What We Pay Attention To, Affects Who We Are
This is the most common sense observation in the world. But when we need it the most – when we are exposed to a powerful new technology – we lose it.
Pardon me, while I summarize some of our history.
We were built a million years ago. We got the jump on the other predators in the savannas of Eastern Africa – with our big brain, and our invention of human language. We were smart – and by comparison, they were dumb. And we quickly took over – everywhere in the world.
Only a few thousand years ago, we came up with another invention – Civilization. And this one blew us away. We knew who we were before this, one people – but after this, we were many people – speaking many languages. We took the lid off the bottle – and couldn’t put it back.
But the Ancient World moved on, and produced the Greeks and the Romans – to simplify things quite a bit. But when the Roman Empire ended – everything ended. Not quite, as Medieval scholars like to point out – but things slowed way down.
But we were not finished – in fact we made a brilliant new start – with the Modern World – about five hundred years ago.
When I said this was brilliant, I wasn’t kidding. But it was as ruthless as ever – with blood flowing all over the place.
We invented the Modern Economy – complete with Banking and the Market. And the Machine – most importantly, the Sailing Ship – a Wind-powered machine. That was used to transport slaves from the West Coast of Africa – to the Sugar plantations in the West Indies – to New England, to be converted to Rum – to be sold to the desperately poor in England itself.
But we were not through with the Machine yet. And it was not through with us either. We became infatuated with the Railroads and the Steamships – powered by Coal, and then by Oil. And Electrical Power was everywhere. We were the most powerful people in history! And the most depraved.
We could be good to our machines – but we could not be good to ourselves. A worse situation could not be imagined.
This was bad enough – but then Television and the Computer were added to this mix.
This had some beneficial effects – I am writing this blog on the Internet right now. And Artificial Intelligence is so important some people are peeing in the pants over it.
Myself – I consider all this an amusement.