(Cross-posted from Commonplace)
The ability seems to be inherent. Man probably had it for a long time before he began to use it. For it to develop time was needed and the longer life gave us time. Perhaps it would have developed even without the longer life if we'd not been so concerned, so fouled up, with our technology. Somewhere we may have taken the wrong turning, accepted the wrong values and permitted our concern with technology to mask our real and valid purpose. The concern with technology may have kept us from knowing what we had. These abilities of ours could not struggle up into our consciousness through the thick layers of machines and cost estimates and all the rest of it. And when we talk about abilities, it's not simply going to the stars.
"I don't know why," said Jason, "but when you talk about the People I have the feeling that you are describing a monstrous alien race rather than humanity. Without knowing any of the details, they sound frightening."
"They are to me," said John. "Not perhaps because of any single facet of their culture, for some of these facets can be very pleasant, but because of a sense of the irresistible arrogance implicit in it. Not the power so much, although the power is there, but the naked arrogance of a species that sees everything as property to be manipulated and used."
And what had she done, she wondered. What had happened to her? Trying to recall it, she could discover only fragments of it and she was sure that when it had happened there had been no fragmentation and that the fragments she could recall were no more than broken pieces of the whole. The world had opened out and so had the universe, or what she since had thought must have been the universe, lying all spread out before her, with every nook revealed, with all the knowledge, all the reasons there--a universe in which time and space had been ruled out because time and space were only put there, in the first place, to make it impossible for anyone to grasp the universe.