PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

by Michio Kaku

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PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:52 am

pg. 360-361, “As a child, I often wondered what it would be like to live in the far future. Today, I believe that if I could choose to be alive in any particular era of humanity, I would choose this one. We are now at the most exciting time in human history, the cusp of some of the greatest cosmic discoveries and technological advances of all time. We are making the historic transition from being passive observers to the dance of nature to becoming choreographers of the dance of nature, with the ability to manipulate life, matter, and intelligence. With this awesome power, however, comes great responsibility, to ensure that the fruits of our efforts are used wisely and for the benefit of all humanity.

The generation now alive is perhaps the most important generation of humans ever to walk the Earth. Unlike previous generations, we hold in our hands the future destiny of our species, whether we soar into fulfilling our promise as a type I civilization or fall into the abyss of chaos, pollution, and war. Decisions made by us will reverberate throughout this century. How we resolve global wars, proliferating nuclear weapons, and sectarian and ethnic strife will either lay or destroy the foundations of a type I civilization. Perhaps the purpose and meaning of the current generation are to make sure that the transition to a type I civilization is a smooth one.
The choice is ours. This is the legacy of the generation now alive. This is our destiny.”


Do you agree or disagree?


(For those of you who have not read the book, a type 1 civilization is defined in the book’s glossary as follows: type I, II, III civilizations: The classification introduced by Nikolai Kardashev to rank civilizations in outer space by their energy generation. They correspond to civilizations that can harness the power of an entire planet, star, and galaxy, respectively. So far, no evidence has been found for any of them in space. Our own civilization corresponds probably to a type 0.7.)
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby Theresa » Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:28 pm

Do you agree or disagree?

I have to say both. I agree that the decisions of this generation can have a profound impact on the future of our existence, since so many countries now have, at their fingertips, the nuclear power to make Earth uninhabitable.

But I disagree that our generation is the only one that has had the power to fulfill or destroy ourselves. Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents probably thought the same thing...and our children and children's children will, too. Every "current" generation holds that choice in their hands.

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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby gemini » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:10 pm

Theresa makes a good point that we have had the ability to destroy ourselves for awhile now. I think Kaku added this part as a warning of sorts that we need to get our act together.

I would like to see what becomes of the human race, if we do make it to one of those class types. That would be something to live in those times but then that is taking a chance on the future and trusting that our rulers (since they make the big decisions that control our destiny) make the correct ones.

Sometimes I see the generation of our parents as a great one and if not for the world wars it would have been grand. They were just advanced enough to have some comfort in their life styles and so many things were being invented and it was a time of hope before we started wasting things.

Duh. What was the question? Is it our generations choice to make the correct choices to advance to the first Class type?
I would say yes, but I am worried that we are too into reliving old battles and letting history repeat itself than worrying about the future. Our ancestors decisions good and bad have been passed on to us and at some point we need to learn by our mistakes.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:32 pm

I am 62 years old, so I am not sure which generation I belong in......... :lol: But amazing things have happened in my life time. As I sit here typing this message to my book club members all over the world, sitting at a computer in my own little house, I remember that when I took typing in high school we all used manual typewriters and took turns using the two fancy electric typewriters at the back of the room! My first camera was a Brownie and we had to have black and white film developed in town to see our pictures. Now I can take a picture with my digital camera and send it to my sister out of state in a matter of seconds. I remember when I would go to my neighbor's house to watch the Mickey Mouse Club on television because we didn't have a TV set at my house yet. My elementary school was kindergarten through 8th grade in one room and we had outhouses at the back of the school yard. Do you see where this is going? One lifetime (actually, less than a lifetime since I plan to stick around a while) and look at the huge huge changes that have taken place! :-O The technology has advanced so fast it seems hard to believe it could all happen is just a few years. I don't think another civilization has "advanced" at this pace and the pitfalls have to be just as huge as the opportunities, and we don't have the benefit of past history to guide us on such an amazing journey. The language in the quote is perhaps a bit over the top, but I do think the people living in this section of time are in a unique position to create or destroy. How tragic it would be if all of it was lost to something as primitive as "ethnic strife."

