I am currently reading about dinosaurs. And I find myself thinking about the fact that they managed to stick around for more than 150 million years.
In contrast, we humans have been here for a mere blip of time. We pretty much just arrived here on planet Earth, and there is no particular guarantee that we will be here much longer.
Of course dinosaurs were not just one species — they were many species. If you take the long view, there is a reasonable chance that humans will give way to other human-like species, and then still other species after that.
All of those species will likely look back on us as a fascinating experiment, a necessary if failed step on the ladder of evolution. We will be seen as exhibiting the beginnings of higher intelligence, albeit in primitive form.
The species that will evolve from us, the ones that manage to last longer than a mere few hundred thousand years, will likely have traits that we lack. For one thing, there is a reasonable chance that they will have a very different relationship to their emotions.
An intelligent species that is capable of lasting millions of years will probably not be prone to sudden bouts of rage the way so many humans are. They will not find it so difficult to value members of their own species who seem different.
Unlike us, they will likely not lose their ability to think rationally when experiencing sexual attraction. And they will almost certainly have a much greater respect for the health of the planet that sustains them.
All of this is conjecture of course. But who knows — maybe one day, many millennia from now, these words might be read by a being far more intelligent than me.
And with any luck they will think “Well, he got some of it right.”