Notes for the Book: The Future of Enlightenment

More thoughts coming together. A famous quote is this from SF author William Gibson: “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” (There are variants of this phrase around the web also.)

Then there was a video I saw on YouTube that presented legitimate and dumb-ass reasons for not wearing masks. Here it is: (For some reason it plays twice. It’s less than 90 seconds long.) The former reasons include rare skin conditions, being a small child, etc.; the latter are the familiar knee-jerk reactions against science or expertise, the fetishization of personal freedom, just being a jerk, and so on.

The specific reasons aren’t the point; it’s that in general these attitudes will never go away. They are part of human nature; they are manifestations of group identities, tribal identities, the priority for most to conform rather think independently, which risks mistrust or ostracization from one’s community or social group.

And my thought from these extends some of my earlier posts, some tagged “notes for the book,” about hierarchies of knowledge and awareness, how we are living in a modern in world in which most of the answers to most of the big questions are now *known*… yet most people don’t care, or actively reject them. So this could be formulated, let’s see…

No matter how far science advances, no matter how fully the big questions about the universe and human existence are known, this knowledge will extend to only a tiny fraction of the human race. It will never be evenly distributed. There will never be a future enlightened state of humanity in which all the old superstitions and prejudices have been overcome or set aside in favor of a common, mature understanding of humanity’s place in the universe. Rather, most people will be happy, thank you very much, to live lives that prioritize their own group’s place and status (inside a bubble, so to speak), and outside of that, consider everything else as irrelevant, or to be explicitly rejected as threatening that privileged status.

It’s those who have so little grip on actual reality, as revealed by millennia and centuries of systematic investigation, who are most attracted to various outrageous ideologies, it seems, whether it’s Scientology, Christianity, or QAnon, that have (quite apparently) superficial naive appeal but that fall apart into incoherency on close examination.

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