Happy 1st myriad!

firstbirthdayThe Greek number myriad means literally ten thousand, and that’s roughly how old our civilization is. 10,000 years ago, the ice sheets were retreating across Europe and North America to be replaced by forests, and in the Middle East the first civilized people were learning how to farm.

That may sound a long time ago in comparison to a single human lifespan, but as civilizations go, we are still in our infancy. That’s why I’ve decided to celebrate our first myriad.

Like a one year old child, we’re beginning to walk and to explore our world, in a wobbly, uncertain way.


Today, truck. Tomorrow, interstellar spaceship.

We’re not yet saying a lot that makes sense, but we’re starting to make babbling noises that sound like we might one day say something truly interesting and intelligent.


Gaga, baba, I think therefore I am, daba waba.

And we’re learning a huge amount about our small corner of the world, and starting to interact with it in a clumsy way.


I’m going to solve these Quantum Gravity equations even if it damn well kills me.

We have a long way to go before we mature, and I’m sure we’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way, but it’s going to be an amazing journey. In another 17 myriads, we’ll look back and wonder at just how far we’ve travelled.


Hell, yeah!

9 responses to “Happy 1st myriad!

  1. Fact: Who was here 10,000 years ago?

    • 10,000 years ago was the start of the Neolithic period. It marked the beginning of agriculture, but most people were still hunter gatherers. It predates the pre-dynastic Egyptian era by several thousand years. World population was 5 million.

  2. Is there a particular day of the year that is considered the 10,000 year anniversary?

  3. What’s sobering about the 10,000 year span (the anthropocene) is how small a fraction it is of the time that modern humans have been walking the Earth. We left Africa 60,000-90,000 years ago, after evolving some 200,000 years ago. We’ve been hunter-gatherers throughout most of our history.

    The other sobering thing to realize is that this 10,000 year period may be only a recess, a temporary break, in the overall ice age. 10,000 years from now, the ice may be back. Anyone’s guess what civilization might be like by then.

    • That’s a new word to add to my vocabulary!

      You are exactly right. Humans have been around for 2 million years, but we didn’t start farming until 10,000 years ago. The Industrial Revolution took place 200 years ago. Electronic computers were invented 60 years ago; the internet has been around for some 20 years. Technology isn’t just progressing, it’s accelerating at an incredible pace.

  4. I’m guessing the rest of the universe is just dreading humanity’s “terrible twos”!

    • You may well be right, but at least we have plenty of galactic space to throw our toys around. There doesn’t appear to be anyone else living out there, and perhaps that’s a good thing.

  5. The idea about the end of the Ice Age is an interesting one, because actually we are still right in the middle of an Ice Age – defined as a period in which there is permanent ice at the Earth’s poles. This is an anomalous state – for most of Earth’s history there was no permanent ice at the poles. So the Earth may be getting warmer, but it’s still pretty chilly from a geological perspective.

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