A glimpse into the near future

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I wrote a short little essay in response to Igor Schwarzmann‘s query to jot down a few thoughts for what sounded like an interesting experiment in publishing. The theme was ‘Uncomfortable Times.’ Experimental as the project was, and busy as we all are, the thoughts and actions moved elsewhere, however Igor asked if he could publish it on their blog, which obviously I agreed to. This little essay is however very pregnant; there are many sketches of an idea in it that I would like to develop further. Right now I just do not know how much time I will have to dedicate to this, and how well it fits my other plans and projects. Since I use this blog as part of an array of note taking tools, I am reblogging it from the Third Wave Blog.

Boredom | Third Wave GmbH: “Tools emerge, and solutions are discovered later. Problems are our prayers. Deeply baffled by human nature and its ability to muddle human affairs, I turn to the only truth that I know. Words. Just words. Beyond truth, I know reality. Reality is that part of truth that does not need belief. I can not believe the words, they just stand there and represent an experience, or a passing thought, and the never ending quest to make sense of it all. Words beg for interpretation.

The many ideologies invented in the past century – capitalism, communism and nationalism to name the biggest offenders – differ very little. This triumvirate wrecks havoc in human affairs every day. Uncomfortable times is the natural state of human affairs. When have the times not been uncomfortable? If one is to consider that last sentence in full, the only relief that there is, is that times is a passing thing. I can not cope with the discipline of history. One day, I asked a distinguished colleague and scholar in that discipline what it was that men had learned from history? I had the feeling that he had not taken my question seriously. He did not respond, he smiled, he did not dare laugh. I was truly interested in what a scholar of history would tell a scholar of science and technology. I did not get an answer. I may never get an answer. Is there an answer?

But what have we learned from science and technology? These are dark days for humanity, we are right back in the darkness of the middle ages where our ignorance is only exceeded by our arrogance and brutality. Ours! We, we are the humans. Are we a race? Are we a species? Are we von Neumann automatons? What on earth are we?

Failing any good answers forthcoming from history, despairing that religious dogma and Grimm’s tales provide comparable satisfaction, I advance the lubricous proposition that humans are animals. Lubricous is ludicrous. I am not dyslexic. Such is the condition of the animal roaming the planet, burning fossil fuels, incapable of understanding nuclear fusion, and then going on a witch-hunt for knowledge. Is knowledge going to fix anything at all when men’s irrationality still drives us to actions that destroy the very substrate that sustains all life? Between money and sex, what other interests are there?

The witch-hunt for knowledge includes burning those who are shy of numbers, fuzzy in their thinking and uncompromising in ideals. Those are the naive who believe that humans can act rationally. Humans can collectively act rationally, but we have not yet reached that desired state of civilization. I love those strange creatures who are born far from perfect, write a few words on paper, and go to battle and find a few more like minded who are willing to do battle with them. Some just write and leave the battle to others. Democratic constitutions and declarations of human rights are the creation of such fools who write words. Tools emerged: democratic constitutions and declarations of human rights.

Men do not deserve the governments that they get. French, Swiss, Libyans, Japanese, Germans, Australians, nobody deserves government. Governments, elected or not, are a matter of luck. Government is not a necessary evil either, it is the result of existence. It emerges where humans live. Some governments are better than others. No single ideology of government is ‘the right one.’ We do live in a manifold of problems. These problems are our prayers. Without them we would be bored out of our wits. We have all the problems that we have ever prayed for. We live in abundance of problems and we live in scarcity of spirit. We are animals fighting for survival. We are killing ourselves ever so slowly, ever so surely, and all ever so out of boredom! At the end, whenever that will be, we will not be just dust, but information. As the universe passes through another big bang, it will forget that we have existed. Will we remember?”

(Via Third Wave Blog)

Daniel Suarez on the human brain at the FAZ

The human brain evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to cope with its environment, and we can’t fundamentally change our ‘wiring’ overnight. However, in a rapidly evolving technological world our slow, biological version cycle puts us at a disadvantage against those who’d like to push our mental buttons. We’re a stationary target. In some ways this is akin to being forced to run an unpatched version of Windows even as malware authors are scanning our source code for flaws. What drives humans? What are our weaknesses, predilections, and passions? As marketers and others delve into the oceans of consumer and social media data now at their disposal, fundamental knowledge about ourselves that even *we* don’t know will be bought and sold on a daily basis.

(via Harald who ignores all social media, but has a GSM in the car’s navi)