When I see things like this, in my room full of computer technology, deodorant, colored markers and a graphing calculator, I am reminded that for all the intricacy engineers have come up with until recently, most of human creation is essentially more and more advanced silly putty construction. What really makes us human, which is tool use, because of the way it pings back and forth with evolution in a mutually altering fashion, is the idea that you could use advanced silly putty to make different silly putty that would then allow you to make even more advanced silly putty, and we still haven’t found “the most advanced silly putty” even though we are trying really hard.
Silly putty is a pretty denigrating term for computers, from the standpoint of a human engineer. There are billions of man-hours in the iphone, it is an innovation atop a pyramid of thousands of other innovations. Not only do great men stand astride the shoulders of giants, but great technology stands atop countless mental bits of silly putty, atop hundreds of thousands of ideas that have built up our understanding, reason, analysis, even our very ability to learn and experience the world. The average IQ in the United States has increased by 3 points a decade as statisticians have been forced to make the test higher, since 1900. Everyone’s reading. Everyone’s talking, having the kinds of conversations that normally only exist in academia.
I don’t know about the singularity, but I think much sooner than that will come some breakthrough level of background human knowledge where we all are just able to listen to each other. Some threshold of knowledge will be reached, at which point we are all diverse and educated and humble enough to live in harmony with one another. Right now, people are profiting from wars across the world. People have scarce resources, and are being forced to hunt for more; worse, people squander resources in shows of power, to little avail but starvation. These things mess with anyone, perpetuate themselves.
But fortunately, there is this super-addictive thing out there called the internet that subverts the human urge for power with, well, power. For those of us who learned that knowledge is power early on, the internet has been an endless tap where we go to sate our need for knowledge, like fat, nerdy hummingbirds. I believe that, like California cops, people will become too educated to perpetuate the insecurity/bullying cycles that mar human history with constant setbacks in equality and compassion. The internet is allowing us all to look up every bit of information we need to know in our daily lives. We are becoming enlightened as to our own nature and our own tendencies. Social networks make it easy to journal, and journaling gets us closer to the person we want to be, it is our opportunity to self-reflect and really take in what has been happening in our lives.
There is a danger, though, which is that enough people still don’t get it, don’t get that we are all interdependent, and in fact there is a considerable profit to their refusing to get it. It’s easy to see why some American people perpetuate war.
If I were a money-minded person, and most Americans are certainly that, I will believe almost anything if you pay me ten million dollars to believe it, or at least claim to believe it. I might even delude myself into acting as if I believe it if necessary. Why? Regardless of my beliefs, I probably believe that ten million dollars is safest with me. Maybe to use it so I get a good life, maybe to solve problems in the world. Whatever you want me to believe, I probably believe that wealth is going from somewhere questionable to somewhere worthy.
All you need to believe to perpetuate war is that those other people are bad, and we are good. Or even that those other people have resources we need. Or any number of innocuous things that are easy to sell to an educationally poor country. But we won’t be educationally poor for long.
Americans are materially rich. We have all the internet we want, all the food we can eat, social programs out the wazoo. Americans have all gotten that ten million dollars, basically, if you think about how far the tech pyramid had to go to get internets and cars and public transportation. We are told the military preserves this state of affairs for us by getting the bad guys who want to take it away.
I just want to state for the record that our government has been taking away freedoms at a record pace since 9/11, and losing my freedom is what I’m afraid of, so the terrorism worked, but it doesn’t seem like it was mostly perpetrated by the initial event, mostly our response to said event. Way to have a spine, Americans, not. He who demands security at the expense of liberty deserves neither, and all that. No terrorists caught yet, by the way, except a series of stupid criminals the FBI approached and turned into bad terrorists.
Anyway, fear stresses people out, stressed people can’t learn very well. They settle into patterns. They stay in their place. Now, their pattern involves Google and wikipedia, and it definitely involves reading every day. Staying in their place means being able to answer any question on the tip of their tongue with an instant’s careful thought of how to formulate the question. Fear, though, is of the unknown. Without active censorship, people win over behemoth institutions of pain and terror. Very soon.
The internet: the best drug ever invented. The red pill!
Will that white rabbit ever stop?