Podcast No. 33 Posted 3/14/2011   Leave a comment

Podcast No. 33 Posted 3/14/2011

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TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The “What” is Terasem?  2.1 – 2.1.6

SUB TITLE: Terasem as a “Transreligion” and What that Means.

SUMMARY:  Terasem embraces “belief” the way science embraces “theory and fact”.  At the entry level, its network simply joins those who “join” it with others who accept a set of basic principles of how to relate to others in such a way as to exclude cruelty, slavery, domination of others, conformity by force, and other hangovers of biological evolution at the level of human sentience.  However, Terasem’s principles are in all cases stated as positives such as unity, diversity, joyful immortality, and education persistently.  In other respects, there are commonalities that Terasem shares with almost every religion to such that a need to expand on this exists, and is the subject of this podcast.

Music  – “Earthseed” fades out, as the voice recording begins.

(Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 33 on the Truths of Terasem.  Today we’re going to be talking about Terasem as a ‘transreligion’ and what that means.  It brings together many different areas of belief, without denying any of them except as they insist that their dogma is the only truth and demand that others submit to their way of living.  More simply, Terasem embraces “belief” the way science embraces “theory and fact”.

(Linda)  Then does that mean that Terasem is free of dogma itself, and in no way insists that others submit to its way as the “only way” to live?

(Fred)  It would be pretty crazy if this were not the case, wouldn’t it?  The Truths of Terasem are stated in such fundamental ways that they can sometimes be seriously misinterpreted.  Part of what we’re out to accomplish in these podcasts is prevent such misconceptions.

For example, “collective consciousness” is frequently used in the Truths of Terasem, but the term “collective” evokes pictures of brutal, inhuman suppression of individuality as practiced in Russia after the communists’ 1918 revolution, which forced upon everyone a social system virtually the opposite of what Terasem is out to develop.

(Linda)  Right!  In the movie Doctor Zhivago, a “collective” was used to refer to groups like those who took over the Zhivago’s home, where the arrogant leaders righteously declared, “The personal life is dead.  The only purpose of life is to serve the collective”.  But, Terasem is in pursuit of something entirely different, where diversity is cherished and the goal of life is summarized by a phrase like “joyful immortality for all kind consciousness, where collectivity can in no way be interpreted as ‘mandatory homogeneity’ or anything like that.”

Let me mention one more thing.  It’s very important, because it points out how widespread and abusive ‘mandatory homogeneity’ can be.  Ayn Rand was one of the most vocal opponents of communist collectivism.  Yet when the Nathaniel Brandon Institute was formed to promote her ideas, the insider group was so rigid in their insistence on precise definitions and the use of logic that generally good ideas were treated as if they were dogma.  This tiny network was jokingly referred by those just outside it as “The Collective”, but with a bitter tone of voice.  Open mindedness and flexibility to alternate ways of describing Objectivist principles were suppressed, almost in the way ‘mandatory homogeneity’ was portrayed in Dr. Zhivgo.  The potential for “collectivity” to be corrupted is immense.

(Fred)  We cannot stress that enough, but at the same time, if we don’t have synergistic connections with others, as we’ve pointed out in many of these podcasts, we literally live in a state of social exile, or in a hell of power corrupted as in the old saying, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.  So, we have to filter carefully for positive intersections with others.  If we wish, we can think of a happily married couple, or the warm, loving family that can grow out of that, as a ‘joyful little collective’.  The term “collective consciousness” in this context means that they are very closely in touch, sensing each other’s feelings, imagining what the others are thinking, because of how well they know and love them.  We can’t reject connectivity with others because of the potential for abuse of it.  And, we must not let ourselves be dragged into the exploitive practices of others, because they seem so ubiquitous, so expediently compelling.

(Linda)  OK, so Terasem doesn’t insist that its Truths are to be taken in a dogmatic way.  An example is the specific guidance offered in the practice of daily yoga at four hour intervals.  That’s intended as a way of suggesting what may be helpful in pursuing personal development, at the same time accepting each individual’s limitations and preferences.  With that flexibility in mind, let’s get into the subject matter for today.

