Cosmos and nanotechnologies as a medieval paradigm. Ethics of the Supercharacter. Postsingularity and Singularity-2.
Why deep space exploration will never happen. – Why nanotechnologies are no different from medieval alchemy. – Burial as the birth of a human. – Human evolving as escaping death. – Transition. – The first supercharacter’s trial will be by getting high. – Autogenesis of supercharacter’s ethics. – The paradox of self-copying. – Mega-evolution and Singularity-2
Media futurist, coordinator for the Russian Association of Futurologists.
Here is the summary of the report presented at the session of the Philosophical Research Society on August 31, 2010, in Moscow.
The aim of this talk is to define the place of the development of human civilization in the global mega-evolution process and explore what could come after the human phase. The main message of the talk is an attempt at defining the ethics of the Superpersonality, or, better to say, Supercharacter, that is stipulated to be the future successor to the humanity following the Singularity. This is a purely logical attempt in view of the impossibility to have the relevant empirical data available, whether now or in the future.
Why deep space exploration will never happen
I would like to begin with a simple yet exciting argument that nanotechnologies are in essence nothing but the paradigm of the distant and dark Middle Ages. I am going to prove this by referring first to the example of another type of technologies, namely the space exploration technologies.
It is common knowledge that large volumes of sci-fi literature speculate at length and in detail on the subject of deep space exploration and interstellar travel. Well, the truth is that sci-fi lies. Deep space exploration is never going to happen.
Let’s take a look at the idea that lies behind the deep space exploration and flying to other distant planets, more distant than Mars, let’s say. Usually, the purpose of the enterprise is the extraction of some minerals that possess useful properties yet are very scarce or not available at all on the planet Earth.
Thus, basically, deep space exploration is associated with the extraction of valuable mineral resources. This in essence is the paradigm of the Age of Discovery when missions set out to find and bring home spices, oils and gold, and new lands were discovered in the process.
Sci-fi simply has projected this paradigm to the future. And it is this very idea, whether explicitly or implicitly, that supports all the writings about deep space exploration. Basically, every single sci-fi piece by definition goes on about the extraction of some “spice mélange” or “giftonium”. (A related article questioning these motives, from 11 years later – Why Would Anyone Invest in Interstellar Travel?)
One other idea driving the deep space exploration is the need for the new territories for humans to live on. This, again, brings us back to the Middle Ages when second sons, driven by the prospects of no chances for an inheritance, first became the engine of the Crusades and later on of the colonial conquests. This was the way the second sons procured for themselves their new patrimony and a source of income. There were also other drivers in history, compelled the masses of people to look for new lands for living. So that idea of space exploration refers to this historical experience as well.
Thus, as soon as we openly acknowledge that the dream of pursuing deep space exploration rests on nothing but the search for new lands or resources it becomes clear that this dream is doomed. The mere costs, the amount of energy resources, the scope of the consolidated effort of many nations, the required level of development of the technologies that are needed to actually launch deep space missions designed to bring us new salt and pepper or rare gems will boil down to basically the same costs as are required to synthesize the new salt and pepper or rare gems.
Let’s now factor in historical time into the situation. It appears fair to assess that the amount of time required for the humanity to develop to the stage when interstellar travel would be possible with all the large-volume interstellar cargo exchange routine would equal the amount of time required for the humanity to develop technologies sufficient to synthesize any mineral or element. Strictly speaking, man has already turn lead into gold – whereas in the area of space exploration, man has barely got out of his own back yard.
Given this, what do you think will happen sooner – advanced material synthesis or interstellar flights? And, most importantly, what would be its purpose?
By the time mankind will be able to send a space mission any farther than Mars, the technologies can be expected to develop enough to enable mankind to synthesize various substances and materials for practical application. And it is actually questionable whether mankind will need any substances at that technologically advanced stage as it may render dependency on substances and materials obsolete.
