I was about to write an on freedom called, well, “What Is Freedom?” But I couldn’t remember if the is was supposed to be capitalized or not, so I went to hand site called Capitalize My Title.
It delivers as advertised, forever removing doubt as to whether a particular word meets formal capitalization requirements or not.
After entering in the title, I paused and pondered, “Am I stupid?” This is a rare thought, but one of the most important thoughts that can be thunk. It’s right up there with, “Who am I?” and, “Does this ham smell bad to you?”
The path to understanding begins with the understanding that we don’t understand something. i.e., “Am I stupid?”
Anyway, uh, upon careful reflection, it’s apparent that I’ve misplaced a vast amount of knowledge that I acquired in high school English class. The other day, a friend asked, “Describe (something) with two adjectives,” and my first thought was, “OK, now what the fuck is an adjective?”
This is acceptable for most people, but I’m a writer. Aren’t I supposed to know this stuff? Shouldn’t I have a grammarian’s sensibility and a poet’s flair for allegory nestles in between my buttcheeks?
That depends on who (or is it whom?) you ask, I suppose. All I know is that I rely more and more on the internet to help me polish the rough edges from my words. This applies to mathematics as well. Sure, I could re-learn how to calculate percentages, but why do that when I can just as Google, “Hey Google, what’s 35% out of 500?”
Technology makes it easy for us to allocate our memories to a third party. Now, I don’t have to store information that I don’t absolutely need on a day-to-day basis—I can just ask Google. There is very little that we have to learn these days to get by in the world as long as we have a smartphone nearby.
This is an old argument, of course, I’m in no way the first person to voice this opinion. It’s only significant to me because I can see it happening in myself. When you can see something firsthand, it’s no longer something abstract—it’s real, it’s there.
I’m curious as to where this will lead us and future generations. Will we be like the Cybermen from Doctor Who, connected to a kind of hive mind that stores all of our information? We’re practically there already.
The next step is for technology to record our inner monologues and daily experiences. Then we literally wouldn’t have to remember much of anything at all. I wouldn’t have to remember that one time I got drunk with my friends and peed on a church, I could just look it up on the cloud and get a first-person playback of the event.
What if tech allowed us to communicate our meanings and intentions without words? What if we could literally share our subjective experiences with others? Then we wouldn’t even need to remember words, the human race would be a silent species.
What if we could replace the world we live in with a comparable hologram fed directly into the optical nerve? With that, we could change the color of houses, trees, and the sky. We could change people’s appearances to our liking. What if we did the same thing with the auditory nerves? Olfactory and gustatory? What about touch?
We could literally trade this partially shared world for one that’s totally private and that resembles this one only to the extent that objects in space, so that people don’t walk off cliffs or in front of buses.
With that, we could forget the real world altogether and live in a tailor-fitted fantasy.
This all sounds outrageous, but it’s all well within the realm of possibility. That is if we don’t end up destroying the earth with technology first.
Like anything else, there’d be supporters and detractors for such a world. Shared experiences, customizable holograms, etc. would solve a lot of the social problems we currently face. Misunderstandings would be a thing of the past if we could just directly transmit our intentions. Racism, sexism, etc. would be wiped out as each person superimposed whatever race or sex they preferred over everyone they meet.
Long for upscale possessions would be moot if you could view your modest house as a decadent mansion. There’d be no need to strive or struggle for really anything at all—besides upgrades for the tech itself.
On the hand, it would all be a lie. No different than living in a dream. There’d be no wisdom, no actualization or even genuine love because we’d only ever see people as we choose to see them, never as they really are.
It would be our current struggles with self-centered delusions cranked up to 11. And, since everything’s impermanent, our tech would eventually fail; even if for a short period of time.
During that time, though, we’d be forced back into the real world without even the ability to think.
Which would you choose? This imperfect world of real strife, or a perfect world of fake contentment?
Anyway, this post really got away from me didn’t it? But, this is my mind after all. One thing leads to another…
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