One of my favorite places...

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Let's sit down together and order a beer.

 I firmly believe that the internet and social media are more harmful than helpful.  I also believe that they are here to stay and will become more powerful the longer that they are around.  I also believe it to be inevitable that humans will continue to develop their ability to shape their understanding of “reality.”  I see religion as being an early form of this and believe that it will continue to inform the lives of the majority of us.  For others, politics will replace religion as their guiding light and these two groups will continue to clash intellectually and physically while simultaneously aligning themselves with other more immediate influences.  Computers, the internet, artificial intelligence, and social media, are important tools in spreading the reach of the various manifestations of these influences.  At root, most humans are cowardly, lazy, and greedy, but insist that they are not, claiming instead that they are engaged in noble self-preservation.  All of us have refined our ability to rationalize almost anything without even realizing that we are so engaged.  The societies that we create to organize us are, in large measure, fantasies designed to clothe the inconsistencies and rationalizations that permit us to be confident that “we” are right and “they” are wrong.  Some of us resist the requirement to conform and are labeled troublemakers, criminals or enemies, depending on the intensity of our disagreement and the relationship, internal or external, to our particular group.  In today's America, intellectual nonconformity is shunned, ignored, and/or silenced.

Over a comparatively long life, my own understanding of humans has changed, as I stumble through life and try to relate to those around me.  I have been in the presence of important people and unimportant people in a very wide variety of situations, and I have had an opportunity to watch them do their thing.  I notice that while they talk very differently about all manner of things, every single one of them sit or squat to defecate.  I have been in positions where I had real power over others and I have been in situations where I was at the mercy of others.  I am still alive because the breaks fell my way, not because of much of anything that I did.  Because I was born in Norfolk, Virginia, I am an American.  I didn’t do anything to become an American.  I was just born into the group, and I accommodated to it.  Had I been born to other parents in some other place, I would have been an entirely different person and lived an entirely different life.  Today, I would be arguing differently about most subjects and would be on the other side of many, because we are the product of the sum of our experiences.  All of us - conservative or liberal, Russian or Chinese, gay or straight, rich or poor, fucked-up or brilliant.

I see more benefit in trying to find ways to get along than in trying to kill each other to preserve our own fantasy about whatever.  Because I am a whatever, I have opinions about how to organize humanity.  Because you are a different whatever, you have divergent opinions about how to accomplish the exact same objective.  I suggest that we sit down, maskless, next to each other, face to face, not over Zoom, order a beer, and talk things over, rather than continue trying to kill each other with ever more sophisticated long distance weaponry.  My first suggestion is that we get rid of the internet, cell phones, social media, and require all eight billion of us to talk to each other face to face, because it is harder to dissemble when your fellow human being is looking you in the eye.  Just like it is harder to shoot a fellow human in the face than it is to push a button and hit the poor bugger two hundred miles away in a remote shed with a very impersonal missile that cost more than what it takes to support a decent life for some number of the too many humans trying to cling to life on this increasingly crowded chunk of rock spinning in space.

It is probably too bad that we ever stood up on two legs.  We were doing better back before we made that mistake.

No comments: