I would like you to do two dangerous things:
First, assume that humanity exhausts the finite resources of oil, gas, radioactive material, etc. without either going extinct — which I find highly unlikely — or figuring out how to indefinitely capture immense amounts of energy from the Sun in a way that could continue to give us all Internet for centuries to come — which, if you investigate this closely, is also really unlikely.
Now, based on this assumption, consider what the world will look like 500 years from now.
I have done these two things and this is my consideration.
- It is the year 2512 and you are loading up your truck with biofuel in Iowa to keep the Internet running in New York. Oops, what’s that noise? Oh no, the peasants are revolting again. They’re unhappy because there are hundreds of millions of them and they are starving to death while you drive their precious corn across the country to fuel some rich tyrant’s desire to watch 500-year-old YouTube videos. Also, they have guns because this is America. Bang, you’re dead.
- Okay, honestly, exactly how long you expect the scenario in (1) to last? 500 years might be a stretch. Even if my scenario is exaggerated, and it’s meant to be, this is the general direction things are going.
- Therefore, something is going to give in the future. I expect this to be something big.
- Human beings who are part of a greater thing than themselves can realize eternal truth that allows them to accept war, disease, family and friends dying, etc. This will be arbitrarily dubbed a “tradition”. Traditions are ubiquitous and unavoidable. (source: all of human history)
- Mass distribution of wealth, caused mostly by the oil bubble, causes those with a deficit of wisdom to think that tradition is an inconvenience and should be erased. (Recently even stupider people have started to believe that the very concept of power can be erased from the world.) What too much wealth actually does is weaken the quality which people assign to their local tradition, and replace it with quantity, the amount of quality-free stuff that people can get their hands on. This describes almost everything in the modern world, from gay marriage to iPhones to the replacement of local fairy tales with a proliferation of internationally marketed picture books. In the West the concept of quantity was weaponized, making it a political necessity to give everyone economic independence, individualism, populism, atheism, and so on. All of this is what I posit is going away in (3).
- Fun challenge: Figure out how to allow tradition to smoothly return in the future.
Consider a perfectly spherical, frictionless human being stuck in an empty teacher’s lounge with nothing but a laptop and an Internet connection, which approximates my situation pretty well right now. Okay, you can use the Internet to buy a birthday present for your mom, search for a less boring job, or figure out where to hang out with friends this weekend. Don’t forget to enjoy the fruits of modernity with everyone else, but when you’re done with that, come back to the “fun challenge” of (6). The Internet has lowered the floodgates of information, even information about traditional truths which have been obstructed by modernist media. The highest value the Internet has for the long-term good of the human race is to enable access to people who are thinking about the long-term future.
This means getting acquainted with writers who can educate you about how tradition works: Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, G.K. Chesterton, Oswald Spengler, Julius Evola, René Guénon, etc. Make this into an education that you never received in school. Talk about these writers with like-minded people and grow from other interpretations. Try to adapt their ideas to your personal and local situation.
As time goes by, I assume, you will want to settle into one tradition or another, to improve it and shape it towards the future. You will leave the world where you stared at a screen, and move into politics, finance, farming, religion, bartending, or any number of things more directly relevant to solving the world’s problems. But this is the education you must go through first, so that when you are asked to answer for your judgments, you can be confident in your responses.
The Internet is a product of late oil age society. It will be available for a very short amount of time in human history. Please don’t waste your screen-staring years looking at cat videos.