Podcast No. 36 Posted 4/04/2011   Leave a comment

Podcast No. 36 Posted 4/04/2011

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TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The “What” of Terasem  2.4 – 2.4.6

SUB TITLE:  Terasem is a transreligion.

SUMMARY:  The continuing theme here, building upon the last few, is that Terasem is not just another religion, but a movement to find sufficient common and valid ground to unite all of them that have some fundamental merit.  And, rather than dispute any on the basis of lack of merit, leave it to science and natural selection to settle differences.

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

(Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 36 on the Truths of Terasem.  The continuing theme here, building upon the last few, is that Terasem is not just another religion, but a movement to find sufficient common and valid ground to unite all of them that have some fundamental merit.  And, rather than dispute any on the basis of lack of merit, leave it to science and natural selection to settle differences.

(Linda)  That doesn’t sound very “religious” at all, to me.  It sounds like an old Roman coliseum where the gladiator who survives is the victor.  And yet in the heading to this Truth, we find 2.4, “Exclusively a transreligion is Terasem, so don’t leave your religion, for there is no battle.”  What am I missing?  It sounds like a battlefield, to me.

(Fred)  I know, and perhaps the confusion is in the word “transcend”.  In one of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos episodes, Number Three to be specific, he describes the life of Johannes Kepler, who he describes as the last of the prescientific astrologers, and the first of the scientific astronomers who later have brought us to the understanding we have of the Cosmos.  From even a brief review of religions, we can see strengths they all share, and areas in which they have vast, conflicting, underlying dogmas.  The same was true of astrologers in that they all did make careful observations of the stars and planets, but they each had their own, in most cases secretive, cookbooks for how to interpret what they saw.

The terasemfaith.org website says the following: “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.”

Terasem sees the common ground of merit, the focus on devising rules of morality and ethics which bring about unity, and building warm networks of interrelationships among their members.  These are principles that are at the roots of what we call “civilization”, and they have deep roots in human nature.  Terasem’s approach is to encourage all to find common value and let that override the differences, with a view to encouraging all to reexamine their own foundations of belief and update them in terms of what we know about reality.

Many religious people staunchly resisted the idea of evolution as discovered by Darwin and Wallace.  Some still do, but many others can accept these findings of science and thereby expand their common ground.  In like manner, Terasem’s goal is to promote the retention of belief where common ground is most likely to exist, with the idea that the more of this we find, the less reliance will be placed in areas where age-old dogmas stand in the way of value sharing.

(Linda)  Okay, let’s move right into the first Element in this expansion, 2.4.1, “Battle disbelief, and battle discord, but do not battle the forest that protects us all.”  Maybe that means don’t give up on curing aging, just because it has not yet been accomplished, but at the same time keep the door open to all other likely avenues for pursuing endless life, even where in the past there have been strong debates about which of them are likely to be possible, disputes that simply divide us.  In a way, isn’t there something a little like a “religious” level of belief in the idea that we will someday repair biological brains that have been in cryostasis?  And isn’t there an equivalent paradigm about “uploading” patterns in scanned brains, bordering on “belief” vs. “proof of concept” at this point?  I know we’re supposed to be talking about religions that are more widespread and large scale, like Catholicism and Mormonism, but aren’t a lot of transhuman ideas more similar to beliefs yet to be validated, than they are to arguments over reliability and safety?

(Fred)  Sure, there, the “forest that protects us all” is the network that allows us to retain our beliefs, accept the diversity of them, and still maintain unity of recognition and synergism toward a common goal.  If you want to compare current differences of belief among life extensionists and transhumanists, with differences of belief that brought about the holy wars of the past, stretching back to the days of the pharaohs, you’d find those conflicts very civilized, in many cases a lot more so than still-existing disputes between more traditional religions.

(Linda)  The next Truth here is 2.4.2 “Adopt Terasem as your transreligion and you will experience the pull of joyful immortality”.  There is a passage in Mike Perry’s book, Forever for All, that fits very well, here:

“As a scientific enterprise aimed at conquering death, the modern immoralist movement is largely a product of the twentieth century, but it has far earlier precedents.  These reveal the persistence of a dream, an enduring vision of life’s potential, which must be realized by whatever means will work.  The findings of modern science do not destroy this dream, but, as we have seen, may at last furnish the means of its realization.

“Humankind wants to be immortal.  Roots of immortalism stretch well into prehistoric times, as is suggested, for example, by the burial of artifacts such as hunting implements with the dead.  In more recent though ancient times, the feeling flowered into major religions that promised the sought-for immortality and a happy future existence.  More advanced thinking resulted in Universalism – the opinion held by some that all would be saved and restored in the end, evil natures being cured and rendered benevolent without altering them into “different” identities or subjecting them to eternal punishment.”

(Fred)  That’ great.  Moving on, in 2.4.3 we find, “Treat all great religions with respect for they teach monotheism, individualism, solidarity, goodness, afterlife and Sabbath,” and in 2.4.4 there is something very similar, “Treat all great prophets with respect for they were touched by the future Terasem.”  The above two can be taken together, for the purpose of this podcast, and there is another quote from Mike Perry’s Forever for All that pulls it together:

“The philosophical system offered in this book is no bolt from the blue but has precedents that are recognized under various names (Supramoralism of Federov, “natural salvation” of C.A. Stevens, and the Omega Point Theory of Frank Tipler).  Essentially, the stance of these and others, which I have adopted also, is to recognize the great strengths contained in traditional religious views of the significance of life and of what ought to be our destiny. 