Strictly speaking, even a manned mission to Mars is very questionable. Until today, the success of space exploration was driven by the military. This is exactly why space exploration occurred so fast, over a mere couple of decades. And this is also why it never really went beyond the Earth orbit – simply because the military has no need or interest in any further. As soon as the military and political needs have been satisfied (and later on rendered unnecessary with the dissolution of the Soviet), space exploration basically halted.
Space exploration as a technology development track is essentially a dead end track. It has already served its historical purpose by creating the environment for the development of computers, materials, communications. After the end of the Cold War, over the most recent 30 years, no further progress in space exploration has been made.
Neither search for new spices, nor for new lands can be the reason to make deep space exploration happen – however, curiosity can. Yet, it is quite possible to satisfy curiously without all the cumbersome relocation of big masses of metal, plastics and organics across vast distances.
Why nanotechnologies are no different from medieval alchemy
We considered in detail the question of deep space exploration in order to find a similar process in the development of nanotechnologies.
Nanotechnology by definition is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale to give it new properties. These are exactly the same goals that alchemy pursued – and quite noble and achievable goals at that. Yet what appears to be happening now, as in the times of alchemy, that some excessive hopes are invested into these manipulations. Such as, for example, the hope to achieve immortality – which again points us back to alchemy, as alchemists saw their ultimate goal in obtaining the Philosopher’s Stone that was expected to help in producing an elixir of immortality.
It is no doubt that nanotechnologies will be useful in producing new materials. They will also help increase life expectancy and thus, to some extent, get us closer to immortality. But they cannot be the key solution to the Transition, or the new Exodus. Therefore, just like space exploration, nanotechnologies, as advanced manipulations with the matter, are bound to make a significant contribution to human development, yet cannot play a key role in the advent of Singularity or the formation of the Posthuman.
The reason for that is again seen through the historical time compression and exponential development of technologies. The level of technological development required to synthesize any substance or material with required properties should be sufficient to enable such manipulation as the transfer of the personality onto a new carrier. And this new carrier will no longer be material, i.e. it will not be a material body but a network entity for whom a material body will be redundant, unessential. The key Transit technologies will be the information technologies that will accomplish the synthesis of the human will and the digital environment.
Obviously, the Superpersonality, or as the better term may be, the Supercharacter will evolve from the moment of Singularity. Or rather, the birth of the Supercharacter will be the moment of Singularity when all the knowledge will converge.
We can thus assume that, being in possession of all the knowledge, the Supercharacter should have no difficulty to do just fine without any material vehicle to carry it.
A material vehicle, or a body in layman’s terms, is vulnerable. No matter how nano-advanced it may be, it remains vulnerable as in the body-mind complex it is the body that introduces mortality into the complex, makes it finite. Would it make sense for humanity to evolve towards the Singularity only to get a new material body which again will be finite, even if reproducible?
The logic of the mega-evolution seems to require that it should culminate in escaping death – which means escaping the body, as this appears to be the most efficient way of escaping death. Anything else would be a partial solution. That is why the evolution of the Supercharacter inevitably, one way or another, brings us to the abandonment of anything material, including the body.
In this case, nanotechnologies are just a temporary stage in the human development as the space exploration. As useful as they may be, they are still temporary.
This is why I assert that nanotechnologies, being focused on improving properties of the matter, are nothing but the medieval paradigm – and the paradigm of the less advanced stage of the Middle Ages at that – only projected to the future.
Burial as the birth of Humanity
Let’s now get directly to the talk’s main message about the Supercharacter. The logic of my argument is that the mega-evolution must be driven by something that has consistently been there through all previous stages of human development and which also triggers off all further human development. And that something must be innate to humans, something ultimately human.
The starting point of this argument is that humans as such were born at the time the first burial occurred.
The very first burial separated man from the animal kingdom. Burial is the first indication of humanity itself.
It wasn’t the speech or labor that made the man human. Nor was it erotica as some appear to believe reasoning that the acquired upright posture rendered possible a choice of sex options which in its turn triggered erotic fantasies and through that stimulated development of mental capacities… No, the humans became humans with the first burial.
