Dizzy: My mother always told me that violence doesn’t solve anything.
Jean Rasczak: Really? I wonder what the city founders of Hiroshima would have to say about that.
Jean Rasczak: You.
Carmen: They wouldn’t say anything. Hiroshima was destroyed.
Jean Rasczak: Correct. Naked force has resolved more conflicts throughout history than any other factor. The contrary opinion, that violence doesn’t solve anything, is wishful thinking at its worst. People who forget that always die.
The Transhumanist, TechnoProgressive, Extropian (et.al.) communities may be deluding themselves. We might actually be in complete denial about the trends of the coming future.
Clearly there is nothing new to Utopianism spurring on potential and plausible denial of reality. We live in a world that is currently at extreme, almost ridiculous levels of denial of reality. Many parts of the world have come to positively loathe progress and what it brings. Great parts of Catholicism, the Orthodox Jewish faith, Islam have come to hate modernity, liberalism, progress, social change, technological advance and are not hiding their utter disdain. I recently attended a meeting of a Dutch author, by the name of Marcel Messing, and he argues in the most viotriolic terms, drawing comparisons to nazism and facsism when it comes to current levels of technological advances. But at the same time some of these people thing in harshly conspiratorial terms when it comes to what they preach against – you can’t have a conversation with the religious crowd without invocation of “the influence of demonic forces” (or in the illustrative case of Marcel Messing, mention of Bilderbergers, Illuminati, Serpent People, hostile aliens, Annunaki and “Archonts”). Religious thinking is too often the domain of utter ant-science and anti-technology thinking. This is reflected on the left by such bizarre movements as the anti-vaccers, and assorted leftist conspiracy movements that blindly flail about against things such as Morgellons, Chemtrails and much more.
But Transhumanists and assorted futurists themselves, despite making a consistent claim of dedication to Popperian falsifiability, scientific objectivism, rationality, materialism and “facts” may also be subject to equally unlikely assumptions. I always had trouble reasoning against the apparently rock solid arguments (and pervasive optimism) of people such as Hans Rosling or Peter Diamandis, but increasingly I find myself in disagreement the future does look all that rosy.
Now part of me, arguably, has a negative side. I get depressed. Transhumanism has allowed me to dream about and hope for (for instance) rapid advances in technologies such as Life Extension, even if rationally such hope should be at best fleeting. But still, Ray Kurzweil positively bombards my innermost with absolutely stunning vista’s of technological paradise.
Yet look at the world. I can’t say it any different. Just look at Climate Change (which is real, and may actually be much worse than originally anticipated), technological unemployment (which has now attracted traction with even the most hallowed right-wing circles of government), income and wealth disparity (which is now objectively, subjectively, economically, unambiguously and statistically worse than in ancient Rome, The Guilded Age, The age of medieval feudalism or even the Reign of the French “Sun King”). We see technologies of a degree of downright fascism and oligarchy in terms of mass-surveillance, electoral fraud in the US, complete lack of political representation, almost exhibitionistic corruption and arrogance with our electable leaders, targeted killings with drones (that primarily eradicate civilians), a complete lack of respect for the rule of law and absurd police violence. I can go on and on.
Many people have said it before me and I am saying it again, despite the crystalline objections of someone such as Peter Diamandis, every time in human history were even some of these issues were manifesting, it has always ended in mass-death (or purging) of the lower income/wealth half of the human species, in some cases quit premeditated. And now we don’t see just a few bad developments, we see all of them at the same time, over a miserable soup of rampant overpopulation and overconsumption.
The next decades will prove me 100% wrong or 100% right and I hate that uncertainty. There no longer is a middle ground. The species could literally elevate itself to a substantially better state, off the planet, in to paradise, in to radical life extension, and yet we clearly have set the table for imminent human gigadeath. Gigadeath, as in billions of human beings dying horrifically and prematurely somewhere in the next few decades.
What can I do? Other than write this extremely demotivating and depressing perspective. This kind of morose contemplation is what makes me a transhumanist to the bone. I believe in progress, and I believe in improvement and I can’t stand empty promises or lying or denying visible reality. But I don’t want things halfway and wishy-washy in terms of improvement. I mean, I like Utopian visions such as the Venus Project, but even that kind of idealism is for me not nearly enough. I want the whole package, the while spectrum of improvements. And last thing I can stand is things staying as they are.
But can we Transhumanists, TechnoProgressives, ZeroStaters, Extropians, whatever be absolutely certain things will certainly turn out better than worst case scenario? We no longer can, and that realization weighs heavily on me.