michio kaku

The flyer indicated that he was a futurist, and I instantly thought of futurism… mind those terms. Dr. Michio Kaku falls under the former, whilst Umberto Boccioni falls under the later, and whilst technically the two are disparate, I felt an uncomfortable lack of humanness at Dr. Kaku’s lecture ever reminiscent of futurism tonight.

Whilst giddy in the face of technological advances (like any generation Y at the edge of Z) I am also conscious of what loss in humanness experienced given these advances. You see them too, one sitting right across from the other at a quaint café in Montparnasse looking intently at their cell phones neverminding that there is a fucking human in front of them, whose minds emit the same impulses with an acoustic sweetness, who touch at the perfect frequency to invoke an emotive response. I’ve also touched upon my concerns regarding memory recall given the immediate accessibility of Google before, and need not say again the disabling aspect of internet dependency.

So when I think of technological advances, I think in terms of healing… in the healing of ourselves and the planet. I think of exploration. I think curiosity. I think discover . I want to lasso the moon. I DON’T THINK OF DIGITIZED WALLPAPER. I don’t think of further alienation from human contact… I don’t want a world where I shop from my room, be diagnosed from my room, talk to my computer as if it were truly a being. Can’t technology do something right and connect us to nature? To each other? Why so bleak Dr. Kaku? Can you not hear you?

Admittedly I walked into the room with a different expectation of enlightenment. I walked in hoping that he would untangle the messier bits of string theory for me. I wanted to understand why, IF the barest atom is but a receptor of frequencies WHY this matters and what does it mean?? So, actually, the lecture barreled through a list of technological advances that one could expect to see in the future… with an uncomfortable focus on the capitalization of such advances. Hey, maybe I want to interact with technology not merely as a consumer. What of that?

(Some five minutes of the lecture described, à grâce advanced eye wear: a typical pedestrian could filter passerby who have opted into a certain dating service, thereby negating the need for what bravery is required by those starry-eyed hopefuls facing perhaps certain rejection.)

Granted, there was discussion devoted to healthcare, something I’m always glad to see given our chemically laden and constantly ill population. Good show. Yet. If someone had handed me a microphone at the end for the question-answer session, I would have asked him that he maybe consider that modernization has introduced a slew of chronic illness, and might it not be of equal import to revert our lifestyles to one that makes more biological sense?


The question-answer session at the end did bring up an issue particularly important to me re education and America’s woeful standing in science and math. (23rd I think he said.) He proceeded to described why the way in which science is taught fails of to entice followers, why it is inefficient… really one need only read Gargantua by Montaigne… because we students are given a chart of names, a complex labeling of pulleys and levers so to speak, asked pretty please to memorize these, and given no further insight into the actual mechanics. JE SUIS D’ACCORD. If America wants any place in the technological advances of the future, she must teach with a true interest in the mind’s capacity and not in the bureaucratic GPA system.

But you know what helps? Discussions that do not sensationalize the consumerist capacity of our vie quotidienne COMING SOON! Or perhaps one might engage with the audience in a way that encourages intellectual exploration rather than dismissive explanations. I kinda expected more of you expecting more of us. I don’t go to a science lecture to be fucking entertained. America’s slip in intellectual capital is due to this too: the constant expectation of being entertained.

So here’s my thing with futuristic thinking: build thoughts! Build cities! But level the walls please. I’m so tired of walls. Especially walls of understanding. I know that Dr. Kaku is brilliant. I’d rather hoped to be privy to what technical understanding he has of modern physics. Certainly didn’t appreciate being delegated to student-who-will-buy-my-book status, oh and here, a sprinkle of condensation.

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Comments ( 2 )

Don’t forget, Kaku is an industry, really…he’s somewhat of a “corporation” and he has books to sell. He’s a long time star of How The Universe is Made and other science shows; Kaku for me is like the Tony Bourdain of physicists. That is: he hasn’t really practised his art in a very long time. Kaku is less a futurist, for me, and more a TV personality. And we’re always disappointed by those, aren’t we.

Alex M. Pruteanu added these pithy words on Apr 22 13 at 12:27 pm

I’d sensed something of this, not too familiar admittedly with his life since his theories, but there was still hope that, since he was visiting a college campus after all rather than a late night talk show, that he’d up the intellectual anty. What fluff.

Janet added these pithy words on Apr 23 13 at 3:41 am

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