If we look at the way the world and universe around us unfolds, we can see that it does so according to certain laws. We can see the way galaxies spiral, the way a solar system orbits, the way planets spin, and the way seasons change. Not two things are exactly alike, but the processes that determine their possibility are predetermined by the laws that govern them.
We can see it in a human life as well. An egg and a sperm enjoin, and a baby develops according to DNA and genetic coding. We can also see that all newborns eventually grow and develop through the phases of childhood and eventually become adults. We can see that adults are programmed to procreate and continue the species. And we also know that at some point, every human life will come to an end. These are some of the automatic processes that govern our lives.
But the human also has aspects to it that are not automatic, such as consciousness and freedom of choice. These two attributes alone separate us from everything else on this planet. And they also offer the greatest gift available for a living thing: freedom from automation.
That’s why it’s interesting to see how we, as a species, try to do things in repetition, as if we are automating ourselves. We like to live in the same place for long periods of time – maybe even generations. We like to wake or sleep at the same times each day. We eat the same meals in some sort of loose rotation. We got to an office and work for most of our adult lives.
These are all ways that we automate ourselves. But that is a cultural training, it’s not really us. Most us dream about freedom, whether it is freedom from worry, or limitations, or freedom to go where we please when we please. Those are much more natural inclinations for us.
We aren’t meant to do things repetitively, except in the way that repetition allows us to automate certain skills in us, like riding a bike or driving a car. That’s a kind of automation that actually frees our minds up to do other things – new things. Automation is meant to give us freedom.
And yet all the technological advances we produce only serve to enslave us more deeply. Doesn’t that seem odd? Computers can do more, robots can do more, machines of all kinds can do things we used to have to do for ourselves. That should be great. Every new invention should be a way to free ourselves even more.
Only the narrowest view of human life – only the greatest of misunderstandings – would allow us to settle for a life of automation and repetition instead of freedom and exploration. And yet, as a species, we have. What is happening here on earth might just be the saddest story ever written. We have so much potential.
And that is why I say that the first order of business for the human today is to close the gap between what we think we are: cubicle-sitting wage earners, and what we really are: glorious beings designed to explore and experience life – consciously and freely – for the purposes of helping improve the possibilities of the whole universe.
Which job description would you apply for? Which job do you currently have?
Somewhere deep inside us, we understand these truths. But it is up to us to make it so. No corporation or government leader is going to tell us these things – it runs against their agenda which requires keeping everyone on automatic pilot.
But the purposes of human life are here for us to discover. We can still write the ending of this human story, if we freely choose to, because the end doesn’t have to be determined automatically.