Wednesday, February 25, 2004

If humanity does form a whole - a 'networked humanity', then what are the implications?

Synergy: "A release of free energy can occur when a group of parts or symbiants, inspired by a common aim, join together to form a whole" (Barry McWaters - Institute for the Study of Conscious Evolution).

Synergy is an emergent property that is greater than the sum of its intelligent parts. If each symbiant (part) has access to, and use of, shared information: then what are the implications for an emergence of a whole that is greater than such already globally-shared information?

It may be that this is a stage towards what is considered a new decentered democracy. A participatory global governance that will no longer tolerate the actions of a few narrow-minded elite bent on greed and childish domination? Perhaps the oft-mentioned 'New World Order' will be one of a finer perceptive consciousness rather than the linear and shallow one currently manifested by incumbent parties.

Optimistic? Sure - yet the world is a manifestation of energies that are themselves only thought-forms. Thus, what first begins within the collective imagination can have a life both within the physical realm of shared informational structures, as well as having an influence upon physical forms through an emergent synergistic energy.

That is something well worth 'thinking' about.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Much talk is now centered around our next great 'evolutionary step' forward. Whilst some have put this firmly in the AI (Artificial Intelligence) domain, there is also the argument of IA (Intelligence Acceleration). One way to see this is a merging of information technology and the human, so that a 'superorganism' will be achieved. One that will have instant access to information and thus the 'two heads are better than one' will be exponentially increased to a 'global' head.

An interesting essay to this end is Evolution & The Internet: towards a networked humanity.

It is possible that a symbiosis may be the result of the 'Technological Singularity' - a merging of intelligent humans/machines rather than as a race of machines that take over. The singularity could more likely be a mesh - a symbiosis - between humans and their use of intelligent artifacts in order to foster their own intelligence acceleration instead of passing the intelligence over to silicon agents.

In short, the human still has much growth left. Only if we consider the potential from an external point of view will the alternative of machine-intelligence seem the most plausible. If we can recognise the inherent possibilities within increased information within the human species, and the acceleration in intelligence this could produce, then the future of human evolution is with the wise.

As Jonas Salk - the Nobel discoverer of the Polio vaccine - put it: our future will be about the survival of the wisest.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Since we are on the subject of information, it is obvious to those of us who take a look around at our surroundings that we are immersed in information. And this information-atmosphere is increasing exponentially as communication flows are becoming increasingly networked. People are sharing information now like never before: and this has had, and will continue to exert, a profound effect upon social dynamics. Not only are people interacting with more people than they would usually in terms of physical meeting, but ideas - memes - are being transfered which, in turn, raises the level of shared awareness.

This notion of the shared 'personal' has been greatly enhanced with the blogging phenomena, as more and more blogs are getting linked. In turn I should like to mention the sites of two of my colleagues: Jyri; and Christian.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Information is the key. Information is what emerges as the key to evolution. What is information? Is it knowing something about the dog races - which will win? Information is coded within each of us, yet its emergent capacities are only effective through connectivity. Just as the heart is essential to the overall fucntion of our body; take it out and both it, as a separate organ, and ourselves as a whole body, dies. It is this necessary interrelationship that allows information to be shared and conscious through its own connectivity. This is why we are all, each one of us, dependent upon connections that we are often not aware of. Thus, all matter is likewise connected. The property of self-consciousness emerges when the level of connectivity within any system is at a heightened peak of complexity. The human brain, with its hundreds of billions of firing neuronal connections is exactly this model of peak complexity. From this self-organised complexity comes our experience of adaptive cognition - self-consciouness. DNA has planned for this level of relational connectivity. As information in the world is likewise connected through greater networks of communication, eg. Internet, this will help to raise the information --> knowledge --> consciousness of society in general. This, it is hoped, will play a major role in guiding us towards our self-evolutionary future. This is the early stage of our expected transformation.

As has been previously mentioned:

We are at a crucial stage in our development and the time for thinking about responsibilities, yet not acting upon them is past. As President Harry Truman once famously declared: ‘The buck stops here.’ Well, that buck was on the desk of one man – today’s buck reaches to every one of us, irrespective of country, race, gender, religion, or status. This new ‘buck’ is the collective choice we face concerning the future evolution not only of our species, but also of the Earth and all living forms included.

Every epoch has fashioned a corresponding mind-set, and frames of consciousness that have provided a functional use. The earlier mythic conceptions of a sacred world dominated by unseen forces and humankind’s integral relationship with powerful nature developed into a theistic consciousness. Here, divine authority on earth was conscripted into hierarchical dynastic rule as a governing device. This theistic mind-set became assimilated into the Logos concept of a divinely ordered cosmos with an ultimate prime-mover. This belief of an ordered cosmos soon evolved into the Enlightenment’s mechanistic ‘clockwork’ view of the universe where science sought to prove that natural laws held the world under linear domination. This materialistic mind-set has brought us up to the present moment. Now it is no longer of functional use. Rather, if it carries us any further, we are liable to become its victims.

