Sunday, August 29, 2010

The sun taketh away and the sun giveth

In an article on it is said that 2012 could well be a catastrophic year for our species after all. Not because of the Mayan calendar phenomenon but because the sun is shaking its feathers and warming up for a colossal solar storm. Something which might well have been predicted using calendars and tables and a good look at the sky. So there may be something in the Mayan interpretation after all.

The storm could wipe out most of our communication systems. As it did with the telegraph in 1859. The telegraph then was the equivalent of the Internet now: a massive global communication system on which businesses, individuals and services relied to contact each other. The loss of digital communication would throw us back a long way. Imagine our lives without satellites! No more TV, no telephone (mobile or otherwise), no Internet, no GPS. In a word: chaos.

But is it really such a bad thing? Apart from a return to the hippie point of view that we will have to learn to live off the land, for a while at least, there is also the notion that we may come out stronger. Leaner and meaner to face the future as a truly tech-savvy species.

We have become so reliant on digital technology that it belies the vulnerability of it. A massive wake-up call will be good for us, for the development of more reliable infrastructures, for new ways of thinking in the digital realm, for out of the box solutions to potential problems we are now complacent towards.

An event like a massive solar storm will bring chaos but out of that chaos a new species will rise like a phoenix. A species that will have made a big step forward to declaring itself independent from nature's wiles. 2012, it may well be the dawn of the next step in human evolution. The big question is: will we be able to do without Twitter for long enough to allow us to rebuild?

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