The coming age of nanotechnology and why we may not survive it
The Nanotechnology Age is an absolutely fascinating read. As someone who believes that technology is only a natural and even inevitable outcome of simply being human I welcome it with open arms. You cannot deny a human his technology no more than you can deny a flower its bloom.
But the human evolution is a multi-faceted process. Not everything about us evolves at equal pace and not everything about us is as advanced as our technology. Nature or evolution as such doesn't care for this imbalance. There is no such thing as right and wrong as far as nature and the universe as a whole, excepting self aware and volitional beings like us, are "concerned" because it cannot be concerned for anything. Earth wouldn't care one bit if an entire human race committed simultaneous suicide tomorrow.
Only those capable of having concern can be concerned. Only those capable of valuing things can discern between better or worse. Only those fully aware of their existence as living volitional beings who desire more than anything to live on and prosper can proclaim threats to this existence as "wrong". Only volitional beings can deliberately choose to initiate a conflict with their own selves in the name of an overriding value. And this is precisely what so many of us are doing.
We are complex beings and this complexity makes us unstable. We are still in the process of shaping up. Either we succeed or perish. Nothing in nature denies its existence as itself, except humans. Nothing in nature deliberately caps its own potential, except humans. Nothing in nature feels guilty for striving to flourish without inhibitions, except humans.
We humans blame humans for nearly everything that we perceive as "wrong" with our planet. We humans call upon other humans to restrict us from doing whatever we desire so long as it doesn't harm others. We regulate each other to death, sometimes literally. We induce guilt in each other for "being selfish" and "worrying only about yourself" as if taking responsibility only for yourself while allowing the same to another is a vice. We have developed a suicidal society and a suicidal culture, a society in which violence against other humans is acceptable so long as it is done by a designated group, a society in which murderers are called soldiers and given medals and a society in which those striving to eliminate this violence are branded as terrorists.
Yes.. we tremble in terror in the face of those telling us the truth. The truth that we are slaves to each other and calling this slavery "freedom". The truth that we are at war with each other and calling this warfare "peace". The truth that we are fooling ourselves into believing that being a "good citizen" requires unconditional obedience to each other and calling this ignorance a "strength".
And now we marvel at the acceleration of technological achievements set in motion by what little freedom we allowed ourselves to have while still living in violent conflict with each other and ourselves, foolishly expecting that when such power as that provided by nanotechnology wont be used to continue this suicidal conflict on a whole new level, probably a final level.
The mentioned article calls for strict regulation by "governmental and private powers". What a backwards thing to say in such a forward looking article. It only too well illustrates the imbalance being described here between our technology and our own mentality and culture.
We still believe that giving groups of relative few, relatively dumber and relatively more psychologically problematic people we usually call politicians who have typically been the first to start large scale wars, initiated mass murder and command domestic violence through so called "law enforcement" on a regular basis to decide how the rest of us should use nanotechnology is a smart thing to do? You, other humans, have got to be kidding me! But I'm not laughing, because you apparently don't even begin to grasp the seriousness of what you're doing.
Government is, as many of its members have many times themselves said, a "monopoly on violence". In other words it is the only group in the market which is seen as allowed to use violence in its dealings. This is seen as a way to keep violence under control. If only one group of people can do it then they can keep others in check with it therefore minimizing the overall amount of violence that there is.
But who watches the watchers? Supposedly that would have to be the job of those who don't have the right to use violence: "The People", contrasted to government in such a way that it almost implies that the government doesn't include "the people" too. But how do we who cannot legitimately use violence keep those who can in check? How is this even possible? Threatening to vote the members of government out of their positions? Excuse me while I burst into maniacal laughter...
Anyone who has still preserved some sense of human dignity knows what a lie this is, even if you try to deny it to yourself due to social pressures and your natural urge to fit in. The truth is, we have established territorial monopolies on violence who can immediately or eventually override all of our "rights" because we believe there is a problem of violence to solve. In other words we are using violence to solve the problem of violence.
That in fact, however, starts a whole streak, an entire series of problems "being solved" by violence. Once we "solved" the problem of violence through violence we are also solving the problem of drug abuse with violence. We are solving the problem of prostitution with violence. We are solving the problem of child pornography with violence. We are solving the problem of poverty with violence. We are solving the problem of a changing climate with violence. We are solving a problem X with violence.
We don't seem to know of any other way to solve social and economic problems without the use of violence through that monopoly of violence we call the government. And now we want to solve the problem of nanotechnology abuse with violence.
What's wrong with this picture? Shouldn't it be obvious? How do you solve a problem of violence with violence to begin with and how have you exactly solved a problem of violence if after "solving it" you're still using it to "solve" all other problems anyone can come up with as such? Didn't you just create a convenient way to legitimize violence instead of solving it so you can outsource the use of violence (the dirty work) you would otherwise have to do yourself, to a group specialized for it. Every time you see an opportunity to change a law so it fits your own personal, indeed "selfish", interest you proclaim it into a cause and proceed to beg the government (a monopoly on violence) to force everyone to behave in accordance to this personal interest of yours.
And is it then surprising that even after supposedly "solving it" or being in this perpetual process of "solving" it we still have as much violence as ever coupled with declining freedoms and ever greater centralization of this violent power? How couldn't you have it. You cannot eliminate violence by legitimizing it. This only makes everyone into believers in violence rather than opposite. It only underscores the underlying mental problem with violence instead of eliminating it.
Violence starts in the mind. It starts in the family. This is where you have to tackle it and its causes head on. It is something to defend from personally and work against it within yourself personally by first choosing not to legitimize any violence ever again, including that perpetrated by this "monopoly of violence". There is simply no other way. The meme of violence must die or it will keep turning us against ourselves and each other except technology will provide us with ever better and ever more destructive weapons, therefore increasing the risk of the ultimate destruction happening - the self-extinction of the human race.
Humanity at this point is like an incredibly brilliant, but also incredibly emotional child who hasn't yet learned how to deal with the two in a way that wont lead it to a conflict with itself. It values life, freedom, peace and prosperity, but sees the elements of their opposites. It still hasn't learned how to attack those opposites without attacking itself. Yet it has dabbled with it from the beginning of its life with mixed success.
From what little freedom and peace it managed to achieve it built incredible tools and incredible prosperity, but still failing to find the final balance, still being in this ongoing self-conflict yet already being on the verge of godlike power each next move becomes more and more powerful and more and more disrupting. If it doesn't achieve the balance soon every next move could be the last one.
Some parts of itself grasp the idea, but it's hard to keep in mind for long. The voices of those who say "don't fight, don't fight, the solution is to stop trying so hard and instead live in congruence with yourself, rejecting all violence, all of this fight" are still dim.
But I am one of them and I hope that we can nail this one before nanotech revolution and its inevitable abuses by those who still believe in violence as a way of solving problems makes it too late.