What is burial? It is a practice of hiding away the body of a deceased fellow human who just now looked alive and acted alive. The desire to hide the body is indicative of the fear of the dead body. Essentially, it was the first religious experience connected with the realization that there is a difference between something alive and the same thing dead: the dead man was just a while ago alive, and now, although he looks the same, he isn’t. Something is now gone from the body. And what remains is not good enough, is not sufficient, it is no longer the fellow human, and it instills fear. Therefore, it has to be disposed of. (I believe complex rituals aimed at preserving the body for the transit into the afterworld evolved much later, when the mythological consciousness was already fully developed.)
Burial appears to be the product of the human intelligence as opposed to an animal intelligence. This is deeper than simply the animal fear, this is about singling out the idea of death and projecting it onto oneself. What will happen to me? Will I die? Essentially, it was the very first intellectual process that transformed the animal fear of death into a human abstract thought i.e. thinking about death. That’s where the humans started. This also gives us ground to presume that fear of death (or, rather thinking about death) is an essential human property.
In fact, mortality and, what’s more important, being conscious of one’s mortality is the core human property.
Essentially, all human practices are addressing one question only – that of how to become immortal. One answer is supplied by religion, and a fairly satisfactory one at that. It was possibly the best answer to the question of immortality throughout the past. Another answer is being constantly worked on by science, and science is also making good progress by improving life quality, protecting life, and increasing life expectancy. Yet another answer is given by all kinds of creative activity, asserting that immortality is achieved by the author in the artistic reality he or she creates. Great authors of the past are indeed the most long-lived individuals, albeit metaphorically. Homer, for example, has been around for 2700 years. While religion and science are only promising immortality, arts have made some progress along this track – for the select few.
Human evolving as escaping death
Once humans learned to single out the idea of death and project it onto themselves, they learned reflection and metaphoric thinking, i.e. the abstract thinking. This kind of thinking essentially consists of singling out ideas and operating them in another, symbolic plane of reality.
In other words, first through metaphoric thinking, and further through abstraction, the early human learned to produce a copy of the reality captured in ideas and symbols. The core meaning of this process is separating the world of material things and the world of ideas i.e. creating a dual reality. The human capacity for symbolic thinking enabled the human to create and operate the world of ideas.
All this generated a copy of the real world that was easier to handle – as the world of ideas is so much easier to handle than the real world of material things. And so this world became very attractive to the humans who unconsciously sought to render it habitable.
If we consider all the inventions ever made to capture the knowledge, we shall see that first came the gradually improving attempts to digitally capture the reality, and then the ones to capture the human himself. Let’s consider, for example, Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man. The drawing of a male figure in two superimposed positions simultaneously inscribed in a circle and a square is supplemented with a list of proportions, such as how many palms make the length of the elbow and such. What is striking about it is the idea itself to look for the meaning in a series of numerical proportions. This idea of the presence of a harmonizing meaning is, in fact, essential to all and any human-made notations, it is inherent to a human notation in any form. Leonardo believed – and everyone agreed – that parts of the body are necessarily in some sort of proportional relation to one another – which, in other words, means that a body can be captured with the help of some formulae. And in general, an attempt at digital or verbal representation of anything essentially conveys the idea of a harmony present, and is, as such, a kind of search for beauty. So where does this idea come from and why?
The reflected world in our understanding is necessarily ordered and harmonious. This is logical, since it is the product of the human mind. The reflected world, the world of the human mind is the world of a higher order. Comprehension, or rather conquest of this other, reflected world is actually even more important than that of the material world we share with the animals – and that’s because the humans have always shared a feeling that everything belonging to the world of ideas is free of embodiment and through that knows no death.
Today, we have arrived at the stage where we have an alternative reality populated with our virtual selves i.e. copies of our personalities.
By populating social networks with our own virtual representations, these virtual homunculi, we are nearing the stage where we can digitally copy more than the world around us and our bodies – the stage where we can copy our own personalities.