We’re starting the second major precept. 2.0 “What is Terasem?”  And this is addressed by the statement, “Terasem is a transreligion that includes all religions the way a forest includes its trees.”  Here it’s helpful to use an interpretation that appears on the Terasemfaith.org website: “Terasem Movement Transreligion is an organization that believes technology will soon enable joyful immortality, including the revival of persons who are documented with digital mind-files. We have faith in Natural Selection to immortalize cyber-consciousness because of its strengths in diversity and unity. Our rituals and liturgy value persistent education. We believe God emerges as technology becomes increasingly omnipresent, omniscient, omnificient and omnipotent. Our purpose is to enjoy life and this requires realizing diversity, unity and God.”

(Fred)  That helps expand on it.  The final sentence has a few terms that need interpretation.  I’ll repeat it before commenting:  “We believe God emerges as technology becomes increasingly omnipresent, omniscient, omnificent and omnipotent. Our purpose is to enjoy life and this requires realizing diversity, unity and God.”

In a recent podcast, we quoted Dr. Mike Perry from his book Forever for All, where he interpreted the word omniscient.  Actually the word he discussed was “omniscience”.  Mike said that he could imagine the possibility of it, but only as it might be approached asymptotically over an infinite period of time.  If we apply a similar qualification to all of the other seemingly transfinite terms in that last sentence, we reach a description that does not conflict with science as we know it.  After all, during an infinite period of time, we can suppose the birth and death of an infinite number of universes, one by one, in a never ending way.  So, terms like “omnipresent, omniscient, omnificent and omnipotent” are easier to contemplate.  And, we’ll treat other terms of that kind the same way, as we encounter them in this podcast and later ones as well.

(Linda)  Qualifications like that are important.  The first Expansion that follows the overall precept is 2.1  “Forest of Terasem means good lives are immortal, and all faiths are welcome in cyber-heaven.”  Again, to quote from the Terasemfaith.org website FAQs, under “Why is TMT a transreligion?” we find “Terasem is a *trans*religion because it transcends all other religions. This means it is consistent with them, and you don’t have to leave any other religion to be a part of the Terasem Movement Transreligion. Also, if you do not feel comfortable with any existing religion, you can still be part of the Terasem Movement Transreligion. This is because Terasem is beyond the scope of all existing religions.”

(Fred)  The key three phrases here are “good lives”, the idea that they “are immortal”, and that “all faiths are welcome”.  Let’s take them in that order.  Elsewhere in the Truths of Terasem the term immortality is associated with the phrase “kind consciousness”.

That helps expands on what a “good life” might be, but then from an informational standpoint, once a life has temporarily ended or, we might say, ‘exists in stasis’, we are still faced with the fact that the possibility of going on, becoming immortal, depends on the information still existing in some combination of a biological mind map, a mind file, in the minds of others, and historical data about the times in which that person lived.

These are the limits we face in the second key phase, “are immortal”.  We are assuming such information is recoverable.  Listeners who would like to delve deeply into this issue of recoverability will find Mike Perry’s book, Forever for All, packed with discussions of this issue, both technical and philosophical.  Finally, “all faiths are welcome” is taken to mean those that seek to elevate and or encourage “kind consciousness”.  A faith like that of the communist collectives, built around a mandate that “the personal life is dead”, will not find a welcome mat upon arrival at the door of a “cyber-heaven”.  We can talk at great length about ways not to exclude anyone or any faith, but the solutions to such ideas, rehabilitation scenarios, must be invented as we go.

Next we have, as the first Element in the Expansion for today, 2.1.1       “Fundamental to every religion is the immortality of the soul, which in Terasem is our consciousness.”  This is particularly good, since it sets a limit on what kinds of faith we will treat as being religious.

The idea of a “soul” affirms individual identity, and “consciousness” further narrows the nature of a soul something that has “consciousness” as one of its capacities.  In the Truths of Terasem we find the term “consciousness” only applies to sentient beings with empathy and ethics.  Within these limits, the idea that souls can be immortal is more plausible.  This also establishes a yardstick for what we will refer to as a religion, and “all faiths will be welcome in cyber-heaven”, means only those faiths that qualify as a “religion”.

