One of the major themes of the book I’m writing is passing on knowledge from generation to generation. In the novel that becomes an unhealthy obsession that stunts the growth of the people who participate in it. In reality, though, it is the most important thing we do.
Most often we think of this passing on of knowledge as education. But I don't think we always realize what we're doing when we educate. We are making the tribal memory of the human race available to newly minted people. Because we have been able to pass stories along, then save images on rocks, then create an alphabet, then, and then and then, until we have computers and the Internet and beyond; because we can pass that knowledge on, people do not have to be blank slates learning everything again that has been learned a trillion times before.
There is no reason to believe that people who lived 10,000 years ago were less intelligent than we are today. And yet, they did not fly around in airplanes. Why is that? It is because passing on knowledge through storytelling has severe limitations. If you want proof of that, play the childhood game of telephone a time or two.
Once alphabets and writing were invented, and technologies came along to preserve the thoughts and experiments of our forebears, knowledge increased exponentially. The speed of that tsunami is picking up every day. And now, the singularity may actually happen in the lifetimes of people around us today.