Here’s the bad news: the world’s economy is getting worse, you’re a little chimp destined for sickness and death (or a tragic bungee diving accident), there is no god to care about your struggles, no karma to enact redemption, people will forget you, and you’ll probably get less cute over the next forty years of eating and breathing.
Here’s the good news! Someone is finally making the Hoverboard!
No! Kidding! Here’s the REAL good news: in a cruel and confusing world, you happen to be the animal on the planet with the coolest superpower. We’re all X-Men. But even better. We trump the powers of flight, super speed, space travel, telekinesis, super-healing, super strength……in fact, we already have some of those, and the ones we don’t (invisibility?) we someday will.
Because we have the power of explanation. Anything that can be imagined can be turned into reality given that it obeys the extremely generous laws of physics. Cure for cancer? Why the hell not? No more poverty or hunger? Who’s stopping us? Artificial intelligence? Immortality? Colonizing other planets?
Yes, I’m serious. And stop calling me a nerd.
As humans, we have the unique ability to be creative and find underlying explanations for the causal structure of the physical world (the ONLY world, by the way). We solve problems. Mother Nature is a bitch, and human beings are the first creatures (in our vicinity of space) to turn intelligence into a physical force, to actually know, and to care, about genes, evolution, stars, planets, the way viruses work, fossils, ethics, morality…
I am writing this in a bit of desperation. In all honesty, talking and writing about human progress, enlightenment, and reason, and what I believe to be the truth puts me at odds, almost always, with family and dear friends (and fans). People nearly always disagree with me on some deeply personal level and find my views as emotionally repulsive. What is going on? Is this the kind of stubborn society we want to live in? I’ve even lost friendships over these issues. But I keep going, only because truly believe that enlightened thought is the only hope for us as a species, and the sooner we understand it, the less suffering we will have to endure. And the better TV we’ll have, by the way. Bonus.
Literally. Less suffering. More goodness.
That’s what I think, and I think I’m right. I’ve had more than my fair share of the evidence from the other side. I’ve heard the other side of the debate literally hundreds of times. I’m not talking god debate, or religion debate strictly….there is a more subtle and insidious line of thinking burrowing its way into American culture as of late. People idealize and encourage deeply held belief systems (a horrible condition for progress), whether political, or religious, or pseudo-scientific. We are good with sound bytes. We are not good with subtlety, we are not open to persuasion.
Through all the hundreds and hundreds of people that have tried to tell me I’m wrong, that god exists, that I’m horrible for thinking otherwise, that charms work, that the world will end in 2012, that aliens have visited earth, that science never solves anything, that every opinion is valid, that ethics are subjective, that quantum mechanics is magic, that reality is only perception, that “we can’t ever know anything”, I still end up at the same logical answer, that all of that is bogus. I used to believe those things myself. Through a bit of reading and logic, I found out I was wrong. The truth is more fun, exciting, and interesting, and has led me here.
Oh, and the new music is going great.
Image Credit & Copyright: Stephen Leshin