Wednesday, August 31, 2005

An interesting broadcast site called New Dimensions has some worthwhile free audio discussions.

However, without a subscription the new broadcast is only available for free for the 1st week.

At present a recommended broadcast available until Sep. 4th is: 'The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles'.

'The Biology of Belief is a groundbreaking work in the field of New Biology. Author Dr. Bruce Lipton is a former medical school professor and research scientist. His experiments, and that of other leading-edge scientists, have examined in great detail the processes by which cells receive information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts. Dr. Lipton's profoundly hopeful synthesis of the latest and best research in cell biology and quantum physics is being hailed as a major breakthrough showing that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking.'

In this approach there is strong scientific evidence that DNA can be caused to mutate from external factors within a person's own lifetime - including the power of thought, thus underlying the power of positive intentions.

Dr. Bruce Lipton's book is also called 'The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles'

This also reminds me of another book which I ordered recently, called 'The Biology of Transcendence: A Bluprint of the Human Spirit' by Joseph Chilton Pearce
In some of my earlier posts I made reference to several new books coming onto the market that deal with human evolution in terms of biotechnology and bio-enhancement. In an interview done at - which I highly recommend as a website - Jamais Cascio interviews 3 writers in this area at the same time.

The article, called 'Human Changing' begins by stating:

The question of how society changes when we can enhance aspects of human capabilities is something we touch on regularly at WorldChanging. It's at least as important a question as how society adapts to climate change or embraces new tools for networking and communication; some of us would argue it may be even more important. As a topic of discussion, it has often been relegated to fringe culture and science fictional musing, but a series of books over the last year have brought the idea ever closer to the mainstream -- and the most recent may be set to make the question of how humankind evolves a front page issue.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The philosophers Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilbur have a conversation/dialogue discussing the nature of the perennial human fascination with the notion of immortality.

Their dialogue is posted on the 'What is Enlightenment' website under the title:

The Guru & the Pandit
I have made several previous references to a thinker called Duane Elgin. Elgin first burst into the public eye in 1981 with his now-classic book Voluntary Simplicity, a book that helped to identify a new movement toward more simple and balanced ways of living. At the time he was working as a senior social scientist for the Stanford Research Institute, which gave him an unusual opportunity to observe and document emerging trends in society, and he used that work as the basis both for Voluntary Simplicity and for his 1991 book Awakening Earth: Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness.

Duane Elgin is being interviewed in a talk titled 'Breaking Point' where he responds to this question:
"Many of today's leading thinkers, futurists, scientists, and visionaries are warning us that the next twenty to thirty years will be a testing time for the human species, a time of evolutionary crisis that will entail great, and potentially even catastrophic, change. Could you please describe what you feel are the key factors precipitating this crisis? What will we be facing in the coming years?"

Saturday, August 27, 2005

'Gold does not need the philosopher's stone
but copper does.
Improve yourself.
Let die what is alive: that is your body.
Revive what is dead: that is your heart.
Hide what is present: that is the world down here.
Let come what is absent: that is the future.
Annihilate what exists: that is passion.
Produce what does not exist: that is intention.'

These words speak for what may come - the future. Intention are the thoughts that underlie our ever increasing networked life. Its blood is our memes - negative thoughts as viruses.

In a fluid existence that is now our connected global life the key impulse should be: cooperation. Our wired network is a first step in our nervous system.

I highly recommend Ervin Laszlo's work - especially his most recent book titled 'Science & the Akashic Field'

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Philosopher, inventor, futurist, writer (etc) Ray Kurzweil has some remarkable ideas concerning our evolutionary progress. Such books as 'In the Age of Spiritual Machines' and 'The Singularity is Near' deal with the issues regarding our next evolutionary step as a symbiosis with non-biological intelligence. Kurzweil is not a simple AI advocate: instead he offers views upon the role of technology within a spiritual framework. For him, the role/function of evolution is 'intelligence increase' - and this occurs through greater complexity which will eventually include the systemic binding of biological and non-biological 'organisms'.

