Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Projects and Responsibility

I am currently working on several projects while attempting to live a healthy life and support it through employment in an economy that is rapidly destroying life on a global scale. Those projects primarily serve my personal needs for self-expression, discovery, and serving my values, among which is the long-term survival and health of the world’s inhabitants that my lifestyle is helping to eradicate. 

Until very recently, I had some hope that my net impact on the world would be a positive one. Now I am practically certain that the impact will be deeply negative, no matter what I do before I die. The best I can do is make it less negative; that includes nurturing relationships with other people, especially those of family and friends, and is the most compelling reason I have to continue living.

My projects consist of writing fiction; sharing insights on social media; and exploring through research and simulation how actions and values influence each other in order to develop strategies that serve my values. The projects are interdependent, with shifting priorities based on what feels like the best way to spend the limited time I have for them. That feeling varies with what is in the news (mostly involving existential threats), connections my mind makes between threads of experience and knowledge, and general motivation due to a variety of other factors. 

When I’m feeling especially depressed about the future, I “help out” the denizens of my fictional Simulated News blog who are working together to deal with their own extinction crisis using a strategy derived from my research. If the stress is manageable and I feel okay indulging in pure fiction, I continue writing my second novel, BIOME. My newest book under development is an attempt to share what it’s like to live a life of accidental exploration, through the fictional experiences of someone who thinks – and learns from getting lost – like me. 

My non-fiction blog posts like this one are both personal and speculative, grounded in years of living and study as well as occasional reactions to current events and insights from my mathematical modeling of history and the future. Introspection and conflict between values and commitments to one’s culture provide a powerful motivation to write, as I’m doing here and have elsewhere. 

Weakness and strength are two sides of what I perceive as normal existence, where changing situations determine which is dominantly observed both internally and externally. In this case, weakness and its consequences are most on my mind as the world seems to be collapsing around me and I am inclined to reflect on my responsibility for it.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

In Pursuit Of Waste

My latest progress in the pursuit of a simple, objective measure of values has yielded a testable model based on estimated distributions of resources throughout the global population. I’m presenting the model as a set of concepts and simulations for use in discussing and exploring ideas and explanations about the world as I’ve been doing in my first blog, Idea Explorer, and more loosely in my fiction as embodied in the BIOME/Lights Out books and the Simulated News blog.

To the extent that my current simulation is applicable to actual history, I can characterize my lifetime as coinciding with a period of human history when economic activity in the production of waste has had more value than people and is likely to result in the extermination of our species along with many others that are even more undervalued. I have personally pursued waste, which I define as resources that do not meet basic biological needs, and/or they eliminate the ability of others to meet those needs. In particular, I have devoted most of my life to the enabling and development of technology that can acquire and manipulate the world’s resources at an accelerating rate. 

One aspect of the simulated world’s future is rapid production of waste even as the world’s population crashes, which might be explained by the influence of artificially intelligent machines taking the place of humans to serve the purpose of their own continuation as the ultimate embodiment of waste. While I have not directly contributed to that, I have enough experience and knowledge to closely follow it and use some of its precursors in my own work, making such speculation more than an extrapolation of science fiction.

Interest in the role of values in the determination of humanity’s fate has always had an emotional component, alternating between the elation of discovery and the guilt of being part of a global killing machine that enables that discovery. What felt like a binary choice between personal longevity and happiness aided by employment of technology and waste creation, and long term longevity of the biosphere that encompasses and nourishes life, has been largely verified by study and evidence. Hope has driven the search for a third choice that optimizes both, and frustration has accompanied failure in that search. 

Technology as the answer to many of humanity’s wants, fulfilled by waste, has sabotaged our desire for a long future that only a replenishable and diverse habitat can provide. In the terms of the simulation, serving the value of waste ultimately overwhelms the values of habitat and people. By pursuing waste as a default in a culture where personal survival is contingent on it, contribution to the demise of life has been all but inevitable.