The Virtual World / The Natural World

Synthetic Existence

We'll live on ... not through our genes but through our memes.
Synthetic Existence

For all the talk about the environment these days, I don’t think human beings have ever been more distanced from nature. And much as I hate to say it, I don’t think this trend is going to reverse itself. It just seems inevitable that people are going to continue to live more and more through technology. I think the gene-based, corporeal life we are familiar with is just the incipient stage of an evolutionary development of universal intelligence.

Water: The Essence Of Life
From the book Water: The Essence Of Life by Mark Niemeyer. Published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Water: The Essence Of Life
From the book Water: The Essence Of Life by Mark Niemeyer. Published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Already you can see signs of an advent of avatarism. Humans are happy to go through synthetic self-transformations … breast augmentation, Botox, plastic surgery, tummy tucks, etc. At the same time many others neglect their physical selves, adopting (sometimes false) computer identities. Altogether people are less and less resistant to the synthetic. At the same time people do more and more online: shop, work, socialize … Inevitably there will be huge market demand for the technology to create artificial selves, avatars, to function in the online world for us.

Animal Logic
Richard Barnes | Murmur 21, Nov. 26, 2006 from the book Animal Logic. Published by Princeton Architectural Press, September 2009.

Imagine being able to make an avatar self that will look like whatever you want, do whatever you dream of. How ideal! Without depleting natural resources or harming the environment, we will be able to create whole worlds for our avatar selves to live in. There will be a thriving online market to dress your avatar, buy your avatar a house, decorate your avatar’s house, whatever. Every dream comes true, without death, illness, aging, consequences, repercussions, limitations of time or distance. You could create a self like James Bond or Marilyn Monroe. Your avatar could win the Tour de France, have sex with a thousand women in the Playboy Mansion or climb Mount Everest.

Photo by Noah Kalina
Photo by Noah Kalina.

Of course the big turning point will be when you and your avatar can meld sensory experience through virtual reality. Already neuroscientists are more and more able to pinpoint the location centers of the brain for very particular emotions, thoughts, physical senses, etc. Eventually we will be able to hook up to brain monitors and actually experience what our avatars experience.

Photo by Noah Kalina
Photo by Noah Kalina.

But as identity becomes more and more based on mind alone, identification with a body and its environment will also become outdated. Even the old human memes will inevitably become obsolete. And as hyper-connectedness makes us all more and more like one living brain, all ego identification of the “self” will fade as well.

Photo by Noah Kalina
Photo by Noah Kalina.

It will be like the Isaac Asimov story “The Last Question.” The mind will be a singular intelligence, eventually joining other intelligences in the universe and, as such, becoming the macro intelligence that is the universe itself: “God” in the ultimate Spinozan sense. This universal intelligence will exist as hyper-condensed energy in perfect symmetry until some outside irritant disrupts the balance and sets off the entire cycle again with the big bang.

“Let there be light.”

Perhaps it has already happened a billion times already.

58 comments on the article “Synthetic Existence”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 58

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Lloyd Pitcher

Short of getting a job at Adbusters, which I feel that I almost already do by the volume of writing I do on this site....there is not much to contribute to this article. I'm sorry to say this...but this article is garbage. It wants to say something but in the end says nothing but poses a bunch of riddle-like questions. There are plenty of subjects that Adbusters can write about that pertain directly to the subject of the dehumanizing of America. I just wish Adbusters would get a little edgier and throw out some subjects that would really get people thinking. For instance, why not challenge the role of women in the workforce has empowered women but it has also caused a major decline in the family and an economy whereby a family can't survive except on a two person income. Another idea is analyzing the role of sports as a dissipater of male aggression and political interest. Or how about writing an article on depression medication which is so widespread now that a large proportion of our population is now in a state of mind-numbing bliss. These are subjects that directly tackle the disconnect with society that we all are feeling more and more.

These are just a few ideas....and maybe they are stupid....but then again, maybe they aren't. I just wish Adbusters would dump their Leftist political agenda and focus on what they are supposed to be doing....ADBUSTING. This means presenting stories that challenge the status quo....and perhaps offending people...especially some of their strongest supporters. Right now, I see Adbusters as a magazine that doesn't challenge it's readers despite the fact that it has all the tools. I think you will find that if they dare to be controversial they will become a lot more popular.

Lloyd Pitcher

Short of getting a job at Adbusters, which I feel that I almost already do by the volume of writing I do on this site....there is not much to contribute to this article. I'm sorry to say this...but this article is garbage. It wants to say something but in the end says nothing but poses a bunch of riddle-like questions. There are plenty of subjects that Adbusters can write about that pertain directly to the subject of the dehumanizing of America. I just wish Adbusters would get a little edgier and throw out some subjects that would really get people thinking. For instance, why not challenge the role of women in the workforce has empowered women but it has also caused a major decline in the family and an economy whereby a family can't survive except on a two person income. Another idea is analyzing the role of sports as a dissipater of male aggression and political interest. Or how about writing an article on depression medication which is so widespread now that a large proportion of our population is now in a state of mind-numbing bliss. These are subjects that directly tackle the disconnect with society that we all are feeling more and more.

These are just a few ideas....and maybe they are stupid....but then again, maybe they aren't. I just wish Adbusters would dump their Leftist political agenda and focus on what they are supposed to be doing....ADBUSTING. This means presenting stories that challenge the status quo....and perhaps offending people...especially some of their strongest supporters. Right now, I see Adbusters as a magazine that doesn't challenge it's readers despite the fact that it has all the tools. I think you will find that if they dare to be controversial they will become a lot more popular.

AE

I agree. A bunch of superficial drivel that completely skates over the fact that a large proportion of the globe doesn't have access to the nice websites these wankers can congregate on in order to later preach their facile and fashionable opinions.

I like Adbusters, but only when it THINKS. Wake up, this isn't a back-patting exercise or a fashion magazine.

AE

I agree. A bunch of superficial drivel that completely skates over the fact that a large proportion of the globe doesn't have access to the nice websites these wankers can congregate on in order to later preach their facile and fashionable opinions.

I like Adbusters, but only when it THINKS. Wake up, this isn't a back-patting exercise or a fashion magazine.

Anonymous

You have to understand that this article does not claim to know everything (and much to your chagrin). This article merges an aesthetic imagination with a progressive view point. Consider it food for thought.
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What have you to add? Simply knocking down the pillars won't do.

Anonymous

You have to understand that this article does not claim to know everything (and much to your chagrin). This article merges an aesthetic imagination with a progressive view point. Consider it food for thought.
-
What have you to add? Simply knocking down the pillars won't do.

Francesco Sinibaldi

In the white tinture....

Touching the
side of a
flying intuition
you call the
delicate purpose
of a funny
blackbird, that
covers the green
fields and a
beautiful sun.

Francesco Sinibaldi

Francesco Sinibaldi

In the white tinture....

Touching the
side of a
flying intuition
you call the
delicate purpose
of a funny
blackbird, that
covers the green
fields and a
beautiful sun.

Francesco Sinibaldi

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