We all know that humans are bad for the planet, and for ourselves. In our short fifty thousand-year history, we’ve had countless skirmishes, two World Wars, and are currently threatening over one million animal species with extinction. These are undoubtedly the worst things we’ve done.
But ,now we can see the greatest things of human ever done,
Apollo 11 Landing
Unsurprisingly, placing a man on the Moon will stand throughout history as mankind’s greatest achievement. Not only did it mark the beginning of the Space Age, but it represented a period in human civilization where men dared to dream, to do the impossible. To touch the sky, literally.
That “one small step” was actually the sum total of the efforts of thousands of people, all working to meet the deadline set by President John F. Kennedy. It remains one of the most ambitious projects ever, and even more surprisingly, it succeeded. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step foot on the Moon, and the first to walk on an extraplanetary body.
July 20th, 1969 marked the beginning of a new era for our species. It showed that our brains and hard work would, in time, allow us to do amazing things. In a way, modern society is inspired by the first Moon landing, and it remains the most noteworthy event in modern history.
Thanjavur Big Temple
Brihadeeshwara Temple (Peruvudaiyar Kovil) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as Periya Kovil, RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajesvaram. It is one of the largest temples in India and is an example of Dravidian architecture during the Chola period. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD, the temple turned 1000 years old in 2010. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, with the other two being the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara temple.
The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The vimanam (temple tower) is 216 ft (66 m) high and is the tallest in the world. The Kumbam (the apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is carved out of a single rock and weighs around 80 tons.
There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock measuring about 16 ft (4.9 m) long and 13 ft (4.0 m) high at the entrance. The entire temple structure is made out of granite, the nearest sources of which are about 60 km to the west of temple. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.
Game of Thrones
Another bone to pick, but Game of Thrones is without question the most successful and influential TV series ever. I happen to have watched every single episode, plus some behind-the-scenes footage, and I’m inclined to think that no other series comes close. I literally binged-watched an entire season (season 4, the best one if you ask me) in one night.
The series spanned an awesome eight years and had over 13 million legal viewers of the series finale. It reportedly grossed over $3.1 billion. It has amassed a cult following (10 million+ people, including Barack Obama!), and the strongest fan base of any TV show.
Game of Thrones is so enthralling because it gives a picture of raw, Stark humanity (get it?) if dragons existed and there was a frost zombie apocalypse coming. I’d even recommended it to aliens if they visited.
The Atomic Bomb
The atomic bomb is both the most deadly weapon ever invented and the most effective peacekeeping agent.
The A-bomb was developed during World War II as a result of the Manhattan Project. It works by using fission—splitting heavy atomic nuclei—to release a large amount of heat, energy and radiation. It has only been used twice in history, and even though there are more than 3,750 active nuclear weapons, it’s unlikely they’ll ever be used again.
It ended one World War and prevented another. The fission bomb is the pinnacle of human military ingenuity. In fact, it’s unlikely that humans will ever create a more deadly weapon—save the hydrogen bomb.
Nothing else has changed the structure of human society more than the microprocessor. It has given the world 365 billionaires, and the economy built on it accounts for 15.5% of the global GDP.
That tiny chip inside every smartphone, laptop and microcontroller is far and away the most complex object ever made by humans. It has given our species unfathomable powers of computation and processing, a set of tools that we now use in almost every field of human endeavour, from physics to medicine.
Social media and the Internet, technologies built atop the microprocessor, have permanently altered the way we communicate over long distances. The processor has, in essence, created a unified planet for the first time in history.
It’s pretty fantastic if you ask me.
We don’t know when humans first began to grow crops and domesticate animals. But we do know that the Agricultural Revolution had the single greatest impact on our civilization of any event. The ability to control the food supply is the most significant breakthrough we’ve made yet. Greater food production capacities brought about a rapid population explosion, enabled the growth of powerful empires, and continues to spur innovation.
Try to imagine you still had to gather fruits and hunt for animals. Without efficient agriculture, human society would be set back thousands of years. Virtually everything we use and love today would not be possible. Survival itself would be a struggle.
We take it for granted that food is available almost instantaneously in today’s world, but the hyper-efficient food supply chain that makes our society possible is a result of the past revolution. Corn, wheat, rice and sugar cane literally feed the planet — these crops account for over 50% of crops produced in 2020.
”Mona Lisa”/“Lisa del Giocondo”
Leonardo da Vinci’s Lisa del Giocondo (more commonly known as the Mona Lisa) is undeniably the most famous work of art in the world, and arguably the best. It also has the highest known insurance valuation in history, about $870 million in 2021.
The Mona Lisa is supposedly a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant named Francesco del Giocondo, though her true identity remains unknown. The painting is the property of France, and has been stored in the Louvre since 1804.
The air of mystery surrounding the painting is probably the reason for its fame — it has drawn more speculation and more propaganda than any other painting. I like to think that it is simply beautiful, though — humanity’s true masterpiece.
“Shape of You”
Music has played a huge role in our development as a species. So, I went on a search for the best song in the world— best being defined as the most listened-to. That award goes to no other than Shape of You by Ed Sheeran.
We all know how hard it is to get people to listen up. But Shape of You had no problems garnering 2.889 billion streams on Spotify, and 5.43 billion video views on YouTube. It was also number one on the charts of 38 countries, and the best song of 2017. The song was released as part of Ed Sheeran’s album. Pop music. Really.
I thought it’d be something a little more typical, like Beethoven’s Septet, Op. 20. This just goes to show the dynamic nature of humans, and how our tastes in music evolve over time. Shape of You demonstrates how humans can unite over something as simple as a song.
J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is the best-selling book in human history. An amazing work of fiction, over 500 million books of the series have been sold worldwide, as of August 2018. It has inspired countless children worldwide, and perhaps defined the philosophy of an entire generation. Few books have been read as widely,
In the true spirit of the classic human rags-to-riches story, J.K.R dreamed up the book while riding a train to Edinburgh in 1990, and she had written the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by 1993. The rest, as they say, is history.
While they may not be the greatest works of literature we humans have made, the books are the most successful. A full 49% of kids in the United States aged 15–17 have read at least one of the books. I have read all of them, and those were some of the most fun 1AM-5AM’s I’ve had during my childhood. Harry Potter will remain a great influence in many childhoods to come.
The Great Wall of China
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the largest structure ever built by humans — the Great Wall of China. It stretches for 21,196 kilometres/13,170.584 miles along the border of Northern China. It is the most famous Chinese monument, and is the longest construction project ever. It was built from 771 BC to 1644, about 2,700 years.
Honestly, the amount of work that went into its construction is unfathomable. Millions of people must have been involved — more than 300,000 soldiers were sent to build the wall in the Qin dynasty alone, a 9-year period. Sure, it’s not visible from space as previously thought, but if we tried to wrap the planet with it, it would stretch more than halfway round.
Humans have a natural desire for safety and security. It makes sense that the grandest thing we’ve ever built was constructed for the sake of protection.