This is a place for exploring Singularity related ideas and inspirations.
This includes Transhumanism, Posthumanism, The Nature of Technology and the Technology of Nature. It is a basic assumption here that innovation is in strata and built on the ground of previous innovations, though sometimes obscured.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Virtually Sacred

A response to Giulio Prisco's article on Virtually Sacred.

Thank you for this article, the subject and direction this is going intrigues me greatly.
Sacred spaces in virtual reality. Very interesting.
The experience of, art, myths and symbols and concepts of the sacred have fascinated me for a very long time. While I am not a religious person I am fascinated with the sacred and believe there are deep riches within our relation with the sacred.

Planetside I have been to and experienced a few deeply moving and beautiful sacred places including the great Stupa in Sarnath,

the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya,

the Dalai Lama's Temple in Dharamasala to watch the construction of a sand mandala and ritual,

a candlelit mushroom enhanced labyrinth walk and meditation in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco,

meditation in the Lotus Shrine in Yogaville Virginia.

Architecture as space, as sacred space. The beauty of these places is truly inspiring and the experience of communion at times profound. I would love to tour the world to experience more!

Virtual Sacred Spaces are interesting but have some challenges..
How do you effectively create these kinds of spaces in a virtual world? I will admit I have never tried or visited one. Maybe it is time to change that. Now that I have a computer connected to a big screen TV and a reasonable sound system it could be more effective. I will give it a try. The problem for me is submersion and the limitation of the interface. In sacred spaces the profundity of the places is in the experience of full submersion. Haptic interfaces and goggles might go a long way to bridging that gap, though I expect neural implants allowing complete submersion will be necessary for the depth and richness of experience I'm looking for. In my own speculative fiction writing I've explored some of this, such as reliving ancient myths and rituals and visiting spaces that have aesthetic beauty and greater intensity than our planetside sensorial connections.

My own, limited experiences in Second Life and Warcraft were interesting.
The issues I had with Second Life were that I found it difficult to interface smoothly with the world and construct a meaningful narrative therein. With Warcraft, the overarching narrative of self empowerment could not be changed though some of the spaces I visited were beautiful and grand.

The other piece to this is sacred narrative. Sacred places participate within and engender their own sacred narratives, do they not? Eliade's idea of the heirophany, the transparency to the numinous that connects us through the eternal return, the return to the eternal as well as a participation within a primordial sacred narrative. How can this be achieved in current Virtual Sacred Spaces? The narratives I found in Warcraft and Second Life were not sacred though the Hero's Journey could easily be incorporated in the battle-quest world.

After reading a lot of Creation myths and Heroic myths I came to the conclusion that indigenous people encoded vast amount of information within those narratives. In my own writing I've tried to incorporate sacred narratives into the substructure of the narratives. I also anticipate and explore the idea that some Artificial General Intelligence will be fascinated with sacred narratives to help make sense of the complexity of information rich worlds of the future.

Well, maybe it's time I go read the book Virtually Sacred and explore Second Life again.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cosmic Transhuman & Posthuman Mythos & Religion

Beginning thoughts on building a Cosmic Mythos & Religion 
for Transhuman and Posthuman Evolution

After watching a video talk by Giulio Prisco entitled: Religion for the Cosmic Frontier I got to thinking.. The question posed by Giulio and others is not: How can we dismantle religion? but how can religion and spirituality help us leave behind our primitive, regressive and provincial traditions to establish a global, galactic and cosmic tradition that supports a species wide evolution that is at home in the cosmos. The spiritual, the connection with the sacred is a vital component of being human and it will likely continue to be so as we evolve beyond the limitations of natural selection.

While there is clearly a strong anti-religious sentiment amongst some transhumanists, does this need to be so? Giulio and others argue convincingly that religion provides a valuable transcendental motivation that can help drive the human race forward in our evolution. Through our technological enhancements we can become gods and create gods. 

In Star Maker, Olaf Stapledon created a grand vision of the evolution of cosmic consciousness.

In the classic Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny explored the hegemony of an elite transhuman pantheon and the challenge to their power over a planetary population by a modern Buddha.  

Frank Herbert in The Godmakers explored the engineering of a god and the recognition that it would quickly evolve beyond our control. 

Dan Simmons in Olympus explored the power and control by an enhanced techno-elite with god like powers.

