Who are we?

Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?

Peter Rojas: That is a really big question. I think there have been two . . . like maybe two or three things that have really, you know, shaped us. I think that continuing universalization of how we define who is human. And I think that’s something that we . . . that again, one of those things that . . . that doesn’t get talked about. But if you look at the past, you know, several thousand years or, you know, 2,000 years of human history, it’s really been an expansion of the idea of who is human. Who gets to be considered human? And we don’t think . . . Again, we don’t talk about this; but like 1,500 years ago, 2,000 years ago if you go back to like, you know, the Roman Empire or whatever, you know people who were slaves or like weren’t citizens were in some ways considered not to be human. And it wasn’t that, like, they weren’t sort of . . . It was just about how we abstract the idea of who is human and who is not human. And then you know we look at, you know, the enlightenment. It’s been this constant, forward progression of broadening that idea of who is human. And it used to be just men, and now women are considered human. I don’t know. Maybe that’s . . . Maybe human is not the right word, you know? It’s . . . it’s . . . This idea of expand . . . Expanding the idea of equality, and about people being, you know, worthy of . . . of . . . of being part of . . . of you know considered at . . . you know part of the human race, or equal members, or full members of the human race, I guess may be a good way to describe it. And so you know . . . with the end of slavery and . . . and . . . and the attempts to like, you know, diminish racism and abolish racism in a country, expanding that idea to like, you know, people of all different ethnic . . . ethnicities. And you know it’s something in the past like, you know, 20 or 30 years about really expanding that idea to . . . to include, you know, homosexuals. It’s like this idea of like who is . . . who is normal, and who is not normal, you know? And I think we’re . . . we’re . . . we’re broadening that . . . that . . . that view. We’re encompassing more and more people. And I think, you know, that’s a good thing. Obviously you don’t wanna go so far and say like, you know, being a pedophile is like normal and acceptable. But I mean you know you do . . . I think it’s . . . it’s very . . . There’s very progressive sense of us like embracing more and more and excluding less and less. And I think ultimately that’s a good thing. I think that one of the other, you know, big macro trends is, you know like I was saying, towards the democratization of . . .of cultural production. And I think if you look back over the course of the past 2,000 years of 1,000 years or whatever, you know there was very much about, like, the singular artist who made one art object which can be enjoyed by, you know, one person, or one group of people at a time. You know like Michelangelo making a statue of David for some rich patron. And then, you know, you shift towards mechanical, you know, reproductions so that you could make, you know, artifacts which could be distributed to masses of people. And you know but it took big, you know, media companies to, like, manufacture and, you know . . . There was . . . You had to have big media companies manufacture and distribute these things. And then we reached the digital age where anyone can produce, and consume, and recombine. And you know the very metaphors of production and distribution almost become meaningless because everything is . . . is . . . is . . . it’s become so, you know, difficult to delineate like the point of creation, and the point of recombination and all that. So I think those are like the two big macro trends, at least that I kind of see. And I’m sure there’s a bunch of others. You know and I mean obviously like the trends toward rationalization and . . . and . . . and you know science and, you know, the end of superstition. Things like that are really, really huge. _________ really did a great job of chronicling that.



Rojas talks about who we are as a people.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.
Keep reading Show less

People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer

Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

Keep reading Show less
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less