A World Perspective Through 21st Century Eyes
, Oct 26, 2004
As a community of citizens in the twenty-first century we are fortunate to have emerged from the biological evolution of the past million years and the cultural evolution of the past ten thousand years. We have enjoyed an abundance of time and freedom to explore the 'why' and 'how' things work and continue to push the limits of the present technological evolution. A World Perspective through 21st Century Eyes is not a history textbook or a science history book. It is not a treatise on philosophy or theology. Rather, it is a book on the major themes in the evolution of man and the impact of science thereto. It is a book with the major theme addressing the impact of science on society; one in which the technical community has not had time to digest and reflect upon during the past fifty years. With the time pressures of the day and in the specializations in which we operate, there is precious little surplus energy available to us for leisure activity of our choosing. I trust that this treatment will sketch a broad outline that the scientific and technological community has had on society over the past five thousand years and potential areas where further impacts will be made in the next one hundred years. To this effort, I believe the reader will find his or her surplus energy well spent. An engineer, to which my life's training was aimed, is expected to have a complete and thorough knowledge of some subjects. This is true for most of us in the technical community, therefore, it is also true that most of us choose not to write about many topics of which we are not master. I feel this separation of subjects and isolation of scientists and technologists does a disservice to others in other disciplines, who look for different views in order to maintain a balanced perspective on the myriad of issues confronting them each day. Those of us who have grown-up in the Western Culture without a technical education may find this discussion exciting in the different way it is broached. Just as an engineer appreciates the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge and the precision of the clock, the inspiration from watching the setting sun, reading a biblical passage or viewing a Bouguereau painting can motivate and enlighten that same engineer. In this way, I aim to provide the reader, either technical or non-technical, with an appreciation of the evolving world from the viewpoint of one who has been technically trained. I cannot reproduce the sunset, paint or sing to inspire, but I hope these insights motivate you to pause and consider your area of expertise, with the aim for you to contribute that which has inspired and motivated you.