Picture one of our ancestors, a Homo erectus e.g. which, despite the Latin and somewhat peremptory name, we like to believe not as intelligent as we are. He would come from Africa of course. He would have forgotten to follow his comrades more than a million years ago in the direction of Europe, among others. Then, in early 2018, he would take the road to the shores of Northern Africa, assuming he survived his journey out of the depths of the African continent. One would not have taken anything from him since, from the very start, he had nothing. Happy human being. He might have read my article “Tomorrow already starts today” from December 2016 on my blog and he might have become friends with the Little Prince somewhere in the desert. Then, back to the harsh reality, he would have taken something looking nothing like a boat – or to be more precise, he would have been thrown on a few pieces of wood with some of his African descendants, whose humanity had been taken from them a long time ago, and together they would leave for a crossing that was definitively not a cruise. With luck, he would arrive to Europe or at least on the end of the breast of this goddess who did not really have the will (nor the ability) to nurture him. Moreover, Europe would immediately make him understand that she was not a collection bin for the entire human misery. No, Europe had already innumerable bins that she would expect from him and his fellows to empty. Well, the difference between having and being … He was thus touching the heart of the essential problem of our so-called civilization.
Instead of going to Asia as his distant comrades, he would think of going to the USA. Yet, he would be denied a visa: he was fundamentalistly suspect due to his indisputable African descendance. The country of liberty – he would have read. A trump oeil – he would have thought.
His supposedly evolved descendants would explain him human evolution. And there, of course, he would have difficulty to understand. One would tell him about Artificial Intelligence with uppercase letters. He would answer naïvely “And how about natural intelligence, has it finally been (re)discovered? Will you improve it?”. His interlocutors would gaze at him with incomprehension. One would affront him with Big Data. And he would ask quietly “What about sweet little words?” Faced with this dialogue of the deaf, his desperate descendants would have left in their pockets bitcoins, drones, Internet of Things, virtual reality (…) and 3D printers they were about to assault him with from their virtual pedestal.
Heartily, he would try to adapt himself to his – however hostile — environment and would desperately regret not to have read Charles Darwin. He would not have read neither “Persian Letters” nor “Gulliver’s Travels”, but he would also have enough stories to tell about his journey. Of course, he would be told – in an all-purpose formula and truncating the reality – that man descended from monkeys. In any case, he would observe that some had even fell down from the trees and, others, to an even lower level since they watched TV.
A little tired, but always of good will and in good intelligence, he would have sat on the terrace of a cafe with me to drink a cup of friendship. We would then have agreed immediately not to backtrack as the defeatists and utopianists recommended but to march ahead towards a more humane humanity. Upon departure, he would scold me friendly for having removed him from his native Africa. He would have preferred to remain there, under the African sun, if only he could have … Finally, and most importantly, as a benevolent ancestor, he would have told me that we were all pushed to do more, when we should be aiming to do better. “What if”, he suggested, “in 2018 each of you tried to become a Homo humanus? Only then, you could really talk about (r)evolution”. Friendly winks between him and me. And he resumed his journey towards the horizon …