Podcast No. 23 – Posted on iTunes 1/3/2011   1 comment

Pocast No. 24 Posted 1/3/2011

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(Text used to record podcast)

TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The “Who” of Terasem  1.1 – 1.1.6

SUB TITLE:  Basic principles of Terasem

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.

 

(Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 23 on the Truths of Terasem.

(Linda)  No. 23?  It’s only the first week in January.  Where did we squeeze in the other 22!

(Fred)  Last year.  We only got started midsummer of last year, but we’re going to number them as we go.  With 52 this year, we’ll finish the year at No. 64.  Since we’re using three digit numbers, we won’t hit 999 until 19 weeks into our 20th year, at which point I’ll be 93.  Then, if need be, we can go to four digits, and I’m not going to even try to think about how far that would take us!

(Linda)  So, to make it easier, we’re starting in again at the very beginning of the Truths of Terasem, of which there are 60 groups.  Last year, we did a whole bunch of “doubles” in order to finish by the end of the year.  Are we going to spread them out more this time, so they don’t run so long?

(Fred)  We’ll spread them out, but more importantly, we’ll try to tighten them all up a little bit too.  Last year, when we hit three singles at the end of the year, we figured those would be a lot shorter, but by that time we’d gotten so used to making them 20-30 minutes long that couldn’t seem to return to the original length.  We’ll do better, this year.  Part of what will make it easier is that those who’ve been listening to these podcasts for a while have enough background that less time will need to be spent on defining terms and explaining basics.  Those that are new can go back and listen to last year’s podcasts, if they want a bigger dose of this kind of discussion.

(Linda)  Let me make this easy, Fred.  If you’re new to these podcasts and the ideas in them, check out our webpage at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com.  Scan down the links on the left.  These are the scripts from which they were recorded, and they’re in order.  No. 1 was really the first of them.  Scan through them, or even find them on iTunes and listen, but we’d rather you just come back here as soon as you can.  We’re breaking new ground, today.

(Fred)  Thanks Linda.  Now, here are the Truths in the first Expansion.  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.”

That’s just 114 words, but embedded in them are 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.  And, as I mentioned earlier, today we’re going to focus on just one of those 114 words, which in fact in one form or another account for 5 of the 114.  Any idea of which one it is?

(Linda)  There’s no question about it.  Only one word appears five times above.  “Consciousness” shows up four times but “collective” or variations of it comes out the winner.  You’re going to talk about what Terasem means by this, the exact opposite of “collectivism”, aren’t you?  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.  Words can be so misunderstood, used so differently, that sometimes it’s hilarious.  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.

(Linda)  And that’s how we felt at first about the idea of there being some kind of “collective”, right?  Why it took us a while to see that something entirely different was intended as to its meaning?

(Fred)  Exactly.  When we first voiced this concern in an email to one of Terasem’s Founders, she replied by pointing out that in the very early part of those 114 words, one finds, “Collectivity means unity of diversity not mandatory homogeneity”.  Diversity is the most fundamental aspect of evolution itself, and forcing everyone into some kind of common mold, like by use of a religious dogma not to be questioned, would be about as “anti-evolutionary” a strategy as could be imagined.  No, individuality is cherished above all, only 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 a wider and wider group as most of us felt about our families, in our childhood.

(Linda)  OK, let’s take a look at what the terms “collective” and “collectivity” are intended to signify, in the Truths of Terasem.

(Fred)  Let’s simplify, to begin with.  We’ll take the terms “collective” and “social group” to be interchangeable, with no restrictions at all.  A newly married couple is thus a collective, and as children come along, they too are part of that social group.  Terasem terms this a “chosen family”, since the marriage partners (we hope) “chose” each other wisely, and the choice to have children reflects a desire and commitment to nurture and care for them on their way to becoming self-sufficient persons who might, in the same way, choose marriage partners and widen the circle of the family.  Add some aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents and grandchildren, and you have the kind of network that is as fundamental to human society as atoms are to molecules.

Terasem’s view is that the most fundamental aspects of each relationship are the sharing of the minds involved, both on intellectual and emotional levels.  The term “consciousness” is not simply taken to be the opposite of “unconsciousness”, in Terasem’s use of the term, but 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.

To put the terms together, then “collective consciousness” is none other than the interrelationships of a group, growing outward from the most basic family roots of human civilization, that unite people, make it highly important that they be tolerant of differences among them, or “diversity”, as Terasem interprets this.

