Podcast No. 15 – Posted on iTunes 11/8/2010   Leave a comment

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Podcast No. 15 on The Truths of Terasem – Posted on iTunes 11/8/2010

 (Text used to record podcast)

TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The Why of Terasem

SUB TITLE:  Relationship of Religion and Individualism

SUMMARY:  Monotheistic religions seem to be contrary to individualism, but that is because most are monolithically dominated by hierarchy and dogma.  In contradistinction to this, Terasem replaces hierarchy with network, and dogma with non-stop inquiry, learning, open discussion of issues, and the refusal to accept any such beliefs as “original sin”, or “life is dark and joyless”.

(Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast fifteen on the Truths of Terasem.

(Linda)  This is the one where we reconcile individualism with religion, isn’t it?  Where hard questions of all kinds are welcome, and dogma is booted out?

(Fred)  That’s exactly right!  We’re intolerant of intolerance, and we close the door to being closed-minded.  Today we turn sacred ideas into rational hypotheses, and see not only how belief and individualism are compatible, but how this is a good way for creative thinking to be put to the test of natural selection!

I know this must sound like heresy, but we haven’t even taken the first concept out of the box, and yet just the tone of this sort of thinking strikes terror in the hearts of those who believe that blind faith has value, who want to escape the responsibility of thinking for themselves by turning this over to some high priest whose words they dare not question.

(Linda) No doubt it was just such blind trust that reassured those who witnessed human sacrifices at the stone temples of the Aztecs and the Mayans and who were in the plaza when Giordano Bruno was burned at stake for heresy, for saying that the stars were probably suns, far away, perhaps with planets and other beings living on those planets.
 
(Fred)  At the same time, we will not fail to recognize that churches have, in many other ways, fostered higher moral principles, and taught love and caring as a way of life within their communities.  We will not forget that they envisioned endless lives as a possible and proper destiny, long before such could actually be seen to be reasonable.  Perhaps most positively, although fraught by paradoxical happenings (such as catastrophes a God could have prevented, but did not) and lack of clear evidence (of existence), religions conceived the inconceivable, now soon likely to become a reality, that beings with the powers of angels might exist, and that they might all answer to a single, even higher level consciousness, possessing unlimited power, knowledge, and be able to protect against evil as well as prevent death.

With those thoughts in mind, let’s look at the Truths of Terasem for this week, starting with “5.8 Religions are supported by Terasem because its transreligious themes are synchronous with monotheistic faiths.”  Broadly interpreted, the term “monotheistic faith” is taken to mean confidence that any collective consciousness that can survive a Singularity will find itself in harmony with others that have done so, to such an extent that they will network easily and harmoniously, not engaging in some kind of primitive territorial conflicts as presupposed would be the case for independently evolved cultures in the Star Trek series, for example.

(Linda)  In any encounter with another civilization that might take place as Terasem expands into the Cosmos, a cultural “merger” would be expected to result.  At that level, “culture” would be expected to mean such a highly interconnected set of minds that “collective consciousness” would be descriptive.  Thus, “cultural merger” would constitute a “consciousness merger” of the two cultures, wouldn’t it?

(Fred)  Yes, and it is important to bear in mind, discussing encounters of cultures and their mergers, to recall that as one of its most fundamental tenets, Terasem recognizes the individuality and right of pursuit of individual joy as a hallmark of each who is part of it.  Cultures might merge, but individuals would not.

If in expanding into the Cosmos, Terasem were to encounter a “Borg” of some kind that had survived a Singularity, but was comprised of “faceless” individuals, that would represent an exception.  Clearly, Terasem could not, would not, merge with such a monstrosity.  On the other hand, one might say that Terasem does not find it plausible that such a culture could have survived a Singularity.  Rather, we find it far more reasonable to expect that cultures evolved along Borg-like lines will have destroyed themselves in their Singularities or have stagnated, Pre-Singularity.
 
