May 23Liked by John Clayton

Isn’t the whole of human history a technology story, starting with rocks as tools and onward to ever more elaborate technologies, until here we are, uncertain about the nature of nature?

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As I read this week's essay, something indefinable slowly crept over me. I've read John's work for 27 years. Something was wrong. Maybe John is ill. Maybe he's worried about his mother's health. Maybe he's newly in love. Whatever the cause, this was John's poorest written communication ever, and the more I read, the worse it became. Add to this the disturbing photo of a lone, thin, male camper--whom I instantly thought is John, and in five seconds knew it wasn't. I suppose AI should have occurred to me, but it didn't till I read it. I've read that AI can write Melville or Twain better than Melville or Twain, and similarly conjure better-than-Ansel Adams photos. Maybe so, but I'm hugely relieved it can't surpass the corporeal Clayton.

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May 21·edited May 21Liked by John Clayton

No AI was used in composing this comment.

Flipping your theme: Culture is Nature (Natural?). Its what humans do. And thus, I guess, however much it threatens the nonhuman world or particular human interests or however much it alters our perceptions, Technology is also Natural (I just like that better).

So, by my reckoning, Nature is not the opposite of Technology, but rather Technology is a natural result of there being humans. No opposition. No binary choice.

But deciding that Technology (you didn't take a Swiss Army knife with a bottle opener?) is Natural raises a deep question. If its Natural then do we actually have any control over it? Doesn't it just happen?

And when one thinks about things like cell phones, they sure seem to have just happened (actually my boss - John knows who - gave me my first one because he wanted to be able to find me while I was on the road). Same with AI, which seems even more suddenly on the scene. But, wait!?

Until some point in "Western" history that we need not try to pin down here, Culture set the rules for Technology. The Ancestors and/or the Elders and/or the Spirits had to bless your arrows or they would miss their mark. But now - as John at least implies - that relationship is being (has been?) reversed. And Tech seems out of control. My question is: How do we begin to re-assert Cultural control over Technology?

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