(Linda)  All of this fits neatly into our views of what would be nice, if we were to remain biological, but if we reshape this to fit what might come to be after the technological Singularity, a lot of changes have to be anticipated, don’t they?

(Fred)  Yes, and the first visions of this I’m aware of, that fit Terasem’s expectations closely, emerged back in 1969, with Paolo Soleri’s publication of “The City in the Image of Man”.  This wonderful book is divided into two sections, the first of which deals with the future of human society in a very broad way.  The second part contains drawings of enormous cities that are simply huge buildings, accommodating perhaps millions of people into their almost space-colony-like environments.

(Linda)  Paolo Soleri saw humans as they now exist being somewhat loosely connected, compared to what might be the case in a very advanced culture, didn’t he?

(Fred)  That’s true.  He envisioned a human society of the future in which people could become so creative and at the same time so aware of each other, both intellectually and emotionally, that it would 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 what was happening in all the gatherings.

(Linda)  How inspiring!  Are there any present-day parallels that might be even close to that?

(Fred)  I’ll mention two, and these are very rough comparisons, but they might give some sense of the atmosphere envisioned.

First, think of Disney World but with the different parts of it stacked on top of one another, like a layer cake, at least half mile wide and high, with rapid escalators connecting Epcot and the various parks and the Kingdoms on different levels.  All visitors would be just minutes apart by walking or people movers, various families doing what they liked best, linked by iPhones or whatever and experiencing new things constantly.  Freshness to each moment, but this is a snapshot example.  Few would find this satisfying day after day, year after year, century after century.

Next, consider an absolutely huge shopping mall with hundreds of levels; living and working areas intermixed among community recreational and cultural areas, somewhat more than a half a mile in diameter and a half mile wide.  If this city were on a single level, it would cover twenty five square miles or more, and a similar additional area might be needed for streets and sidewalks, adding in businesses supporting powered transportation.  Instead of “condo” style living, suburban type individual back yards with added landscaping and street access could add still another twenty five square miles.  Neighborhood shops and vacant land could easily take us to a hundred square miles of what Paolo Soleri termed “urban sprawl”.

In effect, Paolo Soleri was talking about earthbound space colonies at a time when interest in solving population problems on earth was being turned to putting cities into space.  His designs excited the world of architecture in a dynamic way for a decade or so, but our culture was so invested in urban sprawl that Soleri’s vision was ignored.

Back to the concept of a “collective consciousness”, in the first part of Soleri’s book, and to my way of thinking by far the most important part, he foresaw pathways to a humankind where high intelligence and aesthetic creativity went hand in hand and compassion united those then living in ways that balanced individuality with needs to interact with others.

In effect, Soleri saw the city as a giant super-organism, which by its integration of living and working space and the interconnectedness of the people within it, caused it to be a physical analogue of the human body itself.  This is why the title of his book is, “The City in the Image of Man”.  He perceived human society at the urban sprawl level as if it were a giant culture dish where life grew and spread in two dimensions, as if it were a colony of microorganisms like algae, loosely connected and somewhat synergistic but requiring vast surface areas in order to survive.

By contrast, Soleri imagined, a giant city utilizing three dimensions vs. two would provide all of its inhabitants with enhanced opportunities for interaction with each other, and specialization in whatever ways their curiosities, talents and desires might incline them, opening far more possibilities for self-realization than the strangulation of urban sprawl in a world of exploding population.  He saw people as potentially being more appreciative of diversity, more apt to be active participants than passive workhorses as at present, able to be part of a dynamic community, than anything we might imagine from simply looking at the past history of how humans have coexisted.

(Linda)  Let me try to put this together in a basic way.  Isn’t it true that if we leave out Terasem’s notion of endless lives and a future where sentient entities transcend biological substrates, Soleri’s concept of a “living city” is so much like Terasem’s vision of a “collective consciousness” that taken together, a lot of the missing picture puzzle pieces come into focus?

(Fred)  True.  In the notes associated with a diagram of this, Soleri says, “If we ever have a superorganism made up of men, men retaining their own uniqueness, then such an organism will be made up of thousands or millions or more brains.  Furthermore, each of those brains will contain a mind, that is to say, will overgovern that power of choice among the endless propositions of the possible, the one-at-a-time performances making the present.  This will be the fundamental distinction between the city and the anthill, the beehive, the termite colony, and so on: not just brains by the score but also minds by the score.

