Frequently Asked Questions

What's the purpose of this timeline?
This timeline shows humanity’s growth and progress from the first fire to today’s achievements. It’s purpose is to show how humanity has grown and evolved consistently over time.

Our hope is that through this timeline, you will see how our beliefs and worldviews have changed over time and get curious about how they might evolve in the future. Liberal or conservative, left or right, we all seem to think our beliefs and ethics are the end all and be all. History shows us over and over again that this is not true. Our perspectives are constantly expanding and our moral intuitions deepening. For example, for much of history, slavery was a broadly-accepted practice. Now it is perhaps the most despicable thing we can imagine.

What current beliefs and practices will appear despicable 500 years or even 10 years from now?

Didn't we humans do a bunch of terrible things too?
Yes. Humanity is constantly doing terrible things – from slavery to genocide to all the other subtler forms of oppression and injustice. That is undeniable.

However, I wonder: Does it make sense to view past events based on values that emerged after them?

Consider this: The Egyptian pyramids are an incredible feat of humanity. They are beautiful and must have taken extraordinary planning and genius to construct. AND they were built on the backs of slaves who no doubt were tortured and went through hell while the pharaohs sat comfortably on their thrones.

From our dominant worldviews today, this was a heinous atrocity. From the dominant worldviews operating back in Egyptian times however, this was just how the world worked. While it was certainly immoral, what I find incredible is that over the last several millennia, humanity was able to acknowledge these shortcomings and expand into a new worldview. Humanity invented equality, justice, personal freedom, etc. because it no longer wanted to operate under the logic of slavery.

Is this timeline biased and skewed toward a Western perspective?
Yes. As a product of a human, this timeline is inherently biased and imperfect. Being edited by a white, heterosexual, cisgendered, male American from an upper-middle class family there is also a risk of this overly representing the beliefs and behaviors of the Western world (and the dominant groups within the Western world).

Help me show a fuller and richer vision of humanity’s genius by submitting your own entry.

Can I submit my own entry for consideration on the Timeline?
Yes! To submit your own entry, go here.
Is the Timeline complete and comprehensive?
No. It is quite incomplete. We add more entries every weekend. But we will never be able to capture all the moments of human accomplishment, genius, and creativity here. There are too many!