THE MAHARISHI GIGGLED

“It’s just old Luke and Luke’s waiting on the judgment day.”

Were people watching the creation of the steam engine and thinking, you know, if these things take off that’ll leave us with a lot more time to spend with our horses?

Because if so, that was dumb.

Likewise, those who accept on faith that society will become more rational because we are building gargantuan-tentacled machines spanning the planet along with super tiny ones to insert into our bodies, all of which we can then outsource our remembering, our calculating, and our decision-making to, are deluding themselves about the grand, glorious and frightening future which is pulling us along.

We are outsourcing the rational and this will lead us to seek out grander truths — and God.

We are building tech that envelops our life, ensnares our direction, and we will rebel — and seek God.

As we develop god-like powers, we will seek God’s guidance in how and when and why to use these new powers.

But you, personally, will seek out God because of Facebook. And Twitter. And Snap. And Reddit. And all of social media.

Because you want to believe, you crave to believe, you need to believe.

But our tools refuse this.

Anyone does something wondrous, you are alerted to the tweet that betrays their holiness.

Anything you assert is unique, the algorithms reveal this to be false.

Mortals, no matter how well equipped or ensnared with the very best technologies, will always falter along the path.

Falter even in a world of possessive super-powers.

We will respond to the demands of our machines by leaping into the emotional, embracing the irrational, and searching for unanswerable truths.

The Maharishi giggled.

Human.

It’s not enough.

We seek also to stand apart and above our machines.

This is hard.

The most popular course at Yale is on being happy.

Because we are failing at even this most human of blessings.

This is an odd crease in time. The machine is here to take care of all the rational bits yet we, caught between two worlds, each capable of eradicating the other, find ourselves hesitant  to embrace the non-rational. Meanwhile, drug companies are flooding the streets and our gullets with (legal) killers of pain and habit-forming deadeners of emotion.

When I was young, the cool kids would say kill your television!

Because staring into a screen meant you were not using your hands or your body or interacting with flesh-and-blood persons, or the ground, or the stars, nor your heart nor your spirit. But now, screens are everywhere, no matter where we are, no matter where we go, no matter who we are with, no matter what our needs, no escape.

But there’s always a way to the other side.

Be physical, be outside, seek out goodness, practice, commit, love others, make not everything so serious. Also, ask your dad for help with something.

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