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Monday, April 7, 2008

the pressing concerns

Charlie starts to identify the contemporary situation in his comment on that last post --
I've been encountering in several places recently reflections on current affairs that make me think the human situation now is truly radically different -- politically, technologically, ecologically, and epistemically (and with all that, probably morally too). It seems to me that somebody should be thinking through these changes and trying to counsel people in handling them in their lives, since clearly evolution cannot keep pace with these changes: we're monkeys playing with the internet and cruise missiles. I don't care what these latter-day counselors are called ("Philosophers"?), but I think there is a crying need for someone to get to work!
We're the sorts of animals that have these crazy concerns we need to deal with. We're pushing forward so fast we can't keep up with ourselves. We're in a "radically different" environment which is why what is required could be called a new ecological awareness.

The questions becomes,
what are the core concerns of our time?

Certainly we need to survey ordinary ecology, atmospheric science, the food situation, the oil situation. Boston pointed me to the costs and lack of benefits associated with bottled water the other day. That's enlightening.

The political situation is insane, I heard James Yee speak for a Hinckley Institute of Politics forum Thursday before last. I also heard Col. Morris Davis speak last friday at an event put on by the law school. I read the news related to these gitmo related catastrophes every day but it impacts you differently when you hear it from the people who were there. Charlie keeps up with Thomas Barnett's blog. I like Glenn Greenwald, among many others. I also peruse National Review (when I can bring myself to do it) and read George Will, I think it's important to also get an outside voice (even when it's stupid or evil, if a large number of people believe it, it's worth listening to for that reason alone). I rely on an investigative reporter friend for my local politics (he hates George Will, something about checking some of his sources). I often get depressed with politics and just shut it all off.

The internet is a subculture of its own and I'm just barely getting some grasp on what that means. I work with people all over the country as well as in Canada and Singapore. If I have an area of expertise, I guess this would be it. I've been working with the Internet since 1995. (I started with a 80386 with a 1200 baud modem and Kermit at home. "trumpet winsock" and then the Windows for Workgroups 3.11 tcp/ip stack at work. I was also maintaining a mail server running DEC Ultrix. For those of you who care.)

Charlie noted recently where we're at with artificial intelligence.

I say all that to peruse what immediately comes to mind. I think this situation is what led me to previously ask these two questions.

To those five or six people who read this blog --my very very limited audience-- what else is there to add here, to give this more meat, what am I missing?

Update: Charlie's engaging this topic at Huenemanniac.

1 comment:

Charlie H said...

I started to sketch my initial thinking over on Huenemanniac.