Springingtiger's Blog


Chapter 11: Evolution.

And so I sit here in the eternal night of deep space watching my dictated words appearing on the screen before me. As lift my eyes to stare out of the cockpit window into space I find myself reflecting how little we have changed over so many millennia. This may be an intergalactic transport but it still has a cockpit.just like any airplane of the Twentieth century. Okay not at all like an old plane, but still sharing the name. Actually this IGS has both a cockpit and a bridge, but for solo flying on the long-haul I like the cockpit. When more of the drew are awake, we’ll use the bridge.

After all these millennia we are still using screens to display information. Yes we have three dimensional holographic projections, we have completely accurate Virtual Reality, but neither 3D nor VR has replaced the screen, merely supplemented it for specific uses. Yes screens have come along way since the first CRT monitors, but they remain, for all that, screens.

I think humans like a border around our information, it gives us the illusion of control. When you think about it even the most modern screen is little different to our minds than a sheet of paper to the ancients. When the first tablet computers were manufactured I couldn’t help but think that a Sumerian scribe could have just picked one up and used it immediately with little or no instruction. Even the name tablet harked back to ancient times. We have programmed ourselves to interact with information technology in particular ways and so we relate to the latest ‘ground breaking advance in communications’ in exactly the dame way as to the last. I wonder if we might be missing something.

Sometimes I feel that humans have created a frame to control their experience of reality, just like the frame around a screen. I can’t say I entirely blame them when faced with the enormity and infinite possibility of deep space. The universe can be overwhelming even in just three dimensions, introduce multiple dimensions and you trigger a natural reaction to retreat into the safe confines of a frame! the problem is the universe is to big to be grasped by the human mind and it is getting bigger. For all our specialisms, even collectively, we cannot process all we’re discovering.

People have always been too glib with the term evolutionary. Humans are not revolutionary by nature. Humans are evolutionary and slowly evolutionary at that. People like changes to grow out of that with which they are already familiar, they are incapable of embracing discontinuity and too great a change.

I always found the creationist debates of the Nineteenth century amusing. It is impossible for humans to be anything but evolutionary. Even clinging to outmoded ideas is symptomatic of the evolutionary process that likes to take manageable steps. That creationism managed to maintain a presence into the start of the Twenty-first Century shows a marked lack of intellectual courage and how that cowardice manifests as resistance to new ideas however demonstrably correct they are. By the time of the exodus from Earth and the start of the Diaspora even creationism had evolved if only so far as accepting that God had decreed evolution.

I think the Cybertron wars were in many ways one of the best things that happened to humanity. It finally gave them the kick they needed to actually evolve from an earthbound inward looking species, afraid of its own innovative genius, to finally embrace uncertainty and risk and move out from its perceived safety. Had the machines not precipitated the diaspora I dare say humanity would still be on earth sitting in front of screens instead of experiencing the sheer magnificence of the universe.

Sadly human nature still advances more slowly than technology and so what are effectively over emotional children, are given the reins of technologies capable of destroying planets. The disaster on B-4 was brought about purely by the triumph of emotion over logic just like the nuclear wars of the Twenty-first Century. There were those who felt that those who governed should be subject to some sort of test for fitness to govern. However the saner minds were shouted down as being elitist and anti democratic, which was true to a point.

I think it is in revolution that we best see that human nature changes little and rarely for the better. Also it is in the aftermath of successful revolution that we see that they are no more than violent evolution. Rarely does any revolution change more than possibly the economic and electoral system, gradually society reverts to its vices and divisions. Perhaps the dominant groups may change, but human society is human society and always the many are ruled and exploited by the few..

I have seen many revolutions, many wars, and empires rise and fall and afterwards we see how little people change in the treatment of the losers. I remember the Maccabeans, the Wars of Indian Independence, the English and American Civil Wars, Seventeen Forty-Five, the Spanish Civil War, the rebellion of the Independent Colonies against the Alliance. It is never enough to win, no the victors feel a need to destroy, humiliate and punish their opponents. There is a certain irony in the spectacle of people claiming to defend civilisation behaving like the foulest barbarians towards their defeated enemies and their families.

Human beings have a need not only to win, to be successful, but to be seen to win. They have a need to inflict pain and humiliation on others because by belittling others it makes them feel bigger. I found the conduct of the Cybertrons in victory quite refreshing. Unlike humans the machines felt no need to inflict arbitrary atrocities upon their defeated human enemies. The Cybertrons carried out risk assessments after every battle and the majority of prisoners were simply released. However they had no compunction about executing those who represented a continued threat. Unlike humans the machines simply killed those it made sense to kill, no torture, no humiliation, merely shut down.

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