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If needs for work where removed, would our society stagnate?

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If needs for work where removed, would our society stagnate?
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GrimlockUser avatarPosts: 205Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:49 pm

Post If needs for work where removed, would our society stagnate?

Okay I’m a huge fan of the Warhammer 40.000 universe. But there´s one species I would like to discuss The Eldar, because I would ask if something like that could potentially happen to our own species in time.
We will start by ignoring the part where they basically created a god that eats their soul when they die unless they capture their souls in stones, that´s just part of the story with no real connection to the question.
Anyways The Eldar where once an old and powerful species, with the control of the webway (think a kind of wormhole in between dimensions) their empire that stretched to most planets in the galaxy.
As their power grew so did their arrogance and they began to see themselves as above other species in the galaxy calling them barbarians and hunted them for sport, if they acknowledge them at all.
Having reached a point in their technology reached a point where all the needs for physical work became a thing of the past.
The Eldar started to devote their lives to other things in their culture (think music, art, cities and all those kinds of things), yet as time went on even those things weren´t enough for the Eldar and slowly but surely, pride and excess began to eat away at the Eldar race. Thinking all secrets were theirs to uncover and all pleasures were theirs to partake, the Eldar spent their centuries-long lives fulfilling their every desire. Fueled by an inexhaustible curiosity, many gave way to their darkest and most hedonistic impulses. Exotic "pleasure cults" soon sprang up all over the Eldar domains, each dedicated to esoteric knowledge or sensual excess. As these cults gained a tighter hold over the Eldar, they gradually declined into a cruel and hedonistic society. Eldar society eventually descended into full-scale anarchy as their excess grew past any limit thought possible. Brother fought brother and sadistic killers stalked the streets in pursuit of victims for their vile lusts. No life was spared and in the pursuit of their murderous and perverse pleasures. Eldar feasted upon each other in the streets.

The rest of the story pretty much goes that their ways lead to the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh the god/goddess of pain and pleasure. Some of the first who saw it come left the home worlds to settle on planets far away from the Empire, later others adapted their trading ships into huge space colonies and fled the home world to the jeering, hooting and contempt of their fellow Eldar.
Some of them manage to escape the psychic shockwave resulting from the birth of Slaanesh, others didn´t and had their souls and minds consumed by it, leaving empty husks.
The Eldar homeworld where consumed by the warp, leaving a tear in the fabric of universe that left the warp (think alternative dimensions made up of the energy from all living things and the home of the chaos gods) bleeding into our universe, the place would later be known as the Eye of Terror.

The surviving Eldar in the craftworlds would start to introduce a strict control on their feelings and impulses, plus the introduction of the path systems (if you have violent tendencies you become a warrior, artistic you become a bonesinger etc etc).

So your basic Sodom and Gomorrah story with a few twists and turns.

Now what I wanted to ask is if our technology grew to a point where work where more or less obsolete. The farmer would no longer have to plow his fields or take care of this stock as it would all be done automatically by machines, same with the engineers and so on so forth.
If all of that happened what would happen to our society? Would it stagnate like that of the Eldar (minus the whole creating a god, have our souls and mind eaten and have our worlds swallowed by the warp thing) or would our need for self-preservation make sure that we avoided that situation?
Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:52 pm
PABUser avatarPosts: 382Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:34 pmLocation: UK Gender: Male

Post Re: If needs for work where removed, would our society stagn

No idea about warhammer or what the hell an Eldar is

so ill take you from -
Now what I wanted to ask is if our technology grew to a point where work where more or less obsolete. The farmer would no longer have to plow his fields or take care of this stock as it would all be done automatically by machines, same with the engineers and so on so forth.
If all of that happened what would happen to our society? Would it stagnate like that of the Eldar (minus the whole creating a god, have our souls and mind eaten and have our worlds swallowed by the warp thing) or would our need for self-preservation make sure that we avoided that situation?


Now the way i would think about this is how far can the division of labour and technology go and how will this effect humanity.

Men create machines. That is the first principle, they are tools which we use to labour. The development of technology means to free a quantity of time from labour activity. I.e. the washing machine freed (mostly women becasue of our culture/society) hours, if not days of time, which could then be spent doing other work.

Technology means we have time to spend either on leisure or other work. So it will either improve the quality of our life in terms of leisure or the quantity and quality of productive forces, because you can get more work done, i.e. if you have a washing machine you can read up on Feynman's contributions to electrodynamics in the quantum field. Whereas without it you may not have the time.

But this is completely abstract , as it doesn't take into account the forms and relations in the society. If im a factory worker and im made redundant due to a technological development, my quality of life is not enhanced , im free from work and free to starve. but society gains, as the product produced may be cheaper. better quality etc. but you add to the unemployment problem(minus some job creation from experts in the new technology).

If we have a society where most labour is now done by machines, then who makes the machines ? workers. But what if we have a multi-layered robotic system. i.e. machines that make machines and so on. Then we would have workers to monitor maintain and repair at some level. A self sufficient robotic society , would be in some ways undesirable. but even if it were possible humans would still labour but in other fields, in non productive fields, "art", sciences, philosophy, religions etc.

Humanity would not degenerate from technology in and of itself , if we developed it to the point we would no longer " labour". But any degenerative potential would be in the organisation of our society, such as the man who was redundant with nothing left to do. No labour, no wealth, no future.
If he was able to attain free education, supported in pursuits and interests, had enough disposable income to travel, to do sports whatever.- then society flourishes, if technology merely displaces a labour force into a underclass then society degenerates. Most individuals may find themseves purposeless, impoverished - sci-fi has many a gem of future utopias.
"The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil...there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy." Albert Einstein
Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:36 pm
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