the future by meaning 3

One of the foundations of science is the presumption, the axiom or hypothesis, that the universe and nature are knowable. This was not always believed, and today it is still not believed by many people. Ancient people were ready to believe that nature was inhabited by inscrutable mysteries that could never be comprehended or solved, not by human beings anyway. Today, practical lay people are aware that not everything is known, and so they may confuse the unknown with the unknowable – they may not distinguish between what could possibly be learned if true and taught by someone who knew it, on the one hand, and what could never possibly be learned because no one will ever know it or be able to teach it to anyone else, on the other hand. In addition, even scientists now know of a different kind of unknowability, the knowledge being discovered and manipulated by computers that human minds cannot grasp (brute force calculations in mathematics, for example). So even for science, unknowability at least to human minds has returned. But knowability relates to any mind that can know, including minds invented by human beings and into which human beings will someday merge their minds.

By sufficient systematic investigation over enough time, people learn, that is, transform the unknown into the known, because all is knowable, and all unknowns can become known in this same way. As ‘knowledge is power,’ as Francis Bacon said, humanity will advance in knowledge and power as an expression, a working out, of their purposes, to accomplish their purposes. In order to realize more completely their aims, they will seek more knowledge for more power, including power over themselves and their own minds. Thus, unless there is a final obstacle of humanity or all sentient life going extinct forever, all that is unknown will be destined finally to become known. Everything that can be known will be known, and everything can be known; therefore, everything will be known. This may be asymptotic, however this is the point being approached toward infinite time, if time is infinite. Inasmuch as knowledge is power, everything that can be done, will eventually be able to be done; instrumental power wielded by sentience will approach the infinite. As the descendants and successor-forms of human beings advance in instrumental power, they will also accomplish all their intentions; everything they wish to do or to have done will be done. I am not saying that nature will not present an alien counterpoint to human intention; just that nature will not present a final obstacle to accomplishing the aims that are desired in they context in which they will be desired. All of nature will still be a counterpoint, and posthuman nature itself an artifact of nature, a piece of destiny.

 

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the future by meaning 2

This idea that the best way to understand the future is by understanding what people want seems startling at first in its simplicity. Accelerating advancement in science, technology, philosophy, and other fields is obvious from looking at human history overall (and this specifically human accelerating advancement is part of a larger evolutionary accelerating advance in sophistication of life reaching back to the beginning of life on Earth). Humanity’s accelerating advances allow people to obtain more and more of what they want, to the extent that they try to obtain them or do anything that leads to more understanding of nature and more instrumental power to rearrange nature.

An objection can be raised that people do not know what they want. That is true, in some respects, but people learn more of what they want by trying to get other things they want, or by the incidental discovery of accelerating advances, by which people see opportunities to develop technologies or processes or programs which they had not even imagined before. People did not know they wanted cell phones until someone invented cell phones, for example. People learn more about what they want as they explore their wishes in freedom Also, the advances in philosophy and spiritual practices are providing greater and greater clarity to humanity about its truest desires and purposes, and how these relate to one another, and what priority they have.

Another objection that could be raised is that people want different things. This is true, and the future should be understood as providing for a great diversity. But I speak mainly about general commonalities that are never universal to all but which determine a general trajectory of history. Desire to be healthy, which is so widespread, for example, leads to the development of more advanced medicine, although not everyone desires to be healthy. Other generalities are the desire to be happy, leading to greater happiness; or the desire to be with loved ones, leading to many advances to facilitate this. Human self-criticism in all areas will lead to self-transformation, transformation of the human body and mind until humanity transform into a better species. Many contradictory desires within and among human beings arise from internal confusion over what is desired – a disharmony in internal drives, falsely adopting desires by conformity to others, or misrecognizing goals. As I said above, advances in philosophy and spiritual practices will provide greater and greater clarity to humanity in general and human beings in particular about their truest desires and purposes, and how these relate to one another, and what priority they have.

Some people may object to the transhumanist premise, that nature presents no final obstacle to human purpose. The entire arc of progress in human history is the story of one natural obstacle after another to human understanding and purpose falling to human effort to understand and effect human purpose, with the pace of this fall away accelerating over time. However it is true that this pattern does not prove that any fundamental expression of human purpose may not someday confront an unmovable or inscrutable barrier that can never be breached. The truth that this will not happen is a truth in David Deutsch’s sense, a best present theory based on known evidence. It is not a ‘truth’ in the fideistic sense, even though it involves faith as it is applied in unknown contexts – the future, new conditions, new people. The disconfirmation, if it will ever be found, has not yet been found. Even the limits of logical possibility may bend before posthuman effort, because determinations of logical possibility by human beings today may not apply to posthuman understanding of what is possible.