In an interview placed on the WIE website called 'The Enlightened Universe' Kurzweil speaks of the dark matter of the universe as being dumb matter: that is, matter awaiting to be awoken with intelligence. This he envisions as a product of nano-engineering, or molecular reconstruction. If nano-machines become 'smart-machines', which both self-organise and are aware, they can likewise spread their molecular intelligence to other realms of atomic/molecular 'space' (ie. dark matter) and infuse this dead/dumb matter with their molecular intelligence so as to embedd all atomic structure with self-aware intelligence in a step to form an intelligent universe a-flood with information: a universe that is in-formation.

I find this concept fascinating, as it merges the spiritual with the technological- even if I do not fully grasp the fundamentals of Kurzweil's theory. If you have access (or want to apply for the one-month free trial) I recommend checking out the audio talks on the 'What is Enlightenment' site - this site also contains some great talks by a favourite of mine: Ervin Laszlo (perhaps more on him later).

Monday, August 22, 2005

Snippet from a US newspaper:

"THE GOD VS. Darwin debate went to the White House last week when President Bush weighed in, stating in a roundtable interview with reporters that ''intelligent design" should be taught along with evolution in public schools. It's a move that has undoubtedly pleased the president's conservative religious base."

Actually, despite this suggestion of creationism, it does serve another function: it points to the notion that regardless of our faith convictions, the notion of an 'intelligent design' in the universe is being approached as a serious study. With the advent of quantum mechanics and the concept that the observer/participant alters material phenomena, there is a growing tendency to see the universe as conscious participation - in other words, as 'intelligent'.

DNA systemic functioning has been called 'cognitive' by some researchers, following on from the Maturana & Varela notion of autopoeisis.

For our evolutionary movement, it is important to perceive that our cosmos is not dead, but imbued with intelligence - our mistake so far is to deem all intelligence as being modelled on the human - a great anthropomorphic mistake.
Remote-controlled humans?

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone researchers have developed a device based on galvanic vestibular stimulation (a weak DC current is delivered to the mastoid behind your ear) that allows the wearer to be steered by remote control.

According to the full article: "NTT researchers also point, rather improbably, to GVS's potential for collision avoidance. A demonstration video shows a young man walking down the street nearly run over by a passing motorcycle, steered to safety at the last minute by a guardian angel wielding a remote control. But wouldn’t that require that people wear electric nodes behind their ears 24 hours a day?

Well, yes. And according to Maeda, the long-term effects of GVS are unknown. But he plans to continue investigating ways to bring the phenomenon to the public."

I find such research a little unconvincing. It is usual that such developments are paraded under the guise of medical benefit: yet the appropriation of such technologies are always open to wider use. For impaired persons this is indeed inspiring news. For me, I say we are already asleep and our need is to find a way to spiritually and creatively wake up rather than basking in dreams of being remoted.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Maverick author and editor at Wired, Kevin Kelly, has written an interesting and insightful article on the birth-pangs and future plans of the Internet called 'We are the Web'. Some of the things he says are:

"The scope of the Web today is hard to fathom. The total number of Web pages, including those that are dynamically created upon request and document files available through links, exceeds 600 billion. That's 100 pages per person alive.

How could we create so much, so fast, so well? In fewer than 4,000 days, we have encoded half a trillion versions of our collective story and put them in front of 1 billion people, or one-sixth of the world's population. That remarkable achievement was not in anyone's 10-year plan...all its services, all peripheral chips and affiliated devices from scanners to satellites, and the billions of human minds entangled in this global network. This gargantuan Machine already exists in a primitive form. In the coming decade, it will evolve into an integral extension not only of our senses and bodies but our minds.

Today, the Machine acts like a very large computer with top-level functions that operate at approximately the clock speed of an early PC. It processes 1 million emails each second, which essentially means network email runs at 1 megahertz. Same with Web searches. Instant messaging runs at 100 kilohertz, SMS at 1 kilohertz. The Machine's total external RAM is about 200 terabytes. In any one second, 10 terabits can be coursing through its backbone, and each year it generates nearly 20 exabytes of data. Its distributed "chip" spans 1 billion active PCs, which is approximately the number of transistors in one PC.

