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October 19, 2005



I don't like the whole notion that we need "saving." We do a lot of things wrong. We do a lot of damage to the world. But to be "saved" from these tendencies would require us to undergo major software and hardware revisions, so to speak. Whatever changes would need to be made might leave us less than human. Would it be worth being "saved" like that?


I bet this sounded smart when you typed it out , but yet again it shows just how out of touch you are with the sl you built. Unless of course your planning on bombing all of sl.

Prokofy Neva

I've been thinking about a lot of the same issues, reading and reviewing "The World of Andrei Sakharov. A Russian Physicist's Path to Freedom (Oxford University Press) and "The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov" ed. by Joshua Rubenstein (Yale University Press). Sakharov was the Soviet physicist who designed the hydrogen bomb for the Soviets in response to the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was also winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his challenging of such Soviet atrocities as the GULAG and the invasion of Afghanistan.

Sakharov first began challenging the Soviet system when they wanted to test the bomb above ground. He saw that people were actually getting sick and dying from these tests and urged they be moved below ground. As he further confronted the Soviet monolith that had granted him a privileged position as an honoured scientist, he took on more and more fundamental challenges to the system, including the very notion that technology itself would save us (because it is only a tool, and we must rely on the people who wield it to be of good will).

When he was expelled from his top-secret nuclear installation job for his "Thoughts on Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom" about the convergence of the socialist and capitalist systems in the quest to eliminate the evils of both systems, he first donated his high salary to volunteer clean-ups, children's cancer research etc. but then came to realize it would have been better to give money to the aid to fund political prisoners and help fundamentally change the system, and not merely correct some aspects of it. Because ultimately the political prisoners and what they represented are the ones who helped bring down this cruel system which used technology -- and the awarding of prestigious positions to the techological and scientific elite -- to control human thought and commerce for evil ends.

Try to think of why we had to continue the development of nuclear weapons -- the nature of the Soviet system which was indisputably cruel and evil -- and what in the end brought down that system -- not better bombs on our side, but their own non-violent citizens' movements of conscience, whether manifested in a trade union movement like Poland's Solidarity or a more liberal bureaucrat like Gorbachev. When the nature of their society could begin to change from within, sometimes with our help (and not demonstrably due to our pressure with programs like "Star Wars"), then the issue of "nuclear winter" evaporated from the headlines. It reappears now with the backsliding of Russia to the USSR-type model.

Ultimately this depends on belief -- either you belief the human heart is reformable from its essential evil, and that technology is the best reform-tool, or you believe that more spiritual transformations of the human heart are required, including the recognition of that state of evil, where technology could be an aid, but also an amplifier of more evil. Just like SL, which spreads creativity and innovation and joy right along with oppression of women and men, slavery and violence, in some of the ideologies and lifestyles populating the grid.

You appear to believe that humans and their technology have now merged for some Greater Good to build some Better World and I have serious doubts about this as I would any utopian project given the track records of such projects throughout history.

Jake reitveld

Intriguing notion of an opera. I think though, that the notion that technology will destroy us or save us, sort of removes the problem-its not about technology, its a bout humanity.
An atom bomb sits in a box relatively harmless until a human decides to drop it. A vaccine that saves millions of lives sits ina vial until a human decides to inject it. Despite years of thinking otherwise by many science fiction authors, humans still used technology and are not used by it.

Its fascinating that you have been shown a view of atomic technology through the most ancient and human of expressions, a song. That is a wonderful perspective there.

If we wanted to take the step and put it in SL terms. SL is really about the community, and not the technology that enables it. This is the lesson many seem to forget when they talk about SL's potential and the huge technological innovations that go inot creating a virtual community. Ultimately the technology needs to play a back ground role to the community. It should always enable us to be more human.

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