Some people will propose a doomsday scenario, in which human culture falls into an attractor state of despotic stagnation. This a possible outcome of the disharmony of human intentions and the self-destructive potential of many of the motivations humans possess. It is a consequence of the requirement that infinite ascension requires time and effort (the missing elemet being infinite effort). The ominous truth is that many such civilizations have arisen, and fallen because of influences form outside, or internal decay. The new question is whether “improved surveillance (including reliable lie detection) and mind-control technologies, communication technologies, and artificial intelligence,” as Nick Bostrom enumerates, will make these scenarios permanent or not. It is only to be observed that human history does not give an example of this – and human traits, such as competitiveness, would weigh against the development of a political ‘singleton.’

 

the future by meaning 1

Knowing and committing to your purpose gives you some understanding of your future, and knowing the drives in so many human beings gives you some understanding of their destiny, also. This is the understanding of the future based on meaning.

But your future will not be your purpose, will it, if contrary obstacles arise in the world? This may be so, to the extent that you are finite. Contrary obstacles may frustrate the purpose and your future may fall short of it. But this can never be the destiny of humanity, if humanity is not finite.

Purpose will persistently progress; mindless events will be random in their harm and, with enough time and persistence, will be overcome by purpose, unless the mindless events utterly destroy sentient purpose. Defects in the purpose of human beings are the same as mindless contrary events. Therefore, the contrariness in persons by defect of purpose will not finally prevent the realization of the meant future unless that contrariness also destroys all sentient purpose in humanity.

If sentient purpose in human beings is not destroyed, then humanity is infinite, or rather, the line beginning with (or passing through) humanity is infinite.

To explain another way:

“Nature has set no limit to the realization of our hopes”; therefore, the future is not limited by nature, not even finally determined by the role of events other than human-originated hope.  The influence of nonliving forces has been subsiding since life has arisen on earth, and the influence of unconscious events has been subsiding since consciousness has arisen on the earth. Intention and purpose in living things have now also arisen on earth, and are passing on through human beings and will pass into their successor forms. Life and mind have ignited a chain reaction upon the earth that will eventually reach to the ends of the cosmos. Nonliving, unconscious matter can defeat conscious life only destroying it; otherwise, mind will reorder and enter all matter.

Desires in all things that desire lead to the satisfaction of those desires. Human beings are formed of multiple and sometimes contrary purposes, but I speak here generally of commonalities. Living things desire to live; therefore, human beings will live unless destroyed. Individual human beings desire immortality; therefore, individual human beings will become immortal unless destroyed utterly and forever. Human beings desire happiness; therefore, human beings will attain perfect happiness unless destroyed. I speak of at least some human beings, not necessarily all, but the point is the attainment, not its universality. Whatever science, technology, philosophy, or mental disciplines are required to attain human purpose will be developed, with enough time and effort, and therefore, the final attainment of human purpose can be predicted, or humanity’s extinction. In order to attain physical immortality, the human body must be transformed; therefore, the human body will be transformed. Human purpose includes love for those who have died; therefore, the dead will be resurrected.

What then will be the dividing point but human beings’ final attainment of their desires, on the one hand, or their final extinction? Human beings will go extinct if the advancement of their instrumental power long outpaces the advancement of their wisdom. Even extinction of humanity by a phenomenon so seemingly nonhuman as an asteroid strike would be the result of human folly if human folly prevented the detection and deflection of such an asteroid. Human beings can destroy without refashioning themselves; but they cannot preserve themselves and attain their perfect happiness if they do not refashion themselves, fundamentally altering their natures as living animals.

 

 

purpose

Your purpose does not from your family or your friends or your career or your society or your country or anything in the whole world at all, or the whole world put together. Meaning is already in you, although it might not be clear to you what it is exactly. You may have some sense of it, like a voice calling to you that is too far away to make out, but you are not sure what it is, so you look for meaning here and there and try to see if that fulfills you; and nothing does. But the entire cosmos is filled with meaning, and as a part of it, so are you. You are filled with meaning, even if you cannot distinguish that meaning within you, even if you look inside yourself and see no anchor or fixed point. The meaning is still there, which you will find when you pursue the right purpose, because then it will feel more right than anything else to you and make you happier than anything else.

