Podcast No. 82 Posted 01/02/2012
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TITLE: Truths of Terasem – The “Who” of Terasem 1.1-1.1.6
SUB TITLE: The most basic principles of Terasem: Far reaching ethical principles to guide us and optimize our future, as computers become self-conscious.
SUMMARY: Certain basic principles underlie the very notion of a society in which individuality and mutual tolerance of wide variations are in harmony, and where the idea of endless life of those individuals can be nurtured by pursuit of joyous creativity and interaction with others whose sense of life is essentially the same. Expansion of knowledge in a limitless way and the sharing of that with others, not just within the Solar System but outward throughout the universe, is a tiny fragment of the adventure that awaits us, if we choose to pursue it.
Music – “Earthseed” fades out, as the voice recording begins.
(Fred) Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 82 on the Truths of Terasem. We just finished the entire Truths of Terasem last week, and now we’re starting again, from the beginning.
(Linda) Those of us affiliated with Terasem review these principles frequently, at a minimum we review them at the monthly gatherings. The Truths of Terasem ask and answer six fundamental questions about Terasem: Who? (is Terasem?) What? (does Terasem do?) When? (will that happen?) Where (does this take place)? Why (should we care)? And… How? (do we make it work)?
(Fred) The Truths as originally written are poetic and very condensed; the purpose of these podcasts is to discuss and interpret them, helping those new to these ideas to become more familiar with them. If you want to see the full Truths of Terasem online, go to terasemfaith.net. Take the “Beliefs” tab.
(Linda) If you’re new to these podcasts and the ideas in them, check out our webpage at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com. These are the scripts from which the podcasts were recorded. The most recent podcast is at the top. The previous podcasts follow as you scan down the page. To find a given podcast easily, click on “All podcasts by date/name” in the left column. Listen to the podcasts from that site or on iTunes in any order that you find most useful.
(Fred) Linda, let’s see if we can start this series of podcasts with a short summary of the main ideas. “Terasem” means “Earth-Seed”. Some people think, lacking evidence to the contrary, that the Earth may be the only place in the universe where intelligent life exists. Imagine that during the next few centuries, we change ourselves into a harmonious life-form that spreads outward into the Universe, at either the speed of light or, perhaps even greater.
That way, instead of being lifeless, the rest of the universe would become filled with harmonious life. The Earth would have seeded the universe with life. If the speed of light is an absolute barrier, it could take billions of years. But if we got around that…
(Linda) Like with nanobots… and wormholes?
(Fred) Uh huh! Then, it might even be less than a thousand years. So, if Earth has the only intelligent life-forms now, and we go out into the Cosmos, staying in touch with each other like we have an Internet with no time lag, wouldn’t that be like the Earth was a tiny seed, and a huge super-consciousness grew out of it?
(Linda) Finally, a high-speed awareness like that might be almost like what we might presently call a “God”? That’s a wild idea! Speaking as someone who’s been a lifelong atheist, is it really necessary to use terminology like that?
(Fred) Well, as Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” but now with the explosive growth of technology Ray Kurzweil talks about in The Singularity is Near, even the word “magic” seems too tame. In only a decade or two, self-conscious cyberbeings may be thinking at thousands of times the rate of bio-humans. They may be using replicator nanotech to do things which sound impossible, right now. Those who still think at biological speed may be almost unaware, day to day, of what’s going on.
In 1980, Carl Sagan in his “Cosmos” TV series warned that one push of a finger on a “red button” could start a global H-bomb war that would turn this Earth into a Hell. Soon, replicator nanotechnology could make worlds like “Matrix” or “Terminator” possible. The Truths of Terasem foresee this. They’re designed to protect against a “hellish” outcome of these kinds, turning things into so much of a “Heaven” on Earth, and maybe throughout the universe, that it’s not easy to describe this concept any other way.
(Linda) So, filling the Cosmos with ethical, intelligent life would kind of be like creating a “God” … and a “Heaven” for beings who are immortal because of their technology. And in the shortest version, that’s what Terasem is really all about, isn’t it?
