So long as we have failed to eliminate any of the causes of human despair, we do not have the right to try and eliminate those means by which man tries to cleanse himself of despair.
The only way really to understand your position and its worth is to understand the opposite. That doesn’t mean the crazy guy on the radio who is spewing hate, it means the decent human truths of all the people who feel the need to listen to that guy. You are connected to those people.
“I’ll wake up in the morning and go on Facebook just … because,” Casey says. “It's not like I want to or I don’t. I just go on it. I’m, like, forced to. I don’t know why. I need to. Facebook takes up my whole life."
His essential claim is that there is no great gulf between nonliving, unconscious gizmos like computers and light switches, on the one hand, and the human brain, on the other. Our strong feeling that there’s something special and inexplicable about consciousness is largely an illusion. It will fade as science advances, like the illusion that the Earth is the center of the universe and everything revolves around us. Biologists used to believe that living things are made of some special material, some elan vital that sets us apart from the stuff of rocks and minerals. Now that we know about DNA, we no longer need an elan vital. Someday we won’t need consciousness either. There’s no metaphysical difference between your body and your mind, or between your laptop and your necktop, so to speak.
He found that dominance by two or three firms “is not the exception in the United States, but increasingly the rule.” Consumers, easily misled by product labelling, often don’t even notice that products like sunglasses, pet food, or numerous others come from just a few giants. For example, while drugstores seem to offer unlimited choices in toothpaste, just two firms, Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive, control more than eighty per cent of the market (including seemingly independent brands like Tom’s of Maine).
So we could be entering a Dark Age right now, because most of us don’t experience a global Field anymore. We live in tiny personal fields. We can only connect socially with people whose little-f fields are similar to ours. When individual fields also start popping, psychic chaos will start to loom.
The scary possibility in the near future is not that we will see another radical break in the Field, but a permanent collapse of all fields, big and small.
The result will be a state of constant psychological warfare between the present and the future, where reality changes far too fast for either a global Field or a personal one to keep up. Where adaptation-by-specialization turns into a crazed, continuous reinvention of oneself for survival. Where the reinvention is sufficient to sustain existence financially, but not sufficient to maintain continuity of present-experience. Instrumental metaphors will persist while appreciative ones will collapse entirely.
Picking At The Corner
Another place may be the perfect place, where everything flows naturally without barriers, but the challenge of such a wonderful place is that there is no reason to pick at the corners. When you come here, where things are so not perfect, it encourages picking at the corners. The longer you stay, the more you experience, the stronger to urge to pick at the corner. Some stay until they've peeled the layer off, but for most, the corner was all they needed.
So without a background in nanotechnology—or whatever other subject you might be reading about—an emotionally charged comment is going to trigger your brain to act far before a logical explanation of how something works. And emotionally charged comments are a troll’s weapon of choice.
Stick A Fork In The Road
As I sit in the airport and watch everyone on their laptops and cel phones, I wonder two things. One, is this how easily we are distracted and that we'd rather interface with machines then other humans? Are we losing that ability? Or is it that these machines are really crude 'external' representations of us wanting to be more connected, not just with each other, but with knowledge. Its crude mental telepathy. Its crude intelligence. Its crude knowledge.
The answer is, its both. As we expand our intelligence, we expand our technology and we need to be careful to use that technology as a tool to continue to expand, and not get too distracted by it. This is our path, for better or worse. The best path is that we move through this period and realize that this was a transition phase to more self realization as a civilization. Worst path is we completely get distracted by the technology and end up become slave to it.
My sense is, no matter how hairy it may get, the human in us will always prevail.
A spider that builds elaborate, fake spiders and hangs them in its web has been discovered in the Peruvian Amazon.
Extractive states are controlled by ruling elites whose objective is to extract as much wealth as they can from the rest of society. Inclusive states give everyone access to economic opportunity; often, greater inclusiveness creates more prosperity, which creates an incentive for ever greater inclusiveness.
And particularly when you're human, you are more likely to die in the late morning -- around 11 a.m., specifically -- than at any other time during the day.
But a smaller than expected share of that increase will come from Indonesia, battered by bad weather and a cloning technique gone awry, yielding the outsize, misshapen trees that traders and farm researchers have dubbed "Frankentrees".