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The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning If….

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Have you ever considered what tremendous potential we have as humans if we were to think about the world in larger terms and with more open minds? This is not a pipe dream. We have made more advances in the last 100 years than the last thousand, and in the last 10 than the 100 before that. Still, not all these advancements have been beneficial. We have often used our knowledge to create better weapons instead of better conditions for people. In fact, we’ve given those better weapons to some of the worst people you can imagine to use as they saw fit. Yes, we have created much better ways to heal people too, but we have often created better medicines in response to our new destructive capabilities, or now just to entrap an unfortunate population in a lifelong financial prison, which is understandably still preferable to dying.

These examples show both a lack of maturity and a lack of understanding that we live in a community with other people and that most of us are not as
different from each other as some would like to think. It also shows a lack of responsibility to each other that would define us as the truly advanced animals that many think we are. Some of us even believe that we’re divine, even as we allow 80% of the world’s population to live unnecessarily in poverty.

It is obscene, and these problems must be solved if we are to move forward, or at this point possibly survive as a species. I should also note at this point that although I will generally focus on local issues, this article has a much wider scope.

Yet there is much cause for hope. We are on the cusp of many new discoveries largely because there are women and men out there working hard, everyday, to try to do what is right for unselfish reasons. Assisted by new technology, they are making discoveries more rapidly than ever before.

There are many questions we must ask ourselves now, and answer them while stepping back from the bias of our own selfishness. They are questions like, are we smart enough to share these new discoveries in a transparent manner, modeled off of the revolutionary concepts of the Open Source Community, so that everyone can benefit from them and help to rapidly improve on these new discoveries or will we keep them for an elite few to assist them in furthering their control of others?

Are we mature enough to conduct research in this manner for higher ideals than just profit, and realize that the profit motive is just part of a deeply flawed concept that only existed for a brief period in human history, like the “Market Society,” and then was discarded as an old relic of a less civilized time? Truly, any pure system is doomed to look better on paper than in practice. So, are we ready to admit that the belief in a pure form of capitalism is as deeply flawed as a belief in a god of fire was before we understood chemical reactions?

Are we mature enough to deal with the effects these new discoveries will have on our cultures? Are we mature enough not to pervert scientific discoveries into weapons? More importantly, will we even make it long enough to get out of the current mess that we’re in and build a better future?

I don’t know, but I believe we can. We need to start by reassessing our priorities, and then we need to make sure that whatever discoveries are made, especially beneficial ones, they are shared with everyone. If we can make these commitments, then it’s true that our possibilities are endless and “the human adventure is just beginning.”

Looking at the many large problems we have just in our community, much less the nation and the world as a whole, a few things are obvious. The old systems do not work and they will continue to not work especially if we leave our fate in the hands of most of our current leaders. Our current leaders are so disconnected that they literally can’t see what the problems are. It’s almost like they literally live on a different planet than everyone else does, because in a sense, they do! Where is my proof for this you say? It’s all around you.

It is a ludicrous system that produces the same level of income inequality that was present during the Gilded Age, acknowledges it, and makes no adjustment. It is in paying so much attention to procedures that in the middle of winter, we won’t allow the homeless access to a 52,000 square foot, publicly-owned building that is ¼ mile from a homeless camp site. Michael McAuley confirmed that the building exists just the other day. Of course, the port has to go through some procedure to allow the homeless to use it while people are freezing, possibly to death, on our streets. In fact, most predict that they will come up with some excuse to deny usage of the building by the public that owns it.

It is in a set of policies that ignore the obvious damage we’re doing to the Earth, while deep down everyone is fully aware that no matter what their day-to-day jobs involve, we all need a healthy planet to survive as a species. Even if you’re into overcharging people for necessities to make a living, you have to admit that not having any people around to sell them to would make your chance of turning a profit a lot lower. This is not a lofty claim. It still costs more than your own weight in gold to send you into space, and then where would you live? It’s not like we’re ready to build space colonies for the masses yet, or anytime soon, but that’s coming too. I hope this helps highlight what we really mean when we say, “There is no Planet B.” Yes, “smart people” may think of something, but we have to at least try to give them the time they need to do it by slowing down our outright assault on our collective home, the Earth.

