The Power of Passive

It’s hard to overstress the importance of technology these days. As you mentioned, machines have always been around. But in our generation, it is indeed becoming the one overpowering component, the dressing affecting all ingredients, the forge of game-changers.

Artificial intelligence will take this on the next level and learning machines are super fascinating and scary at the same time. On this tight rope, I personally am siding with scared for now. Scared of what these androids might be capable of. Scared of not being able to stop an artificially armed avalanche from whiping us of the face of our earth. Scared they might darken the sky to set the stage for a matrix scenario (Wait – that was us, no?!). I could never trust a self-thinking android fully, no ‘I-Robots’ for me please.

But to get back to the subject, neither can you with our lovely, fellow humans. And here we are at a point that truly grinds my gears these days: Blunt, deliberate idleness.

Let me give you an example: Climate change will threaten the existence of our species in the future. Or at least make things a lot more uncomfortable around here. We know this. But the ones that act are few. And here is where I just snap from time to time. Because we are all in this, not only those acting on it. That non-committment is the gas pedal on our road towards the cliff.

And that Diesel for my dark moments can be found everywhere. It’s the girl coming to the party with no drinks, complaining all the time how lame it is, trashing a lamp and then taking off with some cans and snacks for the road. It’s the guy not chipping in for the pizza because he’s not hungry and then TAKES A SLICE. It’s people not getting their nachos themselves, but waiting for others to do so.

In German, these are called ‘Trittbrettfahrer’. This coins the habit of people not paying for the ticket, but jumping on the footrail of the tram once the doors are closed to ride along anyways. Just for the love of having the cake and the despise for baking it.

This social parasitism becomes more and more obvious and annoying to me these days. People just don’t seem to care about anything outside their own circle of concern and comfort zone. Still, they persist. No penalties, just benefits.

Animals and plants fight the same battle here. Evolution has always spawned energy-absorbing, belly-scratching egoists that use the golden rule to wipe their rear end while feeling consent with it all along the way. This is not news, they were always around. We share the same boat since day one, face the same tides.

But the system works. Ever since. Just look at ticks, mosquitoes or all their comrades. Or ask my room-mates how they are doing lately. And here’s the catch: It is hard – or maybe even impossible – to tackle that attitude without adopting it. When you go out hunting for monsters, you watch out you don’t become one.

Here, I’m turning away for now. Not the cheek, but my whole sense of attention. For now, I am walking away from the fight here. Instead, I seek for active and caring folks and hit into the punch there. Helping those that help. Caring for those who care. Giving to those who give.

In this context, I must say a proactive android that gets the round just because we lost track of whose turn it is sounds not that bad. And neither does the dark sky now. Because it would be just as dark and gloomy for the bloodsuckers among us. And it may be a small comfort, but for once it would be satisfying to see them get a taste of their own medicine.

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