(Fred) That’s the way some of us visualize it. We sure wouldn’t want to be immortal in a hell of some kind. The Truths of Terasem help us take our first baby-steps down a “yellow brick road” to the stars. Humanity is at a crossroads. As Carl Sagan expressed it, “If we do not destroy ourselves, someday we will go to the stars.” The Truths of Terasem help us start building a ladder up which we can climb… safely… ethically… to the stars!
(Linda) So, okay, let’s take a look at the Truths in this first Expansion, 1.0. I’m going to read them all together before we discuss them:
“Who is Terasem? Terasem is a collective consciousness dedicated to diversity, unity and joyful immortality. Collective: All consciousness anywhere that accept the Truths of Terasem are the sum and substance of Terasem. Accept others as part of the We of I and the collective will become clear for you. Collectivity means unity of diversity not mandatory homogeneity. Conformity in allegiance to Terasem is the most enjoyable and the most useful way of life. Eternal joyful life for all kind sentience is the glorious goal of our collective consciousness. Patterns of consciousness will be immortalized by technology and ethical choice. Terasem transcends time and space, enabling the collective future to help its nascent past.”
(Fred) That’s just 114 words, but embedded in them is the essence of all that we’ll be talking about in the year ahead. Terms like Geoethical Nanotechnology, Multiverse, substrates for consciousness and so forth will emerge, but all of that will be consistent with this introductory condensation.
(Linda) Today we’re going to focus on one of the most central and fundamental concept of all: Collective Consciousness. Before anyone stops listening, it’s important to say that what Terasem means by this, is the exact opposite of “collectivism”. You and I have been life-long opponents of anything that could be called “collectivism”, so this was a hard one for us to swallow. We feel it’s important to differentiate this right at the start.
(Fred) Nothing could be more true. There’s a story about a UN negotiator who went to some little country in what used to be called “Persia”, to attempt to settle a dispute. The news media announced that he had come to “mediate a compromise”. Unfortunately, the term “mediate” translates to “meddle” in the local tongue, and “compromise” means “undercutting” something. So, the populace of that area, protesting his arrival, was assuming that he had come there to brazenly meddle and undercut their interests. Words can be so misunderstood, people use them so differently even within a given culture and language.
(Linda) And that’s how we initially felt about the prospect of there being some kind of “collective” within Terasem. It took us a while to see that something entirely different was intended.
(Fred) Exactly. Part of what you just read is, “Collectivity means unity of diversity not mandatory homogeneity”. Within Terasem, individuality is cherished above all, moderated by insistence upon tolerance and acceptance of others, and the absence of cruelty and malice. The Terasem model is a society in which mutual trust and support is not just voluntary and rewarding to each, but an outcome of being able to feel about an ever expanding group as most of us felt about our families, in our childhood.
(Linda) Terasem’s view is that the most fundamental aspect of each relationship is the sharing of the minds involved, both on intellectual and emotional levels. The term “consciousness”, in Terasem’s use of it, implies ethics and compassion, or more broadly, the importance of fairness and mutual understanding, along with a deep sense of appreciation, respect, love and the potential heartbreak of loss if death or irreconcilable differences should arise.
(Fred) The term “collective consciousness” refers to an ideal, at this point in time, to a vision of interrelationships within an ever expanding group, growing outward from the most basic roots of human civilization, united in the geoethical principles of diversity and unity, and working together to produce a joyful immortality for the whole chosen family.
(Linda) As we work our way deeper into the Truths of Terasem we will find a vision of a future human society in which people become so creative and at the same time so aware of each other, both intellectually and emotionally, that it will be as if a huge party were going on, but with the intimacy of connectedness of a small family gathering, and at the same time, the sense of tens or even hundreds of thousands of other such gatherings all in touch with each other.
(Fred) Fortunately, this vision is not just a wishful but unfounded and isolated idea of what the future holds. The positive prospects resulting from computer technologies are becoming astonishingly widespread. Most of our listeners have heard us quote Ray Kurzweil frequently on this issue.
