This is my subimision for this week’s submission on ethics! For your viewing pleasure…
- What are the ethical, legal and regulatory issues of most consequence to our future?
- How can we make sure we stay in control of our and our kids future in an ethical, fair, sustainable way?
- Is humankind still evolving? If so, is there a moral or ethical component to our growth as a species?
- Building resilient, supportive and sustainable communities?
“To err is human.”
Not anymore it isn’t.
The year is 2020, double-double digits in the alledged second millenia. Two thousand and twenty years have passed, yet not much has changed in the ways of humanity. We still eat, sleep, perform #1 and #2, and procreate endlessly. The only real difference is that we tricked rocks into thinking, and call those devices smartphones and personal computers.
For the first time in known history, humanity is more interconnected than ever. Both in information exchanging and affordable transporation, this should have been the latest creative renaissance, and humanity should be streamrolling the way into the next millenia more advanced than other.
But the reality of things is far different.
(I’m especually disappointed that we don’t have hoverboards yet as portrayed by the 1980s movie Back to Tomorrow.)
The years is 2020, with global stress and tension being at all-time highs.
A pandemic with no cure rages across the globe, detroying our old ways of social gathering and forcing us to look to the 1s and 0s to fulfill this lonliness.
Racial tensions from centuries of oppression flare at its worse, with its victims demanding retribution from now-decendants that have nothing to do with the instigrations of old. The homefront fares badly, but the rest of the world isn’t faring much better. Battles over holy lands and sacred ancestral grounds still rage on today, through prisons of geography by artificially created borders and otherwise.
Sense of self is lost and awash in the chaos too. Today, more and more people are attemping to free themselves of the shackles of traditions from generations of normalcy, and in various parts of the globe they are still ostracized if they are luckly. Very many are being discrimated, punished, and even executed for rising up against their thousand-year old traditions. But a calling higher than fear of deaths stirs in their soul: it is the demand to be recognized and heard.
At the same time where new indentities attempt to arise, old institutions of thinking fall. It now becomes a hate crime to speak certain words. It is a slur, it is an aggression, it is rememberance of all the injustices your forefathers committed to mine. The easy solution is to concede your words to me, to no longer use them in my precense. But when we start to lose our words, is only the beginning of the what is at stake to lose.
Tech giants fueled by capitalism and consumerism have more sway over humanity than they care to acknowledge. Though their public intention is to simplify and improve our lives with free software, the absolute opposite is true. It’s almost like a deal with the devil, because what you pay with is not money, but something more valuable. Something you only get once and can never get back when its time. With the unstoppable march of time underway, the tech giants are attemping to rob of us of the only thing that still holds meaning to us: our attention. A new economy is on the rise, the attenion economy, competiting to steal as much of our valuable time as possible.
In tow with the tech giants are the governments at their heels: once in service to the people, but now in service to themselves. By continually distracting us with the shiny baubles of the tech giants, those in power (elected or otherwise) continually reform the law to their protection, and continually strip away the freedoms once granted out of respect for the citizens. The age of equality never came, and it’s no closer to coming to light today than two thousand years ago. We are more interconnected than ever, but through this attention economcy we have never been more seperated.
What happened? Where did it all go wrong?
I think back to the poets and oracles of old. They were the teller of worlds of their time, using wit, brevity, and an ununsal stance in observation to put forward to the people what we were and what we would become. I think back to the hyper science-fiction of Orwell’s 1984, a look into a future with a totatilarian government controlling every aspect of our lives. Wow, the people thought. What a terrible future, glad that’s not ours! Orwell must be somewhere out there rolling in his grave.
I think back to the once-popular series named Black Mirror. Wow, the people thought. Those are some pretty scary futures! It gets me thinking… for all of three seconds. Time to move on to the Netflix show! Another mirror shatters for no particular reason somewhere far away, but eerily close.
