If building the future seems grueling, try to build yourself
Before building anything else, we must learn to constantly build ourselves. Why? I’ll explain in a bit.
Recently “building” has become quite a trendy activity to engage in oneself and hence is a high-tone word in the business circle vocabulary. My professional engagement lies in Innovation, Venture capital, Entrepreneurship, and, most importantly Venture-Building. So I hear and say this a lot regarding work as well as out of its context every day: “we build products, ventures, corporations, we build communities, cities, roads, houses; we build societies, relationships, and families; we want to build the future, we are going to build a new world and so on and so forth.”
So, who are we, the ones building and creating all of that? Do I have a name, a purpose, a structure, or a form? Or is it just an abstract mass going to build or construct something certain? We will come back to certainty, and more certainly, we will debate about the ones who engineer. Speaking of which, let’s first dig into the roots of the word engineering. According to the Brittanica British Encyclopedia, the words engine and ingenious are derived from the same Latin root ingenerate, which means “to create.” I would guess here that the word ingenerate comes from the root gene, which is basically the code for human creation.
Hence creation is at the core of human existence, and I believe humans shall not only create things but co-create (given that they are somehow created, at least physically) and continue to recreate themselves. Using the term engineering in this article, I mean creating, recreating, reestablishing, and becoming who we are if we speak about the human personality. This is a question that, alas, is excluded from upbringing and education in many cultures but even heavily judged if asked. And thankfully, there is the new generation that is searching themselves for what I am utterly happy about, and sometimes I wish I could have had this awareness when I was their age. There were nonetheless many existential questions battling in me at that time, a lot of self-confrontations on self-awareness, and a definite seeking for the purpose for life but never the exact who I am thing. And only now have I realized that it is not possible to know where I go without knowing who I am.
Pausing for a moment and referring to the purpose, I would love to cite a known phrase: “A person in his life must do three things: plant a tree, build a house and raise a son.” Putting aside that I could potentially argue with each of its parts like the man instead of a human, there is a particular aspect I want to draw your attention to. Although this ancient wisdom was attributed to eastern peoples, Caucasians, and even a specific person, for example, Omar Khayyam, it might be alternated while it reached us, specifically given the cultural context. However, if we look closely, all of those three achievements are a variety of creations — by building a house, one creates a home; a child (I disagree with the son part) is a new human, so one creates a new human life; and finally by planting a tree, one can recreate nature.
Though there is a reference to the need for creation in all times and cultures, strangely only a few philosophies spoke of creating oneself and rebuilding that creation. One of which is my favorite stoics. Aristotle and Socrates underlined the necessity of knowing oneself but did not perhaps give much importance to recreating that self over and over. Since we mentioned philosophers, I agree with Jean-Paul Sartre that essence is an object’s purpose. Existence is the creation of an object. That is why it is so essential building the human channel carrying the purpose and realizing its existence.
There are many geniuses around creating staff, content, and life around us and the future ahead of us. But how do we know if those creations are any good if we do not know that those who create them are good? Let’s take, for instance, the great creators of time — Elon Musk and Jeff Besos: both have created platforms and things that changed our lives. True, they covered a need or even discovered needs that we didn’t have or at least know of, like in the case of the entire industry of smartphones (by other creators).
However, the point I want to make here is that they realized their dreams. So the creation comes from a human with character and intentions. Maybe colonizing Mars is helpful for a specific area of our life since it is meant to provide, for example, a new home to humanity, but we don’t know if it serves the right or better virtue purpose since we do not recognize the human behind that creation, other than his public image. I don’t personally know any of those two guys, but I would like to hope that their intentions are righteous.
This applies, for example, to the extensively discussed AI nowadays — ChatGPT (also robotics and AI in general). The matter of who will be creating there will define how things will be in the future and how AI will affect them.
In addition to the technical and physical attributes exchanged for the final creation in making the product out of an idea, energies and spiritual factors are transferred to the final result. I don’t want to sound too abstract, but now in the course of developing my intuition, I actually feel the energies of the products of both physical and virtual (applications and so on) and can make a consumer decision based on that. Eventually, we do not want Pygmalions sculpting only for their own need but those more than Prometheus to use fire to create goodness for humanity and the universe.
Unfortunately, I do not imagine how it is possible to build a system where it is possible to track the creations based on who is creating them. After all, one of the most challenging tasks is getting to know the human essence. Moreover, I would prefer tracking and even licensing for parenthood, the biological one. Why do those who want to adopt and become parents need to pass due diligence, and instead, those who want to give birth, actually create life, don’t need that same way? I would invite you to a separate discussion on this topic in the future.
But to reaffirm my point once again, it is necessary to first build (co-create and recreate) ourselves before we go into any of our creations, especially if they are meant for a broader application or bear a major character because our creations reflect ourselves. We mirror our fears, emotions, and traumas, and at the same time love, confidence, and peace in whatever we offer to the world. I would not want anyone with hatred in their heart to create a movie for me to watch, for example.
And last but not least, I remember that I promised to refer to certainty: many of those above-listed phenomena and things may be designed in almost a very accurate framework. The future, however, how hard we do not try, cannot be precisely planned considering endless factors defining and transforming it.
Nevertheless, there is one thing we can be definite about — it is constantly becoming ourselves, which means continuously engineering our best versions. So before building anything else, we shall be ready to build and rebuild ourselves if that is what is needed. But that’s another topic of an article. So see you at the next one.
Stay safe and leave your comments. 🙏