The Ape Ariseth

We have become the most advanced apes, and we wallow grandly in our apishness. Tool use, once thought to be the haute domain of humans has been grudgingly relinquished to the ape world. We hardly even talk about other tool users, dolphins, elephants, crows, octopuses (octopi?)…

We have far outrun the pack in tool use though. With the entrance of the computer and the dawning of the Information Age, we took tool use to its farther extreme—emulating the gods with our use of tools. Elevating science, technology, engineering and math to the supreme arts, we have banked our education, business, wealth and future on our use of tools. Planted before the stony backdrop of an obdurate universe, the ape has risen to swing his awful club in the face of God. En garde Ahuramazda!

Now we have 3-D printers. We can recreate our world in bits and pieces. One day, it is predicted, we may be able to use such tools to recreate food. If food, why not sexual partners? STEM is pretty sexy—the reddest apple, dangling just within the touch of our finger tips, soon to be fully in our grasp. Imagine life on the holo-deck, lounging on the holo-beach, munching holo-lotus seeds.

The earliest Star Treks were, for the adolescent minded, fascinating in their gimmickry, scope and power. Yet Rodenberry used these to deliberate upon matters of sociology and philosophy, for those of us who troubled our minds grappling with such things. These vagaries were the places no one dared to go. How will we use our godlike power tools then? And for whose benefit? To whose detriment?

But it is much more fascinating monkeying around with our newest tool—a word not far removed from “toy”—than it is to grapple with abstractions. Ah! Making sense of abstractions, bringing order to the chaos of what is only imaginable. Attempting to understand our place in the incredible fabric of the universe. Now that sounds like something even an octopus might struggle in coming to grips with.