Between Two Ages

In essence, it is empire which turns human beings into fools and makes them stupid, and in turn, empire engenders and fosters all sorts of biases and flaws in the system which are hidden and invisible to a certain extent. Empire also makes us lose sight of the fact that America has a social fabric that has yet to develop to its fullest extent. Nevertheless, the delirium and mania of empire lead us into thinking that happiness can be found somewhere far off, like England or Qatar or China, when in reality, we as Americans have to eventually turn inward for happiness and for the development of our own social fabric because neither empire nor its delirium and mania can last forever. 

Empire, as well as its decline, also coincide strangely enough with globalization, technology, and artificial intelligence. But as mentioned before, the polarization which has emerged out of globalization and technology has also paradoxically led to the growing rigidness of identities which are both individual and shared amidst advances and evolutions in globalization and technology. Yet, everything is a paradox, and as a result, the polarization which has emerged out of globalization and technology has also led to the creation of “global networks.” As Henry Kissinger wrote: “We are forming new types of relationships that will have substantial implications for individuals, institutions, and nations – between AI and people, between people using AI-facilitated services, and between the creators and operators of these services and governments.” 

Arguably, these global developments and “networks” as a result of AI will lead to “an event of civilizational significance.” These developments are then facilitated by a learning process that is embedded in AI. As the late Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote: 

“Reliance on these new techniques of calculation and communication enhances the social importance of human intelligence and the immediate relevance of learning. The need to integrate social change is heightened by the increased ability to decipher the patterns of change; this in turn increases the significance of basic assumptions concerning the nature of man and the desirability of one or another form of social organization.” 

Brzezinski summed up the political and social changes going on in this day and age, which he dubbed as the “technetronic age,” when he wrote:

“In the technetronic society, plutocratic pre-eminence is challenged by the political leadership, which is itself increasingly permeated by individuals possessing special skills and intellectual talents. Knowledge becomes a tool of power and the effective mobilization of talent an important way to acquire power.”

And perhaps above all else, the shift from an industrial age to a “technetronic age” which is going on at the moment “reflects the onset of a new relationship between man and his expanded global reality” to borrow from Brzezinski. Thus, and in a sense, technology is enabling, engendering, and fostering a relationship between man and this expanded global reality with the aim of mastery on the part of man over this expanded global reality. But the journey towards this mastery is ridden with countless struggles and incredible turmoil. As Brzezinski wrote: 

“This new relationship is a tense one: man has still to define it conceptually and thereby render it comprehensible to himself. Our expanded global reality is simultaneously fragmenting and thrusting itself in upon us. The result of the coincident explosion and implosion is not only insecurity and tension but also an entirely novel perception of what many still call international affairs.” 

Hence, people are now clashing with one another on all fronts, not only in the way of advancing and preserving their personal and vested interests, but also in the way of determining and fomenting their collective and individual identities and a way of life which will most likely change as a result of an ongoing epochal shift in the chain of human history. 

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