(Linda)  We can take that a little further, where the term “soul” is used.  Mike Perry, in Forever for All puts it this way:   “We have firmly discounted the mystical soul or “further fact” that would invalidate psychological reductionism, but the door remains open for a “nonmystical” soul, and indeed, the concept of Interchangeability would seem to require it. A person in effect is a computer program, a chunk of information that could be running on more than one physical device or piece of hardware. So the program becomes the soul.[11] With this interpretation, the soul is certainly not a material object, and, while it can be disrupted and destroyed, it can also be recreated so in effect is capable of surviving death. True, this informational viewpoint could be unacceptable to many theists, who may cling to a strictly mystical concept in keeping with their traditions. But the informational notion of soul does offer at least one way of reconciling an ancient perspective with modern science, and ought to appeal to some who might then be persuaded to take immortalist ideas more seriously.”

(Fred)  That really takes it down to the level of mindfiles!  In 2.1.2 we find “Afterlives differ for good and evil, thus Terasem knows a joyful immortality means only good lives.”  It’s pretty clear that the usual description of Hell could not be interpreted as “joyful immortality”, and however we wish to interpret “evil” it has no place in Heaven.  The very term “Afterlife” is so general as to take in everything, so nothing is left out.  From a biological standpoint the term “Beforelife” is more usually spoken of as the “twinkling in an eye”, meaning an unfertilized ovum on the verge of being fertilized, and “Afterlife” presupposes that life not only has no “end”, but that “there is no end”.  We could spend a lot of time on “good” and “evil”, but we’ve already had a look at those two, so let’s move on to the next Element.

Looking at 2.1.3, we have “Identity migration amongst physical substrates honors Creation by continually bearing witness to its greatness.”  Earlier, we associated identity relevant here to that involving consciousness at a high level, meaning capacities for ethics and empathy.  Sticking to the two most fundamental levels of substrates, biological vs. non-biological, I’d interpret this to mean that as consciousness migrates to non-biological substrates from biological ones, it bears witness to the power of extropy to unfold higher and higher planes of material existence, where the ratio of mass to information contained becomes infinitesimal and the amount of information in finite amounts of material becomes transfinite.

(Linda)   in 2.1.4 we see, “Transferring identity to cyber-substrate is a matter of mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values”.   The very first of Martine Rothblatt’s postings on her blog at mindclones.blogspot.com, dated Thursday, March 19, 2009, goes into this at length, (quote):

“What Are Mindfiles?   A mindfile is the sum of saved digital reflections about you. All of the stored emails, chats, texts, IMs and blogs that you write are part of your mindfile. All of the uploaded photos, slide shows and movies that involve you are part of your mindfile. Your search histories, clicked selections and online purchases, if saved, are part of your mindfile. Your digital life is your mindfile.”

Further into the same blog she says:  “It should be noted that it takes no more effort than a daily hour in the gym to create a purposeful mindfile more reflective of you than the best biography.  For example, in one hour a day, over a period of five years, you would have 2000 hours of your life on video or 100,000 uploaded and described photos. A leading social scientist, William Sims Bainbridge, has created over 100,000 online questions, and associated psychometric analytical software, that he believes represents a person’s entire general set of feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values. Each question asks how positively or negatively you feel about a topic, and how important that topic is to you. Completing just 50 of these a day – about an hour’s effort at most – would complete them all in five years. A daily mindfile workout might consist of a short video, a few uploaded photos and a few Bainbridge questions. After a decade or so, your mindfile would be quite complete.”

All of this can be easily and conveniently done at CyBeRev.org.

(Fred)  There’s a wealth of detail on Martine’s Mindclones blog.  The focus or theme changes with each posting, eventually to be 100, according to Martine’s projection.  The blog dated Sunday, May 3, 2009 is titled:  What Are Mindclones?  And to again quote a bit: “A mindclone is a software version of your mind. He or she is all of your thoughts, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values, and is experiencing reality from the standpoint of whatever machine their mindware is running on. Mindclones are mindfiles being used and updated by mindware that has been set to be a functionally equivalent replica of one’s mind. A mindclone is your software-based alter ego, doppelganger, or mental twin. If your body died, but you had a mindclone, you would not feel that you personally died, although the body would be missed more sorely than amputees miss their limbs.”

