Letter to the Citizen Volume 1

Alan Cai

June 17, 2022

To the citizen,

It pleases me to express gratitude for the opportunity to live in such a modernized world. Modern, an intriguing term for which the era at present is expressed. This distinction of mankind between beasts is unique: a level of connectivity and communication certainly unheld by any other species to ever have the honor of grazing the Earth. Thus, it is suitable to argue that the levels of human development can only be measured by said mechanism, how closely connected interpersonal communication is.

Two human traits allow us to progressively advance our civilization to the furthest reaches of the Earth, setting an unprecedented level of ascendancy no other has ever attained. The first is improvisation upon emulation. The ability to develop upon acquired skills and knowledge is a crucial cornerstone that sets primates in general beyond the reach of other non-learning species.

The second is speech. The chief behavioral distinction between humans and other primates is the ability to express and spread acquired knowledge for parallel and future generation to compound upon. As Carl Linnaeus observed when classifying species, the sole difference between humans and monkeys, encompassing anatomy and behavior, is speech. Written language, although generally developed more recently than its verbal counterpart, allows for the faster and wider spread of information, literally pushing the borders of connectivity beyond what was ever imagined. Perhaps I would suggest that there must be some unseen evolutionary impulse specifically for humans to automatically engage in communication for the purpose of increasing conformity with society.

The modern era has indeed forced us onto a plateau from the standpoint of civilization advancement. The aforementioned strive for orthodoxy has coerced the ever-expanding population to increasingly comply with its own growing set of standards, leaving little room for creativity and imagination. Most adequately perceiving this phenomenon, John Stuart Mill noted, “the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour, and moral courage which it contained.” Mayhap such eccentricity is exactly what is required to ensure the continuing success of our species.


Alan Cai