It’s weird when you think about how far we’ve come in a single century. A small but non-zero number of people lived long enough to go from horses being the only form of travel, to cars, to airplanes, then to the moon. When you compare that to any generation prior it really begins to put things into perspective in terms of technological advancements. Never in history has there been such an extreme and fast paced evolution of knowledge. Various geniuses have caused us to leap forward but never before was technology so widespread and democratized. We are rushing headlong through discoveries and advances. Measuring things in both the extremely large and the extremely small with increasing accuracy.
When you consider we went from cowboy firefights in the late 1800’s to vaporizing entire cities in the 1940’s it really starts to hit you. Things are moving extremely quickly and they show no signs of letting up. I don’t think this is a bad thing but it does raise some problems. Society is built around slow burns, as is capitalism. They need buffer between the cause and the effect. Our government was built in a time when getting communications between states was a taxing and time consuming affair. Now you can send millions of pages of text from one side of the country to the other in a second. Data is moving at scales that are literally unfathomable. People think they have it but we really don’t. Between ten and forty thousand stocks (100 s/ms * 400 ms) can (and are) traded in the time it takes for your lids to close for a single blink.
Capitalism was built for a horse and buggy society with very little improvements in security over its lifetime. Now we live in a time where things literally change faster than a blink of the eye. This means that any problem in the system ripples out and causes great damage before anyone could ever hope to fix it. That would be the case even if we had a very active and agile political system too, it is only compounded by the other side of the coin.
Our three houses are all too slow to keep up. If you go back a hundred and fifty years having a lifetime supreme court makes a lot of sense. Things are moving slowly and you want people who are knowledgeable in the laws above all else. But now we’ve got very old and very out of touch people passing laws on things they literally don’t understand. Science has advanced so quickly and so profoundly in my own lifetime that you’ve got barely a dozen people in the entirety of congress that even appear to know what is going on. The arguments against climate change have gotten so stupid that they actually hurt to hear. Adults shouldn’t be this out of touch. But can you blame them? I want to but I got thinking.
Thousands of years we’ve had a slow moving society. During this time people fantasized about the past. Entire cultures were built around idolizing the past. What is Religion if not an entire governing body built around idolizing the past. When your future moves at a snails pace there seems little reason to be in the here and now. There is much more to treasure from the gloried past of the generations. Many of our first advancements that spread out across society were tools to immortalize the past. Pictures and videos to capture and hold onto those few moments of importance.
But now it all moves so quickly. Bolts out of the blue sending us into the stars. These generations are no longer fantasizing about the past. They want to think about tomorrow and where we are going next. All the social networks are about what is happening right now. Caffeine use keeps going up and the number of drugs and drinks focusing on keeping us awake grow and grow.
My parents and my grandparents (and likely yours) could hold the same job for decades. Businesses rose and fell in much less abrupt fashions than they do now. Or at least it feels to me like this was the case. Now even the most iconic businesses seem to be struggling to keep afloat. Everything changed and yet our method of commerce stayed the same. Fast food places raise their places, get purchased, or closed. Nationwide electronic stores struggle and die. It’s not the apocalypse but I think it isn’t going to change.
When I look at jobs now I never think about ten years from now. When I meet other people who are employed we don’t talk about where we are working but rather what field we work in. The modern world of business looks a bit like a gas cloud in space moving at a breakneck speed. Power condenses and bursts into light only to burst and leave behind bits for others to feed on. Repeating the process ad infinitum every decade or so.
Economies are likely not going to improve anywhere for a long time. Politics is likely boned for now as well. Corruption wasn’t quite as critical when it didn’t have the potential to destroy an entire body of water. Taking money under the table now can poison an entire city. These things that used to be just big problems in very small locations are now globalized.
I don’t think this problem is going to be resolved until all persons alive have been born in this period of rapid advancement. Which means we’ve got quite a while to wait. Until then the old ways will be stubbornly attempted and they will fail. They’ll fail worse and worse with every new leap.
Anywho, yeah, was on my mind.