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Imago Hominis

How sick would our society be when people actually prefer the company of soulless, factory-made machines to living, breathing people knit in the womb by God’s hands?
| Aug 8, 2018 | 40 comments |

I recently posted a discussion on Facebook that received a bit of attention so I thought I would expand it into an article. The topic was about androids/synthetic humans. Several weeks ago, I watched two films dealing with the subject: Zoe on Amazon Prime and Extinction on Netflix. I can’t talk about how artificial people factor into these films without spoiling the stories so you’ll just have to go check them out for yourself. But in both films, the line between man and machines is blurred almost to nonexistence and it is crossed in numerous ways.

For many people, the notion of self-aware artificial intelligence and synthetic human bodies is tantalizing and exciting. Of course, talking like a human and looking like a human are two separate technological pursuits. You can have a humorous, empathetic chatbot that is confined to CPUs and hard drives and has no physical presence, a brain without a body. Then there are engineers and scientists trying to create a realistic human body that can jump and spin and run and pick up things like humans do, but it would just be executing pre-programmed commands with no intelligence other than what is needed to maintain balance and identify obstacles. The Holy Grail would be to combine the two, a human-replicated personality inside a human-replicated body. Despite what Hollywood would have us believe, this electric dream is still a long way off, but as technological advances accelerate, so does the pace at which this goal can be achieved.

Tech CEO/celebrities like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos make frequent public proclamations about the future and also devote a lot of resources to making their visions come to life. It almost feels inevitable that, barring a cataclysmic global disaster or societal collapse, that we will one day have robots walking among us, fulfilling a number of duties.

So what should we as Christians make of this? The Bible doesn’t speak directly about AI or androids, but it speaks volumes on the hearts and hands of the people who would make it a reality. It is clear from Scripture that God created us to do work. He didn’t put Adam and Eve in the garden and tell them to just enjoy the view; He told them  to work the land (Gen. 2:15). Several Bible passages warn against laziness and extol the virtues of work (Prov. 21:25, 1 Thess. 4:11, 2 Tim. 2:6, and many more). This doesn’t mean that we must all be manual laborers and any automation is bad, but I don’t think that living like the porcine blubbards in the movie Wall-E is what God had in mind for the human race. There is satisfaction in a job well done and that is how God intended for it to be.

What about morally dubious interactions with robots? Is it really cheating to have intercourse with an android? What about a lonely soul who falls in love with an artificial person? What about platonic friendship? Who wouldn’t like to have a bond like Captain Picard and Data?

God created us as sentient beings with physical and emotional capabilities and needs. We have no assurance that these needs will be fulfilled, but Psalms 37:4 tells us to delight in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our heart. The key is “delighting in the Lord,” finding serenity and satisfaction in Him. Perhaps He will then reward you by fulfilling your desires, or perhaps you will find that the things you desire are not worth pursuing after all. Craving sexual satisfaction to the point of sleeping with an android is not a godly desire. Finding emotional and relational connection with artificial intelligence is a bit stickier, especially since some people have impairments or are too isolated to allow for normal human contact. But heaven forbid this should ever become commonplace. How sick would our society be when people actually prefer the company of soulless, factory-made machines to living, breathing people knit in the womb by God’s hands?

I know I probably sound like a stodgy old man grumbling about the technology steamroller, but as we have already seen in countless instances, technology can easily lead to greater isolation and emotional distance, despite physical proximity. Most of all, it can be an idol, and there is nothing we humans love more than worshiping ourselves.

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Tim Brown
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Tim Brown

Frankly, interacting with an AI that is supportive and non-judgmental sounds (on the surface, at least) a lot more appealing than trying to deal with human beings who are far too often judgmental, self-centered, and demanding, and who frequently react to attempted gestures of kindness with accusations and derision.

