Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
Keeping careful watch over others or over your own actions, speech and thoughts requires practiced discipline and the ability to stay alert. This is not easy. Much of western culture and social life is designed to distract you and seduce you into comfort, somnolence, compromise and submission to consumerism, materialism and physical desires. What many never realize is they are being led into "obedience" and controlled under the guise of "freedom" and ease. Remember the companies who pressed their brand with catchy ads urging you to "Just Do It!", "Get A Mac", "Take the Plunge", "Shop Now" or "Because You're Worth It!" - spend your money on their products. Don't think just buy, or just "go" or just "get some". Consequences? Alternatives? Don't bother to think too much is the aim of all these companies,organizations,social media personalities and online platforms. They want to convince you, convert you and hook you until you automatically respond....mindlessly. They are not hiding their motives. They use words such as "captivate" or "reel in" to describe their marketing goals or mission statements. It is left up to us to resist their hard sells and to beware of their ploys, lures and tactics. Advertising as well as brainwashing/propaganda techniques, are persistent, pervasive and relentless; likewise we must counter with the same fortitude and vigilance to protect our values, budgets, principles, freedoms and our individual spirits.
The more precious and expansive our territories are-both internally and externally-the greater the need for support and protection. Life is in a process of constant change therefore we need to be constantly vigilant. Although we may have fought for and achieved certain goals such as skills, relationships, property, understanding and "freedoms"-we cannot maintain these without "vigilance". When we become too comfortable with what our ancestors and with what we have achieved, or we witness a slackening in our own communities, societies or in ourselves-we need to re-group and re-commit to strengthening. This effort may be met with resistance and push back. It is harder to go from an ease of being to a bounded, more disciplined and seemingly more restricted way of working and/or living. However, it is vital we initiate the movements toward boundaries again rather than have outside forces lean in and impose their own restrictions and control. Those individuals and societies who lack cohesiveness, organization, discipline and effective protection in place, make easy targets for those with more power and avaricious aims. I am speaking on both a metaphysical/spiritual plane and a material/physical plane.
There is a continuing struggle we need to be aware of, especially now with the complex technological advances invading our lives, imposed on us by governments (surveillance, mandatory digital registries, medical interventions,etc.) by companies (utilities, communications, financial instruments, food delivery, hospitality services, etc.) and media (controlled by powerful individuals, multinational corporations and in many countries by the state and theocracies).
There is a chipping away at the accomplishments and liberties fought for and labored over for centuries. The value of being a human being is being denigrated and diminished. We have to be vigilant in order for standards to be kept and humans to be valued. The number of industries which provide jobs that used to be done by human beings (now done by robots or automation) is decreasing every year. "The World Economic Forum, predicts a “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” characterized by unprecedented 'developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, and biotechnology.' And while previous industrial revolutions have catapulted the human workforce forward, this one may set us back — at least in the short term. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) researchers reported that, “current trends could lead to a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to disruptive labor market changes over the period 2015–2020.” The Forum estimates that a grand total of 7.1 million jobs will be lost as a direct result of many of our proudest innovations, and that two-thirds of these jobs will be “concentrated in the Office and Administrative job family.” www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/robots-replace-5-million-jobs-2020/
Others will point to more dire predictions: "Overall, the MGI report guesses that automation will displace the jobs of 400 million to 800 million people between now and 2030." www.wired.com/story/robots-threaten-bigger-slice-of-jobs-in-us-other-rich-nations/ The profit motive, in addition to less need for human resources, benefits, pastoral care for machines which can work 24/7 with no breaks, no unions, no healthcare needs, et al means businesses and industries are willing to invest more in technology than in people.
“It’s the great paradox of our era, productivity is at record levels, innovation has never been faster, and yet at the same time, we have a falling median income and we have fewer jobs." www.technologyreview.com/s/515926/how-technology-is-destroying-jobs/
"What was once created to make our lives easier could very well “threaten our existence” in the span of a few years. This grim warning comes from the experts featured in the two-episode documentary series “Hyper Evolution: Rise of the Robots”. Presented by teaching fellow at Anglia Ruskin University and evolutionary biologist Dr. Ben Garrod and University of Manchester electronics engineer Danielle George, the documentary aims to the answer the question whether or not automation could one day become our greatest enemy. Though according to Garrod himself, that could very well be the case." www.naturalnews.com/2017-07-28-stronger-than-human-terminator-robots-are-now-a-reality-warn-analysts-and-should-be-classified-as-an-invasive-species.html
Often, for the sake of ease, human interaction is replaced by screens and/or machines. One glaring example is in the fields of childcare and care for the elderly. Japan is the country most advanced in the "carebots" industry. Japan has the world's oldest population. They have trialed robot teachers and elder assist robots since 2010. These robots include special adaptations such as having 24 fingers for special tasks including hair washing, massaging, holding. www.bbc.com/news/technology-24949081 They invented a special "pet robot" to ease loneliness and isolation. They named the seal like furry "companion robot", Paro, and it is growing in popularity. Media is promoting this shift. Movies such as "AI", "Frank and I", "Her" (with Joaquin Phoenix) and even the Star Wars series promote the idea that robots/tech voices are capable, trustworthy, friendly and worthy companions. There are a few movies which present the darker side of human nature in robots and AI, "Blade Runner"-the "Terminator" series are some of the most popular. These present "child robots", "sex robots" and "robocops".
Even language is transforming to include robots. Articles applauding the use of robots as "co workers", "robonauts" and "cobots" making them sound as if they are "almost human" and just "colleagues of steel" or "part of our team", abound.
In a strange turnabout we already have media posing questions such as: "Can humans work with robots?" Note the word order of this query and the flattering descriptions of robots in various professions: "Robot surgeons and doctors aren’t affected by external influences like stress or tiredness and so make fewer mistakes. Having an operation under a robot surgeon may even make patients feel more comfortable, which is fantastic for healthcare." Or this assertion: "Robots can now perform at and above human levels in creative and highly skilled professions. Using robots in the workplace is a smart move for companies, because robots are more cost effective and time efficient than humans." disruptionhub.com/10-jobs-robots-replacing-humans/
Yes, it may seem easier and trendy to have machines do our work and be our "companions" rather than put in human effort, time and emotional investment but the ramifications of concentrating on technologies or substituting AI for human interaction and perceptions, is ultimately to our peril. Machines will never have a spirit or a soul or be connected to other living beings and the natural world.
As "flawed" as human nature may be...we are unique and part of the universe for reasons we may not be able to fathom but which are significant in the design of the Divine. Strive for self discipline as well as genuine human contact. Be vigilant and discerning about the proposed changes in products, media and society. This is my viewpoint as we near the end of the Lenten season.
Until next Tuesday,
* Some music created by human beings and human beings marching to it, appropo of this week's post-there is also forceful movement to create robotic "super soldiers" Can you imagine their replacements in this parade? Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRVS4XxSn9Q