Thursday, 23 June 2011

What's the point?

On Tuesday, 10 November 2009 I put my first post on my new blog Soliloquy.  It was called Existential Angst.  In fact I toyed with calling the entire blog Existential Angst.  This pervading theme may be a sign of my time of life or perhaps it’s the age in which we live: we are inundated with information and data streamed at us at such a pace it is virtually impossible to absorb, process and synthesise; we are destined to be standing like rabbits staring at the proverbial headlights of the information juggernaut.  I have three major themes which I cannot seem to get enough time to digest the current perceived wisdom and to formalise my own view.  The topics are quite broad (1) The nature of matter and the hypothesis of its creation, (2) The origin of human society and the resultant behaviours and (3) Exponential technological and biological evolution, the extrapolation of Moors Law and the Singularity
I feel like I am building three 10,000 piece jigsaws, each in a different room.  I am running from one to the other completing one part and then dashing back to look at the previous one – often finding that a small portion from my last attempt is in the wrong place. 
All three strands fit with the general theme and I wonder if its part of the nature of self-awareness that we must ask these questions.
On (1) I am intrigued by the celebrity presented view of Quantum Theory – packaged for the masses to consume – but feel that I have just scratched the surface and I want to know more.  I have this instinctive awareness that there are monumental and potentially portentous discoveries happening right now that I will only have a chance to marvel at in wonder but never truly understand.  I have bought a Quantum Mechanics text book but was shocked to find that I struggled to get to grips with the initial mathematics and physics – the very material I had studied and been examined on years ago.
On (2) I had completed .... you decide part 1, as an initial view of the origins of cities and city states, where apparently for the first time humanity decided to locate itself in a desired place and to defend that place and the resources it provided or represented.  I was intending to research if the first example on the planet of a city, Jericho, was still one of the global hotbeds of civil unrest and what this means for our civilisation.  If the descendents of those early inhabitants of the Levant who have migrated to Europe and the British Isles were not able to live closely together without the apparent need for demarcation lines and jingoistic sabre rattling from minority groups based around arbitrary geographic boundaries – what will our society become?  I have idealistic Start Trek notions of a United Federation of Earth – am I the only one? Or are we descending into a densely packed tribal combat zone?
and finally, on (3), The notions and postulations of Raymond Kurzweil and his disciples are intriguing.  Mathematically and logically they make sense – there is an elegant simplicity to the proposal that ensures that it seems like common sense – my cynicism alarm is still twitching.  I’m not sure I concur with the proposed endpoint of this exponentially accelerating evolution but nevertheless it provides an interesting perspective on how we will see an accelerating introduction of life-changing technology.  Critically it also provides a view of the life that our children might experience and will hopefully help us to prepare them better for their turn “holding the baton”.
And so, still no answers, only questions.  The eventual epitaph of all humanity.
I think I may immerse myself in fiction for awhile and see how things have moved on when I resurface……

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