Here’s the deal: I’ve lived so many life times, and will live many more, that I have a vast imagination of times where humans had much better lives. And we live in a time of images. A visual culture that is constantly moving and flashing before our eyes. A planet with 7.5 billion souls that any one person is just a speck. Even if you are a president, celebrity, reality tv mogul you’re still just one person. And yet we have these tools where one person can reach every other person through social media. So we live in a time where one second is faster than seconds of previous times. Meaning that we end up having less time because the value of that time has now decreased. Children are especially afflicted with this condition where they aren’t allowed to go into timeless mode because they have to produce at such a young age. Kids are now taught to feel the pressure of taking tests and making good grades from preschool. Do you notice how kids are now talking like adults? I heard one ten year old I met say, “San Francisco is a culinary food hub,”sounding like a seasoned TED speaker.
What is it about us that we allow (some of) the least among us to lead? The amount of violence unleashed by the world’s governments of so called civilized countries is untenable. Our resources are both a blessing and a curse.
It really comes down to responsibility. What are you doing with the tools that you have? And can you make connections between your actions and the larger world? And what is your worldview?
I know a friend from high school is an artificial intelligence genius. I asked him what he does for a living a while back, and he said that he was working to make the Patriot Act stronger through artificial intelligence. I was stunned. Sometimes you think your good friends are on your side because why wouldn’t they be? But I guess he felt that what he was working on would help protect the country. Or maybe he just liked the work. I will never know.
The scientists who worked on the atomic bomb were fascinated with this technology worthy of the gods, but they don’t deserve any praise for what they did. We’ll have to deal with the consequences of nuclear radiation for eons to come. And the specter of a nuclear war is still a possibility. Like I said, it’s about responsibility. And a responsible ruling “elite” (let’s be honest we don’t have democracy) would not have created such weapons and continue to make more.
In the past 150 years, we’ve been borrowing time from the future to speed up the present. We’re now at a log jam. But as log as we can flash shiny images across our screens then we can’t feel the urgency of the present moment. This is why I imagine a better future for all of us. Trying to create a world where we restore ecology, community, and our connection to our true selves.
The future is about us. How do we change our values and the values of our neighbors to create a chain reaction where we are constantly evolving towards a vision of ecological and equitable minded people with practices that reflect our values. When we live outside of our own values it creates a type of cognitive dissonance where we have to lie to ourselves to stay sane. Visions of a technological future are now the predominant response to the crisis we find ourselves in. We need to change that view that values the machine over the power of collective action. If there’s any hope for us, it will be humans, plants and animals cooperating to restore ecosystems that will save us. Technology, while important will have to be molded to fit a new vision of an ecological human.