The Human Experiment
It remains unclear to me why, with the knowledge we have gathered around computing, our nascent understanding of the the inner workings of the squishy matter in our craniums, quantum physics, and our tiny place in this ever expanding universe, that we still seem to have so much difficulty with the simple and surely oldest task of interacting. One human with another.
On some level the mechanisms by which we, as animals, behave with one another, continue on in the same fashion as they have for millennia. We continue to sniff test each other (albeit more metaphorically than ever in most cases) determining whether or not our opposing human may be of suitable genetic material for potential mating, and then we go about toiling away a large majority of our lives worrying, planning, and working for the believed good life. The accoutrements necessary for familial stability. This of course looks different culture to culture, from socio-economic sphere to sphere, but all in all it carries on much the same way.
What I find starkly bizarre is the real lack of innovation in the realm of interpersonal communication at a society wide level, or even community/tribal level.
One might argue that speech has never been freer, despite whatever may be happening regarding the current administrations encroachment on our rights, this is certainly far and away mostly the freest era of recorded human history. This should provide the backdrop for a focus on exactly these phenomenon that perhaps the Victorian era would have tried to corset.
One could even point to mass gatherings the likes of Burning Man, where thousands congregate to shed their normative societal identity markers of job title, parentally bestowed names, and even clothes, in order to maybe be someone who interacts on a more vulnerable, compassionate level with their fellow sapiens.
But alas this is a few weeks in the desert. Whatever of this ethos that might be carried home and spread within our culture like the dust of the Playa itself is still fractional in scale.
There is research in abundance regarding how to win friends and influence, who makes the executive cut, the lengths we will go to avoid pain or pleasure under specific societal influence. But where are the breakthroughs regarding how we might construct a world where we feel legitimately supported by one another? Where is the actual data that might back up these kind of changes?
I am not content with using spiritual texts as a guide by which to try to transform society, as ultimately even the wisest words of genius humans fall prey to a gravity that sends their apostles plundering towards dogmatic interpretation.
I call the anthropologists, the sociologists, the psychologists. Those who observe human behavior and the human mind on levels micro and macro. How can we implement experiments that further our understanding of the nature of vulnerability, compassion, and mystery in a way that might allow a society motivated by profit to even subtly shift its behavior?