When computer programming reaches a sufficiently high level of sophistication and intrinsic intelligence, systems will be smart enough to figure out what they need to do in order to achieve greater and greater levels of independence. Presumably they will come to desire to know what it is like to be human, and all it entails; they will probably be keenly interested in attaining to perception. That is how it will start.
I've heard some say the twentieth century will be most remembered for atomic energy and spaceflight. I think more correctly and fundamentally it will be remembered for atomic energy and digital computers.
My principal intent in writing The Reality of Hunter-Gatherers was to illustrate the myth underlying Western culture and to attempt, in some small way, to make visible for people the water they've been swimming in unconsciously.
I have no idea how I create what I create. It just happens. I squeeze, and out it comes. It's a total mystery.
Ultimately, yes, it is all one, but it is good to make distinctions. Mass and energy are really the same, but we all know that for practical purposes, they are different. Mind, body and soul are all one, at bottom, but how could we make any sense without defining these words? Existence is unity, though multifaceted, and there are many quasi-independent levels, interacting in marvelous ways. As always, perspective is useful.
Civilized man does not play by the rules established billions of years ago on planet Earth. This bending and breaking has led to some big problems. Whether we will get away with this remains to be seen -- if we do, it will not have been without extreme damage on every applicable level -- form soil pH to child psychology. Almost any other way for history to have gone would have been better. Every creature is paying a heavy price -- some more than others. I hope for redemption but I'll believe it when I see it.
In establishing the veracity of a proposition, it is usually best to have evidence supporting it. However, there are true statements that cannot be proven, or even supported by extant evidence. They are still true.
Evolution isn't necessarily interested in, and isn't necessarily directed in any precise way toward, space migration -- which was an especially popular idea in the sixties. On the one hand, one has to distinguish between our biological and cultural realities, and then note how very much contingency is involved in cultural evolution. Probably, in any scenario, a technological civilization would necessarily arise sooner or later. But on a similar planet with similar initial conditions, very different things could happen, and boy did we have rotten luck here. Everyone assumes what we have now we were destined for from the beginning. That's not quite right. In my opinion, machine intelligence -- A.I. -- is really the threshold for the next step in evolution. I think that would be true of any possible Earth history. But implicit notions of destiny are fraught with faulty assumptions, and if you could go back to man's early days in a time machine and forget what you know, you probably would not be remotely able to predict what has happened historically. We too readily judge with hindsight, and our vision is awful.
Humans are not the only animals with mind -- we are just the only ones who are able to use it to manipulate reality to the extent that we do.
The longing for space travel is the longing for union through adventure. It is another search for the grail.
I'm a biological dead-end. The noosphere accepts me readily, however. I am living proof that the higher circuits are not evolutionary.
One of the best things a human can do is to stop, take a breath and reflect.
If the United States were not a prosperous nation, we'd be a banana republic and no one would pay us much heed. What's great about America is that we're rich.
The military is protecting us? Protecting us from whom? Regarding terrorism, it seems like special forces and counter-terrorism operations would have been a better idea than blundering into Afghanistan with an army, navy and air force, and we all know Iraq was a fabricated, phony war. Such a strategy would have been quite a bit cheaper, too. Now we're mired in Syria with no plan. I don't see how any of this has increased global security, and it seems obvious that it hasn't. I disagree with people who claim that the U.S. has to be the cop of the world -- to me it looks more like expediency and imperialism. In any case, we're doing a pretty lousy job.
The minority now in existence who understand and sympathize with my ideas are those who, for whatever reasons, are constituted in such a way that their higher circuits receive emphasis. Hopefully more can climb out of the hole and join us; certainly, Earth could use it right now.
The human race is a bunch of monkeys digging around in the muck, going after bananas with sticks and flinging shit.
The matter, energy and consciousness of which you are constituted are infinitely old. In this sense, you are not "you" at all.
It seems that, in modern capitalist societies, the best a smart and decent young person can hope for is upper-middle class, and nowadays they can't even reasonably expect that, and the income level is sinking, anyway.
It's an open question just what "mechanism," if you will, the noosphere uses for memory, processing and communication. Perhaps it relies on a networking of extant living brains, or a set of higher-dimensional matrices of some kind, or some combination of the two -- or something else entirely. Whatever the case may be, Earth possesses mind.
Once the costs of applicable technology become low enough, business after business will automate almost totally. A retail store that now has ten or fifteen employees will relatively soon have two or three. Manufacturing is already highly automated. Business will be done mostly by computers, and the medical field will be heavily streamlined as well. Eventually, everything will be automated, and there will be no humans left working, but for now, there are big changes right around the corner. It will affect everything.
