Posts Tagged ‘articles’
Extropy is a term used to describe the vitality of a system. What we mean by a system being vital, lively, robust, or dynamic is that it resists entropy, the tendency for everything to fall apart and decompose, yes, even protons and neutrons crumble and break apart. For a system to resist this, you may think, what’s it gotta do besides brush off the dust every once in a while, but no, we’re talkin’ about a drive for improvement and growth incentives, we’re talkin‘ intelligent here, not just lego blocks building amusement parks complete with ferris wheel’s and octo-pods or whatever they’re called. Extropy is what emerges from gradually organized chaos which itself springs from ground rules for probability and possibility. It emerges and pops. It pops so hard the whole universe can hear it, like one big ear. And this is what it’s gonna be about – one big cosmic ear and whatever message we’ve got to throw into it.
THE MEANING OF LIFE IN A DEVELOPING UNIVERSE
John Stewart (source)
Member of the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition Research Group
The Free University of Brussels
Abstract: The evolution of life on Earth has produced an organism that is beginning to model and understand its own evolution and the possible future evolution of life in the universe. These models and associated evidence show that evolution on Earth has a trajectory. The scale over which living processes are organized cooperatively has increased progressively, as has its evolvability. Recent theoretical advances raise the possibility that this trajectory is itself part of a wider developmental process. According to these theories, the developmental process has been shaped by a yet larger evolutionary dynamic that involves the reproduction of universes. This evolutionary dynamic has tuned the key parameters of the universe to increase the likelihood that life will emerge and produce outcomes that are successful in the larger process (e.g. a key outcome may be to produce life and intelligence that intentionally reproduces the universe and tunes the parameters of ‘offspring’ universes). Theory suggests that when life emerges on a planet, it moves along this trajectory of its own accord. However, at a particular point evolution will continue to advance only if organisms emerge that decide to advance the developmental process intentionally. The organisms must be prepared to make this commitment even though the ultimate nature and destination of the process is uncertain, and may forever remain unknown. Organisms that complete this transition to intentional evolution will drive the further development of life and intelligence in the universe. Humanity’s increasing understanding of the evolution of life in the universe is rapidly bringing it to the threshold of this major evolutionary transition.
Until recently, a scientific understanding of the natural world has failed to provide humanity with a larger meaning and purpose for its existence. In fact, a scientific worldview has often been taken to imply that the emergence of humanity was an accident in a universe that is completely indifferent to human concerns, goals, and values (e.g. see Weinberg, 1993).
Humanity has had to supplement a naturalistic understanding with beliefs in supernatural beings and processes if it wanted a worldview that includes a meaningful role for humanity in a larger scheme of things. But recent advances in evolutionary science are beginning to change this. In particular, we are rapidly improving our understanding of the evolutionary processes that have produced life on Earth and that will determine the future evolution of life in the universe. While it is far too early to tell with certainty, it is possible that the universe and the evolution of life within it have been shaped by yet larger evolutionary processes to perform particular functions that are relevant to these larger processes.
by adminadam in articles
What is the Nöosphere? Pierre Teilhard de Chardin described it as ‘a collective consciousness created by the deepening interaction of human minds’. In other words, it is a hive mind, one which we can say is developing through the internet and connectivity-enhancing technologies. This is not new news, but where it may take us is very exciting indeed.
When we consider the number of scientists in the world, estimated at 10 million, and the possibility, not only of more entering the field, but of greater and greater networking between them, plus certain cognitive augmentation which would allow them to work more effectively as individuals, their increased potential productivity is staggering. If through nootropics (cognitive enhancement drugs, i.e. ritalin, ritalin 2.0, etc.) their average productivity could be increased even by 1%, the net effect would be the same as adding 100,000 more scientists to Team Civilization.
I’m all in favor of whatever measures we have to take to make it through the purportedly tumultuous times ahead of us in this next century. The usual fears about losing our humanity in the process of augmenting it notwithstanding, I am seeing a lot of agreement amongst futurists and future-minded scientists, and they all seem to be saying that if we can make it another 50 or 60 years without blowing ourselves up, then we might have powerful enough thinkers and ‘intelligences’ rallying us together for the common cause of civility that we would be able to avoid wrecking our planet or opting into any kind of oppressive global governance.
One key in this equation seems to be educating ourselves to the tune of long-term risk assessment and long-term planning. Humans are acutely inept at grasping what lies beyond a 10 or 20 year future timeline or what exponential growth really amounts to. If we are going to make it as a race, it behooves us and our children to keep reading and learning and directing our species.
Here is an article that really helped me get started: Do us all a favor and enter the Nöosphere (article by The Atlantic). This will help you understand how nootropics, accelerated-scientists, and knowledge-filtering tools could lead to the creation of greater-than-human intelligences which may very well be our saving grace. Check it out!
by adminadam in articles
“In spite of or in defiance of the whole of existence he wills to be himself with it, to take it along, almost defying his torment. For to hope in the possibility of help, not to speak of help by virtue of the absurd, that for God all things are possible — no, that he will not do. And as for seeking help from any other — no, that he will not do for all the world; rather than seek help he would prefer to be himself — with all the tortures of hell, if so it must be.”
—Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death
In absurdist philosophy, the Absurd arises out of the fundamental disharmony between man’s search for meaning and the apparent meaninglessness of the universe. As beings looking for meaning in a meaningless world, humans have three ways of resolving the dilemma. Kierkegaard and Camus describe the solutions in their works, The Sickness Unto Death and The Myth of Sisyphus:
- Suicide or Escaping Existence: The first solution to the dilemma is simply to end one’s life.
- Religious belief in a transcendent world: Such a belief would posit the existence of a realm that is beyond the Absurd, and, as such, has meaning.
- Acceptance of the Absurd: The absurdist solution is to accept and even embrace the absurdity of life and to continue living in spite of it.
Absurdism is a philosophy stating that the efforts of humanity to find meaning in the universe ultimately fail (and hence are absurd), because no such meaning exists, at least in relation to the individual. The word “absurd” in this context does not mean “logically impossible,” but rather “humanly impossible.”
Absurdism is related to existentialism and nihilism and has its roots in the 19th century Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard. Absurdism as a belief system was born of the existentialist movement, when the French Algerian philosopher and writer Albert Camus broke from that philosophical line of thought and published his manuscript The Myth of Sisyphus. The aftermath of World War II provided the social environment that stimulated absurdist views and allowed for their popular development, especially in the devastated country of France.
Learn more here about Camus and Kierkegaard.
by adminadam in articles
I was watching this TED video on the difference between natural and synthetic happiness and found this great quote about choice and hindsight and how we are so good at being too hard on ourselves:
“The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another… Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others, but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice, or to corrupt the future tranquility of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.” Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759
The truth is, we really can’t know what to expect, plus as the speaker, Dan Gilbert, mentions we tend to overestimate the impact of future decisions as we are simulating the possible outcomes. A great example Dan gives is the new lotto winner and the new paraplegic, one year after their “events” take place, their happiness levels have in fact equalized and normalized. If you have twenty minutes, you should watch the video.