Try this question on any man: All you'll get for an answer is a shrugging of shoulders along with a puzzled facial expression. The one thing neither rocket scientists nor astrophysicists will ever be able to comprehend is how women think and feel. Bill Watterson's eternal six-year old Calvin (from "Calvin & Hobbes"), no smart scholar, but the epitome of the self-assured yet forever puzzled boy, summarizes his incomprehension of the opposite gender: "What is it like to be a girl? Is it like being a bug? I imagine bugs and girls have a dim perception that nature has played a cruel trick on them, but they lack the intelligence to really comprehend the magnitude of it!"
In reality it is, of course, the other way around. Nature has played a cruel trick on men – rather than on women. Men's minds, for the most part, work along a single longitudinal path: A triggers B, B triggers C and so forth. They consider themselves to be smart, because they are barely able to grasp causal chains. Men's intelligence is expressed by the extent to which they can estimate or predict a sequence of steps in a chain reaction. Like chess players, some men can think one or two steps ahead, some seven or eight. Alternatives to their one-dimensional, allegedly "logical" path of thinking are beyond their imagination.
Womens minds, on the other hand, are much more complex. Women embrace several different natures in their personality. In addition to the men's straightforward "logical" way of thinking, they (according to C. G. Jung) incorporate a personification of the unconscious counter-sexual image, in other words the inner man in a woman. This archetype encompasses a number of instincts that are quite useful in supplementing a woman's emotions. In addition, women's minds embrace a third governing force, the so-called "shadow", a counter-image of their true character. The working-type woman, for instance, can identify with the feelings of a spoiled tootsie. A woman who has run expeditions in Ethiopia, Somalia and Afghanistan all her life, can suddenly become flustered at the run of a nylon stocking. What makes women so unfathomable to men is that they can leap in a split second from one level of their personality to the other. As a consequence, that charming lady you are flirting with suddenly turns into a sharp-tongued businesswoman, only to react like a helpless college girl in the next moment. It would be asking too much of a man's mind, being merely a simplified, incomplete version of a woman's mind, to be able to comprehend this kind of complexity in the opposite gender.
Of course, one might argue that men also incorporate an anima and a shadow in their personality. So what? The effect of all three personalities is still the same: A unilateral drive towards ambition, competition and ultimately triumph. Let's face it: We men are pathetically simple minded. How simple minded? Swiss author Melina Moser knows the answer. She lists the only three things men need to be happy: Admiration, oral sex and freshly pressed orange juice.
"What will happen when the increasing speed of communication, the driving force behind cultural progress since the introduction of husbandry, suddenly becomes irrelevant?"
I am convinced that there is a predominant driving force behind cultural progress and that this driving force is speed of communications. The ancestors of modern humans lived in caves and hunted large mammals on essentially the same cultural level for over two million years. The entire history of civilization is limited only to the past 10,000 years.
In my opinion it began when, at the end of the Ice Age, sea level rose, thereby drowning estuaries and creating innumerable natural harbours. A high sea level invited people to climb aboard boats and cross the sea, thus accelerating the exchange of information between different peoples. Knowledge about new discoveries and achievements spread more rapidly and the advance of culture received its first major boost.
Since then, the acceleration of information exchange has driven cultural progress. The wheel, sailing ships, trains, planes, telephones, fax machines followed suit. Finally, the invention of the Worldwide Web caused one of the biggest hysterias in world economics. Today, we can transfer five thousand copies of the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica from (almost) any place on earth to (almost) any other place on earth in only one second and at the maximum possible speed, the speed of light.
After ten thousand years of cultural progress mankind is now reaching the point at which any amount of information can be transferred to any place at the speed of light. The increasing speed of communication, the driving force behind cultural progress since the introduction of husbandry, suddenly becomes irrelevant.
What will happen to progress as this threshold is crossed?