Humanity’s 4 Foundations in the Era of Technology

Humanity’s 4 Foundations in the Era of Technology

John Nosta 07/06/2021
Humanity’s 4 Foundations in the Era of Technology

The wisdom of Aristotle may be our best path forward.

How Do We Make Sense of it All?

How do we begin to understand the complexities of, well ... complexity itself? Technology offers humanity a path forward, but the bumps, curves, and detours make the journey one of both wonder and fear. It seems that the guideposts of today’s technology and innovations are more a function of this contemporary reality than one anchored in the fundamental human truths and transcend the electron to offer a perspective of flesh, blood, and dare I say, soul.

Sometimes, the best way to look forward is to look back. Our history of thinkers, rebels, and philosophers can offer the “first principles” of humanity and provide a template for reflection and analysis. In his book If Aristotle Ran General Motors, Tom Morris takes a fascinating and critical look at modern business and how fundamental insights from varied philosophical traditions can provide the guideposts for business and humanity. Published over 20 years ago, Morris’ wisdom can be applied to how technology impacts all our lives and provides a strategic framework that can ground our contemporary reality in a timeless perspective.

Let’s take a step back—a philosophical step back to Aristotle’s world. Grounding his (and our) reality are four foundational concepts that frame our experience: truth, beauty, goodness, and unity. From ancient Greek times to the modern world, these pillars have been the foundations of human experience. These four dimensions—a philosophical hypercube—create our human reality and establish a moral compass, that today more than ever, is an essential tool for interpreting our reality and navigating our path forward. Perhaps, it’s this ancient wisdom that can provide a modern-day rubric or even an operating system that helps us establish the “right and wrong” to technology’s advancement, intrusion into, and transformation of our lives.

Truth: The First of First Principles

In today’s world, truth is often a perceptual reality driven by influence, groupthink, and search engine algorithms. It sometimes feels as truth has emerged as more a point of view than a basic and fundamental reality. While truth represents the cornerstone of various aspects of society—from relationships to governments—this very foundation is under stress from technology’s ability to reproduce or even “fake” a reality that cannot be discerned from the original. Our senses no longer provide a safe haven for reality but are subject to technological victimization. Yet, truth is the clarion call that can stand counterpoint to the contrivances of technology.

Beauty: Our Expanded Esthetics and the Emergence of the User Experience

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yet today’s technological influences can project a reality where beauty can extend into the very process of viewing—the user experience. Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality will become the new artist’s brush to translate a conventional sense of beauty into a multidimensional sensory experience. Technology can become a new architecture of the mind that can craft much of what we can conceive. Pushing on the bounds of our senses, technology can open a grand vista of experience that redefines our human world and, in the final analysis, places us in a more rich reality that can make us even more human.

How Do We Make Sense of it All?

How do we begin to understand the complexities of, well ... complexity itself? Technology offers humanity a path forward, but the bumps, curves, and detours make the journey one of both wonder and fear. It seems that the guideposts of today’s technology and innovations are more a function of this contemporary reality than one anchored in the fundamental human truths and transcend the electron to offer a perspective of flesh, blood, and dare I say, soul.

Sometimes, the best way to look forward is to look back. Our history of thinkers, rebels, and philosophers can offer the “first principles” of humanity and provide a template for reflection and analysis. In his book If Aristotle Ran General Motors, Tom Morris takes a fascinating and critical look at modern business and how fundamental insights from varied philosophical traditions can provide the guideposts for business and humanity. Published over 20 years ago, Morris’ wisdom can be applied to how technology impacts all our lives and provides a strategic framework that can ground our contemporary reality in a timeless perspective.

Let’s take a step back—a philosophical step back to Aristotle’s world. Grounding his (and our) reality are four foundational concepts that frame our experience: truth, beauty, goodness, and unity. From ancient Greek times to the modern world, these pillars have been the foundations of human experience. These four dimensions—a philosophical hypercube—create our human reality and establish a moral compass, that today more than ever, is an essential tool for interpreting our reality and navigating our path forward. Perhaps, it’s this ancient wisdom that can provide a modern-day rubric or even an operating system that helps us establish the “right and wrong” to technology’s advancement, intrusion into, and transformation of our lives. 

Truth: the First of First Principles

In today’s world, truth is often a perceptual reality driven by influence, groupthink, and search engine algorithms. It sometimes feels as truth has emerged as more a point of view than a basic and fundamental reality. While truth represents the cornerstone of various aspects of society—from relationships to governments—this very foundation is under stress from technology’s ability to reproduce or even “fake” a reality that cannot be discerned from the original. Our senses no longer provide a safe haven for reality but are subject to technological victimization. Yet, truth is the clarion call that can stand counterpoint to the contrivances of technology.

Beauty: Our Expanded Esthetics and the Emergence of the User Experience

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yet today’s technological influences can project a reality where beauty can extend into the very process of viewing—the user experience. Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality will become the new artist’s brush to translate a conventional sense of beauty into a multidimensional sensory experience. Technology can become a new architecture of the mind that can craft much of what we can conceive. Pushing on the bounds of our senses, technology can open a grand vista of experience that redefines our human world and, in the final analysis, places us in a more rich reality that can make us even more human.

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John Nosta

Digital Health Expert

John is the #1 global influencer in digital health and generally regarded as one of the top global strategic and creative thinkers in this important and expanding area. He is also one the most popular speakers around the globe presenting his vibrant and insightful perspective on the future of health innovation. His focus is on guiding companies, NGOs, and governments through the dynamics of exponential change in the health / tech marketplaces. He is also a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, pens HEALTH CRITICAL for Forbes--a top global blog on health & technology and THE DIGITAL SELF for Psychology Today—a leading blog focused on the digital transformation of humanity. He is also on the faculty of Exponential Medicine. John has an established reputation as a vocal advocate for strategic thinking and creativity. He has built his career on the “science of advertising,” a process where strategy and creativity work together for superior marketing. He has also been recognized for his ability to translate difficult medical and scientific concepts into material that can be more easily communicated to consumers, clinicians and scientists. Additionally, John has distinguished himself as a scientific thinker. Earlier in his career, John was a research associate at Harvard Medical School and has co-authored several papers with global thought-leaders in the field of cardiovascular physiology with a focus on acute myocardial infarction, ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

   

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