A fistful of Sophocles

2013-09-30

Sophocles was born in ancient Greece in 496BC and is considered one of the best writers of all time. He entered his plays in around 30 competitions, won 24 times, and never placed lower than second.

During his life the population of earth was about 200 million. This is a guess, as there is no actual census data from this time, but the actual population is probably not far off from this number.

This means Sophocles was 1 in 200 million. Assuming genetics, environment, and upbringing create a playwright of this level on average every 200 million people, there should be at this point in history with the population currently at around 7 billion, 35 Sophocles level writers. That makes now a pretty exciting time to be around.

Population growth may be taking a toll on earth and people are worried about the depletion of our resources but imagine a time, possibly in the near future, where we spread out to other planets. Not only can we alleviate the burden we put on the Earth but there are many benefits to a large population.

Lets assume we could settle Mars, Ganymede, Titan, Callisto, (Moons of gas giants) and our moon. All being very difficult and bringing huge challenges, but if we could get a billion and a half people on each, we would double the current human population at no more expense to the earth giving us 70 Sophocles.

Not only would we have more Sophocles, but more Einsteins, more Beatles, more Picassos, etc... If you think of the brains of all people as computers, the computing power increases with population. If we ever get to a point where we invent worm holes so time and space were no longer the hurdles they are now, the whole galaxy could be populated with humans (Assuming we aren't battling for resources with other competitors).

The Milky Way contains about 200 billion stars. That's 200 billion solar systems, if we assume ours is an average solar system, maybe we could get 14 billion people in each. That's 2,800 billion billion people. That's 400 billion times what we have on earth now or 14,000 billion Sophocles. Not only would there be so many Sophocles level writers, but there would be people of such talent that none currently exist. People who only get produced once in 100 billion instead of 1 in 200 million. Genomes that are geared to give one person such an advantage in one area that it would be as if they were genetically engineered specifically for that purpose.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophocles

http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2011/HowManyPeopleHaveEverLivedonEarth.aspx