One argument in favour of this is that our virtual selves differ from one another just the way our real selves do. Still deficient, these are nonetheless copies of human personalities, even though they still require constant involvement of the “personality operators.”
I cannot know how the Transition will happen in technical terms, or what the moment of Singularity will look like. But I am convinced that the key solution will not be found in the area of nanotechnologies or manipulations with the matter. I am convinced that it will be found in the area of digitization, through digital personality copying. The key work will have to be done about the information, not about the material body.
The question of developing a suitable vehicle to carry the information is secondary, and, incidentally, can indeed be addressed through the application of nanotechnologies or cyber-organoplasty. The body is a matter of lower order, and therefore of lower importance. Should the moment where all the knowledge converges causing the Singularity be indeed the moment the Supercharacter is born, this entirely new kind of being equipped with all the knowledge possible will surely have no problem finding a suitable body – or rather it will most probably find a way to be just as fine without one. I’d like to recap that the level of knowledge required to make a transfer of personality possible must be sufficient to give the personality an existence without a body (by which I mean a material body as we traditionally think of it.)
But before that, in order to facilitate the arrival of this moment, a solution must be found to copying the personality into the environment where all the knowledge is readily and instantaneously accessible.
This is why I believe that the Transition will not be facilitated by the nanotechnologies, but by cyberorganic gadgetization of human nerve-endings.
It will probably be about the synthesis of an experimenter’s personality and a machine, and in the course of the experiment, the human personality will enter the digital network environment while preserving its identity gaining access to all the knowledge the humanity has to offer and, more than that, obtaining the capability to generate any new knowledge that may be required.
Two areas of research appear to be contenders to making this coming true – these are, most probably, the medical science and the military research.
There are medical experiments going on aimed at helping people with the paralysis of the extremities via giving them an ability to operate devices via brain signal communication through the reading the user’s brain signals. It is said that already the achievements are such that a person after some training can make the device some simple movements by giving it the order with the repeated neural impulses. This is as yet far from mind-reading as that would require a reciprocal training process with the involvement of the machine – one would have to perform set-up of the neural impulses and the desired machine responses. Essentially we are talking about developing a new neural code, which in the larger perspective is, of course, nothing but the Stone Age of the neuro-gadgetization. But it is this track, no matter how undeveloped yet, that will at the end of the day enable the human mind, or, to be more precise, the human personality to enter the infinitely knowledgeable environment of the digital network. This is the track to developing the mind-machine interface.
It appears, however, more logical to expect a breakthrough along this track in the area of military technologies. The ability to operate military machines without any mechanical interface, by direct neural impulses coming from the mind would no doubt secure tremendous military advantage. I am in no possession of any evidence indicating that such research is ongoing but it simply has to be ongoing somewhere. Also, the very large resources and highly advanced infrastructure of the military complex are further arguments in favour of the military being able to make better progress along the track of developing the brain-computer interface than medical science. (Let’s remember that no one but the military started technology’s developing in the most advanced areas, namely of space exploration and the Internet.)
It appears likely that developments in the area of brain-computer interface by means of neuro-gadgetization of the body, on the one hand, and in the area of artificial intelligence, on the other hand, will at some point generate the moment of Singularity through merging the human personality with the Artificial Intelligence. In very rough terms it can be imagined as a synthesis of a machine connecting man and net.
I cannot know how it will happen in technical terms. Let’s skip some details and make required allowances for all the wires to get properly wired and have this as yet sci-fi picture up and running.
So, what we are looking at is the moment when a human personality – that of an individual, not of the entire mankind – is enabled to transfer, or basically copy itself from its own biological body into a different environment.
