Proyecto Visión 21

I can only think very small thoughts

Francisco Miraval

I recently read Parallel Worlds, one of the many books by renown physicist Michio Kaku. And, once again, I had the same feeling I always had every time I read this kind of books: my thoughts are very small and quite limited.

In this book, Kaku explore the necessary steps to eventually create our own “baby universe”, how much energy such a task would require, and the benefits of creating a baby universe both for us, the creators, and for the new universe.

I never thought about creating a list with all the steps I need to take to create a new universe. In fact, I never thought about we, humans, as creators of baby universes. How can I think about new universes when I can’t even think about what I want for dinner tonight?

Then, just a few days ago, I read an article about how and why well-known global entrepreneur Elon Musk and his partners will provide billions of dollars to OpenAI, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to prevent Artificial Intelligence from conquering the world (our world), something that according to some experts may soon happen.

I don’t know when or if AI will surpass human intelligence. But I never thought about creating a company or an organization to diffuse the danger of being conquered by AI and, therefore, to become second-class citizens in a world governed by super-intelligent robots (or whatever AI could be.)

Again, reading that article led me to experience one more time how small my own thoughts are and how much room and how many opportunities are out there to expand my thoughts. Clearly, there are no limits, except the self-imposed ones.

Obviously, I don’t the resources, money, degree, fame, or connections Kaku and Musk enjoy, I told myself looking for some consolation. But, was I looking for consolation or just for an excuse? I mean, what is preventing me, except myself and my excuses, from taking my own thoughts to the level they should and could be?

Sometime ago, during a philosophy class, I was talking about how we impose ourselves limits to our own thinking, many times unknowingly. One of my students said, “That’s a very interesting topic, but it is useless for me because I have to go to work.”

I must say that my first reaction was to reject that comment. I didn’t like the idea that my student was so focused on her work that she couldn’t stop thinking about her work not even inside the classroom. And I didn’t like the fact that work was so important for her that that was her only thought.

But then I understood she was right. After all, as the Greek philosopher Aristotle recognized, philosophy is possible only when other basic necessities for life are already satisfied.

We all face undeniable urgencies and unstoppable needs requiring all our energy and attention, leading us to stop thinking or, even worst, to only think small thoughts, never thinking about creating our own new universe.

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