Posts Tagged ‘cosmos’
by adminadam in poetry
thrive on and thrive out while you still can,
for the cosmos is expanding like a memory that fades
a memory like
your lover being yanked out of your hands by a forward-clanging train
you choke on puked out smoke and steam and hold back dirtied tears
while a painful hasty nothing grows between what once was One
felt unsure if you could ever catch again the outstretched fingers
they once were yours…
the rockets flying right past stars nearly at light-speed
are struggling to connect anything
much less merge the species of far-flung galaxies
scoop up eons of light to go and eons more coming back
after all this travel time will we be any closer?
the lover also wants to know…
sometimes i wonder whether we should sit and wait for ansible
or other instant protocols for instant message needs
to talk not just to future times that won’t know who we are
but to every living crawling swimming flying walking thing
not the least of which is all the forms that we will take someday
i’m afraid that if we wait too long even we humans won’t be one,
we’ll be humans A and humans B,
or worse, at this rate,
humans A and humans Z
and one will sign and one will talk
and one will smell what you mean and the other just baulk
at the way those other guys try to communicate with their noses and their complex pheromones
and if we stay spread apart in time and space it won’t be long till everything
is a universe apart
oh, being apart…
even to you today your other half is half-alien
not even two continents away
the alien beeps and groans still sputter out down from your speakers
despite such wicked throughput, the quickest ping, and best intentions
skype is just not true to life
and it’s looking like what’s not so close is far too far away
what’s a man to do?
can we keep the light years at bay?
some will say to multiply in people and in rockets,
to exponentialize our meager efforts and
to try to reach the stars that are breaking off and slipstreaming away
it seems it comes down to this notion that we must always grow
and be the beings that end up being all and everything
lest we find ourselves stuck entropically
on some lonely swimming rock in space
crumbling till our final grain of sand
becomes the finest mote of dust on hand
to be exhaled in the universe’s
final tiny breath.
but how much force can the soul withstand while plastered to the sky?
and can we learn how to drench with love the distant planets’ hearts and minds?
to join, unite, and conquer this darkness
the forced separation a lover feels
can it be made right?
will we find a way to create light?
[inspired by: the story of dark energy and the joys of being wrong]
- Sleep, passivity, rest — these are all things which are neglected due to a fear of Nothingness.
- Nothing is more fertile than Emptiness.
- It’s not ‘You can’t have Something for Nothing’, it’s ‘You can’t have Something without Nothing’.
- That which is void is precisely Form. And that which is form is precisely Void.
The Way that can be experienced is not true;
The world that can be constructed is not real.
The Way manifests all that happens and may happen;
The world represents all that exists and may exist.
To experience without abstraction is to sense the world;
To experience with abstraction is to know the world.
These two experiences are indistinguishable;
Their construction differs but their effect is the same.
Beyond the gate of experience flows the Way,
Which is ever greater and more subtle than the world.
by adminadam in home
Life is resistant to entropy. Survival of the species is genetic. And selfish self-preservation is the rule. Carried out over generations, species preserve themselves. And out of humans new forms of life are springing: tools and artificial intelligence that may choose to preserve themselves at some point and push outward into the universe, saturating the whole of it with consciousness.
And although it may end up as strange and alien life, the universe will live. This is extropy, the concept that life can get around entropy visa-vi genetic and cultural heritage, and that it will continue to expand from the cradle of Earthly human intelligence.
Yep. We’re pretty key, alright, us humans. Pretty damn key…
But let’s keep some of this alive too, eh?
The Last Question by Isaac Asimov — © 1956
The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way:
Alexander Adell and Bertram Lupov were two of the faithful attendants of Multivac. As well as any human beings could, they knew what lay behind the cold, clicking, flashing face — miles and miles of face — of that giant computer. They had at least a vague notion of the general plan of relays and circuits that had long since grown past the point where any single human could possibly have a firm grasp of the whole.
Multivac was self-adjusting and self-correcting. It had to be, for nothing human could adjust and correct it quickly enough or even adequately enough — so Adell and Lupov attended the monstrous giant only lightly and superficially, yet as well as any men could. They fed it data, adjusted questions to its needs and translated the answers that were issued. Certainly they, and all others like them, were fully entitled to share in the glory that was Multivac’s.
For decades, Multivac had helped design the ships and plot the trajectories that enabled man to reach the Moon, Mars, and Venus, but past that, Earth’s poor resources could not support the ships. Too much energy was needed for the long trips. Earth exploited its coal and uranium with increasing efficiency, but there was only so much of both.
But slowly Multivac learned enough to answer deeper questions more fundamentally, and on May 14, 2061, what had been theory, became fact.
The energy of the sun was stored, converted, and utilized directly on a planet-wide scale. All Earth turned off its burning coal, its fissioning uranium, and flipped the switch that connected all of it to a small station, one mile in diameter, circling the Earth at half the distance of the Moon. All Earth ran by invisible beams of sunpower.
Seven days had not sufficed to dim the glory of it and Adell and Lupov finally managed to escape from the public function, and to meet in quiet where no one would think of looking for them, in the deserted underground chambers, where portions of the mighty buried body of Multivac showed. Unattended, idling, sorting data with contented lazy clickings, Multivac, too, had earned its vacation and the boys appreciated that. They had no intention, originally, of disturbing it.
They had brought a bottle with them, and their only concern at the moment was to relax in the company of each other and the bottle.
“It’s amazing when you think of it,” said Adell. His broad face had lines of weariness in it, and he stirred his drink slowly with a glass rod, watching the cubes of ice slur clumsily about. “All the energy we can possibly ever use for free. Enough energy, if we wanted to draw on it, to melt all Earth into a big drop of impure liquid iron, and still never miss the energy so used. All the energy we could ever use, forever and forever and forever.”
Lupov cocked his head sideways. He had a trick of doing that when he wanted to be contrary, and he wanted to be contrary now, partly because he had had to carry the ice and glassware. “Not forever,” he said.
Mind, through the long course of biological evolution, has established itself as a moving force in our little corner of the universe. Here on this small planet, mind has infiltrated matter and has taken control. It appears to me that the tendency of mind to infiltrate and control matter is a law of nature.
— Freeman Dyson
We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth.
— Vernor Vinge
Self-organization and extropy are themselves fundamental principles of the physical universe, to the extent that the laws of physics themselves may have developed through a process of self-organization.
— Lee Smolin
The explosive nature of exponential growth means it may only take a quarter of a millennium to go from sending messages on horseback to saturating the matter and energy in our solar system with sublimely intelligent processes. The ongoing expansion of our future superintelligence will then require moving out into the rest of the universe, where we may engineer new universes.
— Ray Kurzweil
Technology expands data by 66% per year, overwhelming the growth rates of any natural source. Compared to other planets in the neighborhood, or to the dumb material drifting in space beyond, a thick blanket of learning and self-organized information surround this orb.
— Kevin Kelly
The universe might end in intelligent life (rather than as either a ball of fire or as scattered ice). Not life as we know it, but life that has acquired the capacity to shape the cosmos as a whole, just as life on Earth has acquired the ability to shape the land, the sea, and the atmosphere.
— James N. Gardner
The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out … and the water seems inviting.
— Carl Sagan
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.