Have we stopped evolving? Only time will tell of course… but I don’t think so – I think we have started our own evolutionary track – call it ‘technology’. It remains to be seen whether we will continue to evolve physically, but I suspect we will just re-engineer ourselves and possibly everything around us based on the current mindset of the majority. It might get a bit out of hand though.
It is fair to say we are at a fairly crucial stage in our relationship with the natural world, having given up being shaped by our environment and deciding to make it do our bidding…
I am not really wanting to get into Oryx and Crake territory – although I suspect that if things go horribly wrong for us in the future – it will be because someone in the present wants to maximise their gain by exploiting present day resources at the expense of successive generations. This will probably be due to shareholders wanting to increase their value in a company so that they can sell it off and enjoy the profits before they shuffle off this mortal coil. Very few corporations are concerned with ‘doing the right thing’ – it is contrary to their nature, and usually if they seem to do so, it is because they see it as a PR opportunity – a chance to ‘sell more stuff‘ by convincing you that they are doing it for your benefit.
I find the non-commercial nature of open source technology refreshing. It’s about people coming together to solve a problem because it needs solving, and often the participants want nothing in return except to see the software evolve. The value is in the solution and the reward is in contributing.
So, back to the title of this post, I think that the dystopia can be avoided by taking the open-source movement’s approach and applying it to almost everything. Let’s start with the foundation for life – our planet. It is our planet, yes. But it is also their planet – like this kid:
So – let’s imagine we are on his side, and we are capable of thinking beyond our own life span – how would we actually make a difference? I can assure you that it won’t be big business that saves his world, we won’t get there by buying more stuff – no matter how much is spent on persuading us otherwise. It probably won’t be government to the rescue either, politicians are more concerned with staying in office or getting into it. All this ‘Punch and Judy’ party politics is just a big distraction. So – what exactly am I proposing? Well, for now I propose that we get together and work it out. After all – there are some great open source software tools out there that will help the process, by connecting together the greatest minds and problems solvers, and let’s remember, as we surf around, that much of what we are doing is only made possible because of the fundamental human drive to sort out problems and that things only start to happen, and evolve when you get involved and contribute.
In the words of the great Buckminster Fuller:
“Take the initiative. Go to work, and above all co-operate and don’t hold back on one another or try to gain at the expense of another. Any success in such lopsidedness will be increasingly short-lived. These are the synergetic rules that evolution is employing and trying to make clear to us. They are not man-made laws. They are the infinitely accommodative laws of the intellectual integrity governing universe.”