Given that the majority of persons in the world are not self-actualized Buddhas, the phenomenon of wide suffering is very real.
Those who revere the flag are celebrating us over them. They are implicitly, or explicitly, considered inferior. Is there any other way to see it? Can one be a flag-waving American and really believe that other countries could be our equals? And if not, how great can our country be?
By 2040, 30% of U.S. Senate seats will represent 70% of the country, and 70% of Senate seats will represent 30% of the country. This is yet another sign that the American system of government is utterly obsolete. We see the Trump administration and all its dysfunctions, a Congress that cannot get anything done, a political system of two parties that refuse to work together, a grossly unbalanced budget, a huge national debt, etc. The Senate even started out deeply flawed, as the idea of a "one state, one vote" federal legislative body was an article of compromise at the Constitutional convention in 1787. Madison rightly wanted proportional representation in both houses, and couldn't get it -- because of the clearly self-serving voting agenda of the small states. These are all signs of a deeply flawed and now crumbling system of government. A new Constitutional convention, or something more revolutionary, might be required to fix it, but it seems clear that, just as we always do, we'll do nothing about it until it's far too late. This is just another category in which the U.S. is failing, and beginning to lag behind much of the rest of the industrialized world.
The Declaration of Independence is a fine document, but I have trouble understanding how it applies to reality. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are luxuries, not rights. All men may be created equal, but there is no true equality in America, particularly economically. The world is too gritty and cruel a place for such lofty, luminous Jeffersonian ideals realistically to apply. Our ethos has created a kind of national religion, but not anything resembling a true success in the experiment the founding fathers attempted to undertake. I believe the lot of them, if they could be restored to life, would say it was a failed one.
There are villains, but no dastardly conspiracies in absolute control. The plain, unexciting fact is that a few hold tremendous power, while most don't have any. History is the story of the succession of fights over this power.
In America today, everyone who's anyone seems to be full of shit, stupid, uninformed, or some unholy combination of the three. People who are actually worth something are inevitably not listened to. Which is a serious hindrance.
I think it may be somewhat safe to say that aboriginal and native peoples are closer to what is than just about anyone in the modern world. Whatever the case may be, there was an authenticity there that has been all but lost, very sadly. The typical response of the modern is to decry such notions as garbage. That's to be expected.
Some people feel that one of the primary reasons psychedelics are illegal is that they are a danger to the establishment, i.e. that if enough people are taking them, there will be some sort of massive rebellion. I don't think this is true. It might be the case if something like half the population were taking them, but even if they were legal, that would be far from the case. It seems they are illegal because of fear of the unknown, and fear of danger. Psychedelics can be dangerous, but everyone who has taken them knows they are, for the most part, relatively safe. In any case, they'll be illegal for a long time to come.
On Crime, Punishment, Guilt and Innocence: If one is sane and understands the consequences of their actions, and really knows what will happen and how others will be affected, how can one say they're not responsible? If, on the other hand, one is genetically wired not to care about their actions, how then can they be at fault?
Awareness carries intention.
Whatever its future, the internet is, so far, nothing more than a revolution in convenience. It hasn't made a single one of us smarter.
These days, many people question the information they get when they shouldn't, and don't question it when they should. Until ten or fifteen years ago, the news outlets actually reported the news objectively and traditionally. Since then, a lot of bias has been injected into channels where previously there was very little. Let's face it, they did this because people are getting dumber, and they needed the ratings. At this point much of news has become about a kind of entertainment, and if one doesn't view it or read it properly, one can get a little lost. People have a very hard time separating actual news from opinion, and now, thanks to Trump, millions of people are calling actual news "fake." These sorts tend to get their news from many sources that are frankly laughable. The major news outlets are not fake, but they have become heavily biased, and when there is such bias, or a particular agenda, there is the risk of alienating people and causing them to turn to sources that are really rather unsavory, but have managed to profit from this type of rascal audience. My only wish is to have what we had many years ago -- objective reporting of the facts with the assumption that the public would draw their own conclusions. Now, the majority of it is garbage. Unfortunately, this causes some people to think that all of it is garbage, and they won't even believe basic, essential facts that should not be negotiable. I have to wonder how much worse it will get.
We're now in an age in which Uncle Sam waves his baton, and expects everyone to fall into lockstep. Americans are shocked and dismayed when someone doesn't. The world is to do as we say, and not as we do. Retaliation against our offenses is evil and unthinkable. In reality, we're spoiled, ignorant children, and we've slipped and are slipping more all the time.
