Thursday, March 05, 2015

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp -- or what's a heaven for?

There's a repeated theme in fiction - that of the evils of technology and advancement. There are concepts that humans shouldn't "Play God" with certain things (always with ambiguous criteria,) that there are things we are "not meant to know," and that we "shouldn't meddle with nature."

These ideas are all idiotic. Knowledge is everything. Our brains are our adaptability. Humans are alive and dominant today because our ancestors -- tropical hairless primates adapted to life in jungles and coastal Africa -- decided to spread beyond our comfortable habitat zones, and found ways to do it. At every step throughout history, people have hit the limits of their understanding and knowledge and decided to invoke intelligent design, as if the universe were mysterious and humans could never figure it out. And at every one of those steps, someone figured it out and found a way to move us forward. If anyone had ever listened to those suggesting we "Shouldn't meddle with nature," we'd still be hunter-gatherers living in caves.

 There's no such thing as going too far in science and technology. We are the masters of our own destiny, our own future. We can take charge of our own evolution, and engineer our own apotheosis. We can become the gods we invented. There are no limits for us, and unlike the fable of Nimrod at Babel, there's no malevolent divine to confuse our languages and halt our progress. So resist those who suggest we should hobble our own advancement. Tell those who fear science and technology all it's done for us. Be proud of what you are, and strive to make us all better. We are the pinnacle of natural selection on Earth, but we can't stop moving, we can't become stagnant. We can't stop evolving or we will die.

The Bard wrote it best in Hamlet (even if Hamlet intended it in irony): "What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!"

Don't set limitations for us based on some false perception of our limited potential.

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