Jeep has a catchy new slogan: “The things we make, make us.” I’m not sure how much the Jeep people intended us to read into their ad, but its message invites us to consider a lot more than just the benefits of owning one of their vehicles. While the technology we create can make our lives easier and more convenient, it also expands the field of consciousness that accelerates our own evolution.
It’s funny that Jeep of all brands nabbed this slogan before anyone else, because they’re such an unlikely candidate to represent the message. Their vehicles remind me of dinosaurs in Nike shoes; fancy iterations of a core technology (internal combustion engine powered carriage) that has evolved to a plateau in terms of its fundamental capabilities (carrying people and cargo on roads). Like the dinosaurs, the Jeep will have to transform itself by shrinking down and growing wings to fulfill the next stage of its evolutionary arc.
Which makes me ask, toward what is the Jeep helping us, its creators, to evolve? Our evolvibility is based on our propensity and agility to create change. This means increasing technical complexity and choices. Simple organisms have few choices, while we have many. So technology expands opportunities, which presents us with more choices. When we increase choice, we diversify creative techniques, maximize possibilities of self-expression and create more successful versions of ourselves.
Choice is the requisite of consciousness. We can’t say that the coffee maker is conscious when it chooses to turn itself on because we programmed it to do that. The Jeep is programmed to monitor its basic systems, but we can’t say it is self-aware. Yet what makes our DNA fold? What is embedded in the spooky behavior of entangled quantum particles? At the most fundamental level, every element of our universe chooses. Consciousness is the programming language of the universe.
Theologians and scientists say that these apparent choices are the result of intelligent design or evolution and that God or the extropic universe is behind this self-assembling system. The God we look for in the detail is not the code-writer, but the code itself. It’s the consciousness that we are helping to expand through our own evolution, by writing ever more complex code ourselves.
Kevin Kelly in his new book, What Technology Wants, refers to “The ongoing self-organizing mutability of life and mind,” to describe the way in which the code evolves. Through this process, we are vehicles, like the Jeep, for expanding consciousness, by contributing to the virtuous, self-amplifying circle of symbiosis between what we make and what makes us.
This blog is a tool for my own evolvibility, in that it allows me to explore ideas about what it means to be a successful human being. In being successful, we excel in our endeavors, amplify generosity, conviviality and self-enhancing connectivity. As we invent, we are reinvented.
“Technology,” Kelly writes, “gives us the possibility to find out who we are, or more importantly, who we might be.” The lowly Jeep may have its place in our journey of self-discovery, and we may be amazed by the places it will take us.