As a kid I grew up excited and optimistic about the future. The wonders of modern technology, the great achievements of the human species, such as landing on the Moon and the promises of computers, AI and robotics, all gave a picture of living in an era exponentially more advanced when compared to the past up to that point.
The end of the Cold War was also an incredibly hopeful event, one that showed great promise towards some sort of ideal Star Trek-future, where humans have settled all major diatribes and now need to go out in Space to look for new challenges also at the societal level.
As far as technology goes, I still dream of what will be possible in the future, but when it comes to people, that’s a different matter. No matter how we advance technologically, at the core we’re still very emotional and instinctive. There’s clearly a place for emotions in our biological make up, because those tend to favor procreation.
It’s hard to argue against natural selection. Nevertheless, I think that it’s important to understand how other humans think and behave, because we all depend on each other and we’re subject to the choices that others may impose on us, directly or indirectly.
I have been following on and off the US politics during the years. I got dragged into it again in 2015 with the presidential campaigns and elections. By the end of 2020 I came to the conclusion that we live in a very artificial reality. There are people that are incredibly motivated to come to power, there’s a power structure that allows them to reach a certain level, and there’s infrastructure such as the media (news and social) that is also vital to support those power structures.
In all this, the general population is stuck in the middle. They are pushed and pulled until they pick a team and they are periodically fed half truths from their team. In addition to that, today, suspicion of the government and of institutions in general will quickly label anyone as a gullible conspiracy theorist.
Admittedly, many people do go overboard with their skeptical thinking at some point or another, but they can’t be blamed too much for losing trust in institutions that are virtually always selective with facts, supposedly for the greater good.
Looking a bit deeper into the past, my conclusion is that humans haven’t evolved that much. There’s less poverty and maybe more justice now, but emotions still run the show. Rational arguments have a place, but they are not where power lies on. Power is acquired by persuading the masses, and that happens pretty much by any means possible.
I used to think that it made sense to call on hypocrisy the other side on a political or ideological war, but I realize now that that’s an unproductive defensive position. It’s naive to think that hypocrisy is something that is going to dissuade someone from getting their chunk of power. In the battle for ideals, those that stop and try to be rational are those that tend to lose.
Perhaps rationality has a good enough effect in small groups, but at the larger level, all that matters is sound bites and general propaganda. Repeat, repeat, repeat, until there’s a working reality distortion field of your choosing. Lying is perfectly valid. It doesn’t really matter as long as you can sell it.
Of course I wouldn’t do that, but I’m also not trying to start a career in politics 8)