My own take on the problem with technology is not that it has replaced ‘work’ so much as it has progressively removed the need to interact with real people on a personal basis. For most of us in our heavily-urbanized society, there’s no need to work with our neighbors to bring in the harvest, regulate and defend our local community, or procure goods. We don’t need to deal with people beyond their limited roles as clerks, specialized workers, or consultants – and those roles can often be (and are being) replaced by fairly simple machines, which operate without the emotional or spiritual ‘baggage’ that can interfere with smooth operations.

What social media has done is provide a pale replacement for social interaction, one that is quick, easy, and – most importantly – largely free of consequence. I’m not convinced that people are any worse than they have always been; what modern media lets us see is all the bad stuff, everywhere, all at once (and the good things, but the bad always grabs more attention). People say and show the same kind of stupid, irrational, and obnoxious things people have always said, only now they can say and show it to a worldwide audience, and do it without fear of consequences. Which removes a huge impetus toward the self-restraint necessary to maintain a functional, minimally decent society.

Turning to androids and AIs for emotional support is or will be just another step in that process. It’s always been risky to try to make a connection with another human; how much more so when humans are losing the practice of what used to be called ‘common decency?’

notleia
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notleia

Speaking as someone from rural, (partially) agrarian society, it’s not quite that idyllic. Everybody’s poor except a few large landowners, and my dad has been estranged from some of his cousins because of some stupid spat over inheritance after Great-Grandma died.

But after a few years of living where I don’t know anyone, there is a kind of ease in having a pre-built social network, tho the downside is that no one wants to watch Japanese cartoons with me. Also you’re never considered an adult until you pop out kids of your own, which is why people get pregnant and marry (usually in that order) prolly too young for their own good, which just makes it weirder for the 22-yr-old cat-lady spinsters like I was.

TL;DR: I have very many weird feelings about this subject.

notleia
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notleia

Actually, I think Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism (I am referencing a meme with that name, btw) would actually give people the leisure to engage more fully in community. If they had a livable income that was no dependent on a job, people could have the luxury of moving back to smaller/rural communities (where jobs are super-thin on the ground, let me tell you). People could indulge in pursuing hobbies that have more artistic merits than commercial ones, like the fiber crafts I dabble in but can’t make a living out of. Chances are we’d have loads more hobby farmers (spits*). I’m very interested in the idea of communal living** and intentional communities.

I’m of the opinion that more choices (while sometimes overwhelming) can make for more harmonious societies, because it is easier to deal with people’s crap when you don’t have to do it so often. Living halfway across the country from my brother makes me have 90% better opinions than I did while living in the same household as him, where he was bored and selfish and mean.

*I currently have poor opinions on hobby farmers because of specific people I can tell you the names of who brought me their crappy wheat that I had to do tedious rye-counts on during my grain-elevator summers. Every. Single. Load. Tho if given the chance I would probably something of a backyard greenhouse hobby farmer, too.

**Which is hugely ironic considering I’m a hardcore introvert who has rarely, if ever, talked to my neighbors in the last few years I’ve lived in a city.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

Choices certainly do make things easier, but one could say that they help us avoid problems, rather than fix them. Your feelings toward your brother are better since you don’t have to deal with him on a daily basis. I’m guessing that means the problems are still there, you’ve just put them out of sight and out of mind.

To an extent that’s a good thing, but when our societies aren’t in a situation that exposes problems and forces us to solve them, it leaves us in a vulnerable position. If problems aren’t addressed, they can just boil under the surface until they explode in a far more destructive manner. So we probably need a better balance of the two.

I don’t think I’ve seen the meme you’re talking about, so that might skew what I’m saying in the next paragraphs here. But to an extent it reminds me of an issue I have with modern society. Part of that is that we’ve built something so big, complicated and technologically advanced that it is a lot harder for people to know how to survive on their own. We generally specialize in our own areas (Walmart Manager, Farmer, Construction Worker, etc.) and if something like one of those professions, or a modern convenience like electricity is ripped away, it causes a bit of chaos.

