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Sunday, July 29, 2012

THE UNIVERSE IS CONTINUING


A brief fictional dialogue to brighten up your July ....


A:
So, I understand that, in a quest to get new insights into how to guide the Singularity in a positive direction for everyone, you took a massive dose of acid and queried the universe for inspiration?

B:
Yes, that's right.  A massive dose of liquid acid, to the tune of Scriabin's "Prometheus."  On my friend's new psychedelic seastead, well out into international waters.  He brews the stuff there and you take it out there -- beyond the jurisdiction of any government, so it's all totally legal.

A: 
Wow.

B: 
Wow indeed.  Of course, there's always the risk of some pirates or military gunboats popping up to ruin the party.  But nothing like that has happened so far.

A: 
Well that's good.  Enjoy it while it lasts, I guess.

B: 
Precisely

A: 
So -- what insights did the universe have for you?  Anything you can can share with us, back here on the boring old plane of everyday reality?

B: 
Heh…  Well, in a sense I guess.  But, you may not like the message….

A: 
Stop toying with me, O Great One!   Come on, shoot…

B:
OK, well… so, we tried to focus the trip on the Singularity, right?  We were trying to use that state of mind to get insight into Friendly AGI, paths to Singularity, and so forth….

A: 
But you kept getting distracted by the dolphins doing flips on the wave next-door?

B:
No… there were no distractions.  We were pretty fast outside the physical realm of being, right up close to the pulsing heart of being.   But the overwhelming message we got from the pulsing heart of being was simply: "YES, THE UNIVERSE IS CONTINUING" ... i.e. "YES, THE UNIVERSE IS CONTINUING TO REVOLUTIONIZE ITSELF, THAT'S WHAT IT DOES" ... i.e. "YES, THE UNIVERSE IS CONTINUING TO REVOLUTIONIZE ITSELF, THAT'S WHAT IT DOES, IF YOU LOOK AT IT FROM THE VIEW OF A LINEAR FLOW OF TIME" ....

In other words, what we're thinking of as "Singularity" is just yet another manifestation of the under/over-lying "enlightenment" that is already immanent in the universe, and that was manifested in other big changes like the cooling-down of the initial miasma into solid matter, and the emergence of life, and of intelligence, and of language, and of machinery and technology, etc. ....  The process of re-valuing all its values and decomposing and recomposing all its forms is what the universe is all about -- and if you view it from something closer to the universe's perspective, without the limitation imposed by the "linear flow of time" mindset, then it doesn't really seem like development or progress, it looks more like a web of inter-creating process....

So, we were looking for insight into how to maximize the continuity of human consciousness as Singularity approaches and unfolds, so that we can experience Singularity while having the sense of remaining ourselves, and so that the superhuman uber-bots can emerge and roam the galaxy and invent amazing new stuff without killing cute little human babies and puppies in the process -- but what we got was a big dose of "human life and death are not particularly more or less significant than all the other forms and patterns in the Cosmos, and regardless of humanity, the profound wider and deeper intelligence of the universe goes on and keeps on unfolding and doing stuff that will look to human-like minds like creation and destruction."

A:
I see.  So the message the universe gave you is: sure, the Singularity is going to happen, like lots of other Singularities have happened, in this Singular universe … this Singular Universal mind.  But as for the particularities of you mere humans, who really gives a crap?  

B:
Sort of like that -- but without any negative emotional tone.  Humans are here now, within certain subjectively perceived temporal moments and spatial regions.  Other temporal moments and spatial regions don't contain humans.  That's just the way it is.  The universe is rich in various forms and patterns, and humans are part of that, but just a teeny tiny part.  Crap is part of that too! .... The view of forms and patterns as unfolding and developing is just one perspective on the whole web of patterns, which seems interesting from a human view, and less so to other sorts of minds or mindplexes or being-webs or whatever….

There was also a strong sense of the presence of other, individuated non-human minds out there -- faintly amused by us humans' panicked worry about the continuation of various of our pet patterns through our funny little quasi-illusory historical time axis....  These other minds were a little more aware of their own relationship to the Cosmos, and their own role in regards to the overall web of process....

It's not that individuated minds like ours are unnecessary or irrelevant -- we are part of the overall process; patterns emerge in us and emerge from the arrangement of us and other things ... without individuated minds like ours, various other more abstract and broad patterns wouldn't be able to exist ... but the particularities of our minds and beings don't really "deserve" the profound significance that we are habituated to attach to them...

A:
Yes, I get it.  The message is quite clear, at any rate.

As to whether I like it ... I guess that's not a question with a well-defined answer.  It's not the sort of thing you can like or dislike, really.

But, hmmm ... so for you, was it a life-changing experience?  Are you going to give up the search for Friendly AGI, and submit yourself to the cosmic will of the universe as it unfolds?

B:
Heh, no, not really … now that I'm back here in the ordinary dimension, my enthusiasm is undimmed for my quest to create friendly AGI and a positive Singularity for all humans and animals.  But sure, the trip did sorta fill my head with a deeper sense of the limited scope of this quest.

At the moment I look at the quest for a human-positive Singularity more like I look at the quest to build a really nice habitat for my pet bunnies, so they can live in the back yard and enjoy the fresh air and grass without getting eaten by cats or flooded by the rain.  It's important in a sense -- I love the bunnies and want them to be happy and live.  But if it doesn't work and a cat gets in and kills them, well, so it goes ... life goes on...