Noam Chomsky and aliens, nuclear warfare, ignorance, robotics…

I haven’t written in a while–I thought I might not do so here again. Remember that much of what I’ve got here is just a restatement of what I hear (my posts tend to include opinion), and you don’t even have to take it from me, since I don’t summarize everything (sometimes I just report the things that strike me as being most significant)–you’ll find a link to the original source of this information here.

I always like to write about my thoughts of what I’ve learned. That’s just me. Noam Chomsky has so far talked about humanity being an intelligent species, yet maybe not intelligent enough to stop itself from destroying itself. I think we all have potential, but ignorance is the biggest cause of suffering. That’s why I think a good education is very important, because we can all work on ourselves and be useful to others and our species. Too bad that there’s so much wasted potential even now. But we cannot feel like victims, because we all have a responsibility. What we do affects others, whether we want it to or not, and we can choose to help save this planet and its inhabitants, or we can watch it all go to hell.

Chomsky talks about nuclear warfare, and says that nuclear specialists (and others) such as William Perry believe that nuclear warfare is an even bigger threat than it was during the Cold War. There’s a journal for atomic scientists–and I think it’s kind of cute that an atomic scientist is literally just a (huge) group of atoms studying atoms–called “The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” which appeared in 1947 (the beginning of the Nuclear Age) and which created the Doomsday Clock. It’s not a regular clock–the position the minute hand is placed in relative to midnight depends on how close we are to annihilating our species.  Midnight means that humanity has been annihilated.

Scientists rethink the position of the minute hand each year. The sad thing is that scientists have been moving the minute hand closer to midnight, meaning we are closer to species annihilation that ever before.

But this is not a death sentence. As long as there’s life, there’s hope. Things can change. I cannot accept that fate. How can anyone? To do so, they must be extremely ignorant of our species’ and planet’s worth–and that is the problem. I am doing all I know to do. I think spreading the knowledge will save us, because it will equip people with the tools needed to save themselves and others. That’s why I restate this stuff.

It’s just really frustrating for me to constantly hear about more and more problems that the world has. My parents always have shielded me from everything, and now that I’ve begun to learn of its issues and discover it doesn’t work as well as I thought, I am constantly disappointed and that causes me stress and sadness. It worries me to see the world in the state it is in, and it angers me to see people that aren’t… thinking about the big problems. It’s a lot on my shoulders and it is on my shoulders because I belong to the group of people who want to improve the world and fix those problems and… I didn’t want it to be this way. And then my parents ask my why I’m mad. If anger is just sadness, I don’t get how they don’t get it. But: I have to have hope and optimism. Some things may be bad now, but they don’t have to always be.

Now the Doomsday Clock’s minute hand is 3 minutes to midnight. This is not to say we are doomed. We cannot be–that is beyond acceptance. But this must be known by everyone, since it concerns everyone–it must shake us up and cause us to think about how we can fix this problem, and others that are equally important, such as global warming. I’m not exactly up-to-date on politics, and the U.S. President’s actions, but (I don’t know if his stance has changed) I was aware that he doesn’t believe in global warming. The leader of the United States, supposedly some developed country, doesn’t believe in scientific facts now?

I honestly…

I mean, the president of the United States is supposed to be someone educated. A leader. I guess people can get used to anything, though, and view it as normal. Like the fact child labor exists today. Like the fact some people are extremely rich, while some people are dying of hunger.

You wouldn’t let your dog starve, because you care about your dog. You wouldn’t let a strange dog on the street starve, because you are humane. So how is it we’re letting people starve? Jesus–regardless of whether you have faith or not, this is a thought-provoking statement–said that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

I’m agnostic, but like I said–irrelevant. I used to wonder how  Jesus had acquired this opinion. I thought that it was harsh for him to think that rich people should burn in hell, just for being rich (my logic was that they weren’t necessarily bad people worthy of punishment just because they wanted to live the good life). That was back when I was more ignorant than now about the life conditions of some people. Now that I have learned more about how much people suffer because they do not have the basic money they need to live comfortably and have their most basic needs fulfilled, I have to come to understand Jesus’ point of view. How is it that in India (to name one country that has child labor), children working in construction have deformities because they are carrying things that are too heavy for them?

As you read, children–and of course I don’t think adults should suffer, either–are working at weaving in dimly-lit areas, where wool dust damages their lungs and the light damages their eyes. If this doesn’t touch you, then I wonder about you.

You know, it was actually in learning about the suffering of people who manually labored that I began to seriously consider robotics. I told you about my (hard science fiction) book Seveneves, in which one of the main characters–Dinah–has robots she programs to sculpt ice/ mine the asteroid attached to the ISS (International Space Station). Hard science fiction means these are all things that could happen–hard science fiction stories are science-based stories–and I’ve come to appreciate time and time again the immense usefulness of these robots. Many things that would be too difficult for people are done by them. In outer space, they are the ones most exposed to radiation. They’re more practical (human workers would have to be on life support, for example, taking up much more food (because doing all that work would consume so many calories), oxygen, etc.), and they allow humans to live more safely (they do the dangerous work).

I don’t want people to suffer, and even if they’re not in constant, agonizing pain, I don’t want them to be generally unhappy. I don’t want them to take damage if I can help it, I don’t want their intellectual potential to be wasted, and I don’t want them to be dissatisfied with life, and etc. I personally really, really hate mundane tasks, like doing the dishes, which allows me to feel sympathy for those who do tasks like that more often than me. I envision a world in which robots will do tasks like that, and will carry heavy things, and work on construction, and go on the dangerous missions (e.g. firefighting). Also, robots can be more precise about surgery and help people in that way–also, people who lose limbs want them back, right? There’re plenty of reasons for why the development of robots is important, and I think my career might just include robotics.

I want to help.

Thanks for reading. There will be another post, a continuation of this one, but I thought this might be getting a little long.

Also, this may seem totally irrelevant if you haven’t read my writing before, but I now think my temporary depression was perhaps caused by not doing as much work as usual–work is one of my biggest drives, and I always underestimate its importance to my happiness.

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One thought on “Noam Chomsky and aliens, nuclear warfare, ignorance, robotics…

  1. I agree with everything you say. I hope, as you do that technology might save us, but either way the system will have to change. Any system based on eternal increase of exploitation of recourses will be our doom. We don’t have much time. Thank you for bringing this up and making an effort. I shared this on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

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