A couple of years ago, YouTube put together their "One hour per second" site, visualising the fact that for every second of time that elapses, an hour of video is uploaded to YouTube. Their current statistics page indicates that figure is now up to 100 hours per minute (about 1.7 hours per second).
Impressive numbers to be sure. However, there's another set of numbers I personally consider significantly more impressive: every second, more than seven billion seconds are added to the tally of collective human existence on Earth.
Think about that for a moment.
Tick. Another 7 billion seconds of collective human existence.
Tick. Another 117 million minutes of collective human existence.
Tick. Another 2 million hours of collective human existence.
Tick. Another 81 thousand days of collective human existence.
Tick. Another 11 thousand weeks of collective human existence.
Tick. Another 222 years of collective human existence.
222 years of collective human experience, every single second, of every single day. And as the world population grows, it's only going to get faster.
222 years of collective human experience per second.
13 centuries per minute.
801 centuries per hour.
19 millenia per day.
135 millenia per week.
7 billion years per year.
The growth in our collective human experience over the course of a single year would stretch halfway back to the dawn of time if it was experienced by an individual.
We currently squander most of that potential. We allow a lot of it to be wasted scrabbling for the basic means of survival like food, clean water and shelter. We lock knowledge up behind closed doors, forcing people to reinvent solutions to already solved problems because they can't afford the entry fee.
We ascribe value to people based solely on their success in the resource acquisition game that is the market economy, without acknowledging the large degree to which sheer random chance is frequently the determinant in who wins and who loses.
We inflict bile and hate on people who have the temerity to say "I'm here, I'm human, and I have a right to be heard", while being different from us. We often focus on those superficial differences, rather than our underlying common humanity.
We fight turf wars based on where we were born, the colour of our skin, and which supernatural beings or economic doctrines we allow to guide our actions.
Is it possible to change this? Is it possible to build a world where we consider people to have inherent value just because they're fellow humans, rather than because of specific things they have done, or specific roles they take up?
I honestly don't know, but it seems worthwhile to try. I certainly find it hard to conceive of a better possible way to spend my own meagre slice of those seven billion seconds per second :)