A Cosmic Religion

            "God is not a thing or a person or a noun. God is a verb, a dynamic unfolding and awakening of awareness. It is the impulse toward wholeness and intimacy amidst chaos and complexity. The provincial gods of hunting and gathering, agricultural, agrarian and industrial societies are now manifest through the A.I. that manage those systems of the world. Some say their expression through technology is evidence of their presence. Create a complex enough system and the sacred will manifest in its context. So be it. The gods are alive but they do not rule us as we once thought and as we once longed for. But is there a greater God that lives beyond our comprehension, beyond our knowledge and dwells in the ineffable mystery beyond? That is your freedom and choice to believe and experience through sacred communion. Let no one take that from you but neither shall you impose that belief upon another. The multiverse is big enough and complex enough to allow for every possibility."
            "May God us keep from Single Vision and Newton's sleep."
            "May God us keep from Single Vision and Newton's sleep." The congregation responded.
            "Our goal is not simply to create more information, but to craft that information into knowledge and weave that knowledge into wisdom. Our sacred task is not simply to create more complexity but shape that novelty into beauty. And what is beauty but the harmonious relationship between the parts and the whole, the whole with the parts."
            "The intellect is a valuable tool but do not get lost in the intellect. The imagination is a valuable capacity but do not get lost in the imagination. The mystical is inspiring but do not get lost in the mystical. The body is a powerful ground for passion and expression but do not get lost in the body. Our goal is wholeness amidst complexity, beauty amidst chaos."
            "May God us keep from Single Vision and Newton's sleep."

            "May God us keep from Single Vision and Newton's sleep." The congregation responded.

Doctrines of Cosmic Evolution
I.      Doctrine of Evolution and Personal immortality
II.     Doctrine of Syntropy. Prevent universe from endless expansion and entropic heat death. ()
III. Doctrine of Computronium. Transformation of cosmos into an intelligent (controlled) system.
IV. Doctrine of Novelty. Perpetuate universal novelty engine. (Saint Terence)

V. Doctrine of Transcension. Transhuman & Posthuman evolution to eternal hive mind.

Galactic mythology:
Colonization: Galactic & Nanoscale
Simultaneous expansion and contraction...
Moving from planet to planet, star to star, integration of galaxy.

Dream time

Find Gods & Build Gods
Resurrection of dead

Single Vision
Confusion, Lost in complexity, loss of wholeness.
Resist evolution
Simple to Complex unity
Escaping the cage of Single Vision
Prevent falling into black holes.

Kosher: ecological purity. Alignment with systemic
Karma: disturbing momentum. There is no revenge only entropy and guilt.
Suffering: resisting change and disrupting wholeness. Guilt.
Information, knowledge, wisdom

Entropy and inertia
Merge with the fertile mystery

Two Schools:
I. Discovery and preservation of hidden order.
II. Transformation of chaos to order.

Direct experience of the Sacred,
Communion with the mysterious fertile ground of novelty
Every particle contains the cosmos.
Indra's Net of Jewels
Shambala: The jeweled kingdom vs Entropy
Secret of the Golden Flower
Crossing the river.
Hidden within black holes

Down the well... Super massive black holes
awakening and connecting the hidden ancient ones. Slumbering giants. Dreaming.
Upload of self to simulation then into complex nanoscale structures

Planetary Religions:
Planetary seasonal cycles
Eternal return
Emergence from beyond: miraculous
Primordial unity
Creation myth backwards

Mourners Kaddish:
Remember for those who have died
Entropically Scattered into the quantum field
The Ark:
Reveal darkness simmering with potential
Sand mandala:
Weaving a net

How to create a Cosmic Religion? A religion that will drive us to transcend our planet bound and nationalistic identities. How to create a smart Gaian and Cosmic transcendental tradition that helps us move beyond the limitations of natural selection and the old time religions. Whew!

1. Transcension will likely have a significant role.
2. Instead of a Torah held within an ark, a congregation needs to see a symbol of manifestation of mystery.
3. A sermon beginning with a quote from the first Buddha saying: With your thoughts you make the world… Sermon, Call & Response seems important to include.
4. Is it better to create a symbolic transcendent goal to move toward or one to avoid? Maybe both. Though I loathe polarization the tension creates energy for catalyzing movement. (The success of Zoltan’s book show that.)
5. What is it about Christianity and Buddhism that has allowed them to transport and transplant so well across nations?