started as my response dated 3/96 to a USENET question about CPU
performance increases from now to the Year 2000. Later I expanded it
to further explore the implications for humanity of the
virtualization of reality.
A very crude approximation would be a doubling of single CPU performance
every eighteen months between now and the year 2000 (Moore's Law).
However, there will probably be a closer fine tuning and meshing of operating system and
CPU architectures in the personal desktop world, perhaps resulting in greater gains or
gains resulting from both hardware and software technological progress. At the personal
desktop, multiple processor units using various shared memory architectures will become
increasingly prevalent, supporting both symmetric and asymmetric processing. Networked,
high bandwidth systems may begin to standardize and work more effectively in parallel to
offer synergies across multiple users/systems for shared computing/collaborative tasks.
Due to decreasing competition and rising barriers to market, there may
be an increasing tendency to stay longer with older hardware and software technologies
that have large installed user bases. However this trend will be counterbalanced with a
revolution in telecommunications, i.e., the realization of the Information Superhighway
(not the Internet per se), that will demand high bandwidth, wireless, transparent
and almost limitless information computing. In other words, computing for the masses will demand high levels of
technological innovation that will create much more than Bill Gates' information at your
finger tips. It will, in combination with 3D photonics, quantum
nanotechnology, create an immersion in multidimensional, increasing
indispensable virtual realities.
And the full realization of this "universe of virtual
reality"- what of it? Does it foreshadow the further evolution of humanity or the
diminution of the human spirit?
The first burning question of Neo, the hero of the
the film, "The
Matrix", is simply, "What is the Matrix?" In a
general sense, "The Matrix," is a computer generated all
encompassing virtual reality created at the turn of the 21st
century. Yet is Neo's question really answerable? Is "The
Matrix," for example, an
imperfectly perfect machine constructed reality? Or is it a metaphor for the endlessly recursive
nature of existence- a dream within a dream
within a dream...? When we awaken, is it yet to
another dream? Reincarnated to another dreamlike world, with only
distant traces of memory guiding us from one world to the
Within the Matrix, are human beings software automatons in the ultimate
"Universal Program," choosing between different
"If-Then-Else" statements and endless Do While Loops? What then is "free
will" - a "break in the code," a hack, a viral implant?"
A refusal to accept what is "real as real?" A renegade software
subroutine generating its own seemingly random, new code?
"The Matrix" resulted from a machine
victory in a war with mankind. The result was a world where machines no longer existed to
serve mankind but where mankind existed to serve machines. Is this
far from today's reality? Finally, does the darkening of the
sky in the film foreshadow environmental disaster- the final
submission to our machine creations- the destruction of all life
other than our own and our own lived out in supreme
The late Timothy Leary outlined twenty four stages/steps of human evolution or
"freedom" in his book "Flashbacks:
A Personal and Cultural History of an Era - An Autobiography
The last twelve stages are:
Mastery of the body as aesthetic instrument
13. Hedonist: aesthetic-erotic-somatic consciousness; receptive and
passive consumer approach of the body.
14. Artist: aesthetic-erotic-somatic engineering. active and innovative sensory invention.
15. Aesthetic fusion: aesthetic-erotic-somatic contact with other artists; the life as
Mastery of the brain-computer operations
16. Consumption of multiple realities:
electronic-cybernetic-psychedelic consciousness; Use of the relativist functions of brain
and neuro-electric modeling (i.e., video games).
17. Neurological engineering: invention of an electronic-cybernetic-psychedelic reality;
18. Multi-real reticulation: inter-computers contacts; telepathy?
Mastery of the ADN-ARN, theory of Gaia, and socio-biology
19. Genetic consumer: socio-biological consciousness; unicellular
consciousness; jouissance passive and receptive use of the ADN knowledge; cloning.
20. Genetic engineering: sense of invention with the ADN; genetic creativity, life
21. Symbiosis: inter-species contacts; cooperation at the level of antigens and
immunology; participation in Gaia's intelligence.
Mastery of the meta-physiological and neuro-physical
22. Consciousness of meta-physiological intelligence,
nuclear-particularly consciousness; physics consciousness (see Fritjof Capra; ability to
think as atomic-nuclear particles)
23. Neurophysicist: mastery of nuclear and gravitational processes; out of body
24. Meta-physiological fusion: decorporated contact with other body-liberated entities.
If one accepts this "classification," then stages sixteen through eighteen
partly manifest themselves in the realm of virtual reality (VR). The creation
of VR stems from man's ability, evolved over thousands of years, to create, manipulate and
transmit symbols and develop complex, enduring and evolving social structures.
Today, humanity may be experiencing the beginning of self-directed
neuro-genetic-social-machine evolution. Standing at a cross road- perhaps we are seeing the last remnants of a
reality rooted in our biological/terrestrial origins. Yet, is future evolution possible if
humanity fails to cherish and respect the dignity and oneness of
Will the biological sphere be sacrificed to the deevolution, of a
human machine like consciousness that devalues its origins and
loses compassion for all life. A fear based nightmare reality-
separated from the web of life.