It’s good that we have specializations and modern conveniences, especially considering how large our population is, but we don’t manage it as well as we should, so our society is weaker as a result. To an extent it puts us in desperate situations where we might want and need socialist things more often than necessary. Part of it comes down to what you’re saying about more choices, I guess. If people can take care of themselves, they don’t place as many obligations on those around them, which can reduce conflict and foster more freedom.

What I’d advocate is a kindly sense of independence. Every person can and does take care of themselves as much as possible, but when they see someone else in genuine trouble, they assist that person. Not because society obligates them to according to socialist rules, but because they want to.

One thing that sticks out to me with this is how few people even know how to garden well anymore. I guess it strikes me as sad since just a few generations ago it was more normal for people to have gardens. Not saying that everyone should be obligated to garden, but it’s sad that most of us know little beyond sticking a seed in the ground, watering it and waiting. If people knew how to garden, they would eat healthier and cut down on their food expenses, which would leave them more money to spend on other necessities.

notleia
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notleia

Pure independence from society is an illusion. As long as there’s been civilization — or, debatably, as long as we’ve been human, we’ve had division of labor. So that’s less of a thing I see as an issue.

Unless you mean dependence on manufactured crap from China, yeah that could be an issue, but if we could guarantee a basic income, I think it’d be pretty darn likely that a lot more small, local business (also lots more niche businesses) would open up (since there would be less risk involved on a personal level for the entrepreneurs, but my guess is based on mostly knowing hobbyist who run an Etsy shop and crap like that).

Like, lots of interdependence on a fairly local scale is basically what human civilization has been for centuries, before the global marketplace (and hyper-capitalism).

TL;DR: I am some variation on a big fat Marxist tho I don’t know enough about the various modern schools of Marxism to give very many specifics. I deffo know that working retail has made me hate hyper-capitalism faster than anything else.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

I kind of more meant dependence on manufactured stuff, along with other things that go with our society right now. Obviously pure independence isn’t usually possible, except for maybe people that buy land and live off the land out in the woods. Not nearly everyone can do that now days, though, since there isn’t enough land for everyone, and most people probably wouldn’t even want to.

Another way to put the independence thing I’m talking about is the idea of avoiding unnecessary dependence, or being independent as possible. Obviously people should ask for help when they need it, and they should be willing to help other people, but many people now days lean on people so much that it’s detrimental.

The thing about guaranteed basic income is that it has to come from somewhere. Everyone(or at least most people) would have to work and most would probably have to pay a large chunk of their income in order to give everyone guaranteed income and healthcare. That technically snatches away money someone could use to start their own business or make their life better.

I kinda learned that when I was strongly considering moving out on my own a few years ago. I had to consider scenarios involving little to no assistance from anyone else, and one thing that hindered me was taxes and being forced to have health, car, etc. insurance. Taxes are fine, since we need them to keep society running and insurance is often good as well. At the same time, though, it took up money that I could have used to provide for other more immediate needs, or to invest in a self publishing company that way I wouldn’t have to live off minimum wage forever. I don’t mind insurance or taxes, or public services, but relying on those things, like what you’re talking about with guaranteed income, isn’t necessarily good in every case and isn’t automatically going to create a utopia.

notleia
Guest
notleia

I heard of a recent study that crunched the numbers and proved that while Medicare for All would indeed be expensive, it would be significantly less expensive than the rising costs of our current system in 20-ish years.

I will admit upfront that I’m hazy on the details on funding it, but I’m skeptical of all the wide-eyed Republican pearl-clutching when for some reason we can always afford our gigantic military. But in good Marxist tradition of eating the rich, I’m sure we could squeeze a sizable fund out of the obscenely wealthy people and corporate “people.” Inheritance tax ftw

Also even off-gridders need a lot of gear in order to maintain their lifestyles, even if (or especially if) they’re of a DIY bent and do all their own farming, canning, milking, and/or weaving. Sure, a lot of it is equipment that you can use over and over, but that’s still a big up-front investment with necessary maintenance over the course of time. It only works out to being comparatively cheaper and more independent over the long run. Comparatively. Thus I still think independence is an illusion.

notleia
Guest
notleia

Also I should add that I’m aware that money can’t solve every problem, but it deffo has a good chance of solving the problems caused by poverty.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

With our society, the problem isn’t necessarily that we aren’t socialist enough. Capitalism is a good thing, in and of itself, but any system that is put in place needs to be maintained. Maintenance needs to be at every level, including how people teach their children to behave. Lessons like ‘don’t be so obsessed with a goal that you cut everyone down just to get there’ are important. Really, that would be necessary for socialist systems as well. Socialism isn’t going to completely eliminate human greed.

