Thoughts about the future.
During my basic school years, I discovered the pleasure of reading. I eagerly swallowed books about adventure and exploration, all playing in the past. The wild west, the middle ages, the stone age, the Dutch golden age, world war II, Greek and Roman age, the industrial revolution, the bronze and iron age. I dreamed away in my books.
And no, I was not a nerd. I spent my days after school exploring the real world, and my nights reading.
I lived in a small village which had a, inevitably, small public library.
With ‘The Time Machine’ from H.G. Wells I discovered Science Fiction. At about the same time the series of ‘Star Trek’ started on Dutch TV. Exploration of time and space.
Someone like Jack Vance described very strange worlds and societies in an already ‘conquered’ galaxy. My favorite author.
My next favorite author was Isaac Asimov. His books about, well A.I. sketched a different future.
Of course there were others like Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, A.E. van Vogt, Frank Herbert etc.
I could lose myself in their books.
I may have to cut back on my introductions….
Both Vance and Asimov, the first focusing on space exploration, the second on robotics, had one thought in common. The resilience of mankind. Stories written decades ago. In a different time. Stories about real people.
Among scientists there is consensus, I think, that Homo Sapiens did not exterminate Neanderthals, but assimilated them. I believe evolution of Homo Sapiens will continue. But how?
I think there are two main possibilities, both based on the same idea. Our world, society, has become so complicated that an individual life span of 80 years is not enough to make a difference anymore. In the present I am just an average person. If I could travel back in time I would be able to teach Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo about science… In the 16th era, one person was able to know all. In this age knowledge is fragmented. Specialization to increasing deeper levels is needed, but it blurs the greater picture. I think it is a dead end.
How long do great minds need to live to comprehend all? To see the picture? I think, longer than Homo Sapiens is capable of.
Back to our two possibilities. And I don’t like both.
We can thrive to become some, new age, astral being. Being part of a universal consciousness. Godlike. Connected and immortal. A warm see of unity. Safety, peace, tranquility. To me that will be worse than death.
Assimilate technology or let technology assimilate us.
I think these two are the real options for us.
Yesterday, in the train back home, I observed two young students. They were speaking very loud, I could not possibly ignore them. So I observed them. During my one hour journey they talked about fraternities and drinking beer.
At one point one of them stated that his main goal for next year was to drink 2000 beers during college days, from Monday to Friday. The other one said “how many beers is that per day?” The first one reasoned, well “Suppose there are 45 college weeks in a year, each week being 5 days”. “How many bears per day I need to drink?” The other one ”I don’t know” So they switched from Facebook to their calculators on their phone to determine how much 45 times 5 is. It was so tempting to shout out they had to drink almost 9 beers a day to meet their goal, before they even started their calculators.
It is only one example, I know. But there are many more. We are getting more and more dependent on technology. Both Vance and Asimov being wrong.
Science gives us an alternative warm see. A virtual “Matrix” based reality. You do not need to think. Science will take care of you. Science gives you all the tools you need to live an easy life. Real life is a bitch, virtual life is so much better. Do not think, you don’t need to.
No, that is not fair, scientists live for science? Some of them are real people, some of them will sell out. Big business and politics define our virtual world, not science.
I always declined the benefits of our modern world. Despite being a fan of science. I will never let some app tell me what 45 times 5 accounts to, or how I can find some street in a foreign country. I never invested in a big TV screen to watch commercials in HD.
But now and then I post on social media, i.e. virtual reality. Why? Well that is easy. And I still think that it is freedom… In order to not let technology assimilate me, I must assimilate technology.
Ignoring society is not freedom. It is just plain running away.
So far my, not very well structured ‘buzz’. I can not blame anyone for not reading this. And I frankly don’t care. I just do not want to be remembered as ‘a good consumer’ . Close