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 51 - 58 of 58

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Steve Moyer

What is the purpose of life? Is it to become "one intelligence" which merges with the universe? Perhaps the purpose of life is to discover and create a new purpose for life, both individually and collectively. This article has a someone juvenile cynicism to it without exposing the reader to the infinite capacity for us to design new realities which never before existed. A good exercise would be to imagine how the synthetic existences we create in Cyberspace will create new existences in physical space. It's the NEWNESS which offers the promise of a better future, something this article seems to miss entirely.

Cynicism is not a virtue. Focus on virtue. Purpose is a virtue. When we make virtue our purpose we "bubble up" in consciousness and realize new possibilities.

Blessings!

Steve Moyer
http://stevemoyer.us

Steve Moyer

What is the purpose of life? Is it to become "one intelligence" which merges with the universe? Perhaps the purpose of life is to discover and create a new purpose for life, both individually and collectively. This article has a someone juvenile cynicism to it without exposing the reader to the infinite capacity for us to design new realities which never before existed. A good exercise would be to imagine how the synthetic existences we create in Cyberspace will create new existences in physical space. It's the NEWNESS which offers the promise of a better future, something this article seems to miss entirely.

Cynicism is not a virtue. Focus on virtue. Purpose is a virtue. When we make virtue our purpose we "bubble up" in consciousness and realize new possibilities.

Blessings!

Steve Moyer
http://stevemoyer.us

Pierce (yes, TH...

There is a meme (that has been replicating itself for some time now) within which all that seems to exist is the product of illusory fragmentation of an origin singularity (big bang) bringing about what seems to be a hologramatic universe, ever more separated parts each of which contains the whole. An intertwined meme has it that consciousness itself is having a conversation with itself as its scattered energy begins to recombine, heading back toward origin or singularity. An offshoot idea is that what triggered the fragmentation was an impossible but intriguing idea that took hold, like a virus in the unified psyche, wondering what it would like to be separate from the one mind. These memes have found expression in many philosophies and spiritualities, such as the notion of ontogeny recapitulation and the notion that apparent reality is as illusory as a dream from which the one mind is awakening. A core meme is the notion of return with a frequently attendant notion of synchronicity. Examples can be found almost effortlessly when looked for.... Do you remember, Gwyn?
Things are always working out, it seems, at least in a virtual space like this.

Pierce (yes, TH...

There is a meme (that has been replicating itself for some time now) within which all that seems to exist is the product of illusory fragmentation of an origin singularity (big bang) bringing about what seems to be a hologramatic universe, ever more separated parts each of which contains the whole. An intertwined meme has it that consciousness itself is having a conversation with itself as its scattered energy begins to recombine, heading back toward origin or singularity. An offshoot idea is that what triggered the fragmentation was an impossible but intriguing idea that took hold, like a virus in the unified psyche, wondering what it would like to be separate from the one mind. These memes have found expression in many philosophies and spiritualities, such as the notion of ontogeny recapitulation and the notion that apparent reality is as illusory as a dream from which the one mind is awakening. A core meme is the notion of return with a frequently attendant notion of synchronicity. Examples can be found almost effortlessly when looked for.... Do you remember, Gwyn?
Things are always working out, it seems, at least in a virtual space like this.

Anonymous

Forgive the existentialist cliche, but if I could posses or do anything with no effort, and if I could live forever, wouldn't my life be meaningless?

Anonymous

Forgive the existentialist cliche, but if I could posses or do anything with no effort, and if I could live forever, wouldn't my life be meaningless?

Anonymous

I have been scouting through the comments here and by such getting more and more amused. The criticisms thrown at the article shows a lack of imagination and willingness to relate to another view of the world. However, Ms Wahlmann could have gone even further in exploring our mental boundaries as she only reflects on them in the concept of being limited by physical ones. The avatars would not be necessary if mankind would realise the enormous power in creative thought. We are not limited within our physicality - only in our imagination. Our thoughts create our reality. Read ´Conversations with God´and you will get the picture (the whole picture).

Anonymous

I have been scouting through the comments here and by such getting more and more amused. The criticisms thrown at the article shows a lack of imagination and willingness to relate to another view of the world. However, Ms Wahlmann could have gone even further in exploring our mental boundaries as she only reflects on them in the concept of being limited by physical ones. The avatars would not be necessary if mankind would realise the enormous power in creative thought. We are not limited within our physicality - only in our imagination. Our thoughts create our reality. Read ´Conversations with God´and you will get the picture (the whole picture).

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