In this Radiolab story, Robert Sapolsky tells us about a cultural shift that he observed within a troop of baboons in Kenya. When the troop experienced a huge influx of resources from a nearby tourist lodge (resources meaning in this case . . . a huge pile of garbage), the entire culture of the troop shifted. Alpha males and the accompanying strict and vicious hierarchy melted away and the baboons adopted a new, more equitable social structure. And the kicker? This culture remained intact even when many of the original baboons had left the troop and new male baboons arrived. Not only is it possible to change the social behaviour of a baboon, it appears that the change is quite resilient.
We're in a new period of evolution, one where we are rapidly evolving not our biological genome, but our cultural genome. In the past 200 years we have radically reinvented what it means to be a human being. What do we want to create in the next 200?