REFLECTIONS ON 2015
Karl Arnold Belser
22 january 2016
am wondering why I should continue to write this blog. What have I
learned? Did my reading and writing give me any insight of general
value? I want to review what I have written and make some sense of what
appears to be an impressionist painting of ideas.
The books Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yoval Noah Harari and Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin by Stephen Jay Gould had a profound impact on me. See my respective posts A Short History of Mankind and Evolution and Progressivism.
I am now more inclined to see life on Earth as an experiment, like microbes growing in a Petri dish, that will at some point use up most of the world's resources and die out. If this were true, what difference would it make about how life on Earthcame to its end. To me, the real question is whether man can escape from our Petri dish called Earth. If we can't, then human beings are doomed to be a paleontology relic like the dinosaurs.
I wrote the short story WINDSEED in 2003 to address just this problem. The idea is that there is an undiscovered law of physics that makes more probable the occurrence of combinations of matter that will promote the creation of entropy, that is disorder. This propensity to create disorder I suspect is the fundamental factor in the existence of life. In fact it may cause life to emerge. So I believe that it will become possible to "seed" the universe with our life form by spraying small chemical substances, wind seeds, into space. these substances would have encoded in them the essential character of the form of life that created them. They also would be small enough that they would float to the surface of planets that the seed encounter and take evolutionary root, so to speak, if the environment of that planet were correct. I pointed out in my story WINDSEED that it appears to be impossible to have human beings bee the seed. It takes too many resources and time for this kind of propagation, especially given that we don't know a reasonable destination. This topic does make for interesting science fiction however.
If my conjecture given in WINDSEED is true, and there are a googleplex of planets in the universe, then I would expect that the Earth is being bombarded constantly with the wind seed products from other planets. So should the human beings of Earth try to compete and spread their seed? I think so because we are a late arrival and may in fact be the best form.. In other words I am an optimist and adamantly opposed to "giving up". In this case it seems imperative that the people on Earth make propagation into the universe their ultimate goal.
I am trying to get perspective on the state of the Earth with respect to our progress in propagation of our seed. This year I have been focusing on the humanities which I view as the long term lessons in human evolution. I am quite disturbed that many universities are focusing on politically correct topics (the failures in human evolution without calling them failures) and deemphasizing the lessons of history (the successes that worked). See my post Humanities Education in Decline.
The most important book I read was Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. This book explains how the authors of the constitution of the United States studied the humanities to ferret out what worked and what didn't work in the past. They incorporated their findings in the constitution. They even understood the fundamental conflict between liberty (freedom of individual action) and equality (providing for everyone). The congress of the United States was set up to oscillate between these two competing factions.
Let me give an example of how a new oscillatory process state can be generated. Suppose that you have an electronic circuit o r a computer program that changes one to minus one or minus one to one. This is called an inverter. suppose that I wire or write code so that the output is connected to the input. In other words I force one to equal minus one. What happens? the new variable time comes into play and the circuit or computer program oscillates between one and minus one at a frequency that depends on the delay through the circuit or computer machine cycle time. This kind of oscillator was created in congress to mitigate the excesses of liberty (the creativity that results in compounding wealth without bound) and equality (the sharing of wealth without having the tyranny of the majority demotivate any creativity). Society averages these two extremes because it takes time for change to occur so that the government works at the "happy median".
The second most important book I read was Alan Ryan's book On Politics. He explains that the Key to the representation of equality within government has been the development of the Social Contract. without a social contract the a minimumly acceptable standard of living needed for a peaceful society probably cannot be maintained. I summarized what I learned in my post Future Politics.
What I have just described is what I would call the big picture view about the progress of humanity to date. I think that the general knowledge of these accomplishments are not being well understood in the united States or even in the western world. As a result I believe that western civilization is under sage by other civilizations especially in Europe. So it remains to be seen if the Judeo- Christian ethic on which western civilization is based will survive. If it does not survive, I think it improbable that human beings will seed the universe with anything.
Last updated January 22, 2016
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