Scientists think it may have taken humans two millennia to invent and properly use the bow and arrow, for the first time. It took hundreds, maybe thousands, of years after that for more efficient weapons based on that model to be created themselves. For much of human evolution, major breakthroughs have been years and years in the making. Up until the latter half of the 20th century, that is.
Things started to change with the creation of the combustible engine as well as the widespread use of electricity. Suddenly, people were no longer dependent on animals and other aspects of nature for their well being. Instead, they could subscribe to home care where a doctor could make a visit in the comfort of a fast moving automobile.
Go forward a little bit more to the 1990s. It is a fairly advanced age, from all accounts. There are compact discs, which can store a lot of information in a convenient and hard to damage package. Computers have begun to pop up everywhere, in smaller forms which are useful in most offices and homes.
And guess what? That decade looks like the Dark Ages compared to the time we live in today. News is instantly available from around the world thanks to the Internet. Cell phones are ubiquitous and tiny, complete with a global SIM card which can help you call anywhere in the world, from your vehicle (as long as you are not driving).
Compact discs have gone the way of the dinosaur, and most of our communications and purchases are taking place over the Internet. You no longer even have to pick up a phone, instead you can make a dentist appointment online, and you are set.
It is incredible how quickly our society has moved forward over the last half century, particularly in the last decade. It has revolutionized everything we do, from spa treatments to filling up the car. We are more plugged in, with access to more information, than ever before.
These rapid advances, however, have not come without their costs. A global recession, the evaporation of many once viable careers (photographers, editors, and soon possibly clerks in retail stores among them), and people being more disconnected from one another than ever before are a few of them.
Communication and information are not the only areas which have seen rapid advances. It seems as though quick solutions to complicated problems are within easy reach of the human race, the same species which took thousands of years to figure out how to shoot a running animal for food. One can't help but wonder where we could go, if those advances were focused on more than just individual needs.