Thoughts

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Why it is so difficult to have a Utopia.

If you’ve watched basically any movie or played any game in the last four decades you’ve likely noticed a theme. The general commentary that the natural trend of humanity is towards violence and destruction. With the rise of technology and our unprecedented connectedness it is probably pretty easy to just accept this as truth.

But have you ever wondered why? I don’t think the answer is all that complicated. The nuance of the answer, surely, but the basic issue? As with so many things this is a numbers game. This is an issue of entropy, or less obscure, a house of cards.

There are very few ways that everything can be happy and lovely. But there are nearly infinitely many ways that everything can be awful. Likewise there is a very precise order needed to keep a house of cards standing. Remove even a single card and the entire thing collapses.

Humanity works similarly. This makes sense because we are trapped in the same universe and must follow the same laws. And ultimately I think this is the crux of the problem.

If you want to have world peace you have to convince everyone that it is in their best interest. You have to convince everyone that they shouldn’t want for everything. Because it only takes a small handful of greedy people to set the wheels in motion to move towards dystopia.

This is why you can ask just about anyone what they want in life and you’ll find a reasonable and rational response. It is why if you follow the actions of just about anyone you won’t really be mortified by who they are. But the small group of people who would give you nightmares are enough to cause a breeze. And all it takes is a single exhale to shake the cards.

A small group of investors can ruin the lives of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of lives. A couple hundred people can lead to the deaths of millions in the blink of an eye. A couple dozen people can keep an entire country crippled and starving.

It’s something I’ll want to touch on in a future post. When people ask “What is wrong with wanting to make more money?” I think they are underestimating the very problem that cripples humanity. There is a point where extra wealth will have no appreciable difference in your personal life but it will have a negative impact, sometimes vastly, on the lives around you. And I think that is the problem with wanting for everything.

Another thing I’ll want to write about is how you (for lack of a better term) brute force this problem. I don’t think the answer is violence or simply imprisoning the problem humans. I think the solution is to prevent them from being able to ruin others in the first place. You must create a world where people can satisfy their greed in a nearly isolated state. Technology ultimately is the TL;DR of that future post.

I don’t think it is futile though. I just think it isn’t easy. Short of gluing the cards in place you have to actively make sure the environment is supportive of a house of cards.

By | 2018-01-01T18:15:10+00:00 January 1st, 2018|Opinion|Comments Off on Why it is so difficult to have a Utopia.

Ten Letters for the President | Obama and the Future

Before you read this, check out the podcast that inspired it. Another from the seemingly endless list of excellent podcasts from 99% Invisible. It’s only 16 minutes long, a few minutes fewer when you consider the ads. It’ll probably be longer and more interesting than this post regardless.

You are probably not aware of this, lord knows I wasn’t, but Obama makes sure to read ten letters each day that he is in Washington.

It’s an interesting thought. Often when I write to upper management I don’t expect to get a response. I’m not even considering the thought that someone will ever even see it. For me the expected outcome is that the letter will be lost to some automated bot. I basically presume that every company is Google. Where customers don’t really exist outside of the abstract.

Even recently when I contacted the corporate office of Verizon. I was absolutely stunned when they replied within a day of my message. And the email was such that I was basically certain that someone had actually read it and furthermore they’d read it thoroughly.

So imagine my surprise while taking my short exercise break today when I listened to this podcast. I wondered just how much this must weigh on President Obama. The President is, for better or worse, the face of the United States at any given time. They are the one that receives much of the praise and all of the blame for all three branches of Government. It’s not necessarily fair but I suspect that most people running are aware that they’ll be a figurehead.

Imagine sitting down everyday at your job and reading ten letters from your customers? Somewhat curated but ultimately chosen to get the biggest impact out of you. Imagine if there was an issue that you wanted to get better, like say Gun Violence, and it seemingly just gets worse? (I say seemingly because this is a nuanced issue).

How heavily that would weigh on me. I can’t imagine seeing all these concerns coming in. Joblessness, violence, fear. All these things that could theoretically be resolved if Congress would stop acting like a bunch of children. But you can’t stop them, not really. They’ll keep doing what they are doing and you know that you’ll be the one that ultimately gets blamed.

I know personally I took every bad experience incredibly personally at my last job. When I read support tickets I would routinely be troubled by them. The difference was that I was basically a dictator at that time. In many cases I was the final say on a lot of things. I went out of my way to make people’s lives better. In the worst case scenario though, my customers would just be having a bum video game experience.

Obama gets in letters from people telling him their lives are falling apart. And honestly there is nothing he can do about it. That’s a profound thing that I hadn’t even considered before. I figured letters sent in to the President just got filed away like the White House were a Fortune 500 company.

Now I look to the future. In about a month the Presidency will switch and a new person will be getting the letters. I can’t help but wonder. Does he even care? Trump has given off a persona at every turn of a man who basically cares about little outside of himself. Is that who he really is?

How will the new White House handle the letters? Will they see hands? Will he read them? Will he read ten a day?

It’s weird to think.

But this podcast puts a bit of something into perspective for me. I now get a bit of insight into the man that repeatedly stood dumbfounded and hurt before the US. Asking people to just give him an inch. To maybe, just maybe, stop adding to the pile.

By | 2016-12-04T22:51:24+00:00 December 4th, 2016|Opinion|Comments Off on Ten Letters for the President | Obama and the Future