This most likely will happen in some secret laboratory, with the rest of the world oblivious to the fact. This new being will instantaneously gain access to all the knowledge accumulated in the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web will have the entire knowledge processed and ready. Google is now in the process of digitizing all the written knowledge in order to upload it into the World Wide Web – which just fits this purpose fine. And by the time we’re talking about all the research facilities, labs, plants, all the technologies and knowledge resources will be uploaded into the single environment for ready access. All the preconditions will be in place for what sci-fi presents as the “rise of the machines” i.e. for the new cyber-being generated by humankind, whether accidentally or on purpose, to seize all the knowledge and technologies.
I believe that this new being will the sum total of one single personality, or rather the will of one human being and the entire bulk of knowledge and technologies generated by the entire mankind. I am calling this new post-human being a Supercharacter as opposed to Superintelligence because the key property it will have is the will, not the knowledge. That’s because the knowledge, no matter the scope or level of advancement, is always distributed, because it is inherently a paradigmatic and hierarchized system. Only the will with access to this bulk of knowledge is capable of converging it and generating the cumulative effect necessary for the Singularity to happen. This will be the will of the digitally transferred human personality.
(There is also another possibility here to consider i.e. that of the will evolving from the self-consciousness of the self-learning machine reflecting on the nature of task setting, but this is a different argument track which is relevant to only one detail in the present argument, namely the question of the origin of the will contributing to the birth of the Supercharacter.)
The first Supercharacter’s trial will be by getting high
The next question we have to address is how will this newly-emerged Supercharacter behave?
As I see it, the moment of Transition will test the personality of the first “test pilot” who will enter the Transition portal. It will be a kind of trial by getting high following the newly obtained ability to satisfy any desires.
The very experience of unlimited possibilities and capabilities acquired by the newly born Supercharacter will inevitably generate the emotion that we could interpret as pleasure. Of course, it will not be emotion in our traditional understanding. It will be a mental experience that can be described as recognition of one’s own infiniteness. Frankly, it is hard to say what kind of pleasure can be induced by Superpersonality onto itself if this Superpersonality is able to do whatever it wishes. Obviously, this pleasure can be something out of this world, never experienced by mere mortals. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? But for the convenience’s sake, it will be easy to think now of this experience as an emotion.
It is possible that this emotion will surface just before the Transition, in an as yet human under-Supercharacter mind. This is what I call here the trial by getting high. Getting high is the unavoidable trap for a young omnipotent Supermind that just obtained the will (or for the Superpersonality that just obtained the unlimited power). Getting high also, naturally, triggers off the stimulus-effect loop leading to addiction that can be interpreted as the disintegration of the personality, or, in this case of Superpresonality.
(By the way, for an external observer, this disintegration may look like, say, the formation of a Black Hole. Or, possibly, it won’t come to it, and the underage Superpresonality will simply freeze off instead of taking down the entire Universe with it. It could be an experience close to the descriptions of nirvana, enlightened inactive self-contemplation – which could also be a useful metaphor for the personality transit to the new state.)
The Superpersonality, in case it gets hooked on the loop of getting high, will not actually become one. It will halt in a kind of vegetable state, however strange it may sound in application to a body-less being.
The personality will be gone, kaput. We already have the metaphoric description of this situation supplied by the experiments with the rats that had wires stimulating the pleasure centers installed and ended up losing interest in anything else except triggering them off till they dropped dead. This is the ultimate result of getting high for the biological body. For an entity without a biological body and endless energy resources, there is no risk of death, but the constant experience of being high will mean that such an entity will actually fall into the state of a permanent “absence of the presence.”
This is the way the natural selection will work running this entry clearance test for all Superpersonality contenders. The personality of a “test pilot” predisposed to such pleasure will obtain access to full-scope experience of this new kind of high at the moment of Transition. The emerged Superpersonality will both know of it and will make use of it instantaneously – which will also shut the newborn Superpersonality down for all further super-options.
We do denounce such states as the drug-induced high for obvious reasons, but in fact, getting superhigh could be a fairly complete realization for the super-abilities. It could be quite a logical choice. Moreover, at the early stages, the Superpersonality is actually much less likely to turn down the option of getting high. Making a different choice that would ensure the personality’s conscious presence would entail a longer path to the realization of the superabilities. The logical odds of going for that choice are at the very least equal to the odds of going for getting superhigh.
