Throughout the Manual, I will be referring to the collective group of myself and you, the reader, as “we” and “us.” However, it’s important to first define what I mean when I say “us.” It’s not the simplest definition but I’ll begin with a scenario for you.
Let’s say you’re a 9th grade student attending high school. When you say the word “us,” you can be referring to other 9th graders, other high schoolers, or other students. As the qualifications for being a part of your group become more vague, the number belonging to the group increases. There are more students than 9th graders because “students” includes all grades, including 9th.
A similar concept can be applied to the “us” that I’ll be using. When I say “I’m proud of us,” I’m referring to us as humans, as mammals, as animals, as multicellular eukaryotes, as living organisms, and as matter. Each of those terms describes you which means you are a part of them.
When you look at yourself in all regards, you can see the incredible journey that we have taken from the first precipitations of energy to the establishment of an interconnected, global society. We have traversed throughout many solar life cycles, survived the onslaught of tests that threatened life’s very existence, and risen to conquer an entire planet. We have worked together symbiotically and socially to help ourselves and those around us.
We are the ones that manipulated our environment to work for us and we are the ones that developed a permanent method of communication to record our thoughts forever. We are the ones that set out to learn where we come from and how the world around us works. The most exciting part: we’ve finally done it. We now understand our entire story and we have the means of sharing that story with the entire population instantaneously.
You are just one of the many, many, many members of “us” and we’re happy to have you. When you see yourself in this way, you can be proud of the accomplishments of those who came before. You can be proud of humans for creating the Internet. You can be proud of small mammals for hiding away from predatory dinosaurs. You can be proud of eukaryotic cells for working together and diversifying to accomplish more together than they ever could on their own. You can be proud of single-celled organisms for finding their way to the light. You can be proud of your atoms for seeing the bellies of hundreds of stars, and you can be proud that their story will continue long after you die.
When you see all that we have accomplished throughout our near 14 billion year history, you gain a much grander perspective of yourself. You can see how you fit into it all because you do, in fact, have a place here. Reflecting on all that we’ve been through only makes me curious about where we’re headed. When you understand exactly how the world has reached this point, you can see that we are headed in a very bright direction; and we’re hitting the accelerator to get there!