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Should humanity avoid any such ‘reset’, the progress described by those two arcs of history will continue: society will become increasingly global and more inclusive, religious fervor will fade as economic and educational standards rise, the race will become more homogeneous as previously separated groups intermix, the range of options for individuals and families will expand, the overall human condition will continually improve, and the potential to explore and comprehend and inhabit the universe will be enhanced in ways that supersede the priorities of mere human survival. In this sense, the sum of human awareness (and perhaps the awareness of others) will be an active consciousness of the universe, the way at least a small corner of the universe becomes aware of itself.

(Science fiction, at its best, explores the many ways this might happen; it is a heuristic for exploring possible futures, and for understanding why any one person’s experience of the world, or perception of reality, is not necessarily the only possible one, let alone the best.)

Still, there is no one endpoint, no one-time catastrophe or utopia. Wherever the race might land in the next century, there will always be change. (Even religions that have lasted for a couple millennia might fade away to other religions, in another couple millennia; thousands of other religions throughout human history have similarly disappeared.) Even in a utopia, unless every person is utterly like every other person, there will be differences, and differences will lead to those who want change, and those who are happy enough and resist change. This is perhaps the ultimate dynamic of human history.