Think of human development as a long journey. At the beginning, we live at the mercy of nature. Dependent on its bounty, we pray for rains and freedom from natural disasters and plagues. At the end of the journey, nature lives at our mercy. We use science and technology to release new wealth and remake the planet. Today, as humans implant themselves with microchips, install artificial organs and plan Mars colonies, we even aim for a ‘singularity’ that will lift us out of nature once and for all.
I try and maintain that we are all kind of self-absorbed. And we’re hungry to feel validated, and we definitely feel validated by people who are like us, who kind of mirror our values and our ideas—they kind of give us that sort of narcissistic thrill that we are okay, that there are other people like this out in the world. It is what drives people to identify with some narrow group. The narrower the better. It’s a little hard to identify with a group of 500,000—it’s kind of abstract.
So there’s this ugly aspect of human nature that forces us to become more and more tribal. And it’s so insanely irrational. When I was working on the book, this is what I was trying to come to terms with—we are all stemmed from the same small group of homo sapiens from Africa, some hundreds of thousands of years, millions of years ago. We are all essentially the same. We all evolved. There’s no real sense of what it means to be white. The whole notion of white as a race is completely debunked scientifically. We are a mix of so many different races, and there’s no one who’s ever a pure race. We all come from the same roots.