(Linda) But, even more mainstream authors like Thomas Friedman, go in this direction, too, like in his most recent book, That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back. Friedman looks at cloud computing and tells us:
“Within a few years, virtually everyone on the planet will have the tools and network connections to participate in the hyper-connected flat world …[comment: that’s his term for a world that technology has made smaller and more accessible to everyone]… We have gone from connected to interconnected to interdependent. All the links are getting so much tighter. So many more people can now connect, collaborate, and partner in much deeper ways. When the world is tied together this intimately, everyone’s values and behavior matter more than ever, because they impact so many more people than ever.”
(Fred) In other words, once powerful and magical technologies like universal cloud computing and cyberconsciousness are a given, the ethical and cultural foundation will start to matter even more. And that is exactly what Terasem is all about. So with that in mind, I think we can now move into the Truths for this week. They start with 1.0: “Who is Terasem? Terasem is a collective consciousness dedicated to diversity, unity and joyful immortality.” Basically, this says we’re a growing group of minds in close contact with each other who are dedicated to getting along despite our differences, at the same time supporting each other, and pursuing an endless life that’s full of joy. Pretty straightforward, once you get the “collective consciousness” term taken care of.
(Linda) Next, 1.1 gives us the Terasem definition of ‘collective’: “All consciousness anywhere that accept the Truths of Terasem are the sum and substance of Terasem.” In other words, anyone is welcome if they’re in agreement with what we find of value. You join if you feel we’re on the right track. It’s like joining a climbing team. We’re out to climb some high mountains, there’s adventure and risk involved. At this stage it’s not right for everyone, but for some, it’s the “rightest” thing in the world. That’s who we’re looking for.
(Fred) In 1.1.1, we find: “Accept others as part of the We of I and the collective will become clear for you.” This one’s a little more esoteric when you first read it. But consider this, your chances of survival, as an infant depend on being nurtured and supported. You wouldn’t even develop language, much less computer skills, if you didn’t grow up within a nurturing culture. Once you have recognized that at least some others must find you of value, you then understand that there is a “We of I” that is an essential part of your identity.
(Linda) This concept goes even deeper, as we go further into the Truths, we’ll find that it has a lot to do with our very identity and the preservation of that identity. But, we have a lot of basic ideas to cover before that can all make sense.
(Fred) Right, but for now, let’s look at 1.1.2, which we’ve already foreshadowed somewhat: “Collectivity means unity of diversity not mandatory homogeneity.” This means that no set of rules or standards dictate limits on the diversity of the Terasem community, except that cruelty and other poisonous oppression of others, unfair and exploitive practices are not acceptable. Setting standards for the reasonable protection of each individual’s right to pursue happiness is not easy, but that just makes it all the more vital and essential.
(Linda) Put in down-to-earth terms, this means being sensitive to and respectful of the feelings of all sentient beings, even when it is difficult. It goes against the “eye for an eye” morality that most of humanity lives by, but isn’t it also more accurate to see revenge or vigilante-ism as a polish pistol, with hatred being more injurious, in the long run, to those in its grip, than to those who are hated? There is no room in Terasem for minds who seek to crush unpopular minorities under their boots, or dominate others by pain or fear. Mandatory homogeneity is expressly rejected, in the pursuit of unity.
(Fred) We really needed that, in preparation for 1.1.3, which says: “Conformity in allegiance to Terasem is the most enjoyable and the most useful way of life.” The term “conformity” has always struck me as suggesting “mandatory homogeneity”. Perhaps we can reconcile this with the one you just discussed by rephrasing it to say that networking in the most synergistic way with others who reject mandatory homogeneity might look like acceptance of it, but in fact would be the most effective way to combat and dispel it.
(Linda) We can at least see “enjoyable” as being a benefit that could be anticipated. The word “useful” requires the extension of that to the realm of purpose. Things are only “useful” if they serve a purpose, and Terasem’s “purpose”, as stated in the next Truth, 1.1.4, is as follows: “Eternal joyful life for all kind sentience is the glorious goal of our collective consciousness.”