With our current society, we probably need to edit what we have, rather than try to replace it. Some of the major issues are probably due primarily to things like inefficiencies and corruption. And poverty is caused by all kinds of things. My mom used to tutor in the public schools sometimes, and one thing she noticed is how drug addictions wreaked havoc on families, eating up the parents’ time and money and making it harder for kids to get a good education/learn social skills they need to get a good job in the future. Guaranteed basic income isn’t going to help someone that’s unwilling to let go of their drug habit. If anything, it would fuel it.

I was talking about the more primitive lifestyle of living off the land, not necessarily the people that buy lots of fancy equipment to go off grid. But, like I said, I don’t think we can really have perfect independence in today’s society, at least not in a large enough quantity to matter. So on that front we don’t exactly disagree.

notleia
Guest
notleia

lol, even if America did a few more socialisms, we’re so far over into the capitalist end of the spectrum that not that much would change. I know that Social Security for All is waaay too far left to exist outside my happy Marxist fantasies. I just think it has merits worth discussing.

As for drug addictions, Spain seems to have had success in treating it as a medical issue rather than a criminal issue. People do them to get happy brain chemicals, so if they had other ways of reliably producing happy brain chemicals, they would be less likely to get into them in the first place.

But going slightly OT, just how primitive a lifestyle were you talking about? The very basics you’ll probably need are water and electricity (because not being on public utility water usually means an electric pump. Also you’ll probably need some kind of filtration system). Also electricity for a hot water heater, refrigerator, and various other appliances.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

One thing I’ve thought about with drug addiction is only criminalizing suppliers, and then treating addiction itself as a health issue. Thought that can be a gray area for people that are both suppliers and users. And if it’s a health crisis, do we force people to go into rehab, or just let them wallow in their addiction if they so choose?
Rehab doesn’t usually work unless people want to go through it. Addiction isn’t completely treated as a criminal thing here, though. I mean, if someone goes willingly into rehab, the rehab is probably not going to report them and have them thrown in jail.

Interestingly enough, I was listening to a documentary about poppies and the drugs manufactured from it(poppies are important in my current WIP), and what you were talking about with giving people other ways to get the happy brain chemicals was sort of something people tried back then, and it just led people to get addicted to other substances. So that’s something we’d have to be very careful with. It’s sort of sad that the happy brain chemical thing is something people are so destructively obsessed with in the first place, though.

I guess I was thinking more about how people lived in ancient times. People did just dandy without electricity and knew how to store food without it. Part of what people would be able to depends on where they decide to live, though.
Living by a river in a forest is different than trying to live in a desert. Though Native Americans managed that just fine, too. I’m not saying I actually want people to go out and do all that, though. My mind was just meandering through things people might try or have done or how it used to be back then.

notleia
Guest
notleia

Due to a couple of lived experiences, I do not think people were just dandy without electricity or running water. It’s livable, yeah, but it is bulls**t. Also there were huge cholera epidemics back then.
But the trade-off is that without electricity, it takes a crapload more effort to do anything, which is largely limited to daylight hours. You have to spend time hauling water and heating water by fire. You’d have to spend a crapload of time doing your canning and meat-curing and hauling stuff up and down from the cellar.
That is not an experience I imagine many people want to sign up for. I’d recommend minimalism over primitivism.

