What is mankind’s greatest achievement?

and why?

There’s a lot to chose from; arts, feats of engineering, philosophies etc., and I think one can also consider things in their historical context.

The Egyptian pyramids and the other 7 wonders of the ancient world. The great wall of China (just a shame the guy who built it died before he could put the roof on).

But, after consideration, for me it’s Voyagers 1 and 2.

In the not too distant future the sun will expand into a red giant, and the earth, and everything upon it will be toast.

All our achievements will be gone.

But those two spacecraft, barring unforeseen accidents, will still be heading through the universe.

I was looking at the recorded music they both carry, and it’s think it’s a fairly good example of what we did. (Thank god, no country and western! :D)

But, It’d be nice to add some other stuff too

Any ideas?

· Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F. First Movement, Munich Bach Orchestra, Karl Richter, conductor. 4:40
· Java, court gamelan, “Kinds of Flowers,” recorded by Robert Brown. 4:43
· Senegal, percussion, recorded by Charles Duvelle. 2:08
· Zaire, Pygmy girls’ initiation song, recorded by Colin Turnbull. 0:56
· Australia, Aborigine songs, “Morning Star” and “Devil Bird,” recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes. 1:26
· Mexico, “El Cascabel,” performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi México. 3:14
· “Johnny B. Goode,” written and performed by Chuck Berry. 2:38
· New Guinea, men’s house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan. 1:20
· Japan, shakuhachi, “Tsuru No Sugomori” (“Crane’s Nest,”) performed by Goro Yamaguchi. 4:51
· Bach, “Gavotte en rondeaux” from the Partita No. 3 in E major for Violin, performed by Arthur Grumiaux. 2:55
· Mozart, The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria, no. 14. Edda Moser, soprano. Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor. 2:55
· Georgian S.S.R., chorus, “Tchakrulo,” collected by Radio Moscow. 2:18
· Peru, panpipes and drum, collected by Casa de la Cultura, Lima. 0:52
· “Melancholy Blues,” performed by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven. 3:05
· Azerbaijan S.S.R., bagpipes, recorded by Radio Moscow. 2:30
· Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky, conductor. 4:35
· Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue in C, No.1. Glenn Gould, piano. 4:48
· Beethoven, Fifth Symphony, First Movement, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, conductor. 7:20
· Bulgaria, “Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin,” sung by Valya Balkanska. 4:59
· Navajo Indians, Night Chant, recorded by Willard Rhodes. 0:57
· Holborne, Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs, “The Fairie Round,” performed by David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London. 1:17
· Solomon Islands, panpipes, collected by the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service. 1:12
· Peru, wedding song, recorded by John Cohen. 0:38
· China, ch’in, “Flowing Streams,” performed by Kuan P’ing-hu. 7:37
· India, raga, “Jaat Kahan Ho,” sung by Surshri Kesar Bai Kerkar. 3:30
· “Dark Was the Night,” written and performed by Blind Willie Johnson. 3:15
· Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B flat, Opus 130, Cavatina, performed by Budapest String Quartet. 6:37



In the not too distant future the sun will expand into a red giant

How long exactly? Will mankind still be around then?


Will mankind still be around then?

I won’t. So considering it from an utterly selfish POV, “Who cares!” :D



How long exactly? Will mankind still be around then?

wednesday of next week… we’re all screwed…


What will they play these song files on. Maybe they should add an 8track tape player and a couple of Kenny Rogers tapes. :D Oooop you said greatest achievements.

It’s on a gold-plated copper analogue disk. (They decided against digital, not wanting the human race to be responsible for an intergalactic war over the 16bit/24bit debate).

And they sent a cartridge and stylus too, (but sadly, not one of those wee brushes for getting the fluff off the needle :( )

the gold disk

Anyway, this is a serious topic! Stop trivialising it! :D


They should include “Message in a Bottle” by the Police.


They should include “Message in a Bottle” by the Police.

As Carl Sagan has noted, “But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet.”




Game over.

What? No language? We couldn’t do squat without spoken or written language. “Hand me the specs to Voyager 1” “What specs…writing was never invented.” Wait, I couldn’t even ask for them because I can’t talk! Language baby, that’s where it is at.

Our advancement as a species is due to our abilty to convey new ideas to one another creating a critical mass of innovation and creation of these ideas. Without language we couldn’t further technology past mimicking the physical actions of another. We’d still be working on shoe tying and nose picking without language.

