Get Over It: Yes the Universe is Expanding and Technological Progress is Inevitable

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What Shall We Do With the Social and Political World?


The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson


It took about 10,000 years of human existence and increasing knowledge for scientists to say definitively they proved that the universe is infinite and always expanding.

When will political conservatives in the U.S. finally admit that human knowledge must never stop growing too?

Ah, a conundrum.

As I emerged from the entropy of sleep this morning dreaming I was sitting on a cloud watching the expanding universe like a tourist sitting atop a peak in the Great Smoky Mountains watching a meteor shower, my mind turned to an always present question: How do we relate what we know of the sciences of Physics and Cosmology to the social sciences about human activity?

Even chambers of commerce are always talking about the need for “economic growth” through development, about the only kind of “progress” religious and political conservatives seem to want to accept as necessary.

But they seem to be able to continue gaining political traction with the idea that time should stop on the social front. They seem uncomfortable with the idea that human technology and knowledge must continue to grow just as the universe is expanding.

I mean if it ever stopped, everything that ever happened through all of time would crash into the glass wall and explode. Scientist might say that is possible, but it would just lead to another big bang and the universe would go on expanding even faster than before.

But those who can’t accept the notion that knowledge must also continue expanding somehow want us to believe that everything we need to know to save ourselves to “live forever” was printed in a book 600 years ago based on a 2,000 year old story of how an alleged god created the universe?

Come on people.

E.O. Wilson tried to suggest that there would come a day when science and the humanities would come together to deal with social questions as well as questions of science and math, but there is not much evidence the academy has even begun to embrace the idea that at some point, there would literally be a “jumping together” of knowledge by the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation for everything.

When I tried to simply cite Wilson’s work on Sociobiology in a doctoral dissertation in science communication 12 years ago, one of the Christian conservative professors laughed it off as “eugenics.” Of course he was also sure the Internet was a “fad” and that newspapers would go on publishing with ink on paper forever.

What a fucking idiot. Of course he no longer holds the dean’s job. Who knows where he ended up? Hopefully in a plain pine box.

While even I get frustrated when the Facebook programmers keep changing the interface, and just a few years ago I thought and wrote that technological expansion would inevitably reach a tipping point and be good enough and fast enough, I now realize that I was wrong.

We can no more stop the continuing technological revolution programmers are working on trying to improve every day than we can stop the universe itself from expanding. So the accelerating, exponential rate of change in our society will continue, and there’s really nothing much we can do about it except to try to keep up.

If you stop for a single minute and think you can get by on reading one local newspaper for news, you will fall so far behind the rest of the world that you will not be able to compete. The same is true of radio and television. If you think you know everything you need to know by listening to talk radio or watching the Today Show, you may as well retire and go into the old folks home and get ready to die. When the brain stops learning, it’s time for the funeral.

Do we really want to keep electing people who are ready for the funeral? Not me.

Let’s keep learning and expanding and work together to make the world a better place. It can be done. It is being done. Some people are just not participating in the game. That’s not only their problem. It is our problem.

If one planet in the universe stopped turning, it could suck who knows how many planets into the black hole with it.

So get off your ass and stop complaining about the technology and let’s get this ship moving in the right direction. The world can’t wait. The hour is late. Time’s a waistin’.

© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.