It is in an out of control government where the distinction between parties has largely collapsed and congealed into one giant party known as the Super Pro Business Party who considers all of the things people receive as benevolent gifts of a higher corporate power run by the best minds in the country. That is until it all collapses and we end up back at my original point of how the old systems do not work. Just ask your neighbors in California who just lost their homes, or sadly more, to yet another out of control fire partially caused by that “Global-Warming Hoax created by the Chinese” as our president refers to it, if they think our current way of life is sustainable.

Yet, have no fear, as I said this is a hopeful, uplifting article. Human-kind is on the cusp of a very bright future, if we can just get past this last hump of ignorance, extremism and fear that some in power are pushing. So I urge you to hold on and fight for what is right because you are literally being robbed of a great adventure if you do not.

We spend 60% of our tax dollars on weapons war in some way shape or form. Much of it on R&D. The level of resources that goes into war research is
unprecedented in human history. So I want you to think of this, just for a minute. What if we took all of those resources and focused on just a few purely
benevolent, scientific endeavors instead. There are many possibilities, but I will only discuss three here. Immortality, Virtual Reality and Solving Our
Social Issues with new technology.

What if we stopped spending money on warfare and focused on learning more about Telomeres. What is a telomere, you ask? It is the cap at the end of a DNA strand that protects your chromosomes. As they are used they degrade, and eventually can no longer protect your chromosomes causing all kinds of problems, they also affect how you age. For more on telomeres click here. So what if we focused on research into how to prevent them from degrading or repair damaged chromosomes. Of course very talented people are already looking into this, but what if we did this with as much zeal as we currently provide to the pursuit of war? In the book “Immortality” by Ben Bova, the author discusses how doubling the human life span is really not that far off, in fact, we could even be looking at immortality in the near future. Imagine what you could do with that, if we made it available to everyone. Wasting our resources on nonconstructive pursuits that only benefit the very few is literally robbing the species of a bright future with long enough lifespans to master many skills and even enjoy yourself for long periods of time as well. Of course you also have to imagine what would happen if we only made this technology available to the wealthy. Imagine immortal Koch brothers, then again maybe we’d also get an immortal Seth MacFarlane.

Let’s move on to another exciting form of technology. Some see technology as dehumanizing, and in its current form it can be, but just wait until we all have enough cheap bandwidth to do Virtual Reality just about wherever we are. I don’t just mean visually, but with full haptics as well. Humans will be able to safely interact in ways we haven’t even dreamed of yet, leading to new, more compassionate societies, understanding, and a broader perspective which we can take forward into space.

Technology can help us to save our environment while at the same time increasing our crop yields and resistance to parasites. In fact, we can easily provide food, clean water, and housing to everyone by collecting more data, and using our resources more effectively with the help of Artifical Intelligence.

It doesn’t have to be like Skynet in the Terminator movies. In fact, Skynet can be highlighted as the failing of relying on closed source, proprietary computing platforms, like many of us do today. If Richard Stallman and the other Linux superstars were working with an OpenSource version of Skynet they would have found the problems and fixed them long before the first T-800 was operational. With an transparent OpenSource model for both new technologies and governments and old systems, especially economic systems and class systems, will simply become obsolete as the resources to not only survive, but live healthy, comfortable lives, simply become overly abundant. For example, robots mining asteroids will make rare metals abundant, and inexpensive. It will also stop us from having to destroy our planet in the pursuit of them.

So what’s holding us back? Why aren’t we doing this already? In a sense we are, but we could be doing a lot more. What’s holding us back is fear disseminated by those who profit from the current system at everyone else’s expense. The fear of using a modern, more equitable system scares the top 1% since it means they will lose control, but for the rest of us, why not try something new? Let’s say no to war, more to science and the arts, and a brighter course for humankind. What do we have to lose? It’s obvious that the old system doesn’t work for most of us. Hell, the new one might help you live long enough to brew your own beer in New Tel-Jerusaleum-Aviv-Attle in the international space city on the moon. At this point, what do you have to lose? It’s not like we can keep going down the same road we’ve been going down for much longer.

