But although we have basically the same brains as man a thousand years ago, our minds are constantly evolving. As a character in Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore says: Same hardware. Different software.
The idea of privacy is relatively new. As is our outlook on romance. Women weren't put up onto pedestals until the medieval times (and for some of us, they've never come back down). The idea of a match/soulmate wasn't even created (and yes, it was created) until Plato (first mention of it occurs in Plato's Symposium, to be more precise). Writers have been changing the way we think for centuries. And there are some who claim that Shakespeare invented the inner monologue for humans. Which means that the early Neanderthal didn't hold inner conversations about moral decisions (and he certainly didn't inwardly agonize over whether to choose Nancy or Jennifer, or why next-door neighbor Stanley didn't have a sense of private space). The inner debates that spout so eloquently in my head may just be thanks to the master bard. How poetic.
Even if our hardware is the same, the way we're wired -- the software we have in our heads is constantly being updated, even if it's without those pesky reminders for user agreements that never get read. Some of this software develops differently over generations. Others of it happen regularly within our psyche, consciously or not.
But this isn't a new idea. We know that differences in our minds, opinions, and otherwise differ across cultures, spans of land, time, and even from the person living next door. Different software, platforms, and just your general set preferences, you see.
And even if our brains can't grow anymore (supposedly), that doesn't mean our capacity to learn hasn't been halted. Already we've been using books to go beyond our mind's capacity -- to store information, to share everything our minds can't possibly all remember, and to instill new ideas. And the next frontier has already been breached -- the man/machine hybrid. And before we get into the whole negative Terminator/self-aware Skynet connotations, consider that we have already been doing that. We're already using machines to calculate, to share, to learn...to otherwise complete tasks so that our minds can perhaps be freed to grow in other ways. This means that the writers probably aren't changing the way we think anymore, but perhaps programmers are the ones equipping the new age.
We can create things that people a hundred years ago could only dream of. We can do things that people a thousand years ago would never even be able to comprehend. Seeing as how that's the case now, that means that a hundred years, a thousand years from now, people will be doing things we're not even able to dream or comprehend. Beyond hovercrafts, teleportation, or AI. A few hundred years from now, people will be doing things that are even beyond our imagination. Imagine a situation where our imagination can't reach.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. And why wait for a hundred years? Why can't the change start now? Within. Without. In close proximity. Our capability stretches infinitesimally now -- not just in technology -- but within ourselves. Maybe our lives and the possibilities are limited, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't constantly be reaching, learning, sharing, coming up with and understanding new ideas.
Just a thought.