Last week the shortness of human history was hammered home to me when it emerged that the great-grandfather of the civil rights campaigner Al Sharpton, who was alive when Sharpton was born, was a slave owned by another politicians relatives.
This article makes it even more clear how insignificant we are:
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., one the United States' great historians, is less than two lifetimes removed from a world where the United States did not exist. Through Mr. Schlesinger, you're no more than three away yourself. That's how short the history of our nation really is.
Not impressed? It's only two more life spans to William Shakespeare. Two more beyond that, and the only Europeans to see America are those who sailed from Greenland. You're ten lifetimes from the occupation of Damietta during the fifth crusade. Twenty from the founding of Great Zimbabwe and the Visigoth sack of Rome. Make it forty, and Theseus, king of Athens, is held captive on Crete by King Minos, the Olmecs are building the first cities in Mexico, and the New Kingdom collapses in Egypt.
It's only 40 lifetimes ago that the ancient Egyptians were still on the go! And 60 lifetimes ago that Abraham was around to influence the founding of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
It's almost unbelievable that so much has happened in human history in so little time, meaning that every lifetime has had amazing things happen in it. I wonder what's in store for us? Hoverboards? Silver jump-suits? Space? A decent Adam Sandler film?