Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Infinite Income, Throughput, How much is Enough for You?

With the unlocking of Nature's secrets, mapping math to phenomenon in a way that allows us to develop clever technology, we have come upon a strange and new world: A world of infinite resources.
Your infinite gifts come to me through these small hands of mine. Ages pass and still you pour, and still there is room to fill.
The "hard science" limits for effectively infinite resources come from nanotech and fusion power. There may be some crazy free-energy generator out there but it doesn't matter, fusion is good enough.

(Consider the Sun. That's a fusion power puddle nearly a hundred million miles away and if you look at it too long the energy it emanates will destroy your retinas permanently. Respect.)

In personal terms, imagine that you could write a check and in the space for "amount" put "∞" (that's the infinity symbol) and hand it to people and they would give you whatever.

Sounds like a crazy dream world, right?

Well get used to it. It's coming.

There is a catch though: everyone else can do the same thing.

So the question becomes, "What does that world look like?" How would we operate in a land where anyone has access to tremendous power (in the scientific, physical sense) and resources?

Not everything would be abundant, to be sure.

Time is one limit that never goes away. Our friend the Reaper gathers us all to her strange purpose one day, never forget that.

The surface of the Earth is another "resource" that's not getting any bigger ("Seasteads" notwithstanding.)

When I was a kid I thought that if we could just create a good enough system the people in it would be happy and content.

I read something that Gandhi said that stopped me in my tracks, to the effect that "you can't create a system so good that it relieves the people in it from the effort of striving to be good themselves."

Whether your backyard is an alley full of trash or the whole solar system this fundamental challenge remains: What are you for?

In the face of the on-rushing techno-Singularity the whiz-bang factor is something of a "red herring".

The deeper story concerns us confronting ourselves inescapably and deciding once and for all: Shall we destroy ourselves or transcend our limited self images together as one family?

Let's assume you are on "Team Love".

You can have anything you want, so how much is enough?

Here's my list:
  • Most of the time I'm perfectly happy with a very small studio apartment, as long as I get a lot of sunlight and it has a large garden. I also want to be within walking distance of a nice cafe and a large wild forest.
  • Sometimes I'd like to visit places like Hawaii and Antarctica, and every once in awhile I'd like to stay in something like a luxury condo or hotel suite.
  • I want to visit the Moon, and I want to visit Jupiter and hang-glide in the clouds there.
Not so much, eh? Not going to "break the bank" is it?

The simple fact of the matter is that desire operates like a fire: the more you feed it the more it consumes, leaving nothing.

No technology in the Universe can change the fact that you will die and happiness doesn't flow from things nor impermanent fleeting experience.

Your real challenge is not acquiring things or running around chasing whatever. Your real challenge is sitting down and learning who you really are.

(And for meeting that challenge you can have whatever you want, just ask for it.)

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