This planet-sized computer is comparable in complexity to a human brain. Both the brain and the Web have hundreds of billions of neurons (or Web pages). Each biological neuron sprouts synaptic links to thousands of other neurons, while each Web page branches into dozens of hyperlinks. That adds up to a trillion "synapses" between the static pages on the Web. The human brain has about 100 times that number - but brains are not doubling in size every few years. The Machine is.

There is only one time in the history of each planet when its inhabitants first wire up its innumerable parts to make one large Machine. Later that Machine may run faster, but there is only one time when it is born.

You and I are alive at this moment.

We should marvel, but people alive at such times usually don't. Every few centuries, the steady march of change meets a discontinuity, and history hinges on that moment. We look back on those pivotal eras and wonder what it would have been like to be alive then. Confucius, Zoroaster, Buddha, and the latter Jewish patriarchs lived in the same historical era, an inflection point known as the axial age of religion. Few world religions were born after this time. Similarly, the great personalities converging upon the American Revolution and the geniuses who commingled during the invention of modern science in the 17th century mark additional axial phases in the short history of our civilization.

- the only thing we can say is: Our Machine is born. It's on."

YES - WE ARE ON. Now, how do we keep our soul mind firing?
Author John Battelle has written a book called "The Search" which contains some interesting speculations about directions and mediums that search can evolve into. He writes that

"In the near future, search will metastasize from its origins on the PC-centric Web and be let loose on all manner of devices. This has already begun with mobile phones and PDAs; expect it to continue, viruslike, until search is built into every digital device touching our lives. The telephone, the automobile, the television, the stereo, the lowliest object with a chip and the ability to connect—all will incorporate network-aware search.

This is no fantasy; this is simple logic. As more and more of our lives become connected, digitized, and computed, we will need navigation and context interfaces to cope."

In a sense I find these thoughts relevant: in a world of greater external information, with increasing data storage and retrieval necessary, we will also increase our dependency upon external tools and devices to aid our navigation. We are becoming awash with information, not all of it good or useful.

Yet what is missing here is the 'inner search'. These realms are far more extensive and require greater skills and discipline of navigation. Outer space, I state, is a manifestation of consciousness which is itself the very essence of the inner space. Perhaps a greater ability of inner navigation will help us to steer our way through the physical networks, traffic, and congestions?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A subject which I have not commented upon for some time, yet which is still close to my thinking, and I feel is linked to the subject of our species development is that of memes:

"What if ideas were viruses?

Consider the T-phage virus. A T-phage cannot replicate itself; it reproduces by hijacking the DNA of a bacterium, forcing its host to make millions of copies of the phage. Similarly, an idea can parasitically infect your mind and alter your behavior, causing you to want to tell your friends about the idea, thus exposing them to the idea-virus. Any idea which does this is called a "meme" (pronounced `meem').

Unlike a virus, which is encoded in DNA molecules, a meme is nothing more than a pattern of information, one that happens to have evolved a form which induces people to repeat that pattern. Typical memes include individual slogans, ideas, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions, and fashions. It may sound a bit sinister, this idea that people are hosts for mind-altering strings of symbols, but in fact this is what human culture is all about." from Global Brain Group

Yet language is a virus - or rather, thoughts are. Just as RNA protein molecules act as transmitters of information between DNA, that carry information to instruct the DNA to develop and act/function; so does language in the human sphere act as the transmitter of our thoughts between human molecules within the global cell. If a bacterial virus is passed along, such as cancer, it causes the cell to decay, and this infected cell is liable to spread the disease.

Similarly, if a segment of the human population gets a virus-idea (such as 'kill all those people who do not believe as we do'), then this idea spreads through language and culture to infect and destroy. We, like cancerous cells, are wiped out.

Biology passes on genes; human culture passes on memes. During our childhood we are fed certain 'truths/rules/laws' etc that we learn to condition ourselves and abide by - our cultural 'genetics'. So too will our generation pass on our cultural/developmental genes (memes) to our offspring. The condition of our memes - our thinking and mindset - will determine the fitness for evolution of those that are fed with our ideological memes.

Thus, it is imperative, crucial that we establish a healthy and positive, forward thinking set of cultural genes (memes) to duplicate and pass on to our evolving species. Not to do so can have catastrophic results for the future. Let us not turn our language into a destructive virus - let it be a healthy organism.