She continues, a little further down in the same blog, with:

“Now, it is certainly true that an easy distinction can be drawn between an original identity and that of its mindclone. Simply by virtue of being a copy, the mindclone is not the original, and hence it can be said that the mindclone does not have the same identity as the original. Yet, this is a distinction without significance. It is analogous to claiming that identity changes over time because people grow and acquire new experiences. While there is no doubt that our personality evolves, and our thoughts change, we are still the same person – the same identity.

“So, why is it that we feel an uploaded version of our mind knows that it is an upload, and is thus not really us, whereas an aging version of our mind knows it is different from its youth, but is still definitely us? The reason is our deep-felt bias, based upon our entire human experience, that identity is substrate-specific. Some people take this so far as to believe that transplant recipients, especially of hearts, assume some of the identity of the organ donor.

“With mindcloning we will have our first experience with the technological possibility of substrate-independent identity. It will take some time for society to adapt. Ultimately, though, most people will understand that just as a person’s voice can be in two places simultaneously via telephone, their identity can be in two places simultaneously via mindcloning.”

(Linda)  The same kind of thinking is reflected in Mike Perry’s, Forever for All, where he says:  “But a person, rather than being a static body of information that may exist in multiple copies, is a particular, ongoing process that evolves over time. At any given time this process is resident in a device that stores information, but cannot be identified either with the device or its momentary configuration. Other physical structures could be pressed into service for memory or abandoned as the case may be, and new information could be stored or old information copied or lost. The process does not remain static but changes, as does the information that describes it. Considered as a whole, then, the person is neither a material object nor a specific pattern of information.”

(Fred) The next Element is 2.1.5  “Having multiple transferred identities for a single soul is just as joyous as having many children.”  Here again, it’s hard to improve on what Martine has said.  In her third blog in the series, she says: “Perhaps deciding to have a mindclone is analogous to having a child. Once the child is born, you will always be a parent. Similarly, once a mindclone is created, you will always be a dual-substrate identity. Many parents have little or nothing to do with their offspring, but neither the parent nor the offspring can get the parental relationship out of their mind. Their identity has permanently been altered to include the fact that they are part of a (good or bad) parent-offspring relationship. Analogously, even if a mindclone parts ways with their original, neither will ever be able to forget the fact that someone else with their same mind exists. The creation of a cognitive doppelganger is an identity-altering experience.”

(Linda) Again, Perry’s thinking in Forever for All, follows this same line of thought:  “That a copy of you is you may not seem at all intuitive–for example, it raises the issue of what would follow if there were two or more functioning copies in existence. Do we have several individuals or one? The position I adopt, as suggested above, is that exact copies (more generally, equivalently functioning copies) constitute one individual only, though in multiple instantiations. (I hope the longer term instantiation will be clearer than instance, which is sometimes used in philosophical discussions of objects that are separate but alike or equivalent.[6] I will use instantiation mainly to refer to a person-replica or, more generally, any physical process that emulates the person for an interval of time. Such a process will be considered equivalent and interchangeable with other similar or replica processes.) If significant differences arise, however, then different individuals are involved; thus it is possible for one person to fission into more than one, all of whom would share a common past.

“A person, on the other hand, could be described (a person-stage could be specified) by some digital record of finite length, encoded, say, as a long string of bits. In principle then, it would be possible to guess an arbitrary, finite bit string and thus arrive at a description of any person who ever lived. Technology of the future, and particularly a mature nanotechnology, could presumably, working from this description, then bring the corresponding living person into existence by creating and setting in motion an appropriate instantiation. This then is a way that a vanished person of the past could be resurrected.”

(Fred)  We’re near the end, with 2.1.6 “Souls will be reanimated via mindware and mindfiles because it is doable, respectful and completes Terasem.”  We’re a little over our time limit, so rather than use some of the additional material from either Martine’s mindclone blog or Mike Perry’s book, both of which are almost wingtip to wingtip conceptually, let’s discuss a few essentials in harmony with the Truths of Terasem, including a note or two about other things to keep in mind.  If you don’t have all the ingredients, you can’t bake the cake.

There’s a clear assumption here that we have mindfiles and mindware that work.  The assumption of workable mindware is as clearly plausible as the vision of early rocket scientists that humans would eventually get to the moon.  Anyone who’s not on that page will have difficulty with everything else we say here.

