c is for cat

Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule


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300 years? My great grandparents would be completely overwhelmed by our world!

But I don't think that it is the events that create the singularities so much as it is how we interact with the events. Rare is the life, really, that does not experience at least one. A man is widowed with small children; a Great Depression leaves a family homeless; a company closes, leaving a lifetime employee without a job. War kills a beloved son. A terrorist blows up the Twin Towers, and it doesn't matter where you live in this country, the world will not be the same for you ever again.

Eventually, someone you love dies, or you contract a fatal disease.

We call that by a very technical term: living. To try and point to such changes as "singularities" begins with the false premise that the average life follows an arc predictable to the person living it. And while there certainly are lives that do travel along a path so stereotypical that the only excitement comes from the beginning of the new TV season, such lives should not be our yardstick.

When I was a kid, I envisioned my life as college/marriage/children/grandchildren/retirement/immortality (because, c'mon, no one really believes they're gonna die), and I fulfilled that arc for a long time. Was it a huge change for me to divorce John and marry Ferrett? Damn straight! And then to go to law school? And now to be changing jobs and stepping out into the world of solo practice? WOW, are those huge changes! I couldn't envision that they would happen, I have only speculation about how it's going to be.

But to think that such changes are so unique would be incredibly arrogant. People have adapted, and they will adapt, and life will continue to change at an amazing rate (the notion that we will abandon computers is absurd - what, we're gonna go back to smoke signals? Dial phones?), but there are going to be few, if any changes that can be pointed to as separating the adults from the children (and the children would probably do better with them, anyway).

So what makes it a "singularity?" Not the event, only those people who are there to note it, to put a checkmark in history. Schroedinger's Singularity, only defined because someone took note of the change. If an iTree falls in the woods, does it make a wave if no one is paying attention?

Ask SegWay.

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