What If You Experienced Every Human Life In History?

Imagine your life began roughly 300,000 years ago as one of the planet’s first humans. You live in Africa, near what is now modern-day Morocco.

Your daily routine isn’t too different from your hominid ancestors: making crude tools, hunting, and gathering food.

Eventually, your time comes to an end. But this is just the beginning.

Reincarnation: The Never-Ending Journey

After dying, you travel back in time to be reincarnated as the second human ever to live. You don’t remember your previous life, but your actions from it affect you nonetheless.

And so the cycle continues: after each death, you return as the next person in line—third, fourth, fifth, and so on—living the life of every single human that has ever walked the Earth.

The Time Traveler’s Paradox

If you string these lives end to end, they last almost 4 trillion years. While you only recall your current life, each of your past existences leaves a mark on your future selves.

Sometimes, your influence on the world is clear, but more often than not, you live ordinary lives filled with everyday tasks: eating, laughing, working, and worrying.

Hunter-Gatherers and Agriculturalists

For roughly one tenth of your 4 trillion years, you’re a hunter-gatherer. For 60%, you’re an agriculturalist, developing tools and techniques over 800 billion years of farming.

You spend 1.5 billion years having sex and another 250 million years giving birth.

In total, 20% of your existence is spent raising children, imparting cultural values that shape future generations.

In some lives, you shatter cultures through invasion and imperialism; in others, you suffer as your lands and loved ones are taken away.

The Struggles and Triumphs of Humanity

Over 1% of your lives are plagued by diseases like malaria or smallpox, while in others, you treat these conditions—saving countless versions of yourself. In humanity’s early days, the average lifespan is short, limiting your influence to those physically near you.

But as humans begin to live longer and populations grow, you spend more time reliving the same action-packed years.

The Age of Acceleration

A third of your existence comes after 1200 CE, and a quarter of it takes place after 1750.

Technology and society begin to change at a rapid pace. You invent steam engines, configure factories, and generate electricity, powering the daily machinery of your later lives.

You witness revolutions in science, the deadliest wars, and dramatic environmental destruction.

Living in the Modern World

In recent times, each new life lasts longer, but the pace of existence keeps accelerating.

Conversations that once took months now unfold in minutes. Business ventures transform overnight.

You enjoy luxuries unimaginable in your past lives, even as kings and queens. After living over 100 billion lives, you are finally reborn as the youngest person alive today.

The Power of One Life

Despite living through 300,000 years of human history, your actions today have more impact than 99% of your past lives. High-speed air travel allows you to carry both contagions and cures across oceans in hours.

The internet expands your sphere of influence globally, enabling collaboration without leaving home.

You’ve recently invented tools to rewrite the genes of living organisms, permanently altering their future generations.

The Future in Your Hands

In this life, you might create technologies that make the world safer, kinder, and more equitable for countless future lives.

However, one careless invention could be catastrophic. With threats like nuclear weapons, lab leaks, and climate change, humanity’s risk of self-induced extinction has never been higher.

In this fast-paced, interconnected world, it’s frighteningly easy to undo all of humanity’s progress or cut short all your possible futures.

What Will You Do?

There’s no way to know what will happen next. But what’s clear is that your potential is limitless.

So, how will you spend this life?

And what can you do to work towards a better future for all your lives to come? The choice is yours, and the future of humanity depends on it.