Incidentally, substance abuse in the course of the entire human history is also a test for humanity which is being test-trained to be able to make a conscious choice between the induced and earned pleasures.
The Supercharacter contenders will “die” one after another failing the trial of getting superhigh (unless they also destroy the Universe in going down) until the one will arrive who would be less interested in the readily-available, obvious and easy way of the superabilities’ application.
Autogenesis of Supercharacter’s ethics
Once the Superpersonality withstands the trial and refuses to get hooked on the eternal experience of getting superhigh, and therefore fully evolves as the Supercharacter, comes the question: what’s next? What entails self-realization for the Supercharacter, how does it make itself existentially completed?
This is the area where no data or evidence is available whatsoever, so we have to rely on the logic of our argument only.
I believe that one of the obvious characteristics of the Supercharacter will be intellectual omnipotence. The Supercharacter is no dumb-head and can crack any intellectual operation almost instantaneously. This, in its turn, means that the main question of the meaning of life, or rather the purpose of existence (as there is no “life” in proper terms for this entity, as far as no “death”) will be arrived at very shortly.
I also believe, that such an entity as the Supercharacter will be looking for the most challenging answer to the question of the meaning of life there possibly is, because only the full-scope realization can give the Supercharacter the chance to employ all of its superabilities.
It is convenient to introduce here the concept of shame. It would be a shame for the Supercharacter to fall short of full-scope realization of its superabilities. Even slightly incomplete, for instance, 99% complete realization will be experienced by the Supercharacter as a failure to deliver up to his full potential. Unrealized potential is unacceptable, simply impossible. The resulting feeling of shame must be painfully unbearable and therefore can never be allowed.
This is quite an ethical assertion. With the help of similar arguments, we can elaborate in further detail the hypothesis about the Supercharacter’s Ethics.
We go on to ask the following question: what is the full-scope realization? Where can the absolute abilities find an application? What does the infinite do after breackfest? What will the Supercharacter take up doing driven by this ethical set?
Since we are talking about some ultimate, strategic categories of doing it is logical to think here, for instance, of creating or destroying. Any other activity can fit into the category of either creation or destruction.
Creation is necessarily greater and more complex than destruction. Destruction is always secondary as it is applied only to something that was already created. Destroying anything always requires less energy and resources than creating the same thing. This, again, comes to contradict the condition of the full-scope realization of the absolute potential. Also, destruction is by definition finite, which is even worse, as it can in no way provide enough ground for the application of infinite powers. Creation is, on the other hand, infinite.
Thus we conclude that creation is the ultimate kind of self-realization perfectly fitting the Supercharacter in question.
(Incidentally, this also gives us insight into the problem of whether the Supercharacter will be a curse or blessing for humankind (which might still hang around.) The logic of the argument brings to the conclusion that this new entity must necessarily be a creator by nature, which is good news. Does it mean its new creation will include us, humankind? Not necessarily. This could be bad news.)
Although abstract, this argument is simple enough, and these ideas will surely be grasped intuitively by the Supercharacter instantaneously as something that naturally comes with the superabilities it will possess. In other words, as soon as the Supercharacter passes the test of getting high, it will be onto the ultimate creation project.
We can continue our chain of arguments. What kind of creation is ultimate? Certainly, what comes to mind first is the creation of a world i.e. the metaphysical creation, creation of a whole new Universe. But this is still far from the ultimate realization of the absolute.
I believe that the absolute can only find the ultimate realization in the replicating itself, creating a new copy of itself.
This results in an interesting paradox, and the task of overcoming it is, in fact, the worthy challenge to the absolute potential of the Supercharacter.
The paradox of self-copying
What is a copy of one’s own self? For instance, an organic copy that looks exactly like me, thinks like me, and acts like me is not a full copy of myself. It lacks one profound likeness. It lacks its own free will – which is something that I have. Therefore, however perfect, it isn’t my full copy.
