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The Historical Memory of Humans and their Urge to Change

  • We are the only species that has a historical memory. We learn from our parents that the world existed before us and what it was like. We learn from our teachers and books that humans have existed for a long time.
  • The young zebra that is growing up in the savannah doesn't know that its mom used to be a baby too at some point. It will never know where its mom used to graze. It may never figure out that its mom had a mom too.
  • We are also the only species whose generations live different lives: that zebra lives the same life that a zebra lived thousands of years ago, whereas a baby born now will live a significantly different life from her parents' life. Younger humans "rebel" against their parents. Zebras don't.
  • We are unique among animals in that we have a memory of how humans lived were before we were born but we are also unique in that we don't want to live the way they lived.
  • We know the past and we don't want the future to be like the past.
  • The historical memory of humans and their urge to change seem to be two sides of the same coin.