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What these Take Aways from The Precipice Reading Retreat mean to me
Humanity’s need for wisdom
In the last post on my recent Reading Retreat in Park City on The Precipice by Toby Ord, I reflected on Ord’s emphasis on the need for wisdom and how our wisdom is growing more slowly than our (technological) power. I also explored what he means by wisdom in the first place. While many of the times he mentions wisdom it’s very hand-wavy, in the end it seems he means our ability to govern and regulate technologies that might run amok and present great risk to humanity’s survival.
Where wisdom comes from
Whether wisdom is the kind that makes me think I need to reread Plato’s dialogues or the kind makes me feel like I need to research carbon capture or collective action on a massive scale, I’m very very interested in how we as individuals, groups and super groups cultivate wisdom. From whence does it come? Speaking of Plato, in his dialogue by the name of Meno, Socrates ventures into the question is one born with virtue or can it be taught/learned/acquired throughout one’s life? The same question goes for wisdom. To my mind it is generally accepted that it springs from life experience and springs moreso when one reflects on said life experience.
How Infinite Friend Reading Retreats might cultivate wisdom
If wisdom comes from living and reflecting Reading Retreats as I’ve been experimenting with under the name of Infinite Friend could play a part in cultivating the wisdom we need for humanity to survive. Where else in our busy day to day lives do we take time to reflect? Where else do we take the time to reflect with other people? Where else do we take the time to reflect on important questions like, how might we best make decisions at a variety of scales? How might we best disagree with one another? How might we regulate <insert any technology here>? How might we face species scale challenges when we suffer from pessimism and divisive politics or are torn by war?
For the most part I see questions like these passed over in our day to day. No one has time for them. All feel powerless to affect any sort of change. It’s not us who can do anything about global challenge X. It’s the rich. The politicians. The larger countries. The other countries. The future generations who’ll ambitiously develop new technologies that will obviate any issues we see today.
In my next post I’ll go into what Reading Retreats actually are in detail. I’ll also cover what a given reading retreat might focus on so that it opens up a spacetime for us, amidst our busy day-to-days, might reflect and grow wiser.
The question I’m left with however, is if parts (individuals) grow wiser, does that increase the wisdom of the whole (humanity, society, the human species)? WDYT?