Sipping my coffee from a local joint (who sources their coffee beans direct from farmers and roasts those beans themselves) while driving through newly plowed and piled high parking lots, NPR was playing “New York Times Radiohour”. The feature was on AI, Artificial Intelligence. A very earnest scientist was talking about how China and Silicon Valley have the opportunity to work in partnership for the good of humanity everywhere, rather than participating in a race for preeminent AI. He mentioned that when factory jobs, trucking jobs, farm jobs, etc are lost to people as AI takes over, the people will feel a sense of meaninglessness.
And this is what I want to ponder.
it assumes that work, any work, brings meaning to our lives.
Let’s get out ahead of this situation. AI is coming. So what if we subvert the dominant paradigm and have a meaningful blast while we are at it?
What do we truly find meaning in? Human interaction. Interaction with animals. Building things. Planting and growing things.
What if a post human-industrial movement gets us back to one another, back to the earth, back to our own hands for our own meaning making? Not to relive olden days of yore where we only had potatoes to eat. But a vibrant economy of doing and being?
I heard a metaphor a bit later this same day, that likened the human race to a finely woven cloth. When one thread is damaged directly, the whole cloth is indirectly damaged. When one part of the cloth is cared for directly, the whole of the cloth is cared for. I believe wholeheartedly in what I would claim as fact, as well as my strongly held opinion, that the individual must be healthy and that health wafts over to another and another until the whole enterprise is healthy and strong. The more the whole cloth is healthy and strong, then a more singular degradation cannot ruin the whole.
So, be good to yourself. And the whole will benefit. The whole can be strong for when a singular being cannot uphold their part. A circle. A cycle. A meaningful existence.
Seriously, this is what the holy texts all point to. i cannot be escaped unless someone is reading only part of the holy text. The holy text of nature points to this as well. All for one and one for all.
What is yours to be in this wide universe? Be that. Meaning is waiting for us to be……
blacksmiths and nail makers
Let’s put lawns out to pasture, and invite the sheep and goats in. Let’s share resources of community. Invite others to live with you, share garden space.
It is idealistic. For sure. But what is the alternative? Complaining that robots are taking our jobs, as we settle in front of the TV, buying what robots are building, being told what to own, who to be, dismally caged in dark houses, fearful of neighbors. We don’t need the stuff the culture tells us we need. We need to love and be loved. We need to be who we were uniquely created to be. We do indeed need meaning.
The industrial capitalists want nothing more than for the people to buy buy buy all that the robots build and make. What if we don’t? What if we buy what has been made by someone’s hands, with a smile on their lips and a story on the tongue?
Peace and Contemplation,