The times they are a-changin' and even more so now with AI technology becoming available on a mass scale. I played around with ChatGPT and I am not the first to find it provided me with some pretty good answers. Here are a couple of questions I asked and its responses.
My question: What is the meaning of life?
ChatGPT’s answer: The meaning of life is a philosophical question that has been debated throughout human history. Different people have different beliefs about the meaning of life, and there is no one definitive answer. Some believe that the purpose of life is to achieve happiness, while others believe that it is to fulfill a certain destiny or to serve a higher power. Still, others believe that life has no inherent meaning and that we must create our own purpose. Ultimately, the meaning of life is a personal and subjective concept that can be different for each individual.
Q: Why do we work?
ChatGPT’s answer: There are many reasons why people work, and the motivations can vary depending on the individual. Some common reasons include:
- Financial needs: Work is often necessary to support oneself and one's family financially.
- Career development: Work can provide opportunities for personal and professional growth and advancement.
- Sense of purpose: Work can give individuals a sense of purpose and fulfillment, and a chance to make a positive impact on the world.
- Social connections: Work can provide opportunities for social interaction and connection with others.
- Personal satisfaction: Some people find satisfaction and enjoyment in their work and take pride in their accomplishments.
- Self-esteem and Identity: Work can provide a sense of identity and self-esteem for some people.
- Fulfillment of obligations: Some people work to fulfill their obligations such as paying debts, taxes, etc.
These are some of the reasons why people work, but it's worth noting that the reasons why someone works can change throughout their lifetime and also depend on individual's circumstances and priorities. [note that the ‘s mistake also came from ChatGPT!]
Why am I writing about ChatGPT today? Because I think that at the heart of the development and use of AI technology is the very meaning of why we create anything and the way we relate to our own humanity.
It’s true that I could just ask ChatGPT what the meaning of life is or why we work - see above. But am I any closer to feeling that my life has meaning? Do I know what work will make me happy? Of course not.
Information is not the same as transformation. There are facts - and even in that case we know technology can get us into trouble, but that’s beyond this blog post - and then there is the work of the Soul. You cannot delegate that. You cannot input a question about the meaning of life and then receive the answer and be done. Even if you get the best, most perfect answer, Wisdom is not something you can commodify. The journey itself is the destination.
Should I just generate blog posts and other content by asking ChatGPT? I tried in a very simple way, see here and here. In a couple of minutes I created two blog posts. It would have otherwise taken me a few hours to write them. If you think of content only in a very transactional way, I am sure ChatGPT will be very useful.
But I don’t write to generate SEO marketing results: writing often helps me find answers, clarify my thoughts, express something I am seeing after years of living life or in a moment of insights, describe the uniqueness of my approach to transformation, etc. Reading the words of other people gives me a glimpse not only into their souls, but into mine. Each person - even when talking about the same thing - expresses it in a different way, and it is precisely in that diversity that the richness of human experience shines through. I want to read and hear your voice.
The creative act itself is not just about producing something. It is about the act of creation itself.
Of course - as with every technology - some people will find awesome and creative ways to leverage ChatGPT. Art history is full of stories of new technologies and techniques that were maligned at first and are now considered as much art as anything that came before (just look up the history of photography).
But just as with all new technology, we face two roads: one road begins and continues through a love of life, and the other disconnects us from our humanity.
The more we believe that the intellect is a superior form of reason, human beings are meant to dominate nature, there is only one answer, separateness is our reality; as long as we always need to find something better, cheaper, faster, and as long as we make everything about money and expediency, the more we disconnect from our deeper Self.
The more we cultivate presence and connection with others, the more we create communities and systems that value all human beings exactly as we are, both in our universal oneness and in our individual experiences and gifts, the more we engage and love life, the more we recognize the satisfaction of creating, learning, being appreciated, contributing, being held in loving kindness and safety, the more we practice sharing and generosity, and the more we travel the road that leads us deeper into our humanity.
Clever and ingenious things will come out of using Chat GPT. And terrible, soul-sucking things. Pay attention to the thinking underlying its creation and uses.
I end by sharing here what ChatGPT answered when I asked what makes a person good.
Q: What makes a person good?
ChatGPT’s answer: What makes a person good is a subjective and complex question that can be viewed from different perspectives. In general, a good person is often considered to be someone who has positive attributes such as:
- Honesty: Being truthful and transparent in their actions and words
- Integrity: Acting in accordance with one's values and principles.
- Empathy: Being able to understand and share the feelings of others.
- Compassion: Showing concern for the well-being of others and actively working to help them.
- Responsibility: Being accountable for one's actions and taking ownership of their decisions.
- Fairness: Treating others equitably and without bias.
- Respect: Showing consideration and appreciation for the dignity of others.
- Generosity: Being willing to give of oneself and to share with others.
It's worth noting that being a good person is not a static state, it's a continuous process of self-improvement, learning and growing. Additionally, different cultures and societies may have different standards for what it means to be a good person.
There is something within each of us that is much more than clever tech, intellectual capacity, and survival instinct. It’s deep Wisdom and the divine spark itself. Creators will keep creating. Writers will keep writing. And people will keep yearning for meaning and happiness that cannot be acquired, but has to be discovered by engaging with one’s own inner and outer life, and in conversations and gatherings with real human beings.
ChatGPT or not, virtual or analog, is not the point: go deeper. And when you choose what to spend your time doing, ask yourself why you create, what you want to say, what impact your work will have on your neighbors, community, even the world. That might well lead you to finding the meaning of life and happiness. Or not. It’s up to you.