SECTION THREE:THE FAR-REACHING PRINCIPLE
This book is devoted to the far-reaching, universal, and fundamental interests of mankind. It considers the fate and future of mankind. In order to explore corresponding issues in depth and propose solutions, we will start our research from a more extraordinary point of view. This research approach can be summed up in one term: the far-reaching principle. This principle has two characteristics: first, it seeks to be as broad as possible in its expanse; second, it strives to be as enduring as possible in terms of time.
One: A Broad Expanse
Humans live on Earth as terrestrial creatures, but even with the simplest experience we can determine that the fate and future of man is not influenced by isolated land factors alone. Without evaporation from the ocean there would not be enough rain, without plate movement there would be no mountains or rivers, and without the atmosphere humans could not breathe. This is all intuitive information. To interpret the fate and future of mankind, we cannot limit our focus to the land, as the entire globe, as well as the atmosphere around it, is essentially linked to the fate and future of humanity.
Even the elements listed above are not the whole picture. For example, the magnetic field above Earth’s atmosphere prevents cosmic rays and solar winds from attacking us, and beyond Earth’s magnetic field lies the solar magnetic field, which influences humans constantly as well. These are all things that cannot be directly observed by the naked eye, but they objectively exist. Therefore, we should expand the scope of research as well.
We all know that Earth is just an extremely small planet in the vast universe, yet the vast universe constantly affects the small Earth we live on as well as its inhabitants. Looking to the solar system, the moon affects the tides of Earth every day; solar flares explode many times every year, influencing us in many ways; asteroids and comets experience large collisions with Earth every few centuries. Looking out to the larger Milky Way, and even the entire universe, the possibility of alien invasion, the impact of supernova eruptions on Earth, and the possible threats posed by black holes are all issues closely related to the fate of mankind.
Perhaps we are overthinking some things, as some of these elements are much too far away from us, and their potential impact seems unfounded as of yet. However, if we do extend and broaden the expanse of our vision, how can we eliminate the factors not worth considering and capture the elements that really do pose a threat to mankind?
Two: An Endurance of Time
We know that human beings have only entered civilized society for less than tens of thousands of years, but the earliest concept of man formed about four million years ago when the Australopithecus first separated man from primates by standing up. If we take into account the original human breeding process, the earliest life on Earth can be traced back to 4.28 billion years ago. So how far into the future should we look when considering the fate of mankind?
Today’s world is growing at a rapid pace. The Industrial Revolution greatly stimulated the creativity of science and technology; as a result, our world is constantly changing every day. From this standpoint, it is enough to set human future research goals to ten years or a hundred years, since we cannot possibly know what the world may be like in ten or a hundred years. The changes to the world after such periods of time will most definitely be drastic, so perhaps that is the only thing we can accurately predict.
From the future view of humans as a species, we can almost be certain that although we entered the threshold of humanity some four million years ago, humans should not be extinct in four million years. Humans are the strongest of all Earth’s creatures; we are complex life-forms that are the most capable of adapting to the environment in the entire history of Earth’s biology.
So how far away should we cast our net? Since this research focuses on the future of humanity on a far-reaching, universal, and fundamental level, ten or a hundred years is much too short a scale. Should we set our eyes on four million years later? A billion years later? Or even further off? The book’s foothold is the latter.
What must be noted is that the billion-year goal just acts as a mirror in order to reflect current issues. Realistically speaking, things happening in mil- lions, hundreds of millions, and billions of years are only predictable, and no accurate judgments can be made. On the contrary, many things that might come in a decade or century cannot be predicted or grasped. In particular, it is important to emphasize that everything we do today is affecting the world of the future in increasingly serious ways.
At the end of the nineteenth century, people exclaimed that more had been done in the one hundred years of the nineteenth century than since the birth of humans; at the turn of the twentieth century, people exclaimed once again that the century had accomplished more than all else previously accumulated, including the one hundred years of the nineteenth century and all human history before that. This undoubtedly tells us that humanity’s ability to transform themselves and nature is growing a hundredfold, a thousand fold, and more. Perhaps one act of wrongdoing today could not be made up for with even a hundred years of effort in the future... it could even be irreversible. If we do not use a billion-year goal as a mirror, we cannot scientifically plan for today and tomorrow. Without such a far-reaching mirror, we cannot truly realize the long-term, universal, and fundamental interests of humanity, correct our mistakes in a timely manner, and maintain our path on the right direction for years to come.
Using billions of years as our research scale does not mean our focus is on what we should do in a billion years—that is a research topic better left to the future generations. Although the expanse of this research goes to the very edges of the universe, it is not focused on journeying into the depth of the universe to accomplish something either, as such a goal would be quite meaningless. On the contrary, our entire purpose is to use a time period of billions of years and a spatial scope of tens of billions of light-years as an investigation scope and reference target. This will guide our actions for today and the near future, making sure that everything we do is in line with the long-term, global, and fundamental interests of humanity.
Therefore, the far-reaching principle is actually based in reality. It is just a research method that seeks to make our research considerations more pro- found, comprehensive, and meticulous. It is still intent on solving issues of mankind today and in the near future. Although such a principle may inconvenience our research, it can make our research conclusions more objective and scientific.