Archive for Sociology
Being a brown skinned person, I’m regularly confronted by my like-skinned readerships to ask some derivative of the question “how are your philosophies on post human culture and technology relevant to people of color?”
In the non-White modernity, it seems that all PEST (political, economic, socio-cultural, technological) issues have an ethnic denominator. When thoughts on identity and progress are offered, whether they are technological or other, someone of the like-skinned faction of my reality is obligated to ask the aforementioned question. I’m aware that most people are far too busy surviving to ponder how the future will develop relative to the past, and because our technological growth has been so relatively slow, it is only intuitive for them all to think that PEST developments will occur in some linear state similar to that of the end of feudalism or slavery or the development of wheeled buggy into the automobile. But it won’t. The exponential growth of the past has been un-noticeable to the vast majority of society, but today it is all too evident. The very idea that conservatism can manage the attractive options available to people of any group (ethnic, gender, sexual, social, other) is naive.
For this essay to make any sense it is necessary to understand that there will always be a huge difference between the humans in the technological elite who have the ability to generate and consume large bodies of knowledge on history and futury as it relates to their social well being, and the other human beings who (for lack of resources…monetary and other) will live as we all did proceeding the 21st century.
The relevance of a particular ethnic group is relative. That’s a redundant quote, but its true. Everyone will likely cling to some group, not necessarily for survival, as it was so fashioned and critical in the past, but for likely more hedonistic purposes. In a reality where making addition to the physical being are as cliché as making additions one’s clothing, ethnic identifiers will be all but a blur. Gender identifies as well. I was recently at an exhibit called Embodied: Black Identities in American Art and Lorna Simpson’s piece Wigs that showed the many different types of identity characteristics black women in particular take on given their perception of popular culture…or rather the impression popular culture’s imposes.
As always (reference the Quakers), there are (and will likely always be) the naturalist movements of the world that embrace and empower peoples using what they’ve got as PEST assets, as opposed to what they can create or modify. But marketing/advertising trends per the technological elite is proving that the naturalist will remain a minority in competing space for grandeur and acceptance. Having stated that, it is to the technological elite’s benefit to convert those others, because two brain, fully functioning are better than one. Races like any other increasingly ambiguous genre should increase in volumes and decrease in consistent membership, much like the explosion in the music industry. Music proceeded Race and everything else for that matter as having expansive genres because of its ability to present liberal sounds/lyrics in a way that couldn’t offend our conservative legal or social structure. Ambiguities in sound and lyrics have never presented a systemic social problem, and therefore require no opposing conservative movements (other than “good” business).
Per physical attractions and political ascriptions, Race will seem like a fetish. As every data producing phenomena turns into an information technology, individuals will become better equipped to make decisions about how their lifestyle affects others within and far removed from their immediate degrees of separation. Simultaneously, these individuals will be compelled to be what is most beneficial to their situational desires. There will always be some differences in individuals co-existing and from that fundamental standpoint, there could technically be a Race assigned to every one of us. But, the relevance of a Race as a political check-point doesn’t logically propose any formidable pros/cons for anyone. Race is becoming irrelevant in the realm of the technological elite, survival is more about fluency-in and access-to technologies.
In a broader sense, Race could be defined to represent the individual’s group of acquaintances or geographic roots or , etc, etc… Given this, it could be difficult to define what a Race is. People of similar skin tone, hair texture, and geographic origins have been known and documented as being far removed from any familiarity with one another. I’m not going to rewrite what every sociologist and psychologist has already written here, but I would like to provoke more thought on what our realities will be like, as our degree of separation shrink, as a result of communicative technologies and a space like the internet….and as nano, bio, info technologies help us understand what’s important to our quality of life.
A few days ago my new Facebook friend wrote this
“Any individual who attempts to formulate an objective set of values will always fail, because the prism through which they analyze the world will inevitably be marred by their own experiences and perspectives. Therefore, moral standards are actually cultural standards, and nothing more. Cultural Relativism posits that there are no universal ethical truths, only various cultural codes!”
-Alvin MP Delfian-
This is accurate.
Further, as we evolve, humans need to acknowledge mortality (constant) instead of morality (relative). This is the only way to provide an adequate ethical regard for our species as we evolve technologically.
Creation happened at some point approximately two hundred thousand years ago and human specific species was generated. There are many theories, and further, possibilities of more ancient human beginnings: from panspermia, to natural selection, to even implantation. Our ancestors may date back further than the Earth itself according to some theories. Regardless of the methods of creation the fact that matters is that we exist. I’ll leave the historical exploration to people currently pursuing it, as my interests are solely in the future.
Survival has been our core objective over the past two hundred thousand years. Our generation created some brutal environments for human to human interaction that linger even today. Sustaining life through repeated creation methods has made us durable and hyper consumers. Outside of scientific measurement of evolution, culture is the best measurement of our evolution or ability to record survival well.
Growth or succession of human generations has been defined through that of natural selection by the scientific community since the days of Darwin. Over the past two hundred thousand years there have been reports of humans becoming larger and smaller, and adopting a verity of climate tolerances depending on geographic location. In 2010 C.E. it is necessary to ask oneself if the era of natural selection has given birth to a new era of human selection. There are dozens of examples in the modern world that represent human selection. Contrary to the Darwinian elaboration of artificial selection and later philosopher’s expanded interpretation to unintentional cultivation of living things, there is nothing artificial about the human manipulation of the living and non living entities in the existing world, we are only further realizing our networked individualism.
