I’d love to see a history of the human race, all the way from a single celled organism to humans today. Usually human histories, if they’re on the scale of our species and not just historical events, begin with us as cousins to chimpanzees roaming the plains of Africa. But what about before that? We apparently have a “reptilian” brain inside our brain somewhere, so surely we are descended from reptiles at some point in our evolution. I want to see it! Instead of those t-shirts that have an ape slowly evolving into a human who ends up sitting in a chair, I’d like to see an amoeba who evolves into a fungus into a sunflower into an iguana into a miniature horse into a chimpanzee into a human. Or whatever it is. I don’t know! Hopefully someone knows. I feel like just looking at humans from the point of departure from great apes is like eating the icing and thinking it’s the cake.
This has, to some extent, been spurred on by me reading “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari. Also we watched the documentary “Unnatural Selection” on Netflix. Yuval goes so far as to suggest that “amortal” people, i.e. people who are unable to die by old age or diseases, and so can theoretically live forever, are not too far from being reality. I don’t know what the word is for something almost unimaginable, but if possible, a really bad idea, but I think it would apply here. It would certainly make life sentences a much more tiresome prospect for those who do choose to go the amortal route. On the flip side, life insurance would be cheaper. But they might struggle to get tenured positions.
Speaking of specific words for things, zugzwang. This is my favourite word at the moment, and one that I feel is delightful not just because of its meaning, but because it is German, and the German language seems to have a knack for single words that encapsulate a complex feeling, like schadenfreude. Zugzwang, as far as I understand it, is used in games like chess when your opponent has no option but to move, and any move they can make will lead to them losing the game. As someone said to me recently when I told them about it, “seems like it applies to life”.