Love as an Algorithm

While cognitive scientist Steven Pinker keeps assuring us that prosperity, safety, peace and even happiness are on the rise worldwide, other scientists and philosophers as diverse as Stephen Hawking, Timothy Morton and Yuval Noah Harari warn us that the world as we have known it, and even ourselves, are on the verge of a devastating change. Climate catastrophe might well lead to global destruction, while artificial intelligence and biological engineering threaten to make human beings redundant. Extinction, we are told, is the norm, survival the exception. Living amidst the devastating possibilities which in this age of acceleration could prove remarkably close, have we humans already been subject to a mutation: a growing fear translated into a generalized disregard for the other, a refusal to pay attention and accept responsibility if it threatens our own comfort, even a developing propensity for hate? As conscious beings with the ability to distinguish between cause and effect, means and ends, we are witnesses to what goes on in our world. While many of the practical and ethical decisions vis a vis the immediate future need to be made with knowledge and power beyond that of the ordinary citizen, my personal conviction is that Love presents each and every one of us with a clear and vital algorithm for our endurance. Love in its most comprehensive connotation as a recognition of our profound interrelatedness – humans, animals, plants, the earth itself, the stars – every single element in the universe. True awareness of this extraordinary interconnection demands an attentiveness to what is going on, exacts not only an active concern for the other but an outright respect for our differences, along with the ineluctable conviction that only by sharing responsibility can we hope to survive. As we are thrust headlong into the pending Anthropocene, Love might well be our one viable path to a future.

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Posted by IAFOR