By Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)
Now that the banners have been taken down, the party hats taken off the heads, the confetti cleaned up, and the fireworks have gone quiet, I felt it a good time for us to take a step back and realize what a pivotal time it is we exist in. Not in the 2012 sense, or the short term sense, but in a much larger view within our own humanity. Now there must be a hundred ways we can take a look back to see the larger view – I have picked but a few that I find quite intriguing.
One of the most transformative periods that our species have gone through is the change from agricultural to industrial, and add to that consumerism and you have got yourself a transformational formula that has quite literally changed the planet in a mere century or two. Natural resources, in their limited nature, have become the gem of the jewelers; each scrambling for any limited resource with a dollar value attached to it. This has caused us to see a host of environmental and planetary issues rise up due to our everlasting need to consume more and more. And while I do admit that there is merit in the Carlin-ean view of it that is to turn a nonchalant eye to it, there is no doubt that the impact we have had on our surroundings in the past 200 years has been both unprecedented and massive.
Singularity, a powerful transformation that is exciting, intriguing, and to some writers; the thing of novels, when machine becomes smarter than man. Between genetic engineering, direct-human-brain-interfaces, artificial intelligence, and a host of other science advancements that are leading us in that direction, what most intrigues me is how that will affect our own interaction with technology. Will it no longer be a thing of function but one of necessity? Will technology become the teacher and we the students? Just how far can artificial intelligence go, assuming it can continuously teach itself bigger and better things? It is all so fascinating, and to think it is predicted to be less than 20 years away. (Book reference: ‘The Singularity is Near’ by Raymond Kurzweil)
My favorite current fascination is one that we can recognize as being new age, and in a sense being the embodiment of our times: cities. Cities that are fast moving, fast producing, and even faster consuming. Not sure if this is 100% true, not even sure where I heard it, but I was told that the largest current animal migration on earth is the migration of human beings to cities. Resulting in odd statistics like consuming drinkable water 17 times faster than it can be replenished, the emergence of >1 cars-per-person as a phenomenon, the thinning down of family structures into a nuclear structure; it all makes for a nice cup of coffee and the balcony and some very interesting subjects.
I find that taking a step away and looking at things in a broader view has a humbling effect. It allows us to understand the larger meaning, to not fret the smaller annoyances or aggravations that we encounter in our daily lives. It allows us to see things in a long term perspective, both in the past and in the future. It allows us to look at things through a 4-billion-year-old lens rather than 25 or 45. But most of all, it allows our thoughts to have no borders.
23rd Issue – February 2012
Here We Start – Art of Living 101 – Beyond Inspiration
First Years Last Forever – Scenes from Our Lives – Society of Tomorrow
The Mind’s Eye – To The Point – Words, Observations, and Ramblings