Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Homo homini opus

Get a look at your hands. I suppose:5+ 5 fingers, good mobility (well of course if you don't have these characteristics, I beg your pardon). What's the buzz? Well, you are smart, in part because of your hands. Humans started to increase their smartness, when they started to stand, walking with feet and freeing the upper arts. Human brains became to explore the world with hands. Touching things and touching things with things.
Take a stick and try to test the ground. Very soon you'll be able to “feel” the ground with the stick: if it's hard or soft; but also if it's wet. Shortly humans begun to build tools.

The good thing in building tools is that you have to be smart to build one, but also that you can store “smartness” in the tool. Take scissors: the shape of the tool is shaping your movements.
Scissors are not just an extension of movements (in sharpness), they are also guiding your gestures. Manual prowess brings you a degree of smartness. Artisans are smart monkeys.
A good thing of smart monkeys is that they can communicate. And communication is another tool. You can build scissors, hammers, mainframe, tables, satellites. You can also build stories, narratives, legends, religions and jokes. Narratives are a kind of tool to extend gestures and guide movements. When you have a certain degree of narrative movements, you have a mask, a character. A mind.

We build minds with our narratives because we've been built as minds by narratives. We composed very long stories, really very long. Societies are this kind of stories. With societies you can tell very long stories. We tell stories about Egyptians, about Julius Caesar, about the man of Neanderthal. We always told stories about the beginning: of everything. Sometimes with fantasy, sometimes with proven fantasy. We spoke of an old man with a white beard “creating” the world; we spoke of a very strange event in which normal rules don't apply. In short we told ourselves a lot of stories.
We build tools to play with. We built hammers, scissors and minds. We built computers and programs. We program now. As we've always done. As soon as we stood on two feet, we started to program our environment with stories and with tools, because we were programming our minds. Now we program in these virtual environments, transferring intelligence in lines of code. As usual.
It's funny when people is afraid of technology, forecasting the times the machines will overthrow men. It's funny because men are nothing but the spirits evoked by hammers and scissors: it would be silly to say we
“overthrown” our tools. It's funny but to some extent our minds have
been created by our tools. “But we'd create with intention”. And intention what is? Don't be too philosophical. Of course we create with intention and dices says 7. God doesn't play with dices, we do.It's good, it's cool. It's our work. It's us.

No comments:

Post a Comment