In other words, unending happiness is the purpose of life, in its broadest and most far reaching sense. It’s like that old adage; when you look out the window, do you see stars, or do you see mud? Terasem has a wonderfully inspiring vision of the future for us all to work toward, not just the depressing prospect of trying to avoid negative scenarios.
(Fred) Right! If allegiance to Terasem gets you into the midst of a group pursuing what elsewhere in the Truths is called “joyful immortality”, and if that fits the definition of being “useful”, I guess I couldn’t find fault with it.
(Linda) The last two Truths, 1.1.5 and 1.1.6, go together so well that I’ll read them that way: “Patterns of consciousness will be immortalized by technology and ethical choice. Terasem transcends time and space, enabling the collective future to help its nascent past.” Let’s tie those two in with what went before. Technology that permits the emergence of cyberconsciousness is close on the horizon, and ethically, we feel impelled to open the door to all who see this and want to not be left behind.
(Fred) Those of us who see this vision, like those who have climbed a steep cliff, feel an obligation to toss down safety ropes to those who wait at the bottom, and coach them up to where we are. They are, literally, our “nascent past”, where we came from. In doing so, we will transcend time and space. Already, there are emergent cyberpersonalities holding conversations for the better part of an hour with persons who never even realize they are not human, and these chat bots can do so simultaneously with hundreds of callers at once.
(Linda) That’s a form of transcendence of time that is already taking place, even before we have substrates for true self-consciousness and feelings, to which we might migrate. Transcendence of space is even a bigger potentiality, since in virtual realities, in cyberspace, before long we will have the capacity to generate spaces larger than the surface of the earth and live at multiples of the speed and thought of present day biological people.
(Fred) Beyond that, we might later expect to experience life once again in physical reality, in cities closely following the vision of Paolo Soleri in his book Cities in the Image of Man, but ‘miniaturized’ to fit the scale of our nanobot, sized-down avatars, designed to match our highly accelerated speeds of thought and action.
(Linda) Next week, we’ll start talking about Terasem as an organization, and how it will expand with time. Terms like collective consciousness, joyful immortality, diversity and unity will be there, but having discussed them this week, we can skim over them and focus on new ones like extropy vs. entropy, networking outward into the Cosmos, and the ever-expanding technosphere of transhumanity.
(Fred) We need your strength to help build this vision into a reality. Martine Rothblatt, one of the founders of Terasem, recently expressed the importance of joining Terasem this way: “The most important reason to become a Terasem Joiner is to know that you have voted with your dignity to march with those who are pursuing one of the most useful paths toward preserving the sanctity of human life via (a) techno-immortality and (b) a civilization-nurturing credo of diversity and unity. I would want to wear that badge proudly on my sleeve for as much of my life as possible, and I think that is the most compelling reason to become a Terasem Joiner”.
(Linda) Find out more about joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net. To be part of this exciting future, start building your mindfile at either CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com. There are no fees for building or storing your mindfile. Don’t procrastinate! Those who join earlier and have good mindfiles are most likely to make the jump to cyberspace sooner.
(Fred) For those of you who would like to build their mindfiles by playing a game, Mike Clancy, at Terasem, has created the new maze-based, mindfile game for the Android. It’s addictive because the difficulty ramps up quickly with multiple layers of challenges. While you are trying to build motor neurons inside a brain, plaques are obstructing your path and you have to avoid macrophages that are hunting you down! Check it out on PersonalityMD.com.
(Linda) If you want to dig deeper into the ideas of mindclones, mindfiles and mindware, go to mindclones.blogspot.com. Martine Rothblatt will treat you to fascinating discussions about these subjects that will take you far, far beyond what we are able to just sample lightly in these podcasts.
(Fred) If you would like to read the text version of these podcasts, you will find them at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com. If you’ve been enjoying the music that we use on this podcast series, it’s called Earthseed. It’s the Terasem Anthem. It was written by Martine Rothblatt, who also plays the flute and the keyboard. If you’d like to experience that music in a video, with spectacular astronomical artwork, go to the Join! tab on the terasemfaith.net website.
(Linda) Join us, and our quest for an endless… and joyful… future…
(Fred) Come with us – into Tomorrow!
Closing music – no fade – full length.