Dangerous World?

A Dangerous World? Threat Perception and US National Security

It seems clear to me that there is always an evolving balance. Knowledge and technology are morally neutral, it is what we do with them that defines danger. As we gain knowledge we gain power to overcome the risks that were once inherent in nature, but increase the risk from rogue people.

It seems clear to me that we are rapidly approaching a tipping point where our security demands a new level of cooperation. Market based values are not compatible with cooperation at this level, because they are fundamentally grounded in scarcity, and cooperation at this level demands an abundance of essentials.

So yes – it seems that our need for security, and our exponential development of both knowledge and technology may be about to make both markets (and capitalism) and nation states, obsolete – so in this sense, the world is dangerous to such notions. But it also seems possible that we are in a time that holds the promise of profound individual security and freedom that exists beyond the paradigms of money and nations.

[followed by]

Couldn’t find any reference to such a quote from Thomas J Watson, but found quite a few others that are quite profound in this context:

“The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas and enthusiasm.”

“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity.”

“If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.”

“If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.”

[followed by]

Two major technological components seem to me to be required in an alternative to market based values.

In logic, to create a viable alternative to scarcity based values one must remove scarcity from all the critical factors of existence. One technical solution to this problem is to create a self replicating set of machines that are programmed to use solar power and local mass to create both copies and all the essential goods and services required to maintain human life. If it takes US$30 billion and 10 years to create the first such machine (the biggest programming challenge ever taken on by a full order of magnitude), and it has a two week doubling time, then within two years of creating the first we can deliver one such machine to every person on the planet, and still have a substantial inventory for needed major society wide engineering projects.

The other major aspect is around maintaining a free society.
Eleanor Roosevelt stated it nicely – “The war for freedom will never really be won because the price of our freedom is constant vigilance over ourselves and over our Government.”
In this respect, it seems to me that the developing automated systems to assist in maintaining distributed trust networks is an essential part of empowering “eternal vigilance”. A free and distributed (decentralised) internet is a foundational requirement.

Both such things are on the horizon for emerging from the technical trends we currently see. However, there is a real risk of major systemic instability prior to their emergence unless there is real directed development in those directions (capital investment – within the current dominant paradigm).

At the non-technical (spiritual) level the need seems to be to develop an awareness of the need for both liberty and universals.

In this respect I am strongly drawn to Henry David Thoreau – “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”

And also Thomas Woodrow Wilson – “The history of freedom is a history of resistance. The history of freedom is a history of limiting governmental power.”

Current trends seem to be going strongly in the opposite direction.

And one final quote from the Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal:
“Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore, (individual citizens) have the duty to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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