Monday, April 9, 2012

Innovation OR moral relativism, NOT Both

If I were to tell many that society trends towards the positive, the traditional ‘thinking mans’ approach would be to say that this is childs stories and idealistic fantasies, we ebb and flow, history repeats itself and while nuclear technology can be used for good, we could just as easily end up blowing each other up and ending all life … this is true, it is possible, that is the mystery in between free will and the clearly deterministic pattern that occurs in nature.

But, when we come to realize that all of nature through all of recorded history has been that of expanding life, and we realize that nature in fact acts as though it ‘wants’ life to expand, somehow the actual reality of what nature needs today is something we happen to find very fulfilling, and we can see that the evidence in nature would not indicate a consistent ebb and flow of the same menial reality, but a net positive gain that is favorable towards expanding life, which is clearly apparent when you look at larger trends. We have been misaligning the actual realities of what is possible with the percentage of possible development that our systems allow us to capitalize upon.

Everything that is possible today was physically possible 1000 years ago, the only difference is that technological innovation creates new possibilities, it allows us to adapt reality to what we find fulfilling today which is an extension of what mankind has always desired.

Today, the simple math is that innovation always results in less effort to accomplish a task, and larger innovations result in a lot less people required to accomplish a task. There is not a linear relationship between the efficacy of an innovation and the needs that society places on nature, one person can come up with an invention that replaces the need for 10, 100, 1000 people creating a surplus of energy available to work on solving more complex challenges. The feeling of fulfillment that we get from being creative could simply be an illusion that nature plays to get us to solve increasingly complex challenges and expand life in the universe.

But, where I think it is cool, the romantic side of things is that my perception is at any point in history, people still hold the same ideals, they still enjoy a positive reality, they simply come to accept the notion that the burden of reality is greatly difficult. If we gave the person 1000 years ago the choice between free, independent and creative work, and indentured servitude (or the modern corporate equivalent), they would have likely chosen something that was primitive to today’s norm, but the more positive of the choices that fit into their worldview (This is the basis of human game theory models), this would indicate that our feeling of fulfillment is more than just a temporary evolutionary mandate to meet a need.

A better example that I think is demonstrable is that we in this world today have people that are still living in a very primitive manner, and if we take a child from one norm and inject them to a new norm, they recognize that more modern approaches do not simply align to human desires to a physiological or evolutionary difference between people, human desire and the notions of goodness do not seem to change at their core, people get brainwashed and adjust and adapt, but short of a nonlinear inter-species type leap, we find fulfillment in the same ways that our ancestors would have if we control for other variables. Morality, love, and fulfillment, if they do come from a physiological source, are the same to all people.

So determinism from that perspective  would then tell a story of a species trying to adapt reality to itself, and perhaps a driving force in nature powering this drive. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” G.B. Shaw


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