Just as I thought things might be boring...
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria
Just as I thought I was getting a little bored, the universe finds a way to entertain me. Last night, I had a conversation with the weirdest, most interesting, in a way, scariest couple ever. Ill set the stage.
When I was in Sofia, I was outside talking with some other guests and I heard an American accent so I looked over and, sure enough, Americans. So I went over and started talking to them, turns out the guy is Lithuanian originally but born and raised in the US (his name is Aazh) and the girl was born and raised in Moscow but moved to the US as a young teenager (her name is Marina). They seemed nice enough, especially the girl, and it turns out they have been together for 7 years and they are just traveling around because he is a computer linguist/programmer so he can work from wherever and she doesnt have a job. Turns out languages are both of their passions and they speak all kinds of them from Arabic to Serbo-Croation. These people have the potential to be really cool. Then, after a bit more conversation, I realized he is diminishing his potential by being a really big, bragodocious, condescending ass. As soon as I realized, I decided I would prefer not to be around them anymore and fate fulfilled my wish- I didnt see them again in Sofia.
SO. You can imagine my surprise when they walk into the hostel after dinner last night here in the tiny town of Veliko Tarnovo. I was like o no. So Shane and a Russian dude we met here and I went outside because the Russian guy had started a fire, and we wanted to have a beer a chill (becuase I hadnt been doing that ALL day haha). Anyway, out come Aazh and Marina and I know the conversation will be interesting, and it was. Mind you, the conversation lasted about 4 or 5 hours so a lot of details will be lost in translation but here are the most interesting/upsetting/disturbing parts. PLEASE comment with your thoughts and tell me if my reaction was crazy.
Aazh and Marina are trans-humanists which means they work toward the ultimate goal of a shared human knowledge base. The internet is sort of like it but its just the first step. Ultimately, they hope we will have the ability to look at something, google search in our brains and filter all of the information in order to receive what we want, based on our personality, needs, etc... This would happen without us ever being conscious of it happening. A way in which they work toward this is by "syncing" with each other, like ipods. They ensure that ALL information one reads the other reads as well, so they will have the same access to all information. It is the creepiest, most robotic thing I have experienced.
We started talking about this and naturally the conversation led towards the consequences of living in a society where this is possible. What about the ones who dont want to access the knowledge base? If we can write and copy human brains, dont brains then become a commodity? And is a human more than their brain? Is there something else there that exists apart from the functions the brain provides? To me, this would be an interesting conversation regardless, but I have a totally new way of looking at this after being in Israel. As the conversation went on, I began to realize that these people have no regard for human life or emotion. They themselves seem not to understand emotion and disregard completely the role it plays in being human. They think only in terms of strategy and margin of interest, not just in their own lives but politically and financially as well. For example, he believes all enemies of the state (political prisoners, serial killers, murderers, and I quote "homeless people who are homeless because they cannot keep a job as a result of their bad attitude") should be shot. Yep, just straight up said that. These people are trying to be robots and they are succeeding, Aazh more then Marina, but she is well on her way.
They could not be more different from what I came to believe, enjoy and respect in Israel. It was hard to say why I got so upset about the conversation but I did. It was like they did not believe that humans are connected by something, that we are all just individuals living beside one another but there is nothing that we share. No shared experience because they dont belirve we have shared emotions. They dont believe its possible for us to really share the same emotions as anyone else. They believe there is evidence to prove that in the fact that not all languages have words for emotions that others do, for example, russian does not have a word for anxiety. But I still think that means Russians experience anxiety, they just dont have a word to express exactly that. There are plenty of emotions I feel that I cant totally describe in English. They believe it means that Russians just dont experience that. When I questioned that, he said "Well, I think you have to be truly multi-lingual to understand".O no you didnt. Well I think you have to be a human to understand emotion. I felt like Will Smith in I, Robot. Am I really having to defend the existence of a shared human experience? If I didnt exist how could we have songs about love and understand/relate to them? How could we have similar gestures that are universal indicators of joy and happiness like a smile?
I feel very anxious around them and would like to get away from them as soon as possible. Im not drinking their kool-aid. Its a conversation I learned a lot from, but one that deeply upset me. I think their total disregard for a human spirit, and their obsession with technology would have a very dark side if it caught on. Write your thoughts! Tell me that Im crazy and old fashioned or that I should have left earlier. Tell me this via internet, before you are forced to automatically register it into a large human database of experience that I will have easy and intrinsic access to.
Get me back to the farm,