Yuri Milner’s Eureka Manifesto on the Importance of a Shared Mission for Humanity

Yuri Milner’s Eureka Manifesto on the Importance of a Shared Mission for Humanity

In 2021, science and technology investor Yuri Milner published Eureka Manifesto: The Mission for Our Civilisation. The short book shares his perspective on humanity’s place in the Universe and other profound topics, including the possibility of alien intelligence.

Milner believes humanity can thrive far into the future, laying the foundations for an extraordinary, star-spanning civilisation — but only if we work together. Underpinning Eureka Manifesto is the idea of a shared mission for humanity: to explore and understand our Universe.

Homo Sapiens: Not So Wise?

The human species is intelligent, and individually and in groups we’re capable of remarkable things. We can cure diseases, develop groundbreaking technologies, create inspiring works of art, and even land on the Moon. However, while Homo sapiens is Latin for “wise man,” Milner argues that our behaviour as a global collective doesn’t seem so wise.

Although our planet is rich in resources, we struggle to marshal these to solve shared problems like global warming. Instead, we engage in constant conflict, playing zero-sum games. We prioritise short-term needs over long-term sustainability and prosperity for all.

“Collectively, we act as if we are sleepwalking and have forgotten there is a bigger reality to wake up to,” Milner writes. “A future to build.”

We assume our inability to work together at scale is due to human nature. After all, sociologists have found that humans have a maximum natural group size of around 150. Known as Dunbar’s number, this marks the cognitive limit on the number of friends we can have before those people become mere acquaintances or little more than strangers.

Yet large-scale cooperation is one of the hallmarks of humanity; it’s what’s made us so successful as a species. As nations, religions, and organisations prove, millions of strangers can cooperate successfully when they believe in a common idea.

Similarly, Milner believes that a shared mission at the largest scale can help humanity survive and thrive. He suggests that, to find a common goal to unite humanity across different cultures and nations, we look beyond Earth, to the Universal story we are part of.

We’re Made of Star-Stuff

The late, great astronomer Carl Sagan famously said: “We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” In Eureka Manifesto, Milner echoes this sentiment, building upon the profound idea to articulate humanity’s shared mission: to explore and understand our Universe.

Milner points to the unlikely fact of our existence as the reason for this mission. In the grand sweep of eternity, humans have arisen as rare sentient beings. We’re able to wonder at the cosmos and formulate ideas about nature’s mysterious mechanisms.

Deeply encoded in our cells, this quest is closer to a birthright or fundamental law than the kind of mission a business might pursue. Nonetheless, there are concrete steps we can take to achieve our goal. Milner proposes a plan of action to advance the mission, which involves channelling greater investment into fundamental science and space exploration.

Milner writes that “only science will provide the solutions” to today’s global challenges, from climate change to incurable diseases and energy scarcity. If we’re successful in our mission, we could bring about scientific and technological advances to benefit everyone and safeguard our home for future generations.

Read Eureka Manifesto for free.

About Yuri Milner

Entrepreneur and Giving Pledge philanthropist Yuri Milner has dedicated the majority of his roughly $6 billion fortune to advancing scientific causes. He supports a range of pro-science initiatives, including projects that he has directly founded or co-founded. These projects include the Breakthrough Prize, Breakthrough Junior Challenge, and Breakthrough Initiatives.

An annual award, the Breakthrough Prize recognises outstanding contributions in fundamental physics, mathematics, and the life sciences. Meanwhile, the Breakthrough Junior Challenge is an annual, international science competition for young people. It invites students to create engaging videos explaining complex scientific ideas for a chance to win life-changing prizes.

The Breakthrough Initiatives are multi-million-dollar space science programmes. They research interstellar travel technology and the possibility of life beyond Earth.

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