Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Age of Betterment

Earlier, Buttercup and I were enjoying some tasty dinner and a fine wine and talking about all manner of important life issues.  Being a prize husband, her sultry drone puts me into a philosophical daze with the result being that I have concluded the era from the mid-1600's until the 2000's should be called The Age of Betterment.  And better yet, the conclusion to The Age of Betterment leads to ... The Rise of the Machines.

Dude, I know.  But go with it for a minute.

The Dark Ages were a matter of survival.  Ignorance of classical learning, either lost or stifled, meant that humans retrograded toward animal behavior, engaging in war, and worse, a Feudal version of Survivor.  This era produced The Crusades, and that pretty much speaks to the tone of its time.

Next, the Renaissance, an era of art and enlightenment during which mathematics prospered if human endeavor didn't.  The Renaissance contains such annoyances as The War of the Roses, Imperial discovery and staking of The New World, The Fall of Constantinople, and numerous France/England clashes as Feudal Survivor went into overdrive.  The Renaissance also gave us great science and architecture with cathedrals across the European continent, and great art with the Ninja Turtle masters:  Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Raphael, to name a few.  This led to a dispersion of education, the natural cause and result of which are questions.

Which brings us to what I am calling The Age of Betterment.  By Betterment I mean the continual search for personal idealization.  Whether wealth, freedom, true scientific understanding (that free from the opaque views of religion) or anything else, the era from the mid-1600's until the early 2000's always maintained a tint of "we can do this better."  Beginning humbly with a quest for religious freedom, the Pilgrims voyage to America in self-directed exile of an oppressive King marks a turning point in human history.  For the first time in a neo-classical age humans reached the conclusion that fiefdom could not be maintained as a matter of ratio.  All it took was organization, initiative, want-to, and creative thinking.   But as human nature goes good things are exploited to a fault.  Gradually Betterment leads to greed, and greed to downfall.  IBM now has a computer that can compete and win on the game show Jeopardy against the best winners Jeopardy has produced in its entire history.  Betterment has not only created and made obsolete virtually any human job on the planet, it now nears a point that humans themselves become obsolete.

And so the final push toward the creation of man made self-awareness ushers the Rise of the Machines.  What true visionaries the Wachowski brothers, James Cameron, et al, are for latching onto the idea decades ahead of their time.  Here in Texas there still exist vast swaths of undeveloped land which clash with the concrete landscape.  Only 100 years ago, I envision the outlying suburbs as wooden structures emanating from water stops on the train lines.  One hundred years before that the Indian peoples hunted buffalo around the river bed just below our home.  Where will we be 100 years from now?  I don't know, but it's weird to think about.

"Huh?  Oh yeah baby, I totally agree."

Is "The Rise of the Machines" copyrighted?  I don't know, but before you sue me Probable Copyright Owner, know that I don't make anything off this blog and that you are a freaking genius.