We can travel back in time as far as we wish when searching for Pandora’s urns.
There are numerous points in human cultural evolution that one could nominate for urn of the eon. For instance, it could be stone tools, or the early control of fire, the development of complex spoken language or, as is favored by many, the development of agriculture and animal domestication. Interestingly, the latter appeared independently in both the old and new worlds at different times and places–as though it is a part of us that was waiting to emerge eventually given the right circumstances.
To me, this begs the question–if we jump forward a few millennia, passing a few more significant urns such as written language, the mastering of metals, the wheel, written language, ocean faring boats, steam power, electricity, flight, nuclear energy, space travel and the digital revolution, we find ourselves in the present. What are the new “right circumstances” awaiting us with new urns?
Are we now creating them ourselves?
The great anthropologist, Leslie White, postulated that human culture is now evolving on its own determinates–separate from our physical evolution–indeed, perhaps driving our current physical evolution. Is human ‘culture’ a being? Does it respond to its environment under the pressures of selection–apart from the evolutionary and survival needs of Mankind, its host?
Is ‘culture’ that what Pandora released from her box–or urn?
Is the urn of the eon still awaiting us?