Up With People
So I feel the need to expand on my previous posts expressing some pessimistic thoughts and doubts about humanity. I got some reactions from people, which means I touched a nerve, which is good, but I want to express an underlying opinion.
I've often hit on the twitter-thought above from dustincurrie. Life is fundamentally an anti-entropic force. At the universe-level, thermodynamics still wins (we think), but at any other scale, any scale that actually matters to us, what makes Life Life (and in some ways People People) is that we build things. We assemble, compile, amalgamate, reconfigure. We create complexity from the soup, whether it's protoplasmic algae pulling carbon out of the air and combining it with solar radiation to create hydrocarbons or the global human-hive that's currently doing an unplanned terraforming exercise on the whole planet. We're unique like that, and this is pretty special.
This isn't a scientific or rational belief. It's fundamentally a romantic one, but I also think it's pragmatic. I believe that our lived experience comes from a combination of fantasies and reality, neither of which we can really address directly or independently. However, we can sometimes choose (or at least slowly steer) our fantasy, which adjusts the possible and helps us have a different experience, which ultimately leads to different outcomes, which impacts reality. Lather, rinse, recurse, and you have my basic theory of social change through culture.
Yes, our current all-channels communication explosion may practically amount to networking while Rome burns. However, if we want an alternative to violently addressing the problems through infrastructure sabotage (specifically long-haul coal transport via rail), which I think we do, I think our new networked reality is the best basic chance we have to Get it Together and also to Deal With The Shit that's already in the pipeline.
People may be disappointing creatures, but we're all we've got, and all we've got is right now. Might as well try to make it work.