An evolution of consciousness is required. I don’t mean this in any mystico-esoteric sense. I mean it in a very real and practical way. For the past 300 years society has provided us with a worldview and belief-system that sees the ideas of ‘survival of the fittest’, the sense of competition, and of conquest, colonisation, and consumption, as the main ideals. This materialistic conception has seen a rapid contamination of the world we share and has placed us on an evolutionary path to extinction. The next shift must involve a conscious decision to evolve our understanding, worldview, and wisdom, through intensive evolution rather than an extensive one. Intensive evolution replaces such obsolete material beliefs with ones concentrating on connection, communication, and consciousness. The energy inherent in inter-connectedness works on an exponential scale: that is, it develops at ever increasing rates. This is why in history most of our profound innovations have been the work of single, or minority, action. A conscious action produces an exponentially increased effect. Ghandi was right when he said: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ When you change yourself, you change the immediate world around you; those close to you, and the events you participate in.

An increased degree of communication through connection fosters an increased involvement of consciousness – and consciousness evolves through use, and latent properties are more likely to emerge when stimulated, just like a car operates better when warmed up. Again, this lies more in the realm of common sense than ‘strange goings-on’. Our era has shifted where we need to unburden ourselves of these obsolete and superstitious beliefs. True knowledge is sense that is not yet common, rather than esoteric or otherworldly. Science today, with its quantum theories of the ‘zero-point’ and ‘quantum vacuum’ provides greater understanding of our place in the present universe than at any time in our recorded history. Should we not be making use of this information? It is time to educate ourselves and to do our duty by changing ourselves first.

Thus, human contact and communication --> co-operation. Co-operation gives us Synergy. And synergy is the effect of combined action which is greater than the sum of its parts. As a whole, with unity, we can achieve things beyond that available to us as individuals. The next shift on our evolutionary path requires an evolution in consciousness, and we can all play our part. It requires inner-reflection, mindfulness, co-operation, and living in a harmonious and respectful way with others and with our environment. It doesn’t require any great sacrifices or burning of books: simply, it is living in accordance with our developmental needs rather than our wants. As one thinker has put it: ‘Live simply so that others may simply live.’ And living simply is evolving ourselves – our conscious awareness and understanding - to be in a harmonious relationship within a grander cosmic harmony. The ‘buck’ stops with us. Let’s do a good job of it.

For a more detailed discussion of these ideas, see: Ervin Laszlo, ‘Macroshift’ (2001)

As has been stated before: The concept of conscious evolution to a stage where each part, or human, is an integral and interrelated part of the whole is an idea that is organically evolving within our mass mind. Now science is able to embrace this concept through delving into the psi-field of an integrated whole reality. As an evolving species, we are encouraged to work together as a synthesis, towards this synergy, or gestalt: where the whole is greater than its sum, and thus leads to emerging properties of the whole.

One area of research here is the 'global brain' phenomenon. Once the vanguard of peripheral thinkers (see Peter Russell's 'Earth Awakening: The Global Brain'), it is now fast becoming the ken of respected researchers: one recent example being Howard Bloom's 'The Global Brain', or Gregory Stock's 'Metaman'.

As parts of a larger system, humans can evolve into a conscious network and, using an apt analogy, may serve to become a planetary nervous system. Since univeral order is within a hierarchy, each stage evolving in complexity towards the next, we all exhibit characteristics of those systems above and below us, thus echoing the Hermetic adage As Above, So Below.

What concerns us now is functionality. And we can only function in accordance with our level of knowledge and capacity. We cannot be told what is, or what needs to be done: we can only be guided until that understanding becomes an inherant part of ourselves. Then we have an organic sense of how we should act to fit in with the dynamic whole.

Yet we can modify our base behaviours through observation and monitoring of oneself; to clear one's mind of trappings and junk in order to allow these new thoughts to penetrate. To contemplate and to kick-start the mind into thinking, delving, probing, questioning, and reaching out further beyond the confines of flesh and received-knowledge. We may think we learn, yet often we learn rote without the thinking. We should aim towards a conscious digestion of information. Like eating good food, be aware of it going in and its digestion. Use our capacities rather than leaving them to the junkyard of the sapians.

Open oneself up to synergy, empathy, and an awareness beyond the confines of the self. Think in terms of generations rather than immediate moments; into stages of species life rather than the slide into one's own old age. Think beyond oneself whilst including oneself.

Be conscious of ourselves as a part and simultaneously as a whole.