Capabilities VS. Actualities
As I mentioned at the beginning of part 1; right now in 2017 humanity at large finds itself in a situation in which it has access to increasingly god-like technological capabilities, but, finds itself still employing chimp-like behaviors. Even though we can do things like communicating pretty much instantaneously across thousands of miles, and, we have more than enough food and energy resources to sustain every human on the planet; causes of human conflict and suffering like extremist tribal-based ideology still exist. As a result of the ridiculous dichotomy between capabilities and actualities evident right now, it is quite apparent that our cultural software is in dire need of an upgrade.
But what, you may ask, will bring us together and get us to realize that we as a collective species need to upgrade our cultural software?
I will refer to a section of this great piece written by Hunter Maats when he said;
"There is nothing that draws humanity together like the challenge of facing an unknown environment. A shared challenge forces us to work through our differences. We now find ourselves in a technological, social and cultural environment that is defined by uncertainty. We are all in Terra Incognita. What does a global society look like? How do build a society in which whole industries are disrupted out of existence overnight and millions can find that their skills suddenly have no commercial value? One thing is certain, we need not worry about those minds going to waste. Someone will always find a use for them.
Yellow Turbans. Black Turbans. Bloods. Crips. Cult leaders. Warlords. Pimps. There will always be people who are more than willing to turn lost, young people to their own personal profit. They will indoctrinate and tell people what to think. Freedom and the wisdom of the crowds rests not on indoctrination. It rests on education. It rests on teaching people how to think for themselves. That is what Mixed Mental Arts is all about." - Hunter Maats
So conceptually it makes total sense that a "shared challenge" will bring us together. As an example of how powerful a shared challenge can be, I want to introduce you to our first Dr. Manhattan; The Unifying Nemesis.
"DO YOU KNOW WHAT NEMESIS MEANS?" - BRICKTOP
Our Unifying Nemesis is the ripped blue lad from "Watchmen" who can shoot lasers from his face and would be about 2 weeks of quality PED use away from winning a Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition.
But what you may ask, is a "nemesis"?
While I admittedly threw in the above Bricktop video for the craic because "Snatch" is one of my favorite ever movies, a more suitable definition of the word Nemesis would be as follows:
"An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome." - dictionary.com
The key bit of the above definition is the "a person" part. While "a person" singular may be unable to overcome a particular opponent, I would hazard a bet there is very little we could not overcome if we were to work together.
Dr. Manhattan is our Unifying Nemesis because of what happens at the end of the movie "Watchmen". In the movie we are exposed to a fascinating alternative fictional reality during Cold War times in which the US wins the Vietnam War and a whole host of alternative reality views take place as a result. The reason that the US was able to win the war was due to the US having a super weapon in the form of Dr. Manhattan himself. Dr. Manhattan basically came into existence as a result of a physicist called Dr. John Osterman being involved in a laboratory accident. He was given the name in the fictional novel/movie due to the fear it may induce in the enemies of the US as a result of the actual real life non-fiction Dr. Oppenheimer led Manhattan Project that ended WW2 which I will get to later in part 4.
As you will see in the below clip, the apparent villain Ozymandias turns out to actually save the day and manages to end the potentially apocalyptic Cold War conflict between the Russians and Americans by creating a situation in which the 2 sides unite and put aside their differences due to the fear of the invincible super-weapon Dr. Manhattan seemingly having turned against humanity at large.
Dr. Manhattan seemingly having turned against humanity presented a shared challenge, and as Hunter said above; "a shared challenge forces us to work through our differences."
But what will be our Dr. Manhattan?
What will be our unifying external force? What will help us all to realize that as a species, we are not fucking special in any way but are in fact just apes with big brains that through our actions, are acting like militant parasites ruining the only place we have to live and treating each other like shit in the process?
Since working towards creating a global cultural outlook with as much personal freedom, and simultaneously, as little human suffering for the most amount of people as possible, is seemingly not a strong enough stimulus for us right now in March 2017; I just want to throw out a few suggestions here about what may potentially unite us and act as our figurative Dr. Manhattan moment like at the end of "Watchmen":
1. Cataclysmic Discharge From The Earth
Maybe the Dr. Manhattan moment that will unite us will be a good scare from one of earths many super-volcanoes. An example of what can happen when one of these lads decide to blow can be seen from the idea that 75,000 years ago in Indonesia, a super-eruption went down called the Toba supereruption. This delightful event supposedly plunged at least a large chunk of the world into a 6-10 year volcanic winter with a 1000 year cooling period afterward potentially being as a result. (side note: screw global warming, global cooling is way-way-WAY fucking scarier. Can you say "dark ages"?). Maybe Elon Musk (the most interesting man on earth) is on to something with his whole Mars thing? The realization that our planet doesn't give one fuck if we live or not is about as humbling a realization as we can get.
2. Mutually Assured Self-Destruction
Maybe our unifying nemesis will be due to some of the people out there in the world who believes with every ounce of their being that an afterlife of paradise is a real place and that dying as a martyr for their religion is a surefire way of getting a first class trip there.