Travis Perry
Editor

It could be a mistake to wade into this “conversation for two,” BUT:

Not only have I lived without running water myself for a limited period of time (a summer), I’ve worked in places of the world that did not have running water (parts of Afghanistan and East Africa). People sure, especially now that they know running water exists, would prefer to have it, but in fact extremely poor people are perfectly capable of being very happy without modern amenities.

The thing that really makes people unhappy is not poverty (as long as people aren’t starving and as long as they have access to at least some clean water) nor disease (as long as everybody isn’t dying) but warfare. A brutal war (one of humanity’s favorite activities, to judge by history) makes people more miserable than any degree of poverty.

Interesting trivia (perhaps) in both rural Afghanistan and East Africa, cell phones were more common than electricity and running water, due to their cheap price and common use of solar chargers.

Note that when I participated in goodwill projects in remote rural Afghanistan, one extremely popular one was a solar-powered street lamp. The lamp uses the panels and batteries to power up during the day so it can provide a couple of hours of light after dark. Those few hours of light transformed people’s lives. It allowed a bit of extra work, a bit more socializing, a bit less time with everyone isolated in their own homes after dark.

So, a life with electricity is clearly preferred by most people over a life without it. But it is also quite possible to live “off the grid” for many people without suffering much.

notleia
Guest
notleia

It occurred to me that my lived experiences were in context of the rest of my life was supposed to maintain modern expectations. Like, I still had to do my own cooking/food-making and keep myself in clean laundry and not make too much body odor (ironically only now do I know more about nonAmerican bathing traditions). I also have a lot of hair to wash, while a lot of cultures do not wash their hair so often (thanks, capitalism).

So it is lots more feasible with different cultural norms and expectations (and division of labor, where you are not expected to do ALL the work of living yourself [butts up on our discussion of independence]).

Autumn Grayson
Guest

If someone is living by themselves, it’s more work from the standpoint of the fact that one has to do it all one’s self, but it’s a lot less work from the standpoint that a lot less is needed to survive. One person needs less food, water, shelter, etc than a group does. But part of all this depends on where the person lives and how they choose to sustain themselves. If someone lives near a fast flowing river, they can harness the power of that river to make some of that work easier. Work smarter, not harder.

Travis Perry
Editor

Autumn, generally speaking, throughout human history, humans have adopted the strategy of specializing in certain types of production of things. Even in tribal societies there is sharing of resources among members and usually a strict division of labor by gender. A human living alone has to master a wide range of skills–people usually find that challenging.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

Yeah. I’m not trying to say it’s easy, just that it is something that can be done and that does appeal to some people. Also to point out the fact that living with other people doesn’t always make things easier. More people means more resources are needed, which changes a lot. Whether or not it means more or less work depends on circumstances, including the individual personalities of the people involved.

Specialization is good, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be well rounded and more independent as well. As I’ve said, although I advocate being more independent, I’m not saying that people need to be COMPLETELY isolated or independent either.

Travis Perry
Editor

Hmmm. Many Afghans live in family settlements that are relatively isolated–granted they have more kids than us–but they do in fact do all the work to stay alive themselves. They are highly independent as a whole nation, though of course no human being normally lives truly cut off from all other humans. But a lot of Afghans get close to that.

African villages tend to be more communal, but actually an African family does most of the labor to feed and take care of everybody from their own family. Strong division of labor by gender though–though for them, that’s simply being practical.

notleia
Guest
notleia

Actually, I read a book called “Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years” by Elizabeth Wayland Barber (which is mostly about textiles and weaving), who made a list of what work would be delegated to women, and most of the criteria involved whether or not it could be easily interrupted and picked back up again. Because children.