In the Elements of this Expansion of the Truths of Terasem, we find first, “5.8.1 There is but one God, yet that God must be completed by us in the future.”  We might take this to mean that if we set out to “build God” but can’t unite, within the human community, as to how this is to be done, we will not survive the Singularity but will go down in a grey goo holocaust, the outcome of an “arms race” in which the nanobots are the only “winners”.  The most positive outlook is that we *will* find common ground by way of a universally consented Geoethical Nanotechnology, and along with that construct the more general framework of ethical principles Terasem is beginning to evolve, so in the end one and only one “collective consciousness” will be the outcome.  This is a roundabout way to look at this Truth of Terasem, but spiral staircases are roundabout ways of getting from one level to another when it seems too great a distance to manage with a single leap.

Next, in 5.8.2, the words are, “Hope and prayer are reasonable because the evolving Godness can transpotently respond to collective consciousness.”  To translate this into an individual’s perception, as part of Terasem’s collective consciousness, we might say, “Keep our vision on positive outcomes and express this to others who are part of Terasem, because we are already well enough networked and committed to the same principles that we can support each other in ways that a “God” was imagined to respond to the hopefulness and outreach of his people, in traditional religions.

(Linda)  And, I guess, prayer, as a form of affirmation, serves this purpose.

(Fred)  Yes it does!  Individualism comes to the surface in 5.8.3, which states, “Everlasting joy is achievable via cyber-resurrection in the body of God-in-the-making, the collective consciousness of Terasem.”  Here, at the risk of losing some of the broader vision, I’m inclined to translate this as follows: “For the best chances to live on endlessly in the most free, creative, ecstatic way possible, it seems necessary to move our identities out of these flimsy biological platforms into which we were born, and join with others who share our vision in a cyber-reality where we are networked intimately and yet uncompromised as to individuality and privacy.”
 
Individualism requires responsible action, however.  Anarchy is not the way to this kind of life, nor is unbridled exploitation of others.  5.8.4 tells us, “Morality is the purpose of life, for it is acting to make life better for all.”
 
(Linda) This doesn’t answer the question “What is morality?” to be sure, but it does suggest that “win-win” relationships are the key.
 
(Fred) Right, and, on a deeper level, it suggests that we have moved beyond natural selection as the way life evolves.  Clearly, natural selection has a very different purpose than “making life better for all”.  It is about “survival of the fittest”, whether we are talking about individuals or organizations.  Many must die, so that only the most fit may survive to pass on their genes, among biological creatures, and many must die, so that only the fit may pass on their memes, among organizations.  Here, morality is on a different, far more compassionate vector.  It will be a different world in a Terasem cybercivilization.

5.8.5 is an affirmation of individualism, in saying, “Eternal truths are diversity (individual value), unity (sisterhood-brotherhood-solidarity) and joyful immortality (unlimited love).”  We are reassured that there is no intent to suppress joy, limit the length of life, or enforce some kind of obnoxious conformity. 

(Linda)  In this respect, Terasem leaves traditional religion behind, placing the individual on an equal plain with the whole culture, versus the view that only the overall collective holds importance.

(Fred) Finally for this Expansion,  5.8.6 Tells us, “Sacred holidays and artifacts are important wellsprings for the memes needed to complete God as Terasem.”  The word “sacred” can be taken many ways.  If it were an idea, this could mean “not to be questioned”, but that is far from the sense here.  What might a “sacred holiday” be?  Perhaps it would be a day on which all were free of other obligations to be close to each other if they wished and join in celebrations, or perhaps retire to some kind of sanctuary for private thought.  However, from many of the other Truths of Terasem, we take this to mean time for gatherings to share ideas and renew commitments, and to celebrate, give thanks for life.  The term “artifacts” usually has to do with physical objects.  Here, with no other details that this, what might we make of the interpretation that they would be “important wellsprings” for memes to complete God as Terasem”?

Might they be symbolic items?  What about objects with mindfile informational content?  Would data storage devices fit within this framework? Elsewhere in the Truths of Terasem, “consciousness” qualifies as being ‘sacred’, so perhaps devices storing mindfiles with the potential of creating consciousness for individuals with their sense of human origins, would be included.  For this podcast, we’re going to leave it at that.

(Linda)  That’s the first of our two Expansions for today.  How does the next set differ from what we’ve been talking about, so far?