He continues, “The romantic and rugged individualist will speak out immediately about the mindlessness of the human bee-hive.  They might want to glance at the nightmarish suburbia with its six billion individuals; but it is their privilege not to reason about mankind and the staggering logistics it is faced with.”  I feel that here, Soleri is saying, “Those of you who fear living too close to each other might be mainly afraid of how little you differ from the others, than a genuine loss of individuality.  If you have a mind and spirit that are truly unique, you need not fear losing your identity by interacting harmoniously and synergistically with others.”

(Linda)  Fred, I think we’ve taken the terms collective and collectivity as far as we need for the moment.  Can we now integrate that with the other Truths for this week, and summarize the whole of it?

(Fred)  Sure, Linda.  Let’s walk through them, and synopsize each as we go.  They start with, ““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.

Next comes: “Collective: All consciousness anywhere that accept the truths of Terasem are the sum and substance of Terasem.”  That’s just saying that 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.

Moving on, 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 complex, but I’ll try to say it in very plain terms.  Self-esteem is a psychological necessity; indeed it is an essential value for anyone who is a unique individual.  But, suppose everyone else in the world were ‘blind’ to you.  Suppose that for them, you did not exist.  If you were in no way either a value to them or even a danger, then what would this mean in terms of your assessment of yourself, your self-esteem?

The term “worthless” is a very pointed one.  Applied to an individual, it means that the person concerned is of no value to anyone.  Without some kind of connectivity to others, maintenance of self-esteem is not just difficult, but impossible.  Be as selective and value oriented as you might care, but in the end you are either part of a “collective” of some kind or in many ways you “do not exist”.  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.

Now, we come to one of the most essential of all of these Truths, “Collectivity means unity of diversity not mandatory homogeneity.”  This means that no set of rules or standards must 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.

Put in down to earth terms, does this mean being sensitive to and respectful of the feelings of all, except for those who are insensitive and disrespectful of others?  Is it ethical, is there a duty, to “abuse the abuser”?  Perhaps so, perhaps not, but also isn’t it also more accurate to see revenge or vigilante-ism as if it were a polish pistol, with hatred being more injurious those in its grip, than those they hate, in the long run?  These are delicate and thorny questions, but they suggest that 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.

(Linda)  We really needed that, in preparation for the next one, 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”.  How do we reconcile this with the one we just discussed?

(Fred)  Perhaps we could rephrase 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.  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 part, is as follows: “Eternal joyful life for all kind sentience is the glorious goal of our collective consciousness.”

(Linda)  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 go together, so 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.”  How can we tie those two in with what went before?

(Fred)  Let’s cut to a very concrete interpretation.  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.  Those of us who make it to this next level, 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 chatbots can do so simultaneously with hundreds of callers at once.  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.  Beyond that, we might later expect to experience life once again in physical reality, in cities closely following the drawings of Paolo Soleri, but “miniaturized” to fit the scale of our nanobot, sized-down avatars, designed to match our highly accelerated speeds of thought and action.

There’s so much more to say about all these things, but we’re out of time, aren’t we?

(Linda)  We sure are!  This first podcast of the year had to be a bit long, to get us off to a running start, but they’ll be more compact from here on.  Next week, we’ll start talking about Terasem as an organization, and how it’s expected to 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)  To probe further before next week, explore joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net if you think you might want to be right at the heart of this.  “Waking up in cyberspace” can be pursued by way of CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com, no fees to participate.

(Linda)  Something new has been added to augment that, in just the last month or two.  It’s a powerful Android app, free, at terasemcentral.org.  Take the “Personality MD” link.  Tens of thousands of these have been downloaded, and it just keeps growing, every week.

(Fred)  True!  It’s based on the CyBeRev program, but it’s more like a game with a two dimensional display.  You play it right from a smart phone.  It produces evaluations truly unique to you.  You see how your personality traits compare to others’ and even find people in your area who are on the same wavelength.

(Linda)  If you’re not clear about CyBeRev yet, or mindfiles in general, mindclones.blogspot.com is a great place to start.

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

(Linda)  Come with us – into Tomorrow!

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Posted January 7, 2011 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

One response to “Podcast No. 23 – Posted on iTunes 1/3/2011

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  1. Happy 2011 Fred and Linda! I am looking forward to the next podcasts. You have done some great work in 2010, and and I am sure you will do even greater things in 2011 and beyond.

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