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”

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Anonymous

My attempt ...
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"And as hyper-connectedness makes us all more and more like one living brain, all ego identification of the “self” will fade as well."
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This 'hyper-connecterdness" is a kind of efficiency that can be found in ants. It's the selfless cooperation that allows ant-like colonies to thrive. And it's from ant-like social systems many people have looked for solutions to human cooperation, and have found communism, and better traffic lights. As we know, government was said to be a byproduct of our 'evils' - a convenient label for incompatibility - by Thomas Hobbes who said that if men were angels we would not need government.
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So, it is my intention to point out the similarity between a 'single living brain' and the struggle mankind has carried towards complete cooperation. I say this because the brain, despite it's anomalies, functions largely with a kid of harmony. This 'harmony' is likened (by this article) to the (apparently inevitable) brainwashing of the human species via technology.
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"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."
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This 'harmony' is in contrast with our understanding of entropy (but so is life). So I ask, is this great confluence of the human intellect, this great collection of minds, the homogeneous mix of human utility and will an act against nature? Or an act with nature? I ask because of the opening statement:
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"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 seems that the article may reflect a sadness for the loss of self given to the whole. But is this not more efficient, more in condition with the habits of the universe, to join together and dissolve itself into itself... thus preparing for another "big bang", like the author so describes?
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It is the personal opinion of this writer that man will not, "melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew", but instead - because of those of us of with sufficient comprehension for the likes of adbusters - will, like a the inevitable rising from a primordial soup, resist, and channel a path of our own device.

Anonymous

My attempt ...
-
"And as hyper-connectedness makes us all more and more like one living brain, all ego identification of the “self” will fade as well."
-
This 'hyper-connecterdness" is a kind of efficiency that can be found in ants. It's the selfless cooperation that allows ant-like colonies to thrive. And it's from ant-like social systems many people have looked for solutions to human cooperation, and have found communism, and better traffic lights. As we know, government was said to be a byproduct of our 'evils' - a convenient label for incompatibility - by Thomas Hobbes who said that if men were angels we would not need government.
-
So, it is my intention to point out the similarity between a 'single living brain' and the struggle mankind has carried towards complete cooperation. I say this because the brain, despite it's anomalies, functions largely with a kid of harmony. This 'harmony' is likened (by this article) to the (apparently inevitable) brainwashing of the human species via technology.
-
"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."
-
This 'harmony' is in contrast with our understanding of entropy (but so is life). So I ask, is this great confluence of the human intellect, this great collection of minds, the homogeneous mix of human utility and will an act against nature? Or an act with nature? I ask because of the opening statement:
-
"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 seems that the article may reflect a sadness for the loss of self given to the whole. But is this not more efficient, more in condition with the habits of the universe, to join together and dissolve itself into itself... thus preparing for another "big bang", like the author so describes?
-
It is the personal opinion of this writer that man will not, "melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew", but instead - because of those of us of with sufficient comprehension for the likes of adbusters - will, like a the inevitable rising from a primordial soup, resist, and channel a path of our own device.

soror Nishi

Actually Second Life, an online community of individuals, is a well-established thriving bunch of creative minds who have been doing this for years.

But, I must agree, this type of semi-romantic nihilism is rather corny. It might be better if you had visited one of the virtual worlds yourself before this dreamy, sofa-based article was written. We all have to research articles.

soror Nishi

Actually Second Life, an online community of individuals, is a well-established thriving bunch of creative minds who have been doing this for years.

But, I must agree, this type of semi-romantic nihilism is rather corny. It might be better if you had visited one of the virtual worlds yourself before this dreamy, sofa-based article was written. We all have to research articles.

Anonymous

you are all douche bags. If i was a zombie i would eat your brains... so i could absorb your intelligence and take a big zombie crap on your nice carpet. -ieatbabies.

Anonymous

you are all douche bags. If i was a zombie i would eat your brains... so i could absorb your intelligence and take a big zombie crap on your nice carpet. -ieatbabies.

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