HUMANITY: Not Just Singular.
The Human Condition: never so contingent, that we are forever prisoner of it.
Some worry about, others anticipate “the singularity”, when human technology exponentiates for all to see. Many expect that it is coming soon. But “the singularity” has long been around. We have been living through it, ever since human evolved, and they started to think in all-devouring ways, a couple of million years ago. The invention of mass transmissible global culture, hundreds of thousands of years ago, launched us towards the stars.
What’s science for? Aside from keeping our world up in the air? Science is what is known for sure. A (good) mom knows to love for sure. So, alright, there is a science of love. Human beings, as are many animals, all the way down to insects, are naturally equipped not just to know, but to understand what they needed to understand to survive as a species.
Orphaned earwigs, a type of insect, are at a disadvantage and exhibit reduced maternal skills. Beauty and love are everywhere. Transmission of knowledge is what brains do.
Humanity itself is a singularity of mind the evolution of creation (“life”) has blossomed into. Our technologies (“specialized discourses”) expanded over all of Earth, and expanded what Earth could be for us, as Earth itself became our province. And this physical empire did so because our minds expanded. Earth became an empire of reason (in particular, very hot, crazy reasons). Our minds expanded so much that they not just revealed, but caused, accordingly, new, spectacular problems… which we presently enjoy ever more.
Science is not just a knowledge of facts, but a knowledge of beauty which would not have been otherwise revealed. Science is also the uncovering of logic of previously unsuspected subtlety, for all to see. Thus subjects as esoteric as how exactly supernovae explode can reveal how explanations can go about things.
Beauty itself, is partly a matter of logic: when god touches humanity with its finger in Michelangelo’s famous painting, the beauty depicts a logic, and it is what makes it, in part, beautiful.
On March 21, 2016, NASA and its (crippled, but reconfigured for doing other things) Kepler telescope, revealed the visualization of the explosions of some supernovae.
Knowing about supernovae is not just knowing how the chemistry which made Earth possible was created. It is not just about knowing the size of the universe, and how fast it is changing. It is also knowing about analogies, metaphors, logics and possibilities we never suspected, and also about our naivety, to never have suspected they were.
Our knowledge of facts and logics, and of the beauty and possibilities they entail, are indeed exponentiating (or more). They long have been, it’s our definition.
However, it is now clear that, within a decade or so, most work will be taken over by machines, even work of a creative nature. The human work will have to be the all too human crazy creativity of geniuses, art never thought of before. It is already the case: the economic success of a city such as San Francisco is now mostly from the creation of so-called “apps” which are little computer programs for doing little things one never thought of, or could do, before (or assemblies thereof, such as the notorious “Uber” with its astounding 65 billion dollars market cap).
And we can’t turn back, because it’s what we are: ”Plus Oultre!”. As Charles Quint put it in his native French: Plus Ultra (Motto Of Spain), Plus Meta,
And the biosphere could not handle a U-turn on humanity’s part, weirdly enough. Actually, handling the CO2 crisis will have to be done the old fashion way: through brand new technological means, the exact way in which life already deals with it (after all, plants use CO2 to build themselves with it… although CO2 is notoriously chemically inert, thus nearly useless industrially… so far. But, philosophically speaking, there is no reason why human science can duplicate with CO2 what 4 billion years of molecular biology succeeded to achieve.)
Some may object that the preceding, however alluring, is a sort of sing-song, Patrice perched on a branch, singing to the stars, human, all too human (thus not really marketable).
However, not so. The poorly parented earwigs, these modest insects with big pincers for a tail, are themselves poor parents, because they have undergone genetic changes. They are victims, or, more exactly, creations of epigenetics, what controls genetic itself (and which Lamarck had anticipated). We, the genus Homo, have gone through 100,000 generations of intense selection according to our capability to outsmart our opponents (other, less performing humans, mostly). So we are the mental species, in all sense of the term: crazily creative, and creatively crazy.
This is not just a song, it’s a reality. Our reality. Not just our ethics, but our esthetics are dependent upon the sum of all our evolutionary histories, our genetics and epigenetics, and those progress to ever more understanding, and mastery of the universe, therefrom.
Thus, all speed ahead, we are special, we may as well admit that violating old norms and creating new ones is not just what we do, but what we are.