Probably the biggest change in an industrialized society is how we treat cloth as almost disposable when it once took the work of multiple people to produce enough of it needed for use.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

I don’t mind you joining in the conversation 🙂 You do bring up a lot of good points in what you said.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

That gets into what different people prefer. Some people enjoy the extra work and don’t mind the extra risk incurred by living on their own. I’m not trying to say I’d recommend primitivism, I was just thinking about that fact that it’s something people have done or could do.

notleia
Guest
notleia
Travis Perry
Editor

Some of these distinctions in the 29 ways are utterly trivial, others are not quite true (French people DO NOT necessarily associate their flag with nationalist groups), but yes, the United States is a unique nation in a number ways. Yet left wingers find the notion of “American exceptionalism” inherently offensive…

America IS exceptional. But in other ways, so are a lot of other nations. I could make a list of at least 10 things about France that are not true for any other nation (I was an exchange student to France in high school, BTW, and speak French).

notleia
Guest
notleia

Also for people not knowing how to garden, that’s one of the things that I didn’t have much interest in as a kid on the farm, but I’m growing more interested in that it’s something I could choose to do and not be press-ganged into it. I’ve learned to keep a houseplant alive by reading books and the internet. (Hilariously, the best online plant-husbandry advice I could find was related to growing marijuana. He had pictures of all the different reasons your plants could turn brown). We can ~~LEARN~~~ again. And also if I could split the tedious chores with someone (or lots of someones) I’d be more likely to do it.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

The internet is definitely awesome for learning things, and to an extent helps foster some of the independence I’m talking about. I’ve personally become even more interested in it because it sounds interesting and would be a way to eat both healthy and a lot cheaper. We definitely can learn again, which is sort of what I’m advocating that more people do.

For me, personally, I’m more likely to do something if there’s a good enough reason, it makes me happy or fulfills a goal of mine. I definitely don’t mind helping other people or sharing work now and then, but day to day, all the time…preferably not.

There’s a term called social loafing, and I have to watch myself a bit since now and then I fall victim to it if I’m not careful. But sometimes when people are working together in groups they start to relax a bit and do less work/feel less enthusiastic about work. That actually is one reason I try to stay independent. Without independence I start to stagnate a bit too much in terms of personal growth, partly due to social loafing. Someone like me tends to do better when they are the best/only means of accomplishing tasks.

That’s put me in a much better position throughout my entirely life, honestly. When I went to college, for instance, other students would complain about the teachers not teaching well enough, and thus they had a hard time understanding class material, etc. Sometimes their grades suffered as a result. Being more independent helped me avoid many of the issues they had and that actually made me a lot happier in most cases because I felt like my fate was in my own hands, so to speak, rather than in the actions of those around me. In general, the tendency toward independence forces me to come up with creative solutions to problems, which is good when I do choose to help others or work in groups because I have more ideas to share with them.

It sounds like you end up having a sense of social facilitation, rather than social loafing, so maybe living in a small socialized community would work best for you. When those communities work out, I kinda wonder if it’s partly because people are more social by nature and choosing to live there. Either that or they are societies/cultures where people don’t have much knowledge or choice of anything outside their community, so they just force themselves to be content with it. But even under those scenarios there’s still going to be problems and unhappiness involved sometimes. People like me, on the other hand, are not necessarily going to be happy and healthy in a more socialist community, which is why I don’t think our entire nation/world should be expected to be very socialist.

notleia
Guest
notleia

Huh, I’d say that was less about independence and more about motivation. You did more self-starting things, but I’m sure you used communal resources like the library and la interwebs.

But I am also hugely in favor of choice. I wouldn’t force anyone to live in my happy hippie fantasy commune, but I’d hope that the standard of living would be its own advertisement. Scandinavia consistently has the highest standard-of-living stats, which correlate strongly with their strong social safety net and lack of egregious income inequality.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

Motivation is a part of it, but far from the only aspect involved. My personality type is more independent by nature, so that fuels and informs everything I do, including what motivates me in the first place.

Accepting help and resources is fine. In small quantities those are good tools. The problem is when people use those things as a crutch. Of course I used the internet. But I’m not condemning the internet, nor am I condemning occasional use of help and public resources. Either way, there were still times when the internet and tutors at the library failed me and I had to figure some stuff out on my own regardless.

My primary point is that people are often overly reliant these days, and that they would be better off if they’d foster a more independent spirit.

