Life in a complete world

We are living in a constantly changing world. Technological progress is continuously changing our every day lives, world population is still strongly growing, fossil fuels are being depleted, the power balance between countries is changing, countries split, international collaborative organizations are established and expanded, demographics are changing due to immigration among other things, man is shaping nature and environment, languages die and globalization unifies cultures.

What if we would live in a world, where all this was no longer true? Technological progress would have practically reached its peak. Population growth would have stopped and would be controlled for example through jurisdiction if needed. The social structure of the population and the possibly still existing countries would have been stabilized. Fossil fuels would have long ago been completely or almost completely replaced by alternative energy sources, and the human relation with nature would also otherwise be in balance. Real economic growth would have stopped and the division of wealth would be stabilized. Everyone on earth would either have the same mother tongue or at least the amount of languages and their power relationship would not change.

None of these are close, but the idea is not impossible in the very long run. It may also be that the pace of change is currently at its highest, and in the upcoming decades life will change slower. At least so far the most rapid technological revolution in the entire history might have been the way mobile phones and internet have conquered the world during the last two decades. In practice, we are currently just adapting to the effects of this revolution – both on individual and societal levels.

A 16th century view of a Golden Era

Then what would it be like to live in a truly complete world? The world would probably be, if not entirely equal, a lot more equal than it is today. There would be no war-torn countries nor significant violent conflicts between cultures. In addition to an abolished global inequality, there would also be no inequality between generations: no real economic growth and no new technologies or technological applications would emerge to make life easier. There would also be very little if any reason to fear population growth, global warming, great wars or technological progress potentially going too far.

Apart from the positive factors like equality and safety, also downsides can be seen. From the perspective of the contemporary man a future without linguistic or cultural diversity might seem like a depressing scenario. On the other hand would one be able to miss something that one has never experienced? Some probably would miss, but most perhaps would not – at least not on a substantial or conscious level.

How about what life in general would feel like, if the world would have been approximately the same for centuries, and there would be no reason to assume that the following centuries would in any way differ from this? Would it result in a lack of objective and healthy ambition? In science there would be no new discoveries to be found. No industry or profession would be facing any kinds of changes. Of course this would result in a general feeling of safety, but perhaps also a feeling of purposelessness. No new ideas would be brought up in any area of life – not in technology, literature, art, pastime nor in social relations.

Also in the entertainment culture practically everything would have been experienced. In movies and games or their future equivalents all the stories and phenomena would have been seen. Since similar entertainment - both technologically and in terms of content - would have been produced for centuries and all the old production would be easily available, entertainment consumption would most likely be far more fragmented than it is today. Both in entertainment and in fashion there could of course be short-term variation, but in practice everything would be repetition of something old. Everything would have been already experienced. But although we would have reached our final goal as a race, there still might be space for individual dreams and goals.

Tokyo, March 2009

A lot of people may consider a utopia like this rather impossible. Maybe it is, maybe not, which is of course largely dependent on how tightly the term “complete” is defined in this context. In any case, in spite of its perks, the state of goallessness, that is an inherent part of a complete world, might not be entirely worth striving for – although there would perhaps be even less sense in trying to purposefully avoid it. Either way, the current speed of change and progress does not always feel right to the human nature. The older one gets, the more exhausting the surrounding invisible turmoil may feel.

For the time being the train of progress is continuing its journey at high speed. Each of us may decide for oneself, how perseveringly one is willing to chase it.

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