Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chapter Something: The Esses and Ems of Progress

NOTE: Something that struck me this morning for the Hermit of Iapetus.

Because I have read a lot of science fiction, I know how this is supposed to go.

It comes in varying patterns, but what is typical is a scientific and cultural renaissance that follows a long period of technological and societal darkness – most likely with fingers pointing squarely at the Twentieth century, as if the authors have knowledge of all there was and all there is to come.

The renaissance in technology is supposed to usher in the renaissance in culture and bring with it peace, prosperity, and progressivism.

I call it pee cubed.

I am proud to say that my presence on Iapetus owes nothing to a period of enlightenment following a period of darkness. It owes much to a society of stubborn plodders who saw a problem, studied it, tackled it, and, over generations, refined the techniques used to surmount the problem until it was no longer a problem or even a major inconvenience.

I am thus not a product of some technological Enlightenment, but of a society that worked through its difficulties one by one, slowly, taking steps forward and steps back, finding new troubles along the way but generally working on a slow upward curve.

Also note: I am not here because I, myself, am at the aegis of any technological renaissance. I am of only average intelligence, if above average desire to flee. I am here because I had a little money and the ability to persuade those in power -- and those with power but not of it -- to get me here.

I am here, alone, free, comfortable and able to care for myself, not because society back home is progressive or empowered or emboldened or labeled with any adjective with multiple esses and the ems of progress. I am here because the technology existed to get me here, and I chose to come.

I am also here because there are problems that technology cannot fix. But that is a story for a different day. Or at least a story for a different chapter. Of, perhaps, a different book.

No comments: