Mollusk: Thoughts

My view of the world is an mix of pessimism and optimism. On the pessimistic side I find myself distracted by what I see as the emergence of human predators, the continuing evolution of sociopathic behavior, and people's eagerness to relegate to outsider status anyone who does not satisfy a monsterous list of irrelevant criteria. All of these things seem to point to a tendancy among humans toward social self-destruction.

Pessimism aside, I still believe the quest for freedom and social justice is worth persuing and has some notable successes, and I think that humans stand a good chance of success as we attempt to deal with major challenges like disease , as we create miraculous new technologies that will empower us as never before, and as our evolving consciousness combines with our new, extraterrestrial habitats to bring the dawn of a new humanity.

At a smaller scale, another aspect of social evolution that has become strongly prominent as of 2010 is the struggle between people who are on different sides of the development curve. This conflict is exacerbated by other social changes.

The Big Sort by Bill Bishop with Robert Cushing is a book about how people moving to be close to others who are like them have changed society so that opposed points of view which used to be common are now rarely encountered. Another book that looks in detail at the results of this increasing separation is Going to Extremes by Cass Sunstein. Groups of people uniting among themselves results in increased social divisions between these unified groups. Growing divisions between social groups has a variety of implications economic, political, and otherwise.

With ongoing technological and social development these divisions create a situation of enduring conflict. William Gibson famously said, "The future is already here, it just isn't evenly distributed." The nature of this distribution has been explored by Thomas Barnett in The Pentagon's New Map where he explains that the future of conflict between nations is between those at the core of the globalized economy and others at the periphery who are unable to participate. As he puts it, "Disconnectedness defines danger." Disconnected peoples make relatively little progress, stay in place, or even fall backward while the forefront of development accellerates. This patterns is true not only for nations, but related areas and cities. Because of all of this the emerging enduring conflict that defines most struggle between peoples is betwen the most developed, globalized, and connected peoples and those who have either been left behind or who have opted out.

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