Wichtige Dinge

Wichtig ist, was nicht funktioniert. Dieser Gedanke funkelte bei mir früh in meinem Leben. Sicherlich kam er nicht aus eine Klugheit, sondern von woanders her. Ich glaube, viele Gedanken gehabt zu haben, keiner hat aber den Verlauf der Jahre so gut überlebt.

Ich finde immer wieder Fälle, wo dieser Gedanke zutrifft. Mal sind es praktische Fälle, mal sind es geistige Fälle, der Gedanke scheint immer gut zu allem zu passen. Man denkt nicht ständig, oder überhaupt nicht über alle Teile eines Autos nach, bis das Auto sich plötzlich weigert zu starten. Nur dann wird ein kleiner Teil des Autos in unserer Wahrnehmung wichtig. Das gleiche gilt für Staubsauger und insbesondere für Heizungsanlagen im Winter. Gravierend wird es natürlich, wenn unsere Nieren nicht mehr gut das Blut reinigen können, unsere Lungen nicht mehr viel Luft aufnehmen können, unser Herz nicht weiter seinen Takt halten kann, oder unsere Synapsen zerbröseln. Nicht weniger gravierend wird es , wenn Gefühle nicht mehr funktionieren. Ach Gefühle!

Wir lernen in der letzten Zeit, dass unsere geistigen Wahrnehmungen nichts anderes sind als chemische Reaktionen in unserem Körper. Im Grunde genommen ist unser Dasein das Resultat deterministischer Zusammenspiele; wir reagieren auf unsere Umgebung jenseits unseres Willens. Denn unser Wille ist auch eine chemische Reaktion mit vorhersehbarem finalem Zustand. Nichtsdestotrotz begehen einige von uns Suizid!

parallel economy and purpose

We do not quite grasp yet the ways infotech and biotech will shape humanity by the middle of this century, and we are already struggling to find a political model for the world of today. Those two observations taken together, project a somehow alarming view of our immediate future. It sounds like we are walking over a narrow railway bridge and we already see the train coming round the hill towards us.

The most shocking foresight confront us with a near future where most of humankind will be of no use to society. Where all we will need will be procured by thinking machines. And at best only few of us will be needed to get that wave started and moving. A world with an almost full unemployment is something no known culture, religion or political system is able to envision and to cope with.

If liberalism, nationalism, Islam or some novel creed wishes to shape the world of the year 2050, it will need not only to make sense of artificial intelligence, Big Data algorithms and bioengineering–it will also need to incorporate them into a new meaningful narrative.

“21 Lessons for the 21st Century”, Yuval Noah Harari

A world with almost full unemployment will also face the need to redefine currency; exchange will lose meaning if no one can be of use to society. If all everyone needs is provided for by a horde of autonomous machines, we will have nothing of value in our hands to exchange for those goods. Some higher authority will decide at some point what we get and what we do not get. 

So here we are, the last generation of a worldview that endured many millennia, saw many wars, reached unparalleled prosperity, and finally, was left in stupor looking at a future for what no explanation was available. No wonder we stick our heads under the ground—in diversion. In this state of bliss, let me adventure a model of economy for the end of the century.

Human centric professions and jobs will likely be needed, at least until we can develop affection with machines and we can be fooled to believe they correspond us. But apart of those, it is difficult to think of what professions may be required thirty years form now. Our needs satisfied, yet not clear how are we meant to pay for them, but restless like an early retirement nightmare that starts at the end of our education, if we need such thing any more.

Yet we will, once more, adapt and survive. We will start creating with our hands again. Craftsmanship will be reborn. And all that what we will do with our hands, rescuing wisdom of old, recreating old technologies and old methods long forgotten, will become value, will become currency. And our work will once more become our source of pride and will produce us pleasure. We will exchange once more goods. Goods in a parallel economy with an inherent value equivalent to the time and the energy we will put in our creations, but most importantly yet, the passion and love that we will put in them too.

there will not be a solution

…for a problem that does not yet exist, if we are bound to the behavior of a free capitalistic economical framework.

Normally the establishment does what the establishment is expected to do; they flood the media with arguments that undermine change by highlighting the yet unresolved problems that that change will bring to the light.

Here we go with all the doubts casted upon the management of battery recycling. Or with the question of where the electric power was generated and at what environmental cost. These two problems, aren’t quite yet problems, and therefore we haven’t yet solutions for them. There is no economical incentive to tackle those problems yet. But this does not mean that they cannot be solved nor that they will not be solved, come the time they need to be solved.

Staying put with internal combustion engines is preventing new problems to endure in the old ones, yet at a high cost. A mortgage for future generations.

Whilst the automotive industry is doing its best to slow down the transition to electrical mobility, other industries, with a smaller financial baggage, face problems head on. Once, a company told us we had a new huge, much bigger that electric vehicles, problem; we all want to have internet in our pockets. And do you know what? They even had a working solution on their way to the shelves!

materialized dreams

Sometimes we wake up with a fleeing memory of our dreams. Dreams are also our most longed for feats. We dream at night and we daydream too; Both are necessary for good psychological reasons.

There are though other and more obscure dreams that haunt us both at day and night. Those dreams come often with a panoply of ghosts that we have become acquainted with at some point of time in our lives. Since then, they follow us, sometimes close by, and sometimes at a distance. They aren’t fleeing, nor pleasant, but persistent and inquisitive; Opportunists that prey on us when we are most in need of reassurance.

Those dreams take often embodiment in objects we greed. Not as much as a mockery, but as a cynical gest. They materialize in those cars some of us dream of and few of us own. Owning is indeed a funny way to see this; for it is not obvious who is here taking possession of who.

And car makers excel in anticipating shapes and symbols that may appeal to those hidden dreams. Shapes and symbols impressed in ever larger gnawing front grills, malevolent squinting headlamps, sharp shoulders that show an incredible impossibly powerful muscular tension. All in all as if they would be going to devour us at any moment, like demons on judgement day.

Shapes that convey subtle and not so subtle messages of violence, aggression, supremacy, domination, fear, anger. Those ghosts that isolate us and make us monsters. Monsters on wheels.