The independent spirit I’m talking about is kind of a complicated thing to explain, to be honest, since it’s a somewhat complex set of traits. I’ll probably try blogging about it more in the near future, since it’s going to be explored quite a bit in stories I write and I kind of need to start nailing down concise descriptions of it. One thing I’m going to try doing soon is a post discussing the advantages of independence, and then another post discussing the advantages of dependence. Because, yes, I do believe there are pros and cons to both things.

And you may not want to force anyone to live in the community style you like, but it does sound like you want more socialist stuff throughout the entire country with things like guaranteed income, and if that gets implemented it isn’t likely people are going to be able to opt out of that, at least not reasonably.

notleia
Guest
notleia

lol, as if people want to opt out of Social Security. Have you heard of a single Old who didn’t want their Social Security?

Autumn Grayson
Guest

I wasn’t speaking about Social Security specifically. But the government kind of forces us to pay those taxes, so of course it’s reasonable that people would want their social security, because that was money that was sort of theirs in the first place. People might want to opt out of paying into that program and instead save up for their retirement themselves, but since the government forces them to pay those taxes regardless, they sure as hell better reap the benefit so that they weren’t paying for nothing.

notleia
Guest
notleia

Social Security is basically a baby’s first step into a guaranteed basic income.

But Social Security is the only thing that enables a lot of people to retire at all, buuuuuuut it’s currently being undercut by rising costs of living, so we all get to work until we’re dead anyway. :/

Autumn Grayson
Guest

That’s kind of why it’s not great to rely on that stuff. I think when we’re young we tend not to plan ahead that far, so if more people educated their children on good spending, saving and working habits we’d all be a lot better off.

notleia
Guest
notleia

that implies wages are enough to cover living expenses with enough left over for a decent savings plan and lol not true in my experience.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

Depends on where/how one lives, and how much someone is willing to adapt and learn. Plenty of places have much lower living expenses. Still, though, if setting aside a little money each month was a huge burden or even impossible for me, paying into social security is going to be just as much of a burden, if not more so.

At the very least, saving the money up myself would mean having a secondary emergency cache or business starting fund if I needed it, which might be something I’d need to start making a decent living. Obviously I’d rather not take money out of a retirement fund for that, but it’d be better than trying to get a loan from a bank or something. That kind of flexibility isn’t going to be there for social security.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

With technology, it’s been a little confusing and annoying to me that people want to keep pushing it so far that we could eventually end up with a piece of machinery that could replace or even rebel against us. At the same time, though, I realize that it’s human nature to push our limits as far as possible, especially if it means we can gain some use out of it along the way.

One thing I’ll say is that just because the technology is there doesn’t mean we are forced to be antisocial. In fact, in some ways, the technology can make us MORE social. I’m extraordinarily introverted, and the few people I’ve kept in contact with over the years has mostly been due to technology.

If someone moved across the country before technology advanced, it was likely that we would rarely see or hear from them ever again. Or at least not much. Now days, though, I can actually talk to my far away cousins, or say hi to old friends more often. And even though I really love to use my phone, and sometimes use it during social interactions at restaurants and such, I still talk to the other people I’m hanging out with in those settings. Sometimes the phone can actually aid the in person conversations, since I can look up articles or something to show people, and then ask their opinion, which leads to interesting conversation.

So, part of this issue is whether or not we will be self aware about it and take steps to remain social in spite of technology. To an extent, I’d probably be more worried about things like privacy, security and freedom. If there’s a computer chip in someone’s head, what happens if it gets hacked? Same goes for devices in the home. Some people can already hack web cams on laptops and such, and hackers will probably push those boundaries further in the future.