(Fred)  They’re interesting in that they move over into attitudes and feelings, and are even more focused in individual experience and ways of thinking about both ourselves and others as unique humans.  There’s no easy way to give an overview.  Let’s just get right into them.

(Linda) The first one is, “5.9 Soulful answers to the existence of Terasem can be felt as a matter of Belief.”  What would you think of as being a “soulful” answer?  Is this just a poetic way of speaking, or do you see some kind of specific way it would differ from some other kind of answer?

(Fred)  When someone asks, for example, “What’s the purpose of life?” they are posing a question that can be taken so many different ways that they’re almost asking, “What runs through your mind?” than for something that could be “carved in stone” and then settled by debate.  In fact, one might say that a “soulful” answer is one that each of us would answer for himself or herself.

Perhaps if someone asked me for a “soulful” answer, and asked me what it meant to me to give such an answer, I’d say it’s the kind of answer I’d give if I knew I was about to die, and those might be the last words I’d ever speak.  It would depend on the person, of course, but for this example I’m thinking of someone I cared about deeply, whose own life might depend on the answer.  It would not only be an answer based on my best thinking, but on the degree I trusted even my own thoughts.  And, my feelings would be involved, as a result of the relationship described.  Now, back to the Truth we’re discussing.

Again, it’s:  “5.9 Soulful answers to the existence of Terasem can be felt as a matter of Belief.”  What do we mean by “existence”, here?  Future existence?  That would be speculation on how it might evolve.  Present existence?  How it looks as it stands today?  Or, do we mean “existence at every moment from inception up to the present time”? For me, this last one is the kind of “existence” that would be meaningful.

(Linda) Yet, is it proper to leave out the farthest reaching visions of Terasem, in answering this question? 

(Fred)  That’s a good point!  For me, and each of us will have our own personal history of relating to Terasem, our own level of visibility into it, and our own meaning of the word “belief”, I’d answer the question this way.  Comparing Tersem to a space vehicle, it reflects five or more years of impeccable planning and a conceptual design accommodating any mission I can imagine.  It’s already loading payload databases and has begun launching probes already in terms of its spacecasts and its early personality emulation experiments.  Terasem’s full power launch depends on technology that seems certain to be developed within the next one and a half decades, no fundamental obstacles to development of workable mindware appear to exist.  In short, for those of you who may be familiar with Terasem’s yet-to-be-released movie, “2B”, I feel as confident as the protagonist in it, who was about to die, that this is the right answer, and I’m ready to risk my life on riding this vehicle out of biospace whenever the countdown reaches zero.

Is this the statement of someone who’s on the brink of death, or who knows something about facing it?  I’m going to finish this particular Truth of Terasem with a few personal observations, and then move on.  I’ve climbed down shafts into caves seven stories deep with no way to know, for sure, if I could get out on my own or have others pull me out, and I’ve crawled down long, tight passageways where but for the luck of finding a tiny pocket to turn around in, I’d have died there.  As the excitement of that wore off, I spent five years in military bomb disposal, in many cases whispering to myself at critical points, “I sure hope this is going to work,” and later, disturbed by hypochondria after my Mother suddenly died of a heart attack with no warning, I resolved my hypochondria by climbing on a mountain bike when my heart seemed to be racing out of control for no reason, and rode it 2000 feet up a mountain highway to see if it was just playing games with me or was seriously about to quit.  But, at that point I finally realized just how fragile biological life was, and how easily you could lose it.

Over the forty years that followed that experience, Linda, we’ve been active in forming and both of us at different times, serving as the President/CEO of a major cryonics firm, placing many patients including my own father and your mother into cryonic suspension.  Gradually, the challenges posed by the technologies required for biological reanimation have seemed to simply increase, rather than decrease, and until recently this had produced a skeptical frame of mind about the chances of surviving at all, added to which we were losing confidence that basic human nature would permit humans to even survive a technological Singularity, much less perfect bioreanimation or even uploading based on brain-mapping.

