More Than Human and Less Than Human
The Human Race has changed more in the last fifty years or so that it had in all of its history before that. But it is only dimly aware of this change, if aware at all. And I am determined to explain this.
First of all, the technology responsible for this change is well-known – the Computer. But how it accomplished this change, we haven’t a clue. I am tempted at this point to describe, in some detail, what the computer is – but that would be a mistake. What has made this big change is not the computer itself, but what we think it is.
We think it is the most wonderful thing in the whole world, some kind of new all-powerful magic. And we have done our best to make it part of us – and to make us part of it.
In short, it has become our new religion.
We are very religious beings, and always have been. Our attachment to religion is fundamental and deep. And we ignore that at our peril.
The history of religion in America has been different than anywhere else. It is complicated – or more accurately complex, the result of many forces acting on each other. Much as was the case in early Christianity – which was the amalgam of many other religions and cultural influences.
America developed a secular religion, based on business and materialism. With a cover of religious fundamentalism. This much has been noticed by many – but not understood at all.
Because the real action was going on in our unconscious minds – both individual and collective. But the unconscious has been denied – and emphatically so. Which has made us helpless creatures ruled by unknown forces. Precisely what our new power structure wants.
I have been moving pretty fast here, covering a lot of ground in a hurry. But I flatter myself in thinking that my train of thought has not been too complicated. Although I am sure it is being rejected out-of-hand. The unconscious is not at all interested in reason. But let me move on – to today’s subject – becoming more and less at the same time.
Here again, there is nothing complicated about this. The Computer (the Computer as it appeared to us) offered us the chance to become more than human. An offer we could not resist, since this is one of our fundamental human drives – to be better than we are (using all the technologies we have invented). One of these technologies, let me remind you, was writing.
The Computer was a dream come true. It embodied all of our most fervent desires. Note the word embody, it is crucial. We promptly moved from our bodies into its body. And became, to our way of thinking, better than human. Not noticing the opposite was taking place also – we were still in our bodies (we couldn’t actually leave them), but these had become hollow shells – less than human.
You might still wonder how we could move into another body. And frankly, that puzzles me too. But I saw it happening right in front of my eyes when I was working in high-tech in California in the Eighties. Every nobody in the world claimed they were into computers. Although they had no idea what they were. They just knew they were the greatest – and they were part of them.
At the same time the collective intelligence of the companies that went into computers – nearly everyone – collapsed to near zero. They made the stupidest mistakes possible – and seemed determined to put their companies out of business – at which they were usually successful.
But this wasn’t all – they not only became less than human – they became anti-human. And people like me, who still had some humanness in them, were in big trouble.
To make a long story short – I had to run for my life. At first, the friends I had left behind in Silicon Valley were interested in what I was doing down here in Costa Rica. But as I developed a new life of my own – they lost interest. They were stuck, and had no interest in getting out – or so it seemed to me.