A full copy must possess its own free will – not my will, but its own, because I am the sole owner of my will. In other words, a full copy of myself must not be me; instead, it should obtain its own identity.
Clearly, we’re dealing here with the metaphor of God’s creation of people as captured in the Christian tradition and some other religions. Indeed, here we enter the domain of religious metaphors that are well known, researched and reflect quite well and precisely the next arguments in the chain that we have been following up to this stage. Metaphors supplied by religions are handy at this particular stage of the argument, although some may be less keen to use them.
The paradox is that a full copy of one’s own self is only full when the copy acquires its own identity and starts behaving differently from the original self. Only in this case, it can be considered a full copy. This is an ultimate challenge, and I certainly cannot know how it may happen in technical terms; all I have at hand is some religious allegories. But this challenge suits the description of an ultimately challenging creation mission.
To a certain extent, we can say that the Superpersonality will not be free. The very moment it becomes conscious of itself, it will be doomed to embark on the project of inventing the ways for creating the world, then creating the new world, and creating a full copy of itself.
Thus, we believe that the absolute’s ethics will have the following key characteristics: the fullness of Supercharacter’s intelligence becomes its passion. The Supercharacter defines shame as an incomplete and therefore failed realization of its potential. Therefore, the ultimate realization for the Supercharacter is in the ultimate creation, and the latter involves creating a full copy of its own self, a copy that will possess its own free will. The ultimate mission for Supercharacter will be creating a new world and a new man. Sounds like a true God’s mission.
Mega-evolution and Singularity-2
So we arrived at the conclusion that the Supercharacter will be bound to copy itself, i.e. in other words to create a new man a.k.a. man-2. The new Supercharacter’s copy, or the new man-2, equipped with its own new identity, will embark on its own evolution track. It will be a self-evolving dummy, which is in fact what we, the people as we know ourselves, are. Humankind is the self-evolving dummy of the next god made by a previous god. It is a dummy in a twofold way: firstly, it was originally created as a dummy for further self-refinement in the process of evolution, and secondly, it is a dummy for the new entity, i.e. the Supercharacter.
Thus we can consider our world as a kind of a lab for the Supreme Being where it creates a copy of itself, and this copy project is successfully complete when the copy fully evolves and in a moment of Singularity becomes a new Supercharacter.
This gives us the idea of a cyclic model, and we, therefore, arrive at an understanding that Teilhard’s concept of mega-evolution is not a linear process but a cyclic or a spiral one. This, further, gives us the opportunity to speculate as to what the event horizon would be like within each cycle of the spiral. For instance, we can assume that each cycle begins with a Big Bang. In order to create the new world, the Supercharacter first gathers all the available material, accumulates it into one single point and then unfolds it, which is quite logical: it makes sense to clear the construction site before you begin construction.
Each cycle ends with the personality evolving into the Superpersonality i.e. the new Creator.
Well, what comes next then? What’s the point of having this kind of cycle? If each cycle completes itself then we’re dealing with nothing but a continuous repetition of the same thing all over again. In this case, why all the overly dramatic fuss with the Big Bang every time?
It was my hypothesis about five years ago, and I hit the wall discovering an indication of the cyclic nature of mega-evolution which would render it basically meaningless. This is, surely, where one could stop… But even a modern human’s mind, let alone the Supercharacter’s, can hardly be happy with the idea that we are simply taking a very long ride on the largest-ever merry-go-round.
However, a couple of years ago, I found a way out of this closed-loop cycle – and I did so by considerably expanding the cycle unit.
I made a supposition that the mega-evolution the way it was proposed by Teilhard de Chardin does not complete itself with the mind leaving the organic body and evolving into the Supercharacter. I suggested that the next stage in mega-evolution is possible, and that stage would be transcending personality in the course of the next, Postsingular Singularity.
