Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 10:48 am
On Earth.

Were there intelligences out there in the galaxy - advanced civilizations that had developed interstellar travel, they should surely want to observe us at this critical time in our history, when the decisions we make constitute the difference between the life or death of our species. Were I one of those observers, saddened - but objective in my considerations, I would wager my intellectual legacy upon human extinction occurring as the culmination of the psychosis inherent to social, political and economic ideology.

Further I would wager that psychosis is so advanced and pronounced in humankind I could describe their condition to them and it wouldn't break the spell religion, nationhood and capitalism have upon their minds. I could quote them the first principle of the universal ideology of science - 'action in relation to valid knowledge has valid consequence,' and still they would continue faithful to the illusory, employing false bases of analysis for reason and calling the product rationality, using science as a tool to pursue the ends thus conceived, while ignoring science as a rule for the conduct of their affairs.

Correct in the latter, I could not but be correct in the former - humankind will become extinct, and my name and observations will be carefully recorded forevermore.
What I would not have expected though, living quietly among them, is that I should experience a desire for anonymity as payment for my wager - to be erased and forgotten as humankind takes the next step in it's evolution toward the stars.

Many hands reach out - but there are few I could more easily grasp with fellow feeling than a human hand, and it wounds me that it be withheld. Taken by the hand and led, of course, they would remain children - and spread their childish chaos throughout the galaxy. I am not so wounded that my reason is undermined. Evolution is the law of life, and extinction is a valid outcome for a species unable to live. But given the choice, now I would have it that humankind recognize the childishness of life lived as a fairytale - get real and grow up, that our grandchildren might be friends and allies.

The possibility remains but the probability is low - I would sadly have to report, were I an alien observer, and my obituary would be prepared. 'He gave his life over to knowledge, and was correct' - no greater compliment can be conferred, but it makes me less content than I imagined it might.


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topherfox
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 01:02 pm
@iconoclast,
Very well put. I agree with you, similar to what Plato had imagined, a statesman becoming a philosopher seems to be the only way for a good state or in your case, a decent change in society. The only way for the world to open their eyes to the non-ending problem of global warming and self destruction is too look at the world as an alien philosopher.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 01:15 pm
@topherfox,
The only way is to take the perspective of an alien philosopher?

How about we just look around on this planet, and have some sympathy for those who suffer?
topherfox
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 05:15 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
The only way is to take the perspective of an alien philosopher?

How about we just look around on this planet, and have some sympathy for those who suffer?


What I meant to say is that in order for us to see the big picture, we have to step back and look at it from an alien point of view. We all know the suffering that is going on, but we don't choose to do anything about it, or at least not everyone does. By taking a better perspective, maybe it will force people to rethink the suffering that they already know is happening.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 05:34 pm
@topherfox,
Maybe viewing things as an alien philosopher could help, that's fine, I can see that. I was only objecting to the use of "only way".

Quote:
We all know the suffering that is going on, but we don't choose to do anything about it, or at least not everyone does.


I see the value of adding new perspectives, and agree. I just wonder why the perspective of an alien would be particularly useful. Let's ask ourselves: why doesn't everyone do something about the suffering they see? Why do people buy a big screen TV when that TV could have fed hundreds of starving people?
It seems to me, the perspective of those who suffer, if really considered, should be enough for anyone with a conscience.
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Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2008 01:26 pm
@topherfox,
topherfox wrote:
Very well put. I agree with you, similar to what Plato had imagined, a statesman becoming a philosopher seems to be the only way for a good state or in your case, a decent change in society. The only way for the world to open their eyes to the non-ending problem of global warming and self destruction is too look at the world as an alien philosopher.


Who is it that is both intelligent, and having a sense of humanity who will not feel like an alien in any society? Surely, you give up on one end what you get on another. Less parochial, more world view; less parsimonious, more generous. If you live free in another paradigm you slave in this one. And the price everyone must pay for change is the pain where their shoulder meets the wheel. Knowledge changes nothing, and the judicous application of force changes everything. So what is knowledge if not selecting the right tool for every job? Some people use their backs and some use their brains. Which do you use?
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