Phenomena like domestication and land cultivation are the obvious of some less than autonomous or “natural” selection by the Earth’s evolutionary demand; however, 1882 is a far-far past from the human kind’s technological extension today. Survival is not the only incentive for development of living things in the 21st century.
Human Want: Synonymous with artificial selection – endangered species of the world are not simple domestication projects relative to the elaboration that Darwin gives on dogs, cats, and cows. Some species are dying because of human existence and human ability to consume so awesomely without regard. Per Darwin and colleagues they are unfit to survive. Still, groups of scientists are making efforts, the world over, to protect and cultivate their desired amphibian, mammal, reptile, fish, bird and other animal groups. Human will, to select and maintain the living is just as powerful as that of natural selection – and human will is growing exponentially with every human extension or thoughtful participant.
Human Extension: Technology encompasses such a dynamic group of products and methodological genre (services) of know-how, that it is difficult to quantify the term. Most people think of technology as being separate form human kind. Technology is in fact an extension of the human. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is likely the scariest set of concepts being developed the world over, as sci-fi pictures tell it. However, it is unlikely that AI could come to conclusions of efficiency and effectiveness that human kind can’t. AI software would be identical to non-AI software if they weren’t design to make “assumptions”. These sets of computer code make all the difference in AI. While AI can and will surely be able to compute faster than its organic creators, assumptions can only be as elaborate as the human imagination; hence, the enduring need for philosophical thought. Robotics and other intelligence are not ambitious, humans are, and we must not fail to create more opportunities for us to think well, while eliminating primitive tasks. An ideal development would be organic computing power that humans can link directly to his/herself for data manipulation.
Human Selection: Cloning, although viewed by the religious community as unethical, is a scientific reality. Currently there are socio-political barriers to funding the necessary body of research to create robust methods of cloning, but there will be development at some point, as human curiosity and will to produce becomes more prevalent. It has been nearly fourteen years since Dolly was cloned in Scotland, and the economic will of science combined with rapid privatization of scientific efforts in every genre will soon create an environment where human kind selects its earthly companions through cloning and controlled breeding. Imagine the highly politicized abortion argument evolving into a cloning solution. If it is currently unethical under some ideologies to have an abortion, is it ethical to clone to unborn, and have it at a more convenient time? Or further, to have the clone with a more suitable set of parents, possibly with a physically stronger mother, in an effort to avoid a parent death during child birth. Whose life is more precious? Human extension and human selection affords us the privilege to neglect making paradoxical decisions in this scenario. Technology allows us to have our cake (mother) and eat it t0o (child), as the age old adage goes…
Cloning and cultivation are older than we often realize from a stand point of control idealism. Birth control, energy control (solar, wind, wave, geothermal, etc.), and agricultural control, are all technological systems where we control output to duplicate a well functioning entity and control its growth potential. Could Darwin have rationed these ideas into his theory of natural selection? Probably not… While his thought experiments and ability to articulate natural selection and eventually artificial selection were extraordinary for his time, we humans can only think as far forward as our technological extension (ability). For instance, the first documented thought on silicon chips was documented some seventy years after Darwin’s death. Seventy years in the information age seems like a near eternity when I try and think of what will exist. In the future humans will be able to control the rate of growth of every entity in their reach of travel, and procure energy source directly from the physical elements of celestial and terrestrial bodies. There is one problem with human selection, it is ultimately predictable and allows no room for the risks that generate market style activity. Further, eliminating need to measure markets: money. In our next steps as the commanding species on this planet, we should aim to control all terrestrial production using the technological advancements that currently exist; leaving our focus on the unknown.
2010 C.E. is the beginning of a new era of technological command and human creation. On Thursday, May 20th scientists at the Venter Institute successfully cultivated the first synthetic cell; a cell that procreated on its own, designed by synthetic DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) after nearly a generation of scientific engagement. The journal publishing in Science Mag at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/rapidpdf/science.1190719v1.pdf is arguably the most significant finding of human existence so far. The ability to craft an new organism yields a commanding power over life, solidifying human extension as potentially more dominant that any other kind of selection (natural, artificial. or other). Imagine the kinds of problems that can be solved through the cultivation and synergies of such cells in human and other living and non-living things. When theoretical physicists and aviation engineers think about the large time gaps that are required for space travel to far away celestial bodies, we can now start to imagine regenerative set of organs to sustain our humble body’s efforts to explore well.
Human kind has made the first step towards completing the human selection node of the existence cycle. We have the technological extensions to control how we consume energy, cultivate life forces, protect life forces, migrate life forces, and disseminate all knowledge to interested individuals. There is one huge problem that exists completely outside of the technological realm, as the speed of our technological development greatly exceeds our socio-political development. In an ideal world it would be unthinkable to experience one species recognizing two completely separate kinds of wisdom; however, it will be a reality for some time while we recognize ourselves. On one end of the spectrum, there will be the people who only know of natural selection and the uncontrollable wills of the world around them. On the other end of the spectrum, there will be the people who benefit from human selection, that recognize their limits as the ends of the multiverse, as Dr. Kaku would put it. In order to being to experience our real potential well, we must engage everyone. Of the approximately seven billion people on the planet we are only using the creative and scientific thinking skills of less than one percent of the individuals. A population with ten million theoretical physicists could surely perform better than a population with ten thousand. Consider the affect that two billion extra engineers would have on human initiative, or two billion physicians. These are realistic numbers, and we’d still have billions of minds to spare. Before I elaborate on how to, we need to understand the value proposition of how we exist under an individualistic versus our value proposition under an integrationalistic reality. Because of course, we should be trying to avoid human extinction – the last node of the existence cycle.