Friday, July 18, 2014

Our Inner Inuksuk?

Inuksuks do not point the way as much as state: "I am here!" Their arms, stonily outspread as they are, do not necessarily indicate East and West, or point the way back South; the lone statuette is merely a marker upon a way ~ and that way is yours. You took the path that brought you upon it. And in the traceless deep of snow, or the hardly discernible shift of the shale, the solitary figure stands out across the way as a reminder that somehow someone was here before you ~ or how else do you think it got built?

Is there any thought we can have that does not find its origin in that which went before? Even The Tower of Babel did not rob mankind of a similarity of contentions, albeit guised differently; man is meaning-making, and man is empirical and abstract and self-referenced. Ontological, factually-experiential, and solipsistic. Every language has big words. And in every culture, much like that of Ozymandias, there is an instinctual sense that it too someday will have little but the crumbling edifices of its heritage to indicate it once was there. We shall have been silenced. And like the many crude Inuksuks of old, the statues we come upon or leave behind may be reduced to acid-eaten malformations, eventually, but someone else will surely come along and know that we too have tread upon this planet, and have left our mark.

The prognosis is not good. There are very many articles that have surpassed ‘The Silent Spring’and that point out that we are overpopulating, overindulging, and over-producing such that our natural resources cannot, and won't, sustain us. And the immolation rate, given the clearly observable death of trees and the acidification of the ocean, is in chronological terms drastically alarming; but in the day to day of our regular existence we are adjusting as readily as does the frog adjust to the rise in temperature in the pot on the stove, not realizing it will trap him when it boils.

As a panacea, 'The Singularity' is advanced in order that Biology may marry with Technology such that we become a global organism that, as a computerized consciousness, can make a lake and a forest out of a desert. One for all and all for one. Yet movies like 'Her' and the fascinating opportunities in 'Transcendence' serve to threaten mankind, rather than excite, entice, or invigorate him toward impelling us all to lose our individual ego and gather together in a complete sensibility about the balance of man in nature. That 'I' may no longer desire an 'other', another 'thing', or even want my own brain is too much for the individual to bear ~ and we will fight off any overt or recognizable intermarriage between our species and the machines, let alone its offspring! Or will we?

The future is upon us as surely as the energy increased around that frog is intensified. We are, item by item, whether technological or not, being subjected to the choices of others so much so that 'they' affect us all, and the individual, even if wanting escape to the hermit-like hopes of the family in The Mosquito Coast, or rendered as alone as Noah and his offspring on a dry mountaintop, is already subject to the effect of the flood of mankind’s makings upon the whole.

 The question is not so much what one does about it, but can one attain peace with all that which evidently already is? Such peace, we are led to believe, is the predominant practice of integration at its finest.

Or are we Inuksuks, with no purpose other than to be a landmark to those who may feel lost?

And thank to my scientific friend, Justin Neway, Ph.D., here's a most empirical essay about the topic:

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