Honestly, though, when it comes to all these issues we’re worried about, things may very well flip flop back the other way. People worried about weight gain and such from playing video games all the time, but now there’e virtual reality things and game systems that track movement and encourage people to actually exercise a bit while they play.

notleia
Guest
notleia

I am totally talking too much about Marxist fantasy-lands, but I think it’s a worthwhile question to ask yourself what you would do if you were guaranteed a comfortable living. Slightly different question than asking what you would do if you were rich. Like, if you had a guaranteed income sufficient for your basic needs, some hobbies, and saving up for larger things like a fancy car or worldwide travel, what would you do?

I’ve already answered part of that, but I think I would also be interested in doing volunteer or nonprofit work, very much interested in doing some world travel (tho I think I would need to save extra for a tour guide to keep me from getting lost and/or offending the locals horribly). I imagine people who are not me would want to stay at home and raise the kids. ~~~~Possibilities **** and **** options ~~~~~

Because I think the majority of us would want to be occupied even if we weren’t employed in the traditional sense (tho it is entirely possible that this is horribly naive of me).

Autumn Grayson
Guest

I’m going to try and reply to your other responses to me tomorrow or something. I’m kinda hurrying through this post since I have to go here in a minute. But, well, in spite of how independent I’d prefer to be, I actually am somewhat in a communal living situation. Not exactly, but basically I still live with my parents. I have my basic needs met in exchange for helping them with remodeling the house and helping them in their business. We all contribute to the household and reap the benefit from it. So I can answer what I would do and feel based off living in that situation, and I’d say I’m not really satisfied, even though I’m grateful to have my needs met.

Why? Because it impedes on my freedom a LOT. In order to make a communal living thing work, everyone has to live a certain way. Maybe there’s some wiggle room in there, but not always. My parents see it as a comfortable living because I don’t have to worry about what to eat or anything, but it ISN’T comfortable because everything I want is usually put behind what the entire group wants. I can’t focus on my writing enough to make it a career just yet due to my living situation, and if I complain about that at all I’m called selfish, or at the very least everyone gets confused. Maybe communal living is ok for some people, but we shouldn’t expect our entire society to adhere to that.

On the other hand, if I was more independent, I would have enough money for all my basic needs and would be freer to save up for things I want and donate time and money to help other people as well.

notleia
Guest
notleia

Welp, living with family is one time-honored tradition of communal living, but that’s generally not what I mean when I talk about communal living because I did not like living with my family, either. :/

I think it was a docu about alternate living situation I was watching, that covered a specific type of apartment complex in one of the Scandinavian countries, that had (small) private apartments but a communal living space and a communal kitchen. I think one of the phrases the show threw around was “intentional community.”

It looked similar to living in a retirement community like the one I used to work at — which I would totally do if I wouldn’t be rejected out of hand for being a whippersnapper.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

The family situation is a bit different than what you’re talking about, but it still brings up several of the issues that exist in a society where people are expected to be dependent on each other. It’s not exactly nice for people that don’t fit into the paradigm of the community, or that end up in conflict with other community members. I guess it’s kind of like what you were saying earlier about rural life not being as idyllic as everyone thinks. Community living sounds fun until we remember that human interaction is too complex to always be pleasant under any particular lifestyle.

The apartments you speak of kinda sound like a dorm building. I loved living in a dorm building in college, but it sounds blechy for trying to live as an adult. I mean, I’d be happy to live in a dorm situation(provided I didn’t have a roommate), but I wouldn’t want to have to share a kitchen with everyone else if I planned on cooking on a regular basis. Imagine if the stove gets broken. No one in the entire complex gets to use the stove until it’s fixed. Yay.

Not trying to say those communities can’t work out, though. I do think they’re good for some people. Maybe some day you can build a community like that where whippersnappers are welcome? 😛 I mean, not literally on your own, but I’m sure you can find other people interesting in building a community like that with you and joining it.

notleia
Guest
notleia

That’s the sort of nonprofit work I’d be interested in, housing-type stuff including intentional communities, but I do not necessarily have the resources to start my own junk with that.

Autumn Grayson
Guest

Yeah, which is kind of why I mentioned getting a group of interested people involved. Of course, in the meantime, there’s always planning and research that can be done 🙂