People talk about meaning and purpose and happiness but these three things are closely related. You are happiest when you are fulfilling your purpose, and you know you are fulfilling your purpose when you are happiest, and all that pertains to your purpose and happiness matters and is meaningful. The purpose within you is what allows you to be at your happiest, if you follow your purpose. Meaning suffuses you and all persons, but for you, meaning relates to your purpose. The meaning of your life is not something you find literally, because you have already always had it, but you can “find it” by realizing what it is for the first time and embracing that meaning with all that you are, so that your life is the fulfillment of that purpose.

There is as much meaning inside you as there is in the entire rest of the cosmos put together — you matter equally, and so does everyone and everything else. Meaning is a quality possessed by things, not a measurable quantity; things do not possess more or less meaning than other things. As Friedrich Nietzsche said, you are a piece of destiny.

One is necessary, one is a piece of fate, one belongs to the whole, one is the whole – there exists nothing which could judge, measure, compare, condemn our being, for that would be to judge, measure, compare, condemn the whole…But nothing exists apart from the whole!

It is as important that you fulfill your destiny as it is for everything that must happen to happen. Your unfolding is part of the unfolding of all things, and equally necessary.

As people have famously paraphrased Blaise Pascal, there is a hole inside the heart of each person the exact size and shape of God, and this is a clue, of the hungering for the infinite within human beings. You may be able to feel very happy and enjoy life, but still feel as if there is something missing, as though you had not yet done with your life all that you should have, and an incompleteness that follows you to the grave. This lack of fulfillment points to the meaning of being human, which lies beyond the human, extended by a bridge from the human.  But people look for this fulfillment outside of themselves and outside of the world and outside of all reality. If this hope is ever to be more than a hope, then it must be realized in you, and in this world, and in reality. However long it may take, however difficult the journey may become, no matter how many intermediate lessons must be learned, or however many obstacles and setbacks you may experience, you must try to realize your purpose in you and in this world and in reality.

Meaning for human beings lies beyond them, in another time, another place, other persons. This is why people rightly look away from their present lives to what is missing. because what is missing is not here, although they could find out what it is, if they thought about it long and hard enough. As purpose points beyond, it points to what you should become, to your destination as where you should be going, and a time in the future when you should be in the place you do not yet know.

And people have simple ambitions to achieve ordinary goals but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about a goal that lies beyond the human condition itself, a goal beyond humanity and human comprehension. Getting from here to there is a task that you can start now, with existing tools, but that you will finish only by tools that are not yet invented, but that will be invented. Your decision now is whether to start down that road, or turn back.

theosis

The final transformation of humanity into the divine — it is a time, in the future; it is a place, wherever it will happen; and it is a thing, incomprehensible and dazzling.

It draws itself to us with a magnetic pull and attraction. It is the North Star of all Compass Points, the Jewel at the Heart of the Lotus, the Pleroma – the full realization of all purpose – your purpose and everything’s purpose, the Omega.

If you meditate on it during meditation, if you contemplate it during contemplation, if you think about it throughout the day – if its light illuminates you and what you are doing at all times – then it guides to you where you will go. It is your mantra, your icon, your yidam, your Christ, so that, when all things are ready, it will finally be now, and here, and you.

default

Being human is what requires no effort. Being transhuman requires effort.
To err, to fall, to act thoughtlessly, to forget, to be ignorant, to be unaware, to be uncaring, to become soiled, to disintegrate:
These are actions that require no effort to do them, no plans and no powers.
Being human is the default; being transhuman is the exception. If you stop trying to be more than human, then you will immediately be human again.

If someone has a sickly fruit tree, he knows to try to water it, prune it, remove the pests on it, and so on, to keep it as healthy as possible. But at the same time, he should also plant a new seed for a new tree that will be stronger and healthier and alive long after the other tree is dead.

In the same way, mental practices and disciplines support the existing human nature in the direction of the transhuman. However, the final transformation past the human will be of the body and the mind through a fully developed science and technology and philosophy of the mind. The mental practices and disciplines will carry you transhumanly to the threshold; crossing the threshold will bring you finally to a divine state, in which there will be no need to expend effort to avoid sinking into the human. One point of exchanging a divine for a human nature will be to avoid the necessity of constant effort to cultivate and maintain a greater-than-human nature, and to avoid the danger of relapse to an inferior state.

karma

Because there is no karma, because there is no reincarnation, nirvana cannot be your goal.

Because there is no rta, because karma cannot affect your next reincarnation, extinguishing your self would not benefit you in any way.

Can you distinguish components of your self? Yes. Does this shows the unreality of the self? No more than discerning the components of an automobile show the unreality of that automobile.

The self as subjective experience, as experienced consciousness, is the very touchstone of reality. If you “see through” this “illusion,”  then you will miss everything that matters.