I have too many projects. I have too many lists of too many projects. Then I started this blog thinking with all the experiences I’ve had in the past and all the ideas I’ve thought about over the recent few years that certainly to complete at least one post per week would be absolutely and positively simple. If all else failed, I have old posts from my Facebook page and letters to the editor from years past I could easily add in to fill some space. Easy!
Then I let it go a week. Then two. Then it was a month. Then it’s 2019 all of a sudden and it’s almost been a year since I last posted something. It’s over a year since I started this thing… I had to renew the domain name otherwise risk losing it and all previous efforts would be for nothing.
So I had a choice – return and try again, or forget about it.
I renewed the domain. So here I am.
I have been thinking about this site quite a lot, if that means anything to you. I’ve been thinking a lot about the years I was involved with some local community development groups. I’ve been thinking about what that word community means these days to young people especially. I’ve been thinking about political systems and how ignorant we can be about how things really work. And I’ve also been thinking about how when we think we know how things work, it is quite likely we still don’t really know. We can never know what we don’t know, and there are lots of things happening in the world that we will never be told about. Even as connected as we are, we are just as disconnected.
I thought, when I first decided to create this site, I would write about my experiences and just type and type until the answers I was seeking came to me, like some kind of divine revelation. The question, I believed, was about how to get people involved, and keep them engaged enough. How to get people to care about their communities enough to want to volunteer their valuable time and donate their hard-earned money. It was about, at the local level at least, what kind of political systems and policies would be most effective.
The rabbit hole, however, goes much deeper than that. The dichotomy between the good of the community and our individualism is both necessary and at times conflicting. How far do we go in being part of a community? Are we a collective of individuals or are we (moving toward becoming) a hive mind?
We’re products of evolution but are we still evolving? How does our ancestry – our ancient primordial ancestry – affect our ability to participate in modern society? Is technology a part of our evolution?
Side note. I remember many, many years ago it seemed, I was living on a farm in Thurso, Quebec, and a friend and I were tossing a Frisbee around and we were drinking beer and I was starting to feel it quite a bit, and at one point I dived for the Frisbee and missed and landed in some tall grass. When I got up I realized I had lost my glasses. I’m nearsighted, so our game was over and I searched and searched but couldn’t find them. I was pissed off and drunk and I remember getting upset and saying something to the effect that “if this was a couple thousand years ago I probably would’ve been eaten by a tiger by now.” In other words, I was a genetic oddball who didn’t deserve to be alive. I may have actually been crying at one point. Alcohol is a depressant after all!
But seriously, we’re getting to the point where wearable tech – or even implantable tech – may become commonplace within our lifetimes. Medical breakthroughs at the genetic level are becoming reality. At what point does simple tool-making and medical knowledge grow to become not just a product of our evolution but a factor of it?
If we have the knowledge at our fingertips – or faster than that, accessible by just thinking about it via an implant connected to the hive mind of the internet – what use are other people to us?
I’m being a little facetious, of course. We need family. We need friends. We long for community. But again, what does that look like? What will it look like fifty years from now?
Are we meant to be living in a world of several billion people? Are we meant to be living in groups of more than a few hundred? Are we meant to specialize beyond hammering iron and grinding wheat and spinning flax? I mean, when someone smears feces on a canvas and calls it art, are we really evolving as a species? Maybe we can go too far! Maybe the nature of humans is that we have, and we always will, push things to their limit.
I’m torn between two precious worlds:
The past, where things were hand-made, and of superior quality, and lasted for a long time, and could be fixed and parts easily made and replaced. Where knowledge was passed from generation to generation. Where vocal conversation between two or more people was not so much an art form as but an involuntary, autonomic function of our daily lives.
And the Future, where human syndromes of poverty, disease and war are eliminated by technologies and political systems that benefit all of us, and all the Earth, and beyond. I’m a Roddenberry fan, if you hadn’t guessed, and I look at that vision of the future as an ideal to aspire to.
The challenge is, of course, the present. Today is as disposable to us, it seems, as almost every cheaply made item we lay our hands on, because, we believe, tomorrow will come.
How much longer can we go on expecting it will? For some of us, tomorrow won’t, and we just don’t know it yet.
Wow, this got kind of dark all of a sudden! Didn’t mean that. I’m usually quite hopeful and optimistic. The future I want is just like that Star Trek-y one in many ways, but lacking a replicator I’m quite content building things with my hands, cooking food we grew ourselves and wearing a sweater my wife knit herself.
I don’t know if any of this made any sense at all, but hey, I’ve been on hiatus for almost a year from this! I’ll get more focused as I dig back into it. I just needed to sit down and write again finally.
Live long and prosper!