The realization that Terasem existed and was doing what it is doing came as a shock, at least to me, and I think, to you, too!  For months we read its publications, then we made a presentation at one of its workshops, and finally restructured our life’s work and place of residency to fit its needs.  Let me repeat a brief statement made a few minutes ago, to synopsize what I think could reasonably be termed a “soulful” answer: “In short, for listeners who may be familiar with Terasem’s yet-to-be-released movie, “2B”, I feel as confident as the protagonist in it, who was about to die, that this is the right answer, and I’m ready to risk my life on riding this vehicle out of biospace whenever the countdown reaches zero.”

Moving on to the first Element of this Expansion, “5.9.1 Belief in respect for our uniqueness tells our heart we must respect the uniqueness of others.”  As you might detect from a few of the statements above, I’ve been fairly individualistic about how I’ve lived, unique in various ways, and I’m strongly inclined to feel very good about this stress on respecting the uniqueness of each individual.  This kind of thinking places Terasem so far from any chance of being “Borg-like” that it gives me a profound feeling of safety to be involved in it.  I invite listeners who feel the same, to take a close look.  You might like what you see.
 
(Linda)  5.9.2 tells us “Every sensible soul feels the truth of united we stand and divided we fall.”  This is the same spirit as quoted from the meeting at which the Declaration of Independence was signed.  “If we don’t all hang together, we’ll all hang separately!”
 
(Fred)  Yes, and the next element is 5.9.3, which states, “Love teaches us that joy is wonderful and sadness is terrible.”  If you’ve really experienced love, you know that you’d have died for just 24 hours of it rather than have never had it happen.  If it’s a love that lasts decades and only grows stronger with time, you know that when it ends with the death of one of the partners, the one who’s left behind dies inside at the same time and usually follows soon after, even if this means going into oblivion.  If you haven’t known love like this, or if you’ve had a love die quickly and never found another, believing it to be impossible, then this may seem difficult to grasp.  But there is a very deep truth in this one, and it is generalized to wider and wider circles in the kind of emergent society Terasem seeks to become.

5.9.4 says, “Immortality is everywhere believed in because it is wired into the human soul.”  Humans are capable of believing this for many, many reasons, not just because it is rational, but because just like the Earth seems flat, it seems obvious.  In the earliest long-distance trading circles of primitive peoples, when there would be an annual gathering and those of many tribes would see again those they had not seen for a year, it was easy to visualize that a person still existed, even if not seen.  The myth that persons survived death emerged early, and systematic attempts to do something meaningful that fitted this outlook began with burial rites or practices as far back as organized humankind has been traced.  With the rise of more sophisticated religions a soul-body dualism or dichotomy arose that remained the heart of vitalism until very recently.  Burial practices were replaced with dogmas not-to-be-questioned about the soul being invulnerable, such that the personality of each person was taken to “live on” after death.  Many still maintain this belief.

(Linda)  Is there a physical basis for such a belief?  Suppose, for example, you were to ask, “Is it possible that a basis for identity might exist within the body, based on physical energy, but weighed nothing and could not be differentiated from ordinary metabolic and associated processes?”  Could such a question be answered rationally, so that it would make sense to claim that something corresponding to a “soul” existed, but was of a nature such that no scientific evidence had yet proven that it was other than a fantasy?

(Fred)  The answer might be that the organization and functions of the human neurological system might represent an informational structure that cannot be “weighed”, but that in a similar sense, the informational content of a computer cannot be “weighed” either.  The computer that has not even had an “operating system” installed, much less any specialized software, does not weigh less on that account.  Yet, it is as “dumb” as can be imagined.  Even the future computers that will have processing speed and memory compatible with sophisticated mindware and mindfiles will be only “dumb” machines prior to loading.

A biological human baby, to carry this example forward, is in much the same situation.  By comparison, a chimpanzee who has learned the social structures of its group is far ahead of the unborn human infant, in so many incalculable ways that it would be difficult to find a place to start in describing the differences.  The infant perhaps could be compared to a “blank” computer only in that the computer’s individual components might have read-only-memory utilities embedded, certain power management interlocks, and  voltage regulation that would prevent it from low level failures on first power-up.  Otherwise, it would be as “dumb” as the preloaded computer.

