world; regardless of physical location.
As a result, it is inevitable that the evolution of the collective human mind will accelerate, because the rate of knowledge transfer has and continues to increase so rapidly, that it’s impossible to measure.