Around 1900, most inventions concerned physical reality: cars, airplanes, Zeppelins, electric lights, vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, bras, zippers. In 2005, most inventions concern virtual entertainment—the top 10 patent-recipients were IBM, Canon, Hewlett-Packard, Matsu****a, Samsung, Micron Technology, Intel, Hitachi, Toshiba and Fujitsu—not Boeing, Toyota or Victoria’s Secret. We have already shifted from a reality economy to a virtual economy, from physics to psychology as the value-driver and resource-allocator. We are already disappearing up our own brainstems. Our neurons over-stimulate each other, promiscuously, as our sperm and eggs decay, unused. Freud’s pleasure principle triumphs over the reality principle. Today we narrow-cast human-interest stories to each other, rather than broadcasting messages of universal peace and progress to other star systems.
Maybe the bright aliens did the same. I suspect that a certain period of fitness-faking narcissism is inevitable after any intelligent life evolves. This is the Great Temptation for any technological species—to shape their subjective reality to provide the cues of survival and reproductive success without the substance. Most bright alien species probably go extinct gradually, allocating more time and resources to their pleasures, and less to their children. They eventually die out when the game behind all games—the Game of Life—says “Game Over; you are out of lives and you forgot to reproduce.”
The logic is a bit questionable, but thought provoking nonetheless.
It's probably more like this:
- step one: life muddles around for millions of years
- step two: a species suddenly makes the leap to tool user/technologist
- step three: an instant later (in galactic terms) that same
species in consumed by a technological singularity, and it's existence becomes non-biological
- step four: profit?
http://www.amazon.com/Travels-Hyperreal ... 0156913216
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_FilterThis smorgasbord of 26 pieces ultimately focuses on the boundaries of realism as exemplified by the"hyper reality" of American phenomena like the Madonna Inn, wax museums, San Simeon, theme parks, etc. Though his tone is witty, Eco's purpose remains that of the semiologist. He is concerned about "the systems of signs that we use to describe the world and tell it to one another," and aims both to expose the "messages" of political and economic power and of "the entertainment industry and the revolution industry" and to show us how to analyze and criticize them. Though these essays are generally entertaining, they lack the originality and punch of Barthes's Mythologies and seem unlikely to find the same popular success as Eco's own The Name of the Rose . Richard Kuczkowski, Dir., Continuing Education, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.