Seeing The Irony

In the past, if you were to run around the streets shouting at the top of your voice that you had a microchip implanted in your brain then before very long the police would pick you up and bring you to the nearest psychiatric hospital. If you didn’t agree to stay voluntarily then you would probably be detained under the Mental Health Treatment Act. These days if you were to go around shouting that you DIDN’T have a microchip in your brain then you would be lifted by the agents of the law and incarcerated forthwith in the nearest State Detention Center under the amended 2065 Public Safety Act before you could say ‘Captain America’! The option of going along voluntarily wouldn’t come into it. [The amendment in question  – just in case you’re interested – allows for the inclusion of a behavioural modification software package for repeat offenders – ‘repeat offending’ meaning where you have committed the offence more than once.] Law and Order is where it’s all at really, isn’t it? How can you go wrong with a good healthy dose of Law and Order? That’s why we vote for all these fine right wing politicians, after all…

 

No one sees the irony in this though. People aren’t very good at seeing irony, are they? The police who are so quick to arrest you certainly don’t see it – their job is to enforce the law, not reflect upon the absurdity of it. They aren’t paid to think. If you break the law people are going to be shocked and you are going to meet widespread public condemnation. But if the law is reversed, so that it becomes the exact opposite of what it previously used to be, and if you then break the new, reversed law, then people are still going to be shocked. You are still going to encounter universal condemnation of your actions! What does this say about people, huh? I mean, just think about it. Take as long as you like…

 

People used to have this thing where they thought the future was going to be good, didn’t they? It was big back in the 1950s so it was. It was all the rage back in the 1950s and I must admit that the idea makes a certain amount of sense – advances in medical science mean that we don’t get sick anymore, climate control will mean that there are no more natural disasters, the existence of self-replicating, self-programming robots mean that we don’t have to do any shit jobs anymore because they’ll take care of it and this result of this will be that life can be dedicated to such matters as education, self-development, creativity, spirituality, and so forth. You know the argument. The technology bit of it is fine, but it’s the other side of the equation – which is human nature – that is a problem. Human nature is the fatal flaw really, isn’t it? To a very considerable extent it has to be said that we thrive on the misery and discomfiture of others and this deeply unpleasant trait of ours is what puts paid to any ideas of the glorious future Utopia to which we imagine we might be heading.

 

Humans will screw up anything, when it comes down to it. That’s the learning out of this. Given an increased means of doing good we will pervert the means to do bad instead. We will do the bad thing every time. Given the Internet, and all the potential that this entails, we invent cyber-bullying and take up trolling as a way of life. We take to trolling like ducks to water, in fact. I know all this has been said a million times before but it’s worth saying again. It’s worth saying again because it’s true. Human beings will screw anything up, so they will. If I could somehow send a message back to all the scientists and technologists and computer nerds back in beginning of the twenty-first century I’d ask them to think twice and make sure never to invent anything! Whatever you invent – I’d tell them – is going to be perverted into an instrument of evil. Inevitably it is going to be perverted into an instrument of evil and humanity won’t thank you then. No way will they thank you! So whatever you’re working on, I’d say, for God’s sake just forget about it….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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