We can’t resist becoming superhuman – and we can’t resist hating ourselves for becoming this way. All of this happens deep in our minds, where it cannot be examined carefully – but is very powerful anyway.
Let us examine the first part first – the process of becoming superhuman. This began sometime in the 18th Century – when we became able to organize ourselves into larger units – human machines. This was not unusual, we had been doing this for thousands of years – this was how the pyramids were built, and how Rome conquered the world – with organized muscle power. But these new machines could use the energy of fossil fuels – that made us far more powerful. Superhuman, in fact.
This was understandable – but something else also happened – we lost our ability to understand, how we became so powerful. Power itself had taken over everything – including our minds!
I must pause, to consider what I have just written. Was this important, or nonsense? I’m sure it was important – but also sure few want to hear it. They don’t want to know where their power comes from. They want to think all this power is self-generated by their minds (the way God created the Earth) and not taken from the gas pump.
All this extra energy has gone to their heads. And changed what is inside them – so they cannot think right – and don’t want to think right.
On the surface of it, this is an outrageous statement – that people can reject without thinking about it. But it is also true that people everywhere cannot function properly – and don’t want to.
I will use our latest technology to illustrate this – Software. Back in the Nineties, something amazing happened – Java (a whole new programming environment) was invented – and became very successful. It was invented by Sun Microsystems, and directed against Microsoft’s dominance. Sun Microsystems (and Netscape, another successful startup of the time) went bankrupt. Microsoft was sued by nearly every State, for dishonest business practices. But the Feds stepped in, and the result, when no one was looking – was that Microsoft was not punished.
Sun Microsystems was bought by Oracle. And Oracle continued to develop Java and its NetBeans IDE. Which I have running on my computer right now, as I learn how to use it. Java itself is working!
Then something else happened, a big something – the Computer Cloud, begun by Amazon, with its Amazon Web Services (AWS). This was extremely complex software that could run thousands of computers, located many different places – as different combinations of computing power. Much cheaper than anything before it!
Google also setup its own cloud, that was impressive in its own way. Clouds were everywhere and each one claimed to be the best! And, to my surprise, Oracle had one also – and like every other cloud, offered a free startup package. When I tried to use it – it said it was down for 12 hours, or so – and to come back and try later. And when it did come back, I could see it was full of bugs. Here was another company (a very high-tech company) that did not know what it was doing!
I was pissed.
Our global culture is not working (and we do have a global culture). I could use plenty of examples – global politics, for example – that have gone completely crazy.
Philosophically, this is not hard to understand. As Aristotle said, virtue had to govern our actions – but in our time, virtue (or ethical behavior) is hard to find.