OK, I’ll give that you one Bubba, language may well be our most important achievement. :)

But, did we have to give it to both sexes? :(


Mankinds greatest achievement would be “selfless acts of kindness”. Seems to me that everything else pales in comparison.

If I had to pick a piece of music, I would include “The Planets” conducted by Lenny Bernstein with the New York Philharmonic. The Adagio section of Jupiter always brings tears.



We’d still be working on shoe tying and nose picking without language.

I’m still working on that one… and I almost got it…


The greatest human achievement: Guiness Stout - No doubt about it!


Mike, that’s a wonderful thing and supremely important, but like Bubba’s communication skills, it’s not unique to us.

I was sort of looking for something else.

When the tired wind blows across the surface of this poisoned planet, and the dust piles against the last desiccated corpses of humanity, I was trying to find something else to have on our epitaph apart from “Oops! Sorry, our fault!”.

I know no-one cares about tombstones, especially those who lie beneath them, but it’s fun writing the wording. :)

Something like; “I know as a species, and as individuals, we’ve never achieved our potential. In fact, more often than not, we never even came close”.

“We screwed up a lot, and more than screwed up usually”.

“Our reach never matched our dreams, (and very rarely were those dreams even worth reaching), but, once in while, we almost came close”.

“So, to you Hamsters who’ve inherited the Earth, (and to think that no-one but Richard Gere ever suspected. :(), here’s our memorial”…



Welp that’s a good question there Ali.
All hamster jokes aside, and really here’s something that no other mammal can put claim to. Or other being on this earth period.
That is, “The recognition of a spiritual realm”. As far as I know, and I’m shure there will be speculation on this one. Mankind is the only being aware of a spiritual precence around and within us.
Since ones spirit cannot die, it will remain in the universe long after the stars burn out.
Life itself cannot be explained by mere equations. Put the molecules of a man together (organs ect.) and you do not have life. Only once a spirit has entered the flesh will it live. When the spirit leaves the flesh, it dies…weather or not the organs want to keep functioning…they can and will not.
That’s why I say it’s our greatest acheivement. Weather we came about the knowlege from a “higher being” or on our own, either way…it is what will remain when all else is laid to dust and ashes. :cool:

Take care Ali,


Jeremy, there is so much you don’t know. sigh It is well known that religion is part of the animal world. For instance, dogs notice that their human masters feed and care for them, therefore dogs believe we as humans are gods. Cats see that we feed and care for them and have come to the conclusion that they themselves are gods. :)

Okay, old joke… something my grandma would tell at that.

Here’s my submission beyond language… agriculture. A population cannot grow past what the food supply will support. We managed to artificially increase our food supply beyond what nature would allow. This lead to our growth as a species beyond a few guys on the savanna. Idle time is not the devils tool, but the mother of technology and invention. You need to be able to have time to devote to technology and spending every waking moment on hunting/gathering is no way to gain time to think up our next great invention…

As for my musical vote… hrm… Sainte-Saens Organ Symphony #3 is pretty good. There is some Persian folk stuff that will crush your world too. Check out the Dastan Ensemble.

yes but neither a cat nor a dog has a soul. tee hee regardless of if they think we are Gods.
shure as society’s certainly agriculture was/is an important development. And it paived the way for us to use technology.
But if there are intellegent being’s out there on other planets their agriculture shurley will be different, their technology certainly more or less advanced. But we would share the comon ground of a spirit. And perhaps our spirits can even meat in the same place regardless of how much time and distance seperate our physical bodies during life.

Hmmm, tough one Ali! But for me, it’s worldwide communication. Maybe even the internet. Ah but hang on! What about Electricity? Without which we wouldn’t be able to discuss any of this… ok back to the drawing board!

Music? One of my favourite pieces is ‘The Pilgrims Chorus’ from Tanhauser by Wagner.And of course ‘Jilted John’ with those immortal words ’ Gordon is a moron’ :D



Sorry Bubba, there’s some insects that have mastered this as well.

I’m still looking for more info (its difficult trying to remember childhood programs), but
this is a start …

Stupid thing to say on a music forum, but I think music is one of (if not THE) things that humankind can be remembered for.

From primal rythms to classic and jazz all the way through to rock and whatever (not even to mention Indian and eastern music), there’s nothing else that can touch and enspire people regardless of their background/race/culture/religion/language/whatever.

That’s the one true thing that unifies everyone.
Everyone understands it.