Ming the Mechanic:
L.A. Futurists / Singularity

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 L.A. Futurists / Singularity2002-02-11 04:06
pictureby Flemming Funch

Friday I went to a monthly meeting of an L.A. Futurists group, lead by John Smart of Singularity Watch. Very enjoyable and interesting people. It didn't quite dawn on me before afterwards what the talk about Singularity is about. It is sort of a concept of technological ascension, where a bunch of rapidly moving trends come together into a quantum evolutionary leap for humanity. It makes sense to extropians, of which I'm sure there are a bunch in NCN as well. Extropians are a bit hard to describe, but it is a sub-culture of technologically oriented people who stereotypically believe in a peculiar mix of things such as cryogenic life extension, artificial intelligence, genetic augmentation of the human body, optimistic materialism, etc. I used to hang out in extropian discussion groups for a while, but I can't entirely connect with the mindset.

Anyway, at the meeting a fellow was reviewing the book "Jihad vs. McWorld", which was rather interesting. McWorld is essentially globalization, as governed by multi-national companies. Sort of a simplified americanized consumer culture, destined for filling the world up with 7-11 and PizzaHut and Hollywood movies. Jihad on the other hand is a stereotype for the reactionary, isolationist, tribal, fundamentalist movements. They're essentially at war, because McWorld wants every part of the world to have the same products and way of life, and Jihad will try to protect the traditional local way of life at any cost. Lots of interesting observations.

Then there was a speech by Max More from ManyWorlds, Inc. about scenario planning. Scenario planning is an effective method of preparing for the future. Instead of trying to forecast exactly where the current trends lead, one rather starts out with 3 or 4 different future scenarios that potentially might happen, and then one works backwards and tries to be prepared as much as possible for any of them. So, one plays with several possible alternate scenarios and tries to learn from them, and one becomes prepared for any of them.

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4 Oct 2002 @ 20:56 by dharmicmel : future studies/singularity
Mr. Funch:
I find your comments regarding futurism and the singularity both interesting and stimulating; I am interested in a wide spectrum of considerations regarding future studies, and I am especially interested in the singularity; your reference to a "technological ascension" was, I thought, most appropriate, as in two words you gave an excellent overview of the subject; I think there is going to be more and more about the singularity, and there is already many sites that are entirely devoted to the subject matter; seems like a mindgarden to me
extropians do not have enough metaphysics or spirituality for me, but still, on the whole, they are quite interesting, and in many respects, are way ahead of others with regards to a better worldview, and therefore, a better world; transhumanists are exploring similar views
I enjoyed reading your comments
echo, great days
blessings, and high thoughts

melvin. mindgarden. friday. 04 october 2002 ce  

4 Oct 2002 @ 22:23 by ming : Extropians and Singularities
Yes, it is a bit like they're trying to reach a place through technology that other people would reach through a metaphysical or spritual understanding. Other people talk about singularities in the relatively near future. Like, a lot of people focus on 2012/13 as the end of the Mayan calendar and a time when a switch into a different dimension happens.

Certainly some things are happening that are moving the scientific and spiritual ways of thinking about things closer together, even if the different factions aren't quite realizing it yet.  

10 Oct 2002 @ 06:29 by dharmicmel : singularity, in all things
regarding a synthesis, for lack of a better word, for science and spirituality and metaphysics, and even the evolution of consciousness, it does seem evident, and this from many quarters and mindsets, that there is something in the air, as it were, regarding a coming together; perhaps all things are moving towards center, a greater density in the existential tao
still, of course, there is much disagreement as to what this greater centering is, or is about, or even if it is at all
science and technology provide a much clearer picture of what they are, what they are about, and where they are going than metaphysics or spirituality; in terms of clarity, metaphysics and spirituality has a long way to go, in comparision to science and technology; but, in terms of the evolution of consciousness, science and technology is far behind what metaphysics and spirituality attempt to stand for
in my view, and this is only my view, metaphysics and spirituality are not sufficiently internalized in order to manifest in this world as a significant, and even alternative pathway in this world; yes, there is much of it, metaphysics and spirituality, but fundamentalist materialism rules this world, through the consensus agreement of fundamentalist materialism and its action arm, the status quo; if you think you are so spiritual, then try accessing this web site through non-material means; point here being that the spiritual/metaphysical dance is not as evolved as we might think, and that one cannot do without the other, i.e., there can be no science, materialism, metaphysics, consensus agreement, spirituality without the other, or, all things coming together, more and more
we look at things through the focus of individual ego, and that determines our world, and all worlds, both in manifestation and potential
what has this got to do with the singularity, you might be wondering?
in the broadest sense, the singularity represents this global coming together, no matter how it is interpreted; it seems as those the singularity is becoming a significant meme, one that comes much like the tao, i.e, in many shapes and forms, in many ways and means, but still, something from a primary, central source; this is the metaphysics of it, as I am beginning to see it
scientifically and technologically, the singularity is focused, in broad terms, in the sense of accelerating change, per knowledge, inventions, and applications, to such an extent, that the very accelerating change becomes too great for humans to handle or comprehend, and then something else happens, such as the "technological ascension" or something else, such as existential chaos; but that is only one spin on this consideration
the singularity seems, also, to reflect what is a greater spiritual evolution, or an evolution of consciousness, and the new age is full of many variations on this theme
at its core, the singularity might represent a significant rite of passage for the individual, and for humanity as a whole, and maybe even something in a much larger context, but for the present, I will not go there
it is all very fascinating; my thinking on this subject is very rudimentary; if anyone out there has some information on the singularity that is of a magickal blend, as it were, this coming together of all things, please let me know
and one final thought here: I think sites like NCN are wonderful, and my extension, even the Internet, because it opens up such wonderful opportunites for the exchange of information and ideas; it is my hope that one and all will appreciate this more and more, and that one and all will use this wonderful resource and opportunity to share with each other, in a respectful and peaceful manner; I have seen some things on NCN that I think go the way of ego-argument and contention, and I think that might be necessary for some, but I wish it could be dispensed with entirely, at least at NCN, and let this place be a forum for an exchange of thoughts and opinions and ideas that are about the world we live in, the world we want, where we are going, and how we are going to get there

echo, great days
blessings, and high thoughts

melvin. mindgarden. thursday. 10 october 2002 ce  

10 Oct 2002 @ 06:38 by dharmicmel : edit, comment
what's up with the edit, comment; it seems like it is shut off?

melvin. mindgarden. thursday. 10 october 2002 ce  

10 Oct 2002 @ 12:38 by ming : edit comment
It shouldn't be. You should always be able to edit the last comment you made for a certain article. Ability to add comments might be affected by other things, like whether your profile is hidden, or whether somebody is blocking you. But I don't think that applies to you.  

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