Something isn’t getting through to these people. It’s like… they don’t understand the stakes because it doesn’t apply to them. But it does, so much, why isn’t anyone paying attention? Oh wait, the attention economy…
I think back to my days of attending Catholic classes before mass on Sunday. It was a bold attempt by my local church and its local zelous constituents to ensure the sapling of spirtual faith was planted before we too were lost to the attention economy. I don’t remember much (wonder why), but I do remember one vivid example from one teacher about becomming a sinner. A sinner is someone who acts in defiance of the chirch, and commits acts that harms both themselves, others, and God himself. Most people don’t become awful sinner from the get-go: they start off with small sins, until it becomes a normal part of their lives, and they keep sinning more. The example the teacher gave was of a frog in boiling water: toss a frog in at boiling temperatures (MAXIMUM SIN), and they will leap out immediately. That’s too hot! the frog thought. But put the frog in a cold pot and gradudally increasing the temperature (GRADUALLY SINNING), and the frog will stay put. It’s toasty, the frog thinks to itself. But it doesn’t realize it is burning, until the pot boils over the frog. I’ve never seen a frog or pot in the same room before, but I much imagine the experience to be the same, with much less narration.
When will humans learn that we are frogs boiling our own pot? When will we start to care about ourselves, but REALLY care about ourselves? We can never hope to care about others in the now or others of the future if we REALLY can’t care about ourselves in the present.
One way I’ve observed for humans to care about themselves is to have another in their own image. People changed once they are recognized as parents. I can’t be so risky anymore, they think to themselves. I have someone depending on me now.
There are traditional schools of thought regarding child rearing. I need my childen to be in the best school, I need to be as strict with them as possible so they can focus and succeed in the future. According to a controversial study known as the 50-0-50 effect [https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200809/the-50-0-50-rule-why-parenting-has-virtually-no-effect], 50% of a childen’s personality is from their gene composition (parents, hence when adopted kids act more like their biological parents than their adopted parents), 0% is from actual in-home child rearing, and the last 50% is from outside-the-family experiences (school, friends, and now the internet).
In other words, almost none of the ever-imporant child rearing actually has an effect on the child in their adulthood.
People HATED this study because it torn down everything they believe in.
And that’s kind of the point I’m trying to make, too.
If something isn’t immediately relevant to us, we dismiss it (and contuine boiling).
If a truth is inconvinient or unpleasant to us, we dismiss it (and continue boiling).
(I also wanted to add a point about the enviroment, but I’m falling asleep, it’s time to wrap this up).
How can we show others that there are stakes, that these stakes matter, and we can ourselves can do something, no matter how powerless or irrelevant our actions feel?
What is there is a conduit to link what we can do, and what is possible?
The poets and oracles of old used the written word and oral storytelling to get their points across. Many people could understand the audio word, but very few in the olden days were classically studied enough to digest complicated society commentary litertaure, much less read at all.
Today we are in a hyper-intelligent and extremely educated and well-conntected world, but gradually we throw away the books because they are dull and uninteresting compared to our ever-evolving smart-phones (looks like Farenheit 451 will never come true if we burn the books ourselves).
What is a new way we can tell stories, both old, present, and future, and give a sense of immersion the likes humanity has never experienced before?
To call back to our primarl emotions of empathy we have long forgetten? To understand that is is okay to be human and make mistakes, instead of the ultra-fixation on being right the first time and every time.
It’s always too late to turn back the clock, but it’s never too late to start over and try something new tomorrow. Something different. Something that you have never had the chance to try out, but has always been lingering at the back of your mind, waiting for permission tobe enacted.
My grand challege, is to choose yourself.
And not only yourself, but the other trouble-makers and mistake-manifesters around.
“To err is human,” but what was the second half of that poetic coupling?
“To forgive, divine.”
The chance to forgive ourselves, the others around us, and to let the winds of tomorrow carry us forward, no matter how much we stumble along the way.
It’s 11/11 at 11:11PM, make a wish!
Today’s word count: 1,622 words
Total word count until today: 19,763 words
@mariasokolowska @michellebasey @sabweld @philkastelic @nicolaworley @ParisaR @sydneydobersteinlarock @wildcat @dragon @homeroom11