One world. One family. Is it possible -- or desirable -- for a substantial majority of humans to take this view?
In the beginning, humans identified themselves with a tribe or clan, which was their place of birth or their place of adoption through marriage. Intermarriage was one way of fostering peace between tribes, and unrelated groups often went to war. Much later, following the development of agriculture, tribal loyalty expanded to encompass settled villages which contained members of multiple clans.
With the invention of writing, cities bloomed. Trade created interdependence between cities and eventually nation-states arose. The human conception of allegiance to others kept expanding from a few dozen to a few hundred to a few thousand, and now to several millions. Is that the limit?
CRN contends that a nearly overnight transformation in manufacturing capability, due to the invention of personal nanofactories, is a strong possibility in the next 10-15 years. The challenges brought on by this technological revolution -- ethical, economic, social, environmental, military, and many other issues -- are likely to exacerbate many of today's conflicts between nations and peoples. These new problems, and even new classes of problems, may require new thinking about what it means for each of us to be a part of society. It may be that a widening of our perception to view our planet as a single family home will be beneficial in imagining, creating, and implementing innovative solutions.
Some have said that a shift like this actually began when the first images of the Earth from space were beamed back from the Apollo missions (such as the photo above). But if a new global awareness dawned at that time, it seems not yet to have the reached the stage where a substantial majority of humans consider themselves as part of one family. Almost all of us, when allegiance is called for, identify most immediately with a particular nation-state, ethnicity, religious culture, or some other part of the whole.
We're learning now that major climate shifts can occur in a far shorter timespan than was previously thought to be the case. Is it possible that a similar "overnight" shift could occur in human perception and identification? Certainly those earlier expansions of allegiance took place over many centuries, but in today's world, things happen faster. Communications satellites, cell phones, and the Internet are rapidly shrinking perceptual distances between populations.
One world. One family. It's undeniably true...but are we ready to believe it?