The prospect of your job being automated is increasing. The convergence of neuroscience, computing, biology and engineering has already made robotic prosthetics a reality and everyone carries a small thinking machine so that they can remember phone numbers, birthdays etc (media device/phone).
We are certainly choosing a future in which we don’t work. We haven’t addressed the consequences in a thoughtful way evidenced by the unchanged platitudes by politicians, ongoing agglomeration of industry and commerce (get big to survive) with its attendant pyramid of wages (little at the bottom, inconceivable wealth at the top) and public education systems still modelled on the factory.
Everyone is good, yet somehow the product of our civilisation is often pain and suffering.
More people are becoming aware that something needs to change and are even doing something about it. Simply talking about the challenges is a start, while others initiate changes in behaviour such as what they eat or wear. But engaging a big picture perspective is difficult and can seem futile because the system seems dysfunctional.
The text below is from a blog about morals (personal) and ethics (system) which is a short read offering insight in to the nature of the problem. Perhaps having read it you might contrive ways in which you can contribute to system enlightenment in your work and life, before this civilisation implodes like all those before it. Enjoy …
Our current ethical system requires politicians to act unethically, to do great harm to people they don’t know, while protecting those they do. This can hardly be denied, and was on display in the 2007/8 financial collapse and the bailout after. The millions of homeowners and employees politicians and central bankers did not know were not helped, and the people the politicians and central bankers and treasury officials did know, were bailed out. Austerity, likewise, has hurt people politicians don’t know, while enriching the corporate officers and rich they do know.
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible- Jew, Gentile, black men, white…
We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind.
We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery ,we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.
Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.
To those who can hear me, I say “Do not despair.”
The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.
Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder!
Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men—machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have a love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate!
Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.
Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!
In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it’s written “the kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power.
Let us all unite.
Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill their promise. They never will!
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people!
Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance!
Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.
Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
We joined an eclectic group at Voice Box at the end of June. We were asked to talk for five minutes about Common Sense, a book about people, planet and profit by a venture capitalist. Here is the edited version of the video showing the slides more clearly. Enjoy!
It started a bit later than planned because the normal school run delay was compounded by an emergency breakdown of a client’s computer .,..
The field was rowed around noon and then square baling started. Padraig would arrive at 3pm to round bale. I needed 200 square bales for 2 customers who each wanted 100.
The baler was acting up. The knots weren’t holding and a bale in every five would be lost. Noel cleaned the knotter and after a couple of rows it loosened up and ran better.
Still it wasn’t easy to guess how much hay would equal 200 bales …
In the end we baled 241 square. Padraig got 38 round.
One customer took 136 by mistake, and paid for the extras too. The other took his 100. And there were 5 left for us. Unbelievable. By pure chance we split the field precisely in the right place to get the square bales the customers wanted without leaving anything in the field to await the rain. It couldn’t have been better if it had been planned!
Very lucky. Or maybe we’re leaning to feel the rhythm of the universe and surf the cosmic wave…
I must have been on a roll because a similar coincidence occurred in the evening. #4 wanted to watch an inappropriate film that was playing for his elder siblings … Having said “not for you”, about half an hour later I had a feeling he might have ventured in to join his brother and sister, so I checked. He had walked in 10 seconds before I checked!
The idea is to do Common Sense in 5 minutes (apparently the bell rings when time is up. 😉 ) It will be a challenge, but fun. Now to squash the book in to 5 minutes before next week …!
Also there will be
John McKew, IT Carlow lecturer
Majella Swan, Carlow School of Music & aspiro choir
Ed Byrne – limestone / salvage
Eddie Sheehan – musician / composer, teaches at Carlow College
It should make for an interesting evening. Please come along. Ask questions!
The death of John and Alicia Nash on 23 May brought attention to game theory and the Nash Equilibrium, which offer insights into resolving the problems of today’s world.
As The Economist succinctly says: “In the real world of less-than-perfect competition, a “Nash equilibrium” may well be stable, but not optimal.” Game theory shows that competition yields a sub-optimal stability, which can only be enhanced by cooperation.
Today we live in a world where resource constraints are not just widening the chasm between “haves” and “have-nots” but are destroying the fabric of nature upon which all life depends. Human consumption is reducing access to clean water, land and air, is eliminating species and people increasingly rely upon junk (food, fashion and stuff) to prop up our confidence.
The way to reverse the destruction of the biosphere is to reduce consumption which can only be achieved with a cooperative approach to resource allocation. At the root of this cooperation must be the sharing of technology which allows efficient production and allocation of food, clothing, housing, energy.
A cooperative approach is not a bureaucratic approach, it is not mechanical and it can not be maintained with laws. Cooperation is founded on a culture of empathy which engenders trust which reduces enterprise overheads. The root of a the solution to resource constraints is in cultural maturity.
John Nash showed this scientifically half a century ago. Many others have shared the same wisdom over the centuries, but have been drowned out by the confidence of political and economic ego.
Of course, there’s really no trouble with being rich, but … family is where issues arise because that’s what’s usually neglected.
If you made it you probably had to work hard which took you away from your family. Whether you made or received it, you probably have responsibilities which you feel take you away from family. Either way you might give your family the things they want because you want the best for them or just because they expect it. So they live in a big house, ride in a fine car, jet off to hols and have the latest gear. The trouble arises because what people need is you.
You might give your family the best schooling, clothing, holidays etc but you probably just don’t spend quality time together. The “stuff” without the “touchy feely” invariably nurtures weak consciousness and a moral compass that spins easily. The values that cement civilisation, like honesty underpinning trust and empathy underpinning care, are weak so while everyone looks marvellous their happiness is compromised. And probably yours too.
It is ironic that it is family that suffers most because relationships make human experience rich and wonderful.
The solution is simple, though difficult because it requires a change in perspective. The solution is to give more time to family. That is difficult because, as the entrepreneur or founder or guardian of the wealth, you are busy and feel the need to work and fulfil responsibilities. But if you spend time with family, playing as well as working, you help nurture a positive culture in which the sense of entitlement is replaced by one of duty and responsibility, greed is replaced by empathy and anger replaced with humour.
You don’t even have to be that rich for these issues to be pertinent. Anyone with any prospect of succession will face family issues. The best way to minimise problems is to admit they could be happening and try to separate ownership of assets from management of assets from family relationships.