Posts tagged fulfillment
The Land of the "Free" and Home of the Depressed

Few phrases captivate the modern mind like “the pursuit of happiness.” With life and liberty are assured, this becomes the de facto point of most people’s existence. Yet for something so central to our choices, it is surprising how little we understand about what will make us “happy.”

Nationally, the number of school shootings, drug overdoses, and suicides have been growing steadily for years. We have less inequality, less violence, more medications, more mandatory sensitivity trainings, more pleasure, and fewer pains. So what the hell is wrong with us?

As life grants more and more of our wishes people are finding that what they want is the problem. Pursuing happiness might not be such a great idea after all.

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John Henry, Automation, and the Future of Human Usefulness

Yuval Noah Harari’s book, Homo Deus, predicts that a world could emerge where even our choices are relegated to technology. Body monitors tracking physical reactions and lifetime patterns may be better than our own minds for deciding marital partners and every other conceivable choice. Harari notes that the common robo-future dystopia of machines becoming self-aware and deciding to eradicate humanity is the far less likely and less scary option. More likely, the technology will work perfectly, freeing us from any inconvenience such as living life.

Humans are not fulfilled by gifts and creature comforts. These enhance life’s immense richness, but few lessons are better documented than the terrible angst and dissatisfaction that follows hedonistic orgies of consumption. Rather, humans need a sense of competency and connection to thrive. People need to feel authentic and a part of something greater than themselves where they offer essential contribution.

Automation can offer free time to feed our better nature, or mindless distraction to enslave us to a need for evermore mindless consumption. Technology can work with us to empower what is beautiful about humanity, or cause us to lose it all together. Culture is our power. Art is our power. Humanity is more than any mechanization. Adversity and problems are what give life meaning. We are not at a loss for major problems- we’re at a loss for the inclination to act.

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