About Jon Humphrey

Writer • Bellingham • Member since May 23, 2017

Jon Humphrey is currently a music educator in Bellingham and very active in the community. He also has decades of professional IT experience including everything from support to development. He [...]

Comments by Readers

David Camp

May 11, 2018

Yes you put your thumb on it, Jon - all the institutions of power are devoted to maintaining the status quo in the face of increasing necessity for deep structural change in how we run our societies. Just ask any business person or Biz school teacher, as I did to a table of my own MBA school alums and the Dean - “How can you continue to teach an ethos that is based on continuous and unlimited growth on a finite planet?” Despite everyone understanding exactly what the issue is, no one had an answer and a rather uncomfortable silence ensued. And you know, I drive a car, I consume massive excess of sequestered carbon energy, I’m part of the problem.  

So while I applaud your optimism - you are right - never have so many people enjoyed such a high level of material prosperity as now.  It creates so many incentives for us all to continue sleepwalking as we steal from the future by disrespecting the living processes of the planet, that I fear only crisis will jolt people into better attitudes.  

I’ve been reading about the bronze age collapse - where in a wide swath of the civilized world, all large cities were destroyed by fire, mostly, and the people who survived reverted to a much more decentralized low level subsistence society. Literacy was almost completely lost  in the ensuing dark age. And the most probable cause was massive sustained drought throughout the eastern Mediterranean, that put starving people on the warpath to maraud those who had stored food.

IN one sense we are in a better position today, from a food reliability perspective, and this is because of fossil-fueled globalization. If there is crop failure in one part of the world, the surplus from another part can feed the afflicted. This is in the main what the Syrian situation is all about - the population has overshot the land’s carrying capacity, and drought has caused a couple of years’ of crop failures. Result - social chaos. 

 

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Jon Humphrey

May 11, 2018

Thanks David. Specifically on Transportation. Transportation is an area I’d like to wrtie more about and have expertise in. That is if we ever get a reasonable Dig Once Policy out of our government. Right now they’re still refusing to take any impartial advice from local experts, and Ted Carlson is trying to hobble it by setting the thresholds for use way to high. For example, he wants 12” ID sewer pipes for fiber use. Since you can fit at least 60 strands in a 1” pipe, this doesn’t make any sense. Almost any old sewer peiple would be suitable for fiber. In fact, its’ a great reuse of the pipe. This was outlined in the April 23rd memo to the council. Anyway, I’ll be writing an article on that in the near future. Oh yeah, my point. You can’t beat yourself up too much about having a car. It is virtually a necessity now. I know, because I’ve tried not to use one. The only time I was able to really get by without one was in NYC. I was able to bike to work for about 2 years, except when it was -6.7 C out or colder, when I lived in suburbs of big cities on the East Coast. Even then, it was a good idea to have a car around. That’s because we allowd our mass transit systems to get totally bought up by the big auto companies and gutted in the 60s and 70s. So, I use the bus here when I can, but unless they start running every half hour or so, it’s just not practical to use it most of the time and I really want to. So IDK, I think it’s pretty obvious that if we build better mass transit it will be used. There are a lot of us that don’t identify with a car as part of our image, and do just look at it for what it is, an inefficient, dangerous, wasteful, form of transportation, but still way better than walking. One of the only things the current government is doing that I approve of is the bicycle master plan, even then I think there are some things that can be better about it, but on the whole it’s good. Right now though, you pretty much have to have a car and that is a situation that was created intentionally. Yes, it’s awful for the environment, but…. it’s the situation we’ve allowed to develop over the last few decades. Also, we’re working on a bicycle master plan before taking care of the homeless or putting in critical sewer, water and telecom infrastructure? Telecom infrastructure reduces trips greatly too…. 

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