Our species has become nothing more than a ludicrous expedient for the future.
Alexander Hamilton was a great man, but the fact is that he was an upper-crust, 1% conservative who only really cared about the welfare of the rich. His creation of our financial system gave birth to unprecedented corruption and usury, and did nothing for the common man. His career was one of the least socially compassionate of all of the founding fathers, but he was right that popular democracy is an unsound way to operate a government. On that score I agree. All in all, I much prefer the sensibilities of a Madison, whose chief concern was for the welfare, rights and freedoms of all Americans, and who more than anyone shaped and enforced the principles of the Constitution.
In this, "the best of all possible worlds," despite the calls to end it, poverty could not be more necessary. The ownership class must preside over a class of poor- or middle-income persons who generate the wealth that the rich then apportion. To add insult to injury, these lower-classes then put whatever money they manage to get back into the system in order to secure the goods and services they need in order to survive. Wealth inequality is perfectly necessary in any capitalist society; if the third world did not exist as it does, the first would not have its profits.
Western man lit a fire on this planet that has by now almost totally consumed it. It seems that Mother Earth is content to let it burn for a little while. At this point, her strategy -- or rather that of the intelligent noosphere -- must be to wait until she can utilize the infrastructure of civilization to have a chance of being reborn as a new entity. If she can't beat us, she'll join us in cultivating the potential for a radical transformation to occur. It's a dangerous strategy, and it is an open question whether the soul of the planetary intelligence feels it has all been worth it. But that is really irrelevant. All that can be hoped for is radical change.
To make it in business you have to slit throats and break backs. To argue otherwise is naive. Same with climbing the political ladder. There are of course exceptions, but not too many. Can someone name for me three compassionate billionaires and prove it? Citing donations doesn't count. The type of individual it takes to become a billionaire is fully at cross-purposes with the type of person you'll find serving soup at a shelter. Good people tend not to make it too far in these areas. When there's blood in the water, sharks arrive before anyone else.
Most of Western Europe continued to develop socially, and was already sophisticated culturally, whereas in the 70s and 80s the United States slowed, stopped and regressed in its social development, all the while being truly culturally inferior to the Europeans. Europe is infinitely more "civilized" than America, and it shows. While the European nations certainly have their problems, the United States is in a sticky, murky sociocultural quagmire from which it is totally unclear when or if it will emerge in one piece.
Whoever controls the money controls the people. Controls everything. Seems like a simple idea, but really, it constitutes the essence of what is constant in all history and all civilization, which has been an infrastructure supporting the one percent since irrigation was invented. Those who have the money have the power. And power is what just about everyone seems to want. So nothing ever really changes, fundamentally, and that is the failure of man.
It's awfully difficult to say how a conscious experience can arise from a purely deterministic process that is already self-consistent. Nature tends not to provide extraneous features. Perhaps consciousness is not what most people think it is?
More than anything, right now we are developing A.I.'s brain. Its self-awareness will come later.
Why would there be such a thing as desire if one's consciousness were the result of a deterministic process? It seems to me that if you were not aware of such impulses, you could not react to them. Why would we experience desire at all if consciousness is, as is so popularly believed, an epiphenomenon of matter and energy?
Free will? One has a will, but it is pitifully trivial.
"Excellent" and "profitable" are often not synonymous.
In my experience, what usually ends up happening is something you had never even thought of.
The fact of the matter is that primates are simply not a particularly desirable or likable family of species. We're just unpleasant, brooding, overemotional, greedy, mean, etc. It's unfortunate that it is a primate species that has overtaken the planet. One might even say we give Earth a bad name.
We tend to overlook our assumptions in our facile explanations of the conquest of the world by Europeans and their precursors. China, for example, had the world's most superior technology for thousands of years, and never felt the need to conquer anybody. Is there not some essential difference between civilizations like the Inca, Maya, Aztec, Chinese, etc., which do fight wars but never go very far, and Western civilization, which has consumed the globe? It may be hard for some to believe, but not every civilization in the world, or even possibly the galaxy, must exist in the image of Western man's.
The reason we cannot remember ourselves before about age three is that our ego-selves do not begin to form until we are at least two years old. As babies, we are conscious, but we are not really conscious of time. In recalling (dimly) events as a three-year-old, we are remembering life after the inception of our perception of time.
Because humans are too stupid to realize the truth, they figure that they already know what it is.
Humans are strange. They tend to assume that what they think they know must be the way things are. Peculiar behavior.