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Alien Anthropology

The Triumph of Human Stupidity

There really is very little doubt that for all the magnificent intellectual achievements of science and culture, it is human stupidity that most forcefully compels history forwards and with which even our greatest accomplishments find themselves inextricably intertwined.

From brutally selfish autocratic intransigence to unmanageably complex democratic dissonance, politics is not so much a comedy of errors as it is a sequence of catastrophic organisational blunders that are only ever retrospectively asserted as successful.

An ethically unpardonable socioeconomic bias towards the percolation of a small number of people to the top of the pile remains as a collective consequence the manifest disaster of a greed that has been enshrined as a virtue but remains as something of an unpalatable, unacknowledged sin. Even as our science allows us to determine how these patterns and pinnacles quite naturally fall out of the logic and physics of complex dynamical systems, a deep and intractable horror incurred by the possibility of a different world (and subjective human being) leads us to not merely bad collective choices, but to the worst possible ones.

Conflict and war are everywhere. Passing through the filters and essential translation of animal fear into symbolic languages and psychologically reflexive narrative patterns, humanity finds itself endlessly bickering and fighting for no much better reason than that this is what people have always done. No one really remembers or knows why or when or how all this dissonance first occurred but it truly is a measure of our shared human stupidity that we endlessly seek to recreate the conditions and normative assumptions of self-validation for violence and war that cultivate an argument for no better reason than that this is what we have always done.

This is no light-hearted assessment of human potential and the possibility of a bright future for all. It is a stark recognition of the fact that while it takes knowledge and intelligence to perceive and understand the many words and worlds that we inhabit, it remains as true that human greed and ignorant stupidity has been the gravitational center of this self-propelling juggernaut for so long now that even our most sophisticated technologies and scientific concepts are so intimately infused by this that they quite unwittingly and only ever seek to recreate it.

Quite simply: the revolution we (all) need is the one we will never understand, that we will (continue to) refuse to see and this, sadly, seems to be why we quite plausibly do not find ourselves at the beginnings of our shared human story but rather standing somewhere towards the end of a catastrophically brief tenure as a relatively primitive, foundationally naive technological civilisation in this Universe.

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