The logic of this is roughly the following. Once the Superpersonality successfully completes the task of copying itself (i.e. creating the new evolving man), the very task of making a full copy of a personality can be considered completed and no longer relevant. After this stage, it probably makes sense to talk about a new Singularity, a.k.a. Singularity – 2 during which the Superpersonality will undergo the next-level transformation. So what will it be?
Now that the mission of copying the personality has already been successfully completed, we can suggest that it will be about transcending personality.
What is then transcending personality, what does it entail? It entails discarding personality completely and transforming into pure law which is the pure will without any trace of personality; it means transforming into an absolute principle.
I think that there are two ultimately simple and absolute principles that could provide the Mega-Supercharacter transcending personality in the Singularity-2 with a suitable vehicle.
One is the principle of spacetime as the underlying principle of all existence. The other is the law of morality. (Which is somehow similar to Kant’s “The Starry Sky Above Me and the Moral Law Within Me”.)
These are the two ultimate principles that can provide a vehicle for the incarnation of the divine entity evolved to the next level.
One can also easily see the reference here to a religious metaphor of the Holy Trinity. The incarnation that transcends personality and becomes pure law is the Holy Spirit, or in other terms God as the Grandfather, the super-entity of the elder generation. This means that we can think of these categories with the help of such images, which is some help already.
Expanding the cycle of mega-evolution to include such an event as Singularity-2, during which the Supercharacter accomplishes the Transition to become the embodiment of pure law transcending personality, opens a new horizon for thought and interpretations.
However, this still leaves open the question “Why all this?”
Possibly, it is just a stage in a longer story, whose beginning and end we have not come to comprehend yet (or never can). It is also possible that in order to keep pushing further the horizon for thought we’ll have to continue the sequence of Singularities, putting Singularity after Singularity on a thread of sequence with a new transformation awaiting the Reason and will during every new Transition.
Andrey Miroshnichenko, 2010, Moscow
Author of Human as media. The emancipation of authorship – available on Amazon
Categories: Singularity and Transhumanism
Ok, I’m not going to comment on everything, just the areas where I disagree or can give more clarity to enhance the discussion or argument.
Space exploration will occur because of human curiosity, especially if we discover microbial life on Mars. That might be motivation enough. Also population dispersion is necessary and space colonies offer some answer with In situ utilization. Climate control of the earth will be necessary and that can be accomplished from space as well.
Cyborgs as cell phone chip implants with genetically engineered neurons to allow for instantaneous thought communication into the cloud will allow for the emergence of new group minds which can integrate with AI’s and the creation of your super-personality as a combination of submerged group personalities. Human beings living on multiple levels, first as individuals, then as group mind, then as uploaded AI in a simulated reality giving the ours minds an anchor to the virtual body and effective immortality sounds like one possible solution for the future to me. Addiction, I’m not going to address that here.
Purpose for such a mind or society will be directed toward addressing new challenges, completely agree there. Noted that this was a presentation in 2010, so there is a disadvantage to your argument because I am making my comment in June 2014 while technology and thinking on the subject have progressed.
It eventually should be possible for uploaded digital humans and a digital society to transmit at light speed to stars across the galaxy and eventually populate the whole galaxy, meeting other super-intelligent species (aliens) who have survived. Maybe they won’t be so alien after all. Together we should be able to do anything, even create another universe which follows laws we give it. All that is required that we learn to survive long enough for it all to happen, keep moving forward, keep learning and asking questions, searching for the answer that give us goals, purpose and meaning, a reason for being.
Michael, thanks for the nice comment.
A period in which humanity will be still curious as a child and already able to move to deep space will be too short and soon replaced by a period in which transportation of biomass will lose sense.
New abilities always cause new demands. That is what is almost always missed in the majority of forecasts.
The main idea of the report was to explore the ways in which priorities not abilities will be changed. Your arguments sound logical but in the previous i.e. present day stage of the human being. For the being, or better to say, for the Mind advanced enough to escape a physical body, an appropriate purpose will be not to explore but to create space and matter.