Let’s imagine that it’s 100 years in the future.
Let’s assume that things are very different. Perhaps the human race has extricated itself from the current political mess. The plutocrats have been toppled, powerless in the face of mass collective action. Maybe banks don’t lend 100 times more than they possess after no more governments and international financial institutions were left that could afford to bail them out. Maybe bail-outs are a thing of the past, relegated to one of those laughable (yet unfortunate) pieces of history—like when doctors told us it was healthy to smoke. Maybe this entire list of things came true.
How did it happen?
Can’t really say except that we realized we created the mess, so we could create the pathway out.
This, the wars, the endless economic uncertainty, the political obfuscation, the faux democracy where votes are merely appeasement tactics, the totalitarian undercurrent that flows beneath the newspaper headlines, the corporate control, the bought policy, the endless noise of discord, the collective panic—let’s assume it’s all gone. What remains is a more pure democracy. Maybe votes are counted in tweets. The body of people make decisions for their society as one, rather than politicians making choices for their benefactors in bills and laws with names like “The Poverty Relief Act” or “The Patriot Act.”
Of course, it’s not utopia—whatever that is. There are still problems. Perhaps where every decision is made by the majority, the minority gets sandbagged. Maybe when we don’t trust the politicians anymore, (why would we, they burned us over and over again) leaders aren’t allowed enough power to make potentially important decisions, and the idealism that inspires us is no longer tolerated for fear that it’s merely another line of beautiful, yet empty words. Bringing it to the now, think “hope” and “change.”
But how about technology, the brain candy of optimistic futurists who excitedly wait for the “hybrid human” and “the singularity?” New advances will have rocked society, no doubt. But the Internet is over 100 years old at this point. The novelty will have worn off. Are these mobile workers, once proud of their progressivism, still so new and exciting? Or are they the new cubicle workers, crowded into coffee shops for long hours and low pay?
Today, when the Internet is barely 20 years old, we’re already hearing complaints of dehumanization, disconnection, the new generation’s inability to read anything longer than 140 characters. What about privacy and individuality? Imagine a Facebook page that has broadcasted the minutia of a person’s entire life—from 13 years-old ‘till death. The study of history will be quite a bit less speculation perhaps, but what of your life do you get to keep for yourself?
A lifetime of one’s face bathed in the florescent glow of an iPad screen sounds grim to me, but I myself still have difficulties tearing myself away from the computer. At times, nature seems foreign and actually speaking with people face to face seems a chore.
THEE speaks of a spiritual crisis on our distant horizon. I am convinced this technological revolution will play a central role. When the soul of humanity is quiet, after the crushing confusion of our current society has settled down, we will have time to think about who and what we are and the world we’ve created for ourselves. It might not be pretty.
Do I have any real friends? Am I some sort of cyborg? Have Netflix and YouTube raised my children? Is education merely a series of Google searches?
Extreme? Perhaps, or not extreme enough.
What could happen if we live and move through humanity as a whole? The global village, the singularity of all of humanity’s interconnection, the distrust of idealism and individuality might amount to some homologous set of meta-values that aren’t actually values at all.
Will right and wrong, good and bad, beauty and truth and justice become some sort of watered-down relativity? Perhaps we will become the torch and pitchfork-wielding crowd—all 10 or so billion of us.
Interesting questions, no answers. Of all the THEE frameworks, the Spiral of Political Maturation has most kept me on my toes. It gives me so much to wonder about and no specifics, which is understandable. We’re talking about the future. But it gives me a chance to wonder and speculate about the trajectory of society—which is always fun.
What do you think? Can technology only be a good thing, or do we have some reason to be wary?