Entrepreneurship as applied philosophy

It used to be that people could only paint the human condition as it was, embellishing and accentuating it but unable to do much more.

Dostoevsky,

Vonnegut,

Camus,

Tolstoy,

Dumas,

Woolf,

Hesse,

Sartre,

Sagan,

Salinger,

St Exupéry,

de Beauvoir…

What these and other enlightened thinkers and artists did and do so well is capture the beauties and frustrations that come with being alive, both infinitely empowered and trapped by our mortal human vessels.

Through stories of daily visits to the corner café, grievances with neighbors, love beyond the centuries, death, betrayal, war, adventures in the seas and deserts, simple absurdities, they captured forever what it felt like to exist in their time and in their minds. And often, regardless of when they wrote, it was the same reality that all of us experience today and 2000 years ago.

But these days, especially over the last few decades, we are in a period of exponential acceleration due to “technology.” Think of what has emerged in the past 20, 10, and even 2 years.

What is technology if not just an instrument to turn us into gods?

Today, life is becoming more an more surreal, and by surreal I mean we ask ourselves if we are even allowed to head toward the direction that we are headed for.

Because it does not seem allowed.

We are pushing the limits of everything we thought it meant to be human.

We are breaking the rules.

Whose rules?

Are we really allowed to print ourselves a new leg or organ if our current one fails or is that cheating?

How long should it actually take to get from Paris to Shanghai?

What does going to college even mean?

Should we be able to produce new meats and proteins in labs? How about clone people?

Can we really create other inhabitable worlds on other planets?

Could we ever explore and understand the entire universe, our deepest oceans, or even just our highly intricate minds?

Are we going to be able to fly and know what everyone else is thinking? Are we going to live in VR or AR?

Will the average human survive hundreds, thousands of years? More?

Will there be any jobs anymore? Governments? Wars? Taxes? Banks?

Are we going to “merge” with machines? What does that even mean? Are they just going to rule and enslave us? Will they actually have a consciousness of their own, like ours?

Do we already life in a simulation?

How powerful will one person or organization be allowed to be?

What is even natural? Is the black plague or dying at 35 the natural cycle of life? How about cancer and old age?

Why does it feel like we are moving in this direction whether we want it or not?

Who actually controls how we are modernizing? Why are some things actually inevitable?

What is the end point? Is it good or evil?

Do we even want all this chance or are we losing what we love most about life?

That is, life.

Ephemerality, fragility, teenage irreverence, irresponsibility, infatuation and love, rock and roll, speeding down the Italian coast visiting the small villages untouched by modern life and globalized culture, enjoying the sunset far away from everything we someone we love, a bonfire and a bottle of wine…

Bezos,

Musk,

Page,

Ma,

Jobs,

Gates,

Zuckerberg.

These are the new, modern philosophers. Had they been less empowered by our changing times, several of these may have just been storytellers, sharing with us the worlds they imagine.

But today, they are given the tools to do more, even from the very beginnings of their adventures when they are not yet powerful.

They can make it happen, whatever it is they have in mind. (So can you.)

They are applied philosophers.

They all have opinions and directions they are suggesting we take, some of which agree with the general direction we seem to be heading for, if there is even such a thing.

Today, whether you want it or not, the definition of the human condition is very quickly changing.

And you have the chance to share your opinion, that big beautiful picture that’s in your mind not just in writing, but in application.