Research Position—cypher

Natural Selection, Innovation and Death

Innovation is one of the prides of human accomplishment, it really truly is remarkable. We as the human race are capable of keeping the dead alive, putting ourselves into orbit with the planets, creating moving, interactive pictures that obscure the boundaries between reality and fiction, erecting monuments to ourselves, but mostly just producing pleasure. Innovation at its center, revolves around a beating heart that humans like to call pleasure. The problem with pleasure is why it exists. Why does it exist? To compensate for feelings of inevitable death. Pleasure is not progressive, nor does it heal the wounds society inflicts on itself.

The health fields are growing, if not booming, we have more people alive than ever before in history. The average age of a human being is nearing the 80’s. Natural selection states that the strongest will always survive the winters of existence. We as humans have created an ecosystem that almost directly compensates for death, We have cheated its arrival date! The problem with natural selection is that the strongest are the ones who survive. Now, this is not exactly a problem if evolution is meant to be a progressive discipline. But taking a closer look at the innovation present in the health fields today, there is a problem. The world’s population is growing, that is a fact, but it is not growing by way of newborn children. The population is not dying. In our quest for immortality through innovation, we will directly cause our extinction. This position paper is meant to explain this in simple terms. The paper is going to use a scenario with  a character named Alex. Alex represents the Millennial in this argumentative scene.

Alex has lived a healthy life so far, raised by active, hard working parents, and given the best attention anyone could dream of, Alex is 4 years old. Jumping ahead a few years Alex’s parents are having a difficult time giving the much needed attention a child requires, so they acquire a video game system. Alex goes through all of intermediate school, middle school and high school playing video games every night, sometimes into the morning. They are so real, such an escape, the world that Alex is immersed in for countless hours at a time distract from the mundane realities of life. That video game system is fun, and a compounded system of countless innovative leaps in technology. Alex could have gotten amazing grades in school, with an attention to detail in combination with quick problem solving skills, math and science have always been within reach. It would make sense for Alex to get superior grades in school with such mental potential, then to reward the much worked mind with a simple escape in the much deserved video game room. However, Alex started video games before ever attending school, the feeling of accomplishment has always been closer than what was worked for by previous generations. Video games offer immediate sensations of accomplishment and pleasure, why focus on school so much when there are so many levels to beat? Alex has spent all of the average school age childhood just getting by in school, but doing spectacular against a worldwide network of other gamers. Alex has always played for no less than 2 hours an evening, hunched over yet starring right at the screen not much more than 2 feet from already strained eyes. Almost seventeen years of video game playing has forced Alex’s body to conform to the habits of an addicted gamer. Alex’s sleep patterns differ from the recommended 8 hours of sleep every night, Alex is lucky to get 3 hours. When Alex’s older neighbors are in the dining room eating dinner with the family, Alex is good friends with a bag of Doritos and a 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew. It is not always video games that keep Alex glued to a screen, sometimes it’s a few hours of Facebook browsing or back to back episodes of a favorite TV show on Netflix. All of this indoor screen time has left Alex pale and malnourished. Alex’s diet consists of nutritionally empty, sweet, over processed foods and a lack of sunlight that does not help in the least bit with the conversion of the already limited amounts of vitamin D in the body. Alex has not told anyone of those concerned family members about the depression, social anxiety and physical problems that have plagued daily life since (only just) graduating. Alex’s neck has inflamed, herniated disks  that cause poor posture, and arched back from leaning towards a television for hours on end and blurry vision from eyes that have grown so accustomed to focusing on a single depth perception that they cannot loosen to focus on anything else. Alex has had thoughts of suicide, gets extremely agitated when family members recommend getting a college degree or maybe even getting married. After all a husband or a wife would never find their way into the life of an over weight, jobless, depressed technological pleasure addict. The power lost in this mind could have gone to finding ways to help people who are born this way. But the system that people like Alex accidentally produce only ends up causing the ingredients for genetic difficulties in the next generation.

Alex is an average scenario from various addiction sites that host anonymous consultations with multiple addicted persons. Our friend Alex would not stay healthy very long in these conditions created by a gratifying and pleasurable addictions to video games and internet browsing. But the problem is not necessarily just Alex’s fault. The industries that develop things like video games and internet sites do not want customers to go, they want them to stay. This is not to say that they want customers to hurt themselves in the process, but when the innovative measures to produce the most pleasurably addicting products ever known to man are taken, people wont be leaving any time soon. Alex now needs an eye doctor who has prescribed glasses, and multiple doctors for heart, back and mental problems. Alex is not used to hard work and will probably never take up a trade or learn any physically intensive skill. Alex is a product of quick fix living. Jumping forward Alex is now nearly 60 and has lived a life payed for by welfare and community churches. Alex never married, never had kids and does not plan on doing so anytime soon. Did I mention Alex is on life support? Alex’s multiple health issues have become life threatening and if it weren’t for the doctors over the past 20 years of professional life assistance paid for by the rest of the populace, Alex would have long since passed away.

The medical industry has moved leaps and bounds in creating treatments and cures for almost every disease and ailment known to plague the human race. As people become more dependent on medications to balance out problems with depression, weight loss and eating disorders and a long list of other problems, they lose touch with life in a scary way. Strength that comes from hard work or even minimal work has all but been eradicated in many sectors of life. What was once nutrition is now a pill, what was once called exercise is now countless pills. As people who are not strong enough to support themselves are kept alive longer the birth rate of those who could potentially grow up to be strong steadily goes down. This is called a demographic winter. When the majority of the world’s population is older than the age that can produce children. In a world that is constantly innovating and compensating for problems by easing the pain, no work is done to eradicate the issues at hand. While it could be argued that a vaccine can eradicate a disease if applied correctly to a population, it is not a fix that changes the habits of people. The habits are what need to change, natural selection does not wait for a species to catch up, humans are defying their own educational systems by stopping the process of natural selection. When the weak and the strong both live equally long lives, someone pays. While the majority of the strong work to innovate and eradicate the ailments and work strains of life, the product of eradicating strain and pressure creates a new pool of weak generations. I am not saying that the weak need to die, I am saying however that unless something changes within the next generation, every generation after the millennial generation will be dependent and weak in almost every aspect of life except pleasure.

The ripple effects that innovation has by removing work from living are small yet extremely vast in their reach. If we are to subscribe to natural selection as truth, we aren’t helping. If evolution is fundamental and progressive, we are failing. Every action we take in life should take into consideration how it will effect others. The old saying, “everything in moderation” fits nicely here.

This entry was posted in A11: Research Position Paper, cypher, cypher Portfolio. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Research Position—cypher

  1. davidbdale says:

    As a first draft, it’s a tour de force; as a finished essay, it’s a mess. With discipline, timeliness, and a commitment to recursiveness, you’ll be an intellect to be reckoned with, cypher.


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