I feel like throwing some random stuff out there.
First, this is very interesting, but very bleak:
“The Fragmentation of Society” by John Mauldin: http://www.mauldineconomics.com/frontlinethoughts/the-fragmentation-of-society
This article is mostly about job losses due to technological advancement, and some of the consequences. He touches on driverless cars, manufacturing, but also how medicine will be disrupted by the end of cancer. It’s a really good article.
Here are the key sentences that made me think:
Think where we were 100 years ago and how much has changed since then. That much and more is going to happen in the next two decades. Global society really is going to transform that fast.
To my friends in Alberta, the first half is about robots pumping oil. There is a new robot that automates linking the sections of pipe, and it eliminates a lot of the jobs on the rigs, but it’s just one example of automation. To me, this means the Alberta economy is going to be unrecognizable in 20 years. This is coming really fast. The really good jobs in the industry are likely to change faster than the time it takes to get a trade. We basically should abandon the idea that you go to school once, and that is it. Young people will be in school for the rest of their lives, part-time, constantly. Even more than this is already true. And yet, I’m watching the unemployment rate of young workers (15-44) in Victoria hit something like 3.4%…People are retiring faster than they are being replaced. Alberta already is younger than the rest of Canada, demographically, without spending the day chasing the data, I’m going to just guess that this trend is a bit stronger everywhere else than Alberta. So the economist in me thinks that it means wages should rise (or they will fall in Alberta), and young people will leave places like Alberta for places like Vancouver Island. But…at this rate of change, it’s not clear that the trend will last very long. Not long enough to plan a life around.
The amazing thing is that this transformation happened in two years; it didn’t take a generation or even half a generation. You were an oilfield worker with what you thought was potentially a lifetime of steady, well-paying – if dangerous, nasty, and dirty – work. And then BOOM! The jobs just simply disappeared.
If you want to dig even deeper, here is the source blog post for the blog post I am quoting in this blog. Here is the chart of interest.
It’s not all bad.
One way or another, cancer is going to go the way of measles and polio. You’ll be diagnosed by means of a simple blood test that will be part of your annual medical checkup, and you’ll be informed if you have cancer. Next you will undergo further tests to determine what type. And then, whatever the therapy is, it is likely that you will simply go to your doctor’s office for regular treatments.
we are going to have to think about something like universal basic employment, as opposed to universal basic income. Good work and participating in society give us meaning in life. Income just gives us a way to scrape by, but not personal life satisfaction or meaning, which is why we have an epidemic of opioid deaths, suicides, and rising deaths from alcoholism in the United States among white unemployed workers between 45 and 54. They have lost meaning and hope in their lives.
This is a good place to segue into another idea that I encountered this week. In one of my recent posts I talked about teleology.
It was a new word for me when I wrote that piece, and a new way of thinking about things…and what would you know? I heard someone talking about it this week.
I think teleology is a bit of an esoteric concept, I would assume most people don’t even know the meanings of telic (seeking a goal) vs. atelic (not seeking a goal). I didn’t until writing about it, at any rate.
Then I heard about telic vs. atelic activities in life on a podcast.
In the podcast they talk about happiness and phases of life. In general, people in their middle age have been measured (somehow) as being less happy than young or old people.
They interview some very high achievers. The idea is that people who are unhappy at mid-life are unhappy because they feel a lack of accomplishment. High achievers also get unhappy, and it has a lot to do with goals.
I only recently published the article on being vs. doing as some version of my codex vitae, and I am wondering how much I will have to go back and rethink it already. I am still more or less happy with what I wrote, but I worry that getting to certain about those ideas sort of devalues the time we spend on activities that are good all by themselves.
For example. I love fishing. I go fishing, and it has a “sort-of” goal to catch fish. But the real enjoyment is simply be fishing as opposed to doing anything else. Like going for a stroll. It has no real destination, just the activity of wandering. These are atelic activities. They don’t have, nor need any ambition behind them. They are the truly peaceful, good moments of life. Like petting a dog or cat; just being in the presence of people you like; having a few beers; etc… whatever floats your boat.
In the podcast, one of the high achievers discusses what life was like when he accomplished his telos. He never had to think much about life. I think it might have been the author of this book. When he was young, there was always work to do, and it meant that there wasn’t time to think about much else. The telic life is one that consumes you. It can, at best, offer achievement. I wonder, however, how much of this still relies on the type of question one asks of oneself. The basic question is why? And it is impossible to answer.
This blog is atelic sometimes. Sometimes I just find it interesting to point out the serendipity of the ideas I encounter in a week.