The doubling of humankind
When my great-great-great grandfather William Candlish was born in Virginia in 1804, there were 1 billion people in the world.
It had taken thousands of years for the world to reach that milestone of human saturation.
When my father was born in the 1930’s, the number of people in the world had just passed the 2 billion mark. When I was born, the global population was 3 billion.
Today, there are more than 7 billion people across the globe.
Our growth has a concordant poetry, for we’ve barely strayed from the primordial swamp we emerged from millions of years ago. More than half of the 7 billion people live within 100 miles of the world’s 315,000 miles of coastline.
There is nothing that we experience that isn’t somehow affected by the sheer scale of our numbers. They drive innovation, belief, culture, adaptation, behavior, modification.
Despite fear, uncertainty and doubt about the nature of existence and the future, we witness in an elemental way the rapid propagation of the species. Individual existence may be impermanent, but the replication of our genetic code is an absolute certainty.
In a world with rapid multiplication, our identities need to be able to shift and adapt more readily to encounters with new faces and circumstance.
This doubling of humankind is the most profound event of my life.