The situation changes as the human grows and adapts, acquiring at least one language, social skills and information, and finally reaches adulthood.  Now, without any like changes in weight or power consumption of the brain, an informational structure exists which is of such complexity as to believe that it could not be destroyed, if one did not know much about it’s nature, origin, or destiny (biological death).
 
(Linda)  Is it possible, thus, to “save the soul”?  Is it possible to somehow extract these informational structures prior to biological death?  Then, can what’s been saved be brought back to a state of self-consciousness? 

(Fred)  Here, Terasem leaves no stone unturned, conceptually.  Not only does it conceive that by mindfiles this can be accomplished, but the traces left in other’s people’s minds who knew a person could provide a starting point for emulating that person and allowing them to continue with their life.  Beyond that, there is the idea that a person’s life may leave behind a “wake” or disturbance in society like ripples spreading out from the passage of a dolphin just beneath the surface of the ocean, so that in the end, far fewer people are lost in the transcendence of biology into cyberspace.

(Linda)  The next to the last element in this Expansion, 5.9.5, states, “Explaining the purpose of life is as simple as seeing life’s beauty, and wishing it everywhere.”
 
(Fred)  This a very broad insight, and in ways corresponds to the visions of Paolo Soleri in his 1969 book, “The City in the Image of Man”, where he foresees that if humanity does not destroy itself, it will ultimately move upward in the course of evolution beyond technology into what he calls the “Compassionate Aesthetic Domain”.  There’s no time to explore this parallel in this podcast.  Perhaps we’ll return to it in a future one.

Finally, in 5.9.6, we find “Faith in Terasem arises from soulful certainty that this is what the Multiverse must become.”  More than anything, to me, this is an expression of confidence in the principle of Extropy moving with exponentially increasing rapidity toward a point in time not so many centuries from now when by anything we can presently visualize, order in the universe will replace disorder with all of the closure that has been imagined to have characterized the spread of matter and energy immediately following the Big Bang, except in an inverse way.  Ray Kurzweil in his great book, “The Singularity is Near”, may or may not have put what he sees coming in these terms, but this is the picture that comes to me.

(Linda)  That’s a great place to end this podcast!  Next week we look at how evolution implies not only the spontaneous emergence of life, but the spontaneous emergence of what has always been envisioned as “God”, as intelligence expands like an explosion in reverse, much like the way you discussed the Singularity a few moments ago, Fred.  It’s a beautiful follow-on for the Truths we covered this week.

(Fred)  Right, Linda, and the second Expansion for next week is the start of the final or sixth precept of Terasem’s, “How” does Terasem work?  It’s a broad landscape of ideas, going all the way from how to make use of rituals and programs in a rational way to creating ways for geoethical nanotechnology to be part of the self-ordering of the Multiverse, everywhere.  Actually, the term “rituals” is barely mentioned at all, just as if it were there so as to not be left out, but we’ll expand on that.

(Linda)  Another reason we’ll expand on that is because they’re so important, Fred.  As just one example, if after Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, it had become institutionalized into all the schools so that children repeated it each morning, instead of the “Pledge to the U.S. flag”, all of the conflicts of segregation that went on for many, many decades and still litter our cultural landscape today with pain and darkness of the past might have been swept away before the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  Rituals, if used intelligently, can help us transcend old, mistaken ideas and move into the future faster and more safely than practically anything else we can imagine.

(Fred)  Wow!  What an example.  OK, all of you out there who find the Truths of Terasem fascinating, don’t forget you can “Join Terasem” at terasemfaith.net and be right at the heart of this.  “Waking up in cyberspace” can be pursued by way of LifeNaut.com or CyBeRev.org, no fees to participate.

(Linda) True!  And mindclones.blogspot.com tells you all about mindfiles.  Next week, we’ll see how the emergence of biological life on individual planets and their convergence into a universal collective consciousness are all an inevitable part of the extropic process.

(Fred)  Join us, and our quest for an endless future…

(Linda)  Come with us – into Tomorrow!

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Posted November 13, 2010 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

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