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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby suec » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:05 pm

He seems to be placing the emphasis on war and human conflict. Sure we can destroy ourselves that way and our environment along with us, if a few buttons get pressed. But I would place the emphasis on the damage done to the environment through other means: 21st Century living, on top of what has gone before with the Industrial Revolution and then the technological advancements of the last century. Apathy, being apparently locked in to our modern way of life... I don't think we have much time left and don't believe things will change radically enough and quickly enough to stop the climate change and destruction. Sorry to be the voice and doom and all about it. I guess this is where my glass half empty outlook takes full hold.
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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby Liz » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:20 pm

Wow! That’s a lot to contemplate for a Tuesday afternoon. I know what I will be thinking about while I am folding laundry. I think I’m going to have to comment in bits and pieces. My first comment, before I go mull this over, is in regards to what nebraska has witnessed in her lifetime. She is only 9 years older than me, but her childhood experience (school, TV, manual typewriters in HS) was so different than mine. I don’t remember life without a TV, although I do remember going next door to watch Cinderella on the color TV. I thought our schools were quite modern…..no outhouses, and public school went through 6th grade. I believe our typewriters in high school were electric (I didn’t take typing in HS), although the one I had at home was manual. Something that just now occurred to me, though, is that papers in high school were hand-written.
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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby fansmom » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:55 pm

Theresa wrote:Do you agree or disagree?
I have to say both..
Such a Schroedinger's cat answer! :lol:

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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby gemini » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:13 pm

suec wrote:He seems to be placing the emphasis on war and human conflict. Sure we can destroy ourselves that way and our environment along with us, if a few buttons get pressed. But I would place the emphasis on the damage done to the environment through other means: 21st Century living, on top of what has gone before with the Industrial Revolution and then the technological advancements of the last century. Apathy, being apparently locked in to our modern way of life... I don't think we have much time left and don't believe things will change radically enough and quickly enough to stop the climate change and destruction.Sorry to be the voice and doom and all about it. I guess this is where my glass half empty outlook takes full hold.

Nebraska You can count me in the same generation as you. You only have me by 2 years and I too remember our first TV.

suec, you and I are on the same path again. I addressed the mentioned ways of destroying ourselves but when I said waste, I was thinking along the lines of destroying resources and the environment.You mention apathy....
This brings to mind the question of what luxuries would we give up to save the environment. Many can't even be bothered to throw things in a recycle bin instead of the trash. How can we convince people to change to advance the race instead of looking out for number one?

Kaku said
"With this awesome power, however, comes great responsibility, to ensure that the fruits of our efforts are used wisely and for the benefit of all humanity."
Easier said then done. Can we give up our cars? I would certainly procrastinate if asked to part with my computer or TV. Maybe we can compromise and just conserve and go to sources of energy like wind and sun that are unlimited instead of using all of our fossil fuels which are limited. Then if we save the envirmment lets hope someone keeps their finger off that darn red buttom. :mad: I guess my glass is half empty also. :fear:
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:31 pm

I think each generation builds on those that went before and that each generation has a responsibility for future ones. My grandparents and my parents generations saw amazingly blinding advances in technology. While their worlds were torn by war and depression many of the advances our current world enjoys were born of their abilities as will those of our children depend on us. I do see the tide slowly trying to turn, I won't say it has turned yet, towards a more friendly attitude to our planet and that gives me hope. You can probably tell I'm more of a glass half full kind of girl.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:43 pm

Liz wrote:Wow! That’s a lot to contemplate for a Tuesday afternoon. I know what I will be thinking about while I am folding laundry. I think I’m going to have to comment in bits and pieces. My first comment, before I go mull this over, is in regards to what nebraska has witnessed in her lifetime. She is only 9 years older than me, but her childhood experience (school, TV, manual typewriters in HS) was so different than mine. I don’t remember life without a TV, although I do remember going next door to watch Cinderella on the color TV. I thought our schools were quite modern…..no outhouses, and public school went through 6th grade. I believe our typewriters in high school were electric (I didn’t take typing in HS), although the one I had at home was manual. Something that just now occurred to me, though, is that papers in high school were hand-written.


Some of the difference may have been the areas where we live.........which now makes less difference than it did back then because of cel phones and the internet!

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Re: PW Question #16 ~ The Legacy of Our Generation

Unread postby Liz » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:39 pm

nebraska wrote:
Liz wrote:Wow! That’s a lot to contemplate for a Tuesday afternoon. I know what I will be thinking about while I am folding laundry. I think I’m going to have to comment in bits and pieces. My first comment, before I go mull this over, is in regards to what nebraska has witnessed in her lifetime. She is only 9 years older than me, but her childhood experience (school, TV, manual typewriters in HS) was so different than mine. I don’t remember life without a TV, although I do remember going next door to watch Cinderella on the color TV. I thought our schools were quite modern…..no outhouses, and public school went through 6th grade. I believe our typewriters in high school were electric (I didn’t take typing in HS), although the one I had at home was manual. Something that just now occurred to me, though, is that papers in high school were hand-written.


Some of the difference may have been the areas where we live.........which now makes less difference than it did back then because of cel phones and the internet!

This subject came up with a woman in my daughter's orthodontist's office today. I told her about what you had said about your school, and she asked where you lived at the time. And I said, I think Nebraska? Maybe the reason CA is in the position it is in right now is because it spent too much money on nice bathrooms. :grin:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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