The latest technology that will transform everything. This is huge. You will want to have it. You won’t be able to live without it.
I want something that will transform me for the better. I am not sure if any technology that I’ve embraced in my lifetime has transformed me for the better. Would I probably be constantly sick or dead without some food safety technologies and advances in health and medicine? Maybe. Except, I am not so sure that I wouldn’t be a similar man in a similar role with all of my similar flaws, were I to have been born a hundred years earlier. Assuming I had survived wars and waves of diseases, I would probably be working as a clerk in a bank, a bookkeeper in a business, a teacher at a high school, a librarian, etc. There is no reason to believe that I couldn’t have figured out how to master the world of 1917 as a forty-something, any more or less than how much I’ve mastered this one.
When I talk about being transformed, I am speaking of something or someone I might believe constitutes the essence of myself becoming something more than or other than who or what I was. For example, I am reasonably competent with high school math, and I can generally follow along with popular math books for the lay person, but I am lost when I start trying to actually do math that is taught in pre-Calc or Calc classes during the Freshman year of most college students. Clearly, there are some individuals who are capable of rapidly understanding the underlying patterns that constitute some such high abstraction, and manipulating the symbols to produce novel theorems and proofs, or at the very least, excel in higher math classes with minimal effort. Why can’t we come up with some type of technology that will just zap the areas in my brain that are deficient at understanding higher math, and make it quite easy to understand?
Naturally, the response might be that I am opposed to hard work–like someone who opts for bariatric surgery instead of trying to diet and exercise their way to thindom. But, this isn’t necessarily the case. I put in tedious hours every week manipulating data and performing routine functions in an office. I do these things because the payoff is quite clear and always available. If my employer stopped paying me, I would stop working for them and vice versa. Except when it comes to attempting to understand more mathematical concepts, the correlation is never so clear. I might spend months plugging away at a college textbook and a problem solvers book and become minimally reacquainted with some of the things that I used to know. Outside of that, I find myself continually thwarted and frustrated by how many times I can’t seem to actually get a math problem correct and how many things I thought I was beginning to understand that I really do not.
What is the payoff for such an investment? A few months where my brain seems to operate at a slightly more optimal level of cognition before I forget everything again and fall back into my old ways of lapsing into my dreams and writing out my stream of consciousness thoughts. I catch enough glimpses of the beauty of mathematics to make it ever-tantalizing for me, but nothing is ever revealed to the point where I would be certain that I, too, might master higher math one day.
It’s difficult to explain, then, what such a transformation of myself would really look like. Becoming good at math is simply one example illustrating one tiny piece of the puzzle. The real change involves a complete overhaul in the way that I think about any given thing when it is brought to my attention, be it a math problem, a painting, a poem, a work of art, a technical or human problem at work, etc. Most of my efforts to meet such things are based on an autopilot mode of being that has for better or worse been locked into place since the end of high school with the only changes happening by degree.
Wouldn’t it be of some exceptional note if I could pick one thing to work toward for the rest of my life and wake up on the last morning of my life having discovered that I was irrevocably altered for the better due to my strivings? I’ve stated elsewhere many times over what my vices and problems are–my character flaws that seem to repeat themselves with much regularity no matter how far along I think that I’ve come.
I’m no fool who still believes that he can step outside of time itself and play around like a merry joker/prankster, dancing in between all of the games of humanity that humans take so deadly seriously. I am caught up in the crush of time like anyone else. I am inextricably woven into the fabric of a single story that will be told, and my impact is marginal at best. There is no time travel, because it would completely destroy me.
I can’t possibly begin to accept that the world will look much like it does today some fifty years from now when I could be drawing my last breaths. Perhaps God will be merciful to me, but I can’t completely believe that, knowing how little I’ve removed the bad parts from me. It would seem that you could unrealistically damn or praise yourself too much–all in the name of hubris or ego. You may not even be worth so much as to be as damned as you think you are. The anger in the Bible directed toward those who would be damned may be reserved for those who are especially heinous or especially grand in their crimes and sins.
I fancy myself to be a big person too much, when, all the while I should know better. I am indeed one of the little people. I am destined to live a life that is mostly spent dreaming and being half awake to engage with others who are similarly still slumbering.