As you’ve been able to discern by now, dear astute reader, our blog goes well beyond the limited confines of the eBook world. And why not? Ours is but a microcosm of the larger reality out there, after all. In the quest to hopefully offer something meaningful in the context of our business, we’ve endeavored to dissect various big issues that have the potential to affect how we, as human beings, consume, function, thrive, or will perhaps ultimately fail. A tall order, indeed. But so far, thankfully, you’ve been humoring us. This week’s post is no different.
So, let’s get going by examining a recent statement by the famous and brilliant theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, that’s been generating quite a bit of buzz. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” O-kay.
According to him, not very promising right? What’s interesting and salient about his statement, however, is that it implies that the degree of technological evolution required to achieve intergalactic travel would not have to be matched by a proportional degree of ethical (or spiritual, if you prefer) evolution. But…here it comes…wait for it…once again, as eternal optimists…we find that unlikely. We’re no experts on extraterrestrial ethics, of course, but neither is Hawking. No one is. So, we’re comfortable disagreeing.
The point here is that we just don’t think ethics can progress independently of technology — after a certain stage in the development of a culture (say…as soon as it learns to split the atom?). There comes a time when both have to advance at a matching pace. Let’s take “us” as an example. If the human race doesn’t start evolving a lot faster ethically right now — and we mean, right now — there’s no way in hell it can ever hope to get much further technologically. Because it, the human race, is already perilously close to ravaging itself, the planet and every living thing on it!
Never mind any perceived threat from outer space. We may just turn out to be the very monster of our nightmares. Nothing more than some sort of mutant parasite who ends up devouring its host.
If you think that’s hyperbole, simply consider the despicable risks some of us (in collusion with “so-called” regulatory agencies, amazingly enough) are willing to take for the sake of adding a few million to the corporate bottom line. The latest abysmal example from the Gulf of Mexico speaks volumes…of crude oil.
Therefore, if anyone else out there, in the vast expanse of the universe, happens to be watching or dropping by for a visit – take a look at the Drake equation for those probabilities –, we would’ve already been zapped into a steaming pile of inert chemical elements by now, according to Hawking’s viewpoint. Or at the very least, offered blankets infected with some form of horrible microbe, as the army is reported to have done when it surreptitiously handed them out to the natives in the eighteenth century — you know, them Injuns who…err…hmm…held dear the ridiculous notion that living in harmony with nature was actually a good thing.
Yup, it’s our own behavior that may have already brought us beyond the tipping point. Plenty of evidence seems to bear that out. But nonetheless there are hopeful signs. Against all odds, some humans are taking action to slow our progression to oblivion.
Check out the recent move by the Icelandic government to deal with those who caused that nation’s near economic meltdown . It’s really too bad that, in our own country, we’ve so far allowed all kinds of other criminals in privileged positions to compromise our humanity, and evade the same fate. And you probably can deduce who we’re referring to, here.
Furthermore, news just came out this week that the European Parliament has voted in favor of banning all scientific testing on great apes – mostly because great apes are a lot like us. Duh! In other words, they display emotions such as love, fear, anxiety and jealousy. We’ll go a step further. Maybe one day, we’ll show the same level of compassion for creatures that aren’t primates, just like us. Promising, nonetheless.
Finally, and for the last time, perhaps, let’s tie this entire topic back to our recent posts about DRM and piracy. An insightful study out of Australia, seems to highlight the fact that most people are not illegally downloading/ripping out of sheer amoral instinct. As the article hints (and as we’ve previously maintained), provide a sensible model for doing business, and most of the problem might just go away. Once again, the example has to be set by those pulling the economic strings. There’s no escaping that fact, as far as we’re concerned. They’re the ones who have all the tangible power.
Awright, we’re done bellyaching now. We’re very happy you’ve stuck with us through this rather thorny subject. But, at this point, would you really expect any less? If there’s one thing, we at Diesel, are trying to accomplish through this blog, it’s to provide some good, high octane, fuel for thought. We hope we’re succeeding and that we’re entertaining you along the way, too.
Catch you on the rebound.
Live long and prosper.