Prolongation

June 6, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Future, Neoteny, Society

In China, there is something like nine wholly different languages using the same writing system, unlike Europe where you have many similar languages using a similar language system.  A result is that in China, over a billion people can understand what people from other groups write but not what they say.

Over three billion people have cell phones.  Companies like Nokia are designing phones for the market of people that make about $4 a day.  There is not yet a universal language of communication, but there may soon be a universal communications interface that offers an ability to understand what any other person is saying.

I have a friend, a Florida Jewish commercial fisherman with a grouper vessel in the Gulf, who conducted a romance with a Mexican woman mostly by the Internet.  She spoke only Spanish.  Martin spoke only English.  They communicated by email, translating each other’s words using Internet translation software.  They are now married with a son.

Consider a world language, perhaps iconic and very basic, which allows all peoples to communicate.  It could be a language not unlike the Chinese characters universal to that culture.  It may not be necessary with translation software.  But if invented, it might be something children would embrace, particularly those children participating in many-culture multiplayer virtual communities.

Clearly, it is becoming easier to communicate.

Consider that the anecdotal evidence that our young men are taking longer to grow up is not just the grumblings of older generations.  Neoteny, or the prolongation of younger stages of ontogeny or growth into older stages over time, is a central feature of contemporary society.  Play is not just for children anymore.  Our young adults are spending sizable amounts of time playing with new technologies, technologies that enhance the neotenous perspective; they are egalitarian, horizontal, diverse and transparent.

In other words, there is a juxtaposition of new technologies with a new humanity.  People are becoming both more communicative and more capable of communication as people biologically transform, bringing early childhood stages of language acquisition capabilities into older stages where new communications technologies are being embraced.

Consider also that as these facilities with language prolong from early childhood to young adults, the profound, pervasive and natural creativity, affection and attraction to connection that characterize our small children will be more and more evidencing itself in our older youth.  As adult individuals neotenize, so will our societies, reflecting in their structures and conventions our modified human beings.

It is said that to see the future you have only to look at our children.  Might it be the case that the actual features of our children may be the future of our adults?


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