Robert W. Fuller: When machines are as complex as our brains, and work according to the same principles, they’re very likely to be as awe-inspiring as we are, notwithstanding the fact that it will be we who’ve built them.
Robert Fuller: Twentieth-century science has shown that humans, like other animals, function according to the same principles as the cosmos and everything in it.
Robert Fuller: We balked at the seeming loss of the exceptional status implicit in Darwin’s theory of evolution, but eventually made peace with the incontrovertible fact of our simian ancestry.
Robert W. Fuller: The word “self” carries strong connotations of autonomy, individuality, and self-sufficiency. It’s as if it were chosen to mask our interdependence. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that in buying into this notion of selfhood, humankind got off on the wrong foot.
Robert Fuller: I need not belabor the immorality of paying adjuncts a fraction of what other faculty earn, and of denying them benefits, office space, parking rights, and a voice in departmental and institutional policy.
Robert Fuller: No one takes exception to cost-cutting, but forcing one group to subsidize another that’s doing comparable work, while maintaining working conditions that signal second-class status, is what the world now rejects as Apartheid.
Robert Fuller: We know that our current persona will eventually give way to another. In contrast, the self ages little, perhaps because it partakes of the detached agelessness of the witness.
Robert Fuller: A better understanding of selfhood holds the promise of resolving perennial quarrels and putting us all on the same side as we face the challenges in a global future, not least of which will be coming to terms with machines who rival or surpass human intelligence.
Robert Fuller: What is Rankism? It is a collective name for the various ways power can be abused. Whereas rank is meant to serve, rankism is a self-serving perversion of service. There are many varieties of rankism — sexism, racism, and ableism are a few.
Robert Fuller: At the moment, the greatest threats to China and America come not from each other, but from flaws in their own systems of governance. Chinese and Americans alike are burdened by political systems that are not keeping pace with the times.
Robert Fuller: The twentieth century witnessed the successful application of the strategies and tactics of identity politics. Those same organizational techniques, applied to overcoming rankism, can render it as insupportable as the isms that identity politics has now put on the defensive.
Robert Fuller: That we’ve found ways to curb the indignities suffered by minorities, women, gays, the elderly, and people with disabilities suggests that making dignity the norm universally may not be out of reach.
Robert Fuller: Those who argue that religion should be counted out are overlooking the role that religious leaders played in overcoming segregation in America, repealing apartheid in South Africa, and ending the communist dictatorship in Poland and Central Europe.