The one true question is that of suicide. All human activity is an attempt to either ignore suicide or suppress it. Suicide is the one question which all human beings are faced with, whether they like it or not. Meaning is an activity which suppresses suicide. Meaning keeps suicide out of the living quarters of our lives. Whatever gives our lives meaning is the very thing that gives our lives the impulse necessary to keep going. But we live in an age of meaninglessness. Chaotic obsoleteness. Human beings are increasingly faced with the reality that their lives are not only useless, they are utterly meaningless. It is true that the technological revolution brought humankind relief. It has. And humankind has found other forms of activities which distract from the question of suicide. The farmers dropped their pitch forks and picked up suitcases. Their lives lost an essential part of the stimulus which kept them going. The farmer lost his or her identity. And identity crisis ensued. We offered the farmer something that replaced his or her occupation. We gave them desk jobs. But with the epic progress in technological development, we are now entering a different age. No, this age will not offer human beings a “different” career. This age will offer human beings nothingness. It will render most of their activities useless. Not only will they be obsolete, they will become a burden.
Our scientific and technological progress will not save us here. For we are entering a different age indeed. This new age will not replace a certain role a human being has played; it will supplant the entire human being. The future is almost here. And the future is rendering human beings obsolete. Amazon.com has run thousands of bookstores out of business. RedBox has run movie stores out of business. Kiosks are taking over. But that’s just the beginning. We have not yet replaced the human being. Artificial intelligence is the future, whether you like it or not. Once the human is replaced, there can be analogical comparisons made between the future and prior epochs. No age has yet replaced the human being. The future will.
Meaning. That odd word few have time to think about.
Meaning is a complex term. Employment gives people meaning. Working gives people meaning. But knowing that you are replaceable, a burden, useless—that annihilates all sense of meaning. The future is coming and you are as obsolete as ever. Increasingly burdensome to the cycle of life.
Suicide. Such a strange word. But get used to it; it’s entering our vocabulary. The proverbial Indian farmers committing suicide by the thousands may not be a part of public discourse in modern America, but they soon will be. We, too, shall experience an identity crisis. It is, frankly, inevitable.
Religion will attempt to distract from our insignificance. Religion will exalt humankind over all other forms of life. Religion will pacify the masses. It will keep them entertained long enough to sip the poisonous Kool-Aid. But even religion will not be able to defend the weakest of the species. For once made obsolete, who shall rescue us?
Unemployment rates will rise. They have to. There is no need for a bank teller when machines do it error-free. There is no need for a nurse when robots in Japan make it happen. Computers can more accurately diagnose patients than real, living and breathing doctors. Doctors, obsolete; nurses, obsolete; farmers, obsolete; cashiers, obsolete; people, obsolete. Welcome to an era of uselessness. Bleak the future.
But it’s already here.
The philosophers have been contemplating our utter uselessness for a long time. Theologians have come up with ways to endow our lives with meaning. But all attempts have, so far as I can tell, failed.
Written by: Moses Y. Mikheyev