I was once asked if I were to choose an object to be sent to another world that would define the human race, what would I choose? My answer is simple.
The best parts of humankind have always been linked to our propensity for innovation, artistic expression, invention and forward thinking. Unfortunately, with the ability to only send one thing to represent our world, I would not be able to provide outside life documentation of each and every piece of art, vaccine, invention, or literary work. And instead of forgoing the items above completely, I’ve been forced to summon the creativity I have within myself and choose something I feel would represent humankind.
I think of what great minds have in common. Surely the artist and the author have similarities with the songwriter and the photographer but what about the scientific mind? What do the great mathematicians and scientists have in common with artistic brains? And then it hit me. Sure, word of great works and experiments could pass from generation to generation. I could spend hours recoding all the great accomplishments of our world but I fear two things: 1. Being a lone person, I may forget something or someone and 2. If I can only send the recording and not the listening device, my effort may be for naught.
I cannot bottle the free will afforded humans in the Garden of Eden, the first gift that opened our eyes to our true potential if you are to believe the words of the Christian Bible. I could send the wheel – the first documented invention of man to show new life where we began but I hesitate because we are so far from there. So much more than a wheel.
Then the word documented floated in my head for a day or so. What do all the great pieces of art, vaccines, inventions, literary works, mathematic equations and scientific theories have in common? It seems simple enough and I cannot be sure it wouldn’t be too simple of a gift to show other life.
A pencil. I would send a pencil to another world to show them who we are as humans. As artists render pencil drawings, authors scribble words, mathematicians erase their mistakes, scientists prove their theories, songwriters document their dreams – it’s all done with the same instrument. A pencil. It’s malleable. It’s able to go back and start over with the brush of an eraser. Pick itself back up. Like we can. If another life form could see we are brave enough, artistic enough, smart enough and forward thinking enough to remember to write things down, I think we’d have shown them not only our limitations but our desire to work harder, get better and have something to show for our efforts.
So, what would you send?