lenses and the shape of the world

Earlier this year, I wrote about lenses and how they affect our observational windows. This relates as well to the Rashamon moment, that I touched on briefly some long time ago. I’m thinking about lenses again, and there is one train of thought I’d like to chase for a bit, that starts in a weird place.

I thought about this a long time ago; you can find them here and here, and I’ve come back to that old speculation, but from a different viewpoint. Through, perhaps, a different lens.

Supervillains are rife in the literature. They populate Bond movies, Dr No and Blofeld from the Bond movies, and others, independents and those who’ve worked for SPECTRE. More recently, there is Thanos from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and perhaps even Lex Luther and the Joker from the DC Universe. And there are many many more beyond these few.

There is something to work through here, namely what is the fractal nature of the boundary between mere villain and supervillain. but that’s a practical application of a mathematical idea to be explored another day.

Often, though not always, supervillains wish to take control, to be in charge of the world or the universe, and I find myself wondering, why? Being in charge is complicated. There are difficult decisions to be made, often in situations where there is no clear right decision. There is paperwork. There are unhappy but ambitious minions.

I will say, Thanos had a clear goal. He had a plan. While I very much disagree with both his basic goal (there were so many other things he could have done once he had the Infinity Stones and even before), I have to take him out of this discussion because there is a clear argument for why it doesn’t apply to him.

This question for supervillains then leaks into my thinking about, well, everything else. What is the shape of the world we are working towards, and I know that if I were to ask a dozen people, I would get at least a dozen answers.

And so, over the next few weeks, I would like to explore a particular lens through which to view this question of the shape of the world of the future, and how we might view purpose as the guiding spirit on our journey to this world of the future.

This choice of lens is inspired in part by the world of Star Trek and the dream of the Federation. The lens I choose is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and I’ll come back to this next week.

~ by Jim Anderson on 17 October 2021.

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