As Norbert Wiener, the founder of Cybernetics wrote:
|"I have spoken of machines, but not only of machines having brains of brass and
thews of iron. When human atoms are knit into an organization in which they are used, not
in their full right as responsible human beings, but as cogs and levers and rods, it
matters little that their raw material is flesh and blood. What is used as an element in a
machine, is in fact an element in the machine. Whether we entrust our decisions to
machines of metal, or to those machines of flesh and blood which are bureaus and vast
laboratories and armies and corporations, we shall never receive the right answers to our
questions unless we ask the right questions."
Or, will a heightened sensitivity to the consciousness continuum bring
about a more profound understanding of life and creations' oneness? Maybe both
alternatives represent concurrent branches in the evolution of human consciousness. The
fundamental questions are: (1) How will humanity choose; (2) What will it choose and (3)
What will be the consequences. Gaia itself will influence those choices and their manifold
consequences in ways that are beyond our imagining. See also: "First Step."
As to examples of possible consequences, see: Global
Warming Alert from NOAA and U.K. Is man re-creating the Earth in his own image?
|"If you lose touch with nature you lose touch with humanity.
If there's no relationship with nature then you become a killer;
then you kill baby seals, whales, dolphins, and man either for gain, for "sport," for food, or for knowledge.
Then nature is frightened of you, withdrawing its beauty. You may take long walks in the woods or camp in lovely places
but you are a killer and so lose their friendship. You probably are not related to anything to your wife or your husband "
from - Krishanmurti's Journal, 04 April 1975
The Giants of Gaia, by Diana Stanley
from, Vision Quest Studios - The Art of
Diana Elizabeth Stanley
"Until we extend the circle of our compassion to all
things, we will not ourselves find peace."
"The two-fold crisis whose onset began in earnest as early as the
Neolithic age and which rose to a climax in the modern world, derives in the first place
from mass-formation (we might call it a 'planetisation') of mankind. Peoples and
civilizations reached such a degree either of frontier contact or economic interdependence
or psychic communion that they could no longer develop save by interpenetration of one
another. But it also arises out of the fact that, under the combined influence of
machinery and the super-heating of thought, we are witnessing a formidable upsurge of
Modern man no longer knows what to do with the time and the
potentialities he has unleashed. We groan under the burden of this wealth. We are haunted
by the fear of 'unemployment'. Sometimes we are tempted to trample this super-abundance
back into the matter from which it sprang without stopping to think how impossible
and monstrous such an act against nature would be.
When we consider the increasing compression of elements at the heart of
a free energy which is also relentlessly increasing, how can we fail to see in this
two-fold phenomenon the two perennial symptoms of a leap forward of the 'radial'- that is
to say, of a new step in the genesis of mind?
In order to avoid disturbing our habits we seek in vain to settle
international disputes by adjustments of frontiers - or we treat as 'leisure' (to be
whiled away) the activities at the disposal of mankind. As things are now going it will
not be long before we run full tilt into one another. Something will explode if we persist
in trying to squeeze into our old tumble-down huts the material and spiritual forces that
are henceforward on the scale of a world.
A new domain of psychical expansion - that is what we lack.
And it is staring us in the face if we would only raise our heads to look at it.
Peace through conquest, work in joy. These are waiting for us beyond the
line where empires are setup against other empires, in an interior totalisation of the
world upon itself, in the unanimous construction of a spirit of the earth."
- Pierre Teilhard de
Chardin; See also the "Evolution of Consciousness" essays at GaiaMind.
Below is an extract from the writings of Peter Medawar. Medawar is sharply critical
of Teilhard de Chardin's, in his view, pseudo-scientific approach that confuses ontological
levels through the use of imprecise language and muddled thinking.
of the first and third worlds (the world of ordinary physical reality with the
world of all artifacts of the mind) seems to beckon for a new form of "household
management." However, can the household be effectively
managed without the fundamental shift in consciousness that Teilhard de Chardin alludes to?
Does not the title of Ward's and Dubos' United Nation's report, "Only One
Earth-Care & Maintenance of a Small Planet," suggest such a
shift needs to and is taking place? See also:
Crutzen's & Eugene F. Stoermer's essay,
Genetic and exogenetic heredity
"...The coming of technology and the new style of human evolution it made possible
was an epoch in biological history as important as the evolution of man himself. We are
now on the verge of a third episode, as important as either of these: that in which the
whole human ambience --- the human house --- is of our own making and becomes as we intend
it should be: a product of human thought --- of deep and anxious thought, let us hope, and
of forethought rather than afterthought. Such a union of the first and third worlds of
Popper's ontology is entirely within our capabilities, provided it is henceforward made a
focal point of creative thought.
The word `ecology' has its root in the Greek word oikos, meaning `house' or
`home'. Our future success depends upon the recognition that household management in this
wider sense is the most backward branch of technology and therefore the one most urgently
in need of development. An entirely new technology is required which is founded upon
ecology in much the same way as medicine is founded on physiology. A blueprint for such a
technology is described in the book "Only
One Earth," by Barbara Ward and René Dubos, written in preparation for the
United Nations World Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972. If
this new technology comes into being, I shall be completely confident of our ability to
put and keep our house in order."