Can You Trust Mainstream Definition of The Self?
If you are one of those who still thinks that there is nothing wrong with our world, don’t read this. But if you, too, think that our world is going through chaos, maybe you would want to read on.
My musings here have been originated by the mainstream worldview usually expressed in terms similar to this:
“… if you really want to change how you view humanity, I guess you start viewing humanity as nothing but another species that developed on a planet with optimal circumstances for the evolution of that species.
This can be hard to do if you are religious or exceptionally spiritual [*my highlighting].
You could just think “I am just one in 7 billion living homo sapiens. My existence is no more meaningful than that of anybody or anything else. I am not here for any reason worth thinking about. I just am. Like other (advanced) species I desire shelter and food and my ultimate evolutionary goal is to procreate and ensure the continuation of my genes.” That’s it.
It’s not fun, but it’s not wrong, per say [sic].
I guess it helps if you look up pictures of space so you see how minuscule humanity is and that our existence (whether we become a utopian race or literally blow up the planet) is not in any way important or exceptional relative to the universe.”
Is that so?? Is it not important, really? If tomorrow our grandchildren will ask us “Why did you let that happen to the planet, to the animals and plants, and to the world?”, would it look like sound judgment to them if we told them: “See, you, and the world are not important in any way”? Or, perhaps, they would ask us: “Are you in your right mind?”
With all the chaos happening around us, I have recently had a good number of reasons to see that human life (and life in general) has become quite a negligible concept in a sea of more important things, like government, security, the military, the economy, the stock market, bonds, shares, the investment market, so on, and so forth.
Actually in what regards the crucial issue of identity, there is more polarity than ever before in the whole of our mass consciousness.
At one extreme, religious dogma has been telling us for two thousand years that we are sinners and unworthy, guilty of some “original” sin. At the other, science is telling us that we are just accidentally here, and the technocrats consider that we humans (are themselves included?) have become less apt than the increasingly smart artificial intelligence – AI, even at such uncomplicated tasks as driving, for instance. That’s why there are serious propositions to replace human driving with self-driving cars.
What I find mostly disturbing in this general frame of mind is not that humans are being unfavorably compared to AI – we do have less computation power or less memory – it is the belief that the ultimate solution to our current problems would be the machines. It is expected that they should teach us empathy and ethics: “the machines teach empathy, prospection, and correct agency attribution”, according to a Computer Science professor at the University of Vermont (here).
But I don’t think that I should entrust my children, my children’s children and the planet to the empathy of machines. Why don’t we “teach” them by showing empathy ourselves? Is it that hard?
Would it be easier to risk it all just because we are being too lazy to make an effort? Or too irresponsible? Too careless? Too “inhuman”?