Some problems are so formidable that it seems foolish to even consider them. The incessant growth of the human population is one of them. What can any given individual do about a problem of this magnitude? What can humankind as a whole do?
Perhaps it would be better for us to ignore it, go about our business, and let nature take its course. But, as thinking creatures, we are aware that our actions have consequences so we feel a sense of obligation to generations not yet born. Some of us do, anyhow.
Critical thinking is absolutely essential to getting at the truth of anything. One should question everything, especially that which one holds sacrosanct.
The difference between what we are and what we can make
Humankind is slowly surrendering to the machines it makes, or so it seems. We are so impressed with the things we make that we are ready and willing to immerse ourselves in them — some people are, anyhow. The harsh reality of the natural world is a big turnoff for many of those attracted to electronic devices. They find the idealized world of virtual reality much more appealing.
Long before towns, agriculture, or the first hints of civilization, humans were scratching out lives for themselves in this world. In the hubris of being civilized, we consider those people lesser creatures. We generally think of those earlier versions of ourselves as either childlike innocents or ignorant savages wallowing in bloodlust and carnal abandon. We assume that their wildness is something we have outgrown, that the urges occasionally emerging from deep within us are only self-indulgent fantasies harkening back to times when we were something less than human. …
Now that a new administration is in the White House, a strange calm seems to have settled over the United States. We still have our problems in this country — economic stress, political polarization, inequality, racial tensions, and the ongoing pandemic — but we are on the other side of something terrible. The storming of the capital by an angry mob on January 6th shook America to its core. Most Americans are glad to have that and its festering cause behind us. Things are better now. Or are they?
Regardless of political orientation, nearly all of us recognize that Donald…
We have all been there at one time or another, trying to show a friend or stranger an obvious error in their thinking only to be rebuffed by some inane rationalization. It’s exasperating. It’s truly an exercise in futility to argue with someone when the facts don’t matter. Denial is like that. Once some people get an idea fixed in their head, they can’t let go of it. They fight reality to the bitter end.
Changing one’s thought process or behavior isn’t easy. Anyone who has tried to break a bad habit or develop a good one knows this all…
We hold Artificial Intelligence to a higher standard than we do humans because what it does is effectively out of our control. That's built into the very definition of AI. This matter should be given serious consideration as we move forward with it, no doubt. Thanks for addressing it.
The hike over Stratton Mountain was harder than they expected, even though I was the one doing all the huffing and puffing. My two grandsons are young, healthy and used to racing up over mountains, but carrying a backpack changes things. I tried to explain that to them beforehand. It didn’t quite sink in. Now here we are with a mile to go before reaching Stratton Pond and they’re both running out of steam.
“The trail of doom,” the younger one Mason calls it. He just turned twelve so the relatively light pack he’s carrying probably feels heavier to him…
What am I? This question determines how I live my life, how I give it meaning. “I” quickly becomes “we” as I recognize that there exist others in this world very much like me. I identify with those others the moment I use the word “human.” The definition of this word is the foundation of all religion and philosophy, all political theory, all morality.
What does it mean to be human? This question underlies each and every worldview — mine, yours, and everyone else’s. So it’s important for us to get it right, inasmuch as that is possible.
Philosopher of wildness, writing about the divine in nature, being human, and backcountry excursions.