Does modern-day living provide us with adequate time for reflection, enabling us to process thoughts and come up with solutions to problems, or are we distracted at every turn, unable to spend time simply thinking about things? Our brains are so wonderful that we still do not understand how powerful they are, or what they can achieve.
A fascination of mine is the fact that we live on a rock, essentially, that is not only orbiting a huge ball of gas at terrific speeds, but that we are also travelling at unimaginable speeds as the universe expands, dragging/pushing/pulling us along with it. Given that that’s the scenario we all live in, and imagining that we are approaching this information for the first time, what would we expect ourselves to be doing in light of this?
Might we be working together to identify sustainable futures for all of the planet’s inhabitants?
Might we be spending vast amounts of our time thinking about problems (both big and small) and coming up with creative solutions?
Might we be planning the succession of generations to come, by implementing smart thinking strategies that best protect our environment?
These are, IMO, valid questions.
Now, let’s consider what we actually do.
Most of us living in what might be considered to be post-industrial societies find ourselves scrabbling around doing jobs that mean absolutely nothing when all is said and done: most of the jobs that exist, exist purely from a desire to participate in a culture that views money as the be all and end all. I have a major problem with a society that operates this way, as money, capitalism, entrepreneurialism, and other ism-y things are all kind of meaningless when you zoom out and focus on the “living on a rock” scenario aforementioned.
If we are to find other planets where life has evolved, will we want to sell them things, set up financial centres, get them up to speed on the notion of credit and stuff like that?
If we are successful in realising the birth of autonomous artificial intelligence, what do you think it will think of us and of our practices? Might AI take one look and think that although grateful to us for bringing it into existence, that it’d be a whole lot better off just kind of doing its own thing – rather than taking instructions from a form of life that thinks that peace is best achieved by building weapons that can effectively wipe out all human life?
Shop if you want to shop.
Work if you want to work (for most of us that isn’t really a choice).
Fill your time with all manner of stuff, if you want.
But try to spare a little time for thought. What’s the worst that could happen?