“You love life; we love death." - Abu Dujan al Afghani. This statement was made after the bombings in Madrid in 2004
Maybe someone with this belief will have access to nuclear weapons and would love nothing more than to kick off a global domino effect. This die hard belief in the existence of a glorious afterlife when you die for the cause is what makes these fundamentalist extremists very different to the nations who were in a standoff during the Cold War. This is for the simple reason that for these folks, mutually assured self-destruction is not just not a bad thing, but because of their extremist indoctrination believe it is, in fact, a way for them to get to their promised land. Believe it or not, however, this is actually a new development for Islam that is only a few decades old. In near 1400 years of Islam, suicide attacks only kicked off about 30 years ago. It even explicitly says in the Quran not to kill yourself.
"Sura 2, verse 195 reads: “Cast not yourselves to destruction with your own hands.” Sura 4, verses 29-30 still more explicit: “And do not kill yourselves … Whoever does so in enmity and wrong, verily, we shall let him burn in Fire.” - Matthias Kuentzel
You see, we largely owe the last few decades of Islamic martyrdom to an Iranian religious leader called Khomeini. Of course, it is not a novel concept to convince people that dying en masse for something bigger for yourself is a good idea. Just like the way our buddy Khomeini selfishly hijacked elements of Islam to fit his worldview and make it seem like a good idea for thousands of young brainwashed Iranian boys to march across minefields to their slaughter in the war against Iraq, there have been many other historical and ideological examples of people thinking it a great idea to kill themselves for what they saw as a greater good. As just two other examples:
- The Japanese during World War 2 had Kamikaze Pilots thanks to Vice-Admiral Takijiro Onishi.
- Norse Mythology had Vikings apparently excited AF about dying in battle due to the belief that if they died honorably, Valkyries would carry their soul to Valhalla where they could fight all day then rise from the dead and feast with their friends and the gods all night.
(SIDE NOTE: We should keep the above information in mind whenever we hear people blame the religion of Islam for violent events rather than put the blame at the feet of the small minority of brainwashed misguided individuals WITHIN the religion of 1.6 billion.)
3. Cataclysmic Visitations From Space
Maybe our Dr. Manhattan will be a rock form space. As an example of the damage, a visitation of a space rock can create, in 1908 a 50-100m wide space neighbor paid us a visit in Tunguska Siberia. The "Tunguska Event" as it became known produced more than 185 times the amount of energy as the Hiroshima blast. This was a monstrously catastrophic event that had seismic rumbles observed as far away as the UK. The only reason you probably have not heard of it is because the part of the world affected was so sparsely populated, the blast flattened 80million trees across 2000 square kilometers rather than hit a Russian city. Chances are you would have fucking heard of it if it hit Moscow as it most likely would have killed all of the roughly 360,000 people Wikipedia say lived there in 1908.
Even worse than this, if we were to get hit with a rock from space even anywhere close in size to the one that made acquaintance with the dinosaurs, every human on earth (along with probably all large life forms) will be obliterated. There is absolutely no reason that another event like this will not happen again. Just look up at the moon ffs, each of those marks are from impacts. Over time our beautiful yet truly Stoic planet will get its shit together like it always does and simply keeps doing its thing. Humans mean absolutely nothing to this planet we inhabit and we need to remember this. This is why we need to put a lot less attention towards fucking each other over with war and ideological conflict and put a lot more attention towards our cosmic environment.
(SIDE NOTE: If you are like me, and find the possibility that there may be a lot more to our history than we know of absolutely fascinating, you may have come across the work of Randal Carlson and Graham Hancock regarding being hit by rocks from space and ancient civilizations being lost. If not, then the below video is a great place to start. Grahams book "Magicians of the Gods" is a for sure follow up endeavor if you like the video.)
4. Rise of The Machines
Will we end up with the threat of an artificial intelligence overlord that will unite us? The fear about AI, from what my simpleton brain can gather anyway, is that once a self-learning AI is created it will learn so fast and spread at such a high rate that we will lose control of it. If you want to go down the rabbit hole around the potential for a real life "Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines" situation, the below video between two deep thinkers on the subject is a good place to start.
5. A Black Swan Event
Maybe our Dr. Manhattan will be none of the above and instead be a black swan event. One of the most powerful books that has influenced my way of viewing the world is that of "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable" by the super smart Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The basic premise of a black swan event is that it has 3 characteristics;
- The event is an outlier which basically means it is unpredictable,
- The event is of extreme impact which basically means it is a big fucking deal,
- The event is retrospectively explainable which basically means it is easy to look back and say something like "of course this happened, how could we have not prepared for/prevented it?"
The easiest example of a black swan event that influenced global affairs that springs to mind is that of 9/11 and it was in fact used as an example in the book itself. With just a few minutes of research online you could see how 9/11 fits all 3 characteristics with startling accuracy.
So What Can Happen Once People Do Work Together Against A Unified Nemesis?
So assuming we at some stage have a Dr. Manhattan moment, whether it be one of the potentials I list above or simply a slow creep of the Mixed Mental Artist mindset that spreads like a virus of the best possible kind; how do we establish order from our current and past climate of seemingly perpetual cultural chaos?
As an example of what is possible when people get together to solve a major problem, I want to introduce you to our second Dr. Manhattan, the Unifying Generalist......
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