From The Wilderness


The world of me. The time of me. The expression of me. And the reflections by mass media that our entire consciousness is being overwhelmed by this intense and burning need by everyone to have the focus placed upon them and only them. This has even begun to influence how education is considered. Articles and television commentators are discussing the very need for education. Just recently a young college bound woman was interviewed about going off to college in a few months. She indicated that she was going to wait a few years because she wanted to bring her idea about solar panels to the marketplace. She felt it might be too late if she took time to educate herself in any institution of higher learning. This kind of thinking was supported by everyone on that show.

Self-absorption is not necessarily wrong. In small doses. Narcissistic concentration over long periods and to a great degree is self-defeating, however. We did not rise up out of the muck or come down from the trees because we did it on our own. We have become the most effective and influencing species on the planet because of cooperation among one another, the invention and use of language and the written word for transmission of knowledge and technological discovery, and our ability to think and use the resulting conclusions to build upon successes of the past.

Decades ago, I was helped by a sales vice-president of an insurance company. I wanted to be promoted very badly. He appreciated my talent and asked me to a meeting with his senior vice president. One of my talents was expressive presentation. I used it during the meeting, arguing with the very man who’d brought me and was supporting me during that meeting. Once the meeting was over, he took me aside for an ‘after action’ report. We sat in silence for a moment before he shared some words of wisdom with me, and I’ve never forgotten those words. “If you are ever in a position where you are supported by a person with more influence and power than you, then you must acquiesce and stand by that person’s side.

You must place your star on his or her cape and not demonstrate that you have a cape of your own. You will have another opportunity acquire one of your own. Put your star on my cape.”

We have pulled away from cooperation and linkage in our culture of this time. We are appearing on Twitter (X), TikTok and Facebook with our names, photos and words spread before us and across the known universe. And we are suffering from a deep misunderstanding about culture and life because of it. We have come to believe that substance does not matter. We have come to believe that presentation and appearance are what matters. Not simply physical appearance either (although that certainly has a huge place today) but making appearances in front of people.  As many people as we can get before us. And, and no matter how many there are, it’s not enough.

Without substance our surge forward will result in crashing failure. Some success will rise up, just as (against the greatest of odds) someone always does win the Power Ball Lottery, but the majority of the culture will plunge downward and spiral in toward failure. We must step back into the observation and evaluation of what wisdom is. We must recognize this development and give it much greater deference.

We must pin our star to the cape of other people who have such wisdom, where and when we can find them until we too can gain enough of that elusive quality to wear such a cape and gain stars on our own.

The advance of Artificial Machine Intelligence isn’t what we must fear into the future, it’s the lessening of regular human intelligence and experience, which we call wisdom.