The other assumption, that we will have mindfiles, is more complex.  We will have mindfiles to the extent that they are collected and archived, awaiting the existence of appropriate mindware.  To the extent that mindfiles are not archived in a meaningful way, the starting point for using mindware becomes more and more diminished.  Still, the level of mindfiles needed to launch a clearly unique identity will dwindle, at the same time that creating elaborate mindfiles becomes more common, so it is still plausible to conjecture that we will “give everyone a chance”, in the end, and let how things go from there sort out what the results will be.

Let’s take a very simple scenario.  We’re down to the point of working with nothing more than inscriptions on tombstones.  What do we have?  Name and dates of birth and death.  We put this in to “resurectamat-google”, and it autogenerates, cross checks, and confirms a reasonably detailed biography and a relatively noise –free nuclear-personality profile.  Inquiries are autogenerated to any who might have known the person or have knowledge of them, and from the trace of times and places lived along with any known preferences that can be imputed from the biographical data, a unique “what it was like to have lived here and there, then and later in my life” memory of earlier times is constructed.  John A.S.A.P Smith awakens in a welcome zone of cyberspace and receives an introduction to future cybersociety, surrounded by the most curious of those who responded to the inquiries.  He or she is “back”, for all intents and purposes.

Does this sound absurdly simplistic?  So did the idea of putting a fourth of July skyrocket under a man and shooting him to the Moon, before it was done.  Visit any space museum where you can get a good look at a Saturn V primary stage launch vehicle, and reflect on how big a skyrocket was placed beneath the Apollo spacecraft and its Centaur Second Stage booster.  Robert Goddard’s dream came true.  So will these dreams we’re talking about in the Truths of Terasem.

(Linda)  That’s inspiring!  We can squeeze in a few minutes more.  Give us a little more of what Martine Rothblatt sees ahead for us.

(Fred)  Okay!  Here goes.  From Martine’s posting number two on Wednesday, April 8, 2009, titled “WHAT IS MINDWARE?”

“Mindware is operating system software that (a) thinks and feels the way a human mind does, and (b) sets its thinking and feeling parameters to match those discernable from a mindfile. Mindware relies upon an underlying mindfile the way Microsoft Word relies upon a textfile. When appropriate parameters are set for mindware it becomes aware of itself and a cyberconscious entity is created.

“The richness of the cyberconscious entity’s thoughts and feelings are a function of its source mindfile. In the extreme case of no mindfile, the mindware thinks and feels as little as a newborn baby. If the mindware’s parameters are set haphazardly, or shallowly, a severely dysfunctional cyberconsciousness will result. In the normal case, however, of mindware having access to a real person’s mindfile, the resultant cyberconsciousness will be a mindclone of that person. It will think and feel the same, have the same memories, and be differentiated only by its knowledge that it is a mindclone and its substrate-based different abilities.”

(Linda)  Onward and upward!  Next week, we’ll be delving even more deeply into far reaching concepts.  The Expansion leads off with 2.2 “Omniscience, omnipotence and omnificience are what uniquely define God”.  After this, we find that the underlying Elements focus on how much unlike that our situation is, as yet, and what kind of stretch of the imagination it will take to conceive of getting there.  We’ll also look more deeply into ways of interpreting these transfinite ways of describing where we’re headed.  Join us for that adventure, where,  near the end, we’ll encounter  2.2.5 “Nanotechnology and geoethics are the tools for expanding Terasem into universe-wide omniscience, omnipotence and omnificence.”  This is going to be a far-out trip.

(Fred)  And you don’t have to wait until next week.  Probe further by seeing what’s involved with joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net.  Or, register to begin the process of “Waking up in cyberspace” by setting up your mindfiles for  at CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com, no fees to participate.   Or, go to PersonalityMD.com, for the powerful new Android app that’s more like a game.  And, if you want to save your biofile, your DNA, you can do that, too, at LifeNaut.com.

(Linda) Right!  And if you still have questions about mindfiles, mindclones, and mindware, you can find some very stimulating discussion of these subjects at mindclones.blogspot.com.

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

(Linda)  Come with us – into Tomorrow!

Closing music – no fade – full length.

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Posted April 3, 2011 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

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