At the same time, however, we also acknowledge the weakness of the religious position on how the vision of our destiny, so extravagant yet so necessary, is to be realized.  What their writings suggest, and I affirm more boldly – paraphrasing Gerald Gruman in his study of the prolongevity hypothesis – is to replace the important promises of traditional religion with equivalent promises based on science and progress.”

(Linda)  There’s a wording in 2.4.5 that seems a bit abstract, it’s “Links from the future Terasem to the past and present help to accelerate our progress.”  Is this one so similar to the one you just finished, that the same quote from Forever for All might apply?

(Fred)  Maybe, but it also means that a firm understanding of what we envision Terasem becoming will better prepare us to bring that vision into being, more quickly.  It is the very fabric of society as it now exists, to the extent that this fabric has value, that must survive into the Singularity.  It is not sufficient for only individuals to survive, or individuals who get there only by casting aside all of their earlier networks, within one, huge undifferentiated Terasem “collective consciousness”.

The very groups which are our extended families, every facet of our affiliations with others that retain meanings, right down to a sport fan’s attachment to one team vs. another, we must take all of that along with us into the cyber-communities that we will someday inhabit, to the extent that these sub-networks can be meaningful there.

Terasem does not desire in any way to replace one’s existing affiliations.  It simply seeks to help unite them and build higher harmony, to the extent it can contribute to that.  The “future” Terasem, that we are now just starting to build, will not merely help carry us into cyberspace as people who “know who we are”, as individuals.  It will help us carry along with us into that marvelous civilization all of our links to others, and the organizations which with us they now comprise, especially the religions, as one intact, harmonious, society.

(Linda)  That makes sense.  And, it’s beautiful.  In 2.4.6 the message is “Expect not all religious leaders to understand Terasem, for even bright lights leave some shadows.”  In the context of what we were just talking about, it may be that some religions feel that “we are the only true one, of all the religions”, and the idea that “our specific beliefs and dogmas are the only ones that can be tolerated by our God”, may stand in the way.  And, it isn’t only the religious leaders who will resist Terasem; it is the greater mass of thinking beings.  Mike Perry fills many pages of his book Forever for All with discussions of this problem.  He asks the question: “How can people be so little interested in scientific approaches to eliminate death?” and he continues with:

          “Here I think we should suspect a selection process –natural or biological selection coupled with social and cultural tendencies that favor certain attitudes and behavior over others.  Paradoxically, it would seem that indifference to the prospect of physically addressing the problem of death has historically promoted survival of the human species, and of certain cultural subgroups especially.  Research in social psychology supports this conclusion, particularly the “terror management” theory of Sheldon Solomon and associates.  This theory, on which some of the following discussion is based, explains a wide variety of social behavior and has interesting experimental support. “

It’s hard to condense the “terror management” theory to just a few sentences.  We highly recommend that listeners go to truthsofterasem.wordpress.com, click on the Forever for All tab, go to Chapter 3, and get a far better and complete introduction to this theory than we can give you here.  But just to give a very concise idea of what the “terror management” theory is about, here are a few more short quotes from Perry’s book:

“It is hard to play (any game) at your best if you are certain you will lose the game, that your defeat must be so total and final you will never play again.  It is especially hard when the game is no passing fancy but is literally the whole of your existence.  The knowledge of mortality thus becomes a major stumbling block for the human species, a unique problem created, paradoxically, by the most powerful instrument of survival that ever evolved, the intellect.  As a problem it transcends the powers of the individual, so that forces outside oneself must be brought to bear.  Historically these involved surrounding society or culture.”

“Culture plays an important role in the problem of anticipating one’s own death, establishing an anxiety buffer to shield against terror and despondency.”

“The cultural anxiety buffer – the shielding sense of self-worth provided by participation in one’s culture – typically draws on religious or philosophical systems.  These offer survival – in some form – beyond the biological limits, or a worldview in which one’s endless survival is not so important and death is not to be feared.  With such a psychological bulwark, people are relieved of much of the burden of concern over their own mortality.  When the unpleasant subject does intrude, a natural response is to strengthen the anxiety buffer by defending or upholding one’s culture.”

“In the case of a religion, for example, the culture serves as an authority figure to legitimize and lend confidence to whatever beliefs of an arbitrary character (belief in specific deities for instance) that vary widely from culture to culture.  Belief can be more strongly held within a group than by a lone individual.  Thus most people are strongly dependent on their culture for the anxiety buffer that guards them against the terror of death and makes life worth living.”

(Fred)  Those quotes from Mike Perry’s book help us better see the delicacy of how individual minds relate to the groups with which they interconnect.  The balance between being an isolated individual and a “me-too” conformist is difficult to maintain, and therefore it is of the greatest importance.  (pause)  Next week, we’ll launch into discussing why Terasem holds “consciousness” to be sacred, and why the philosophy that science will conquer death, is a basic Terasem belief.

(Linda)  To probe further before next week, particularly to prepare for the topics Fred just mentioned, find out more about joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net. Your adventure into cyberspace can be pursued by way of CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com, no fees to participate.  And if you want to preserve your DNA very inexpensively, you can do that at LifeNaut.com, too.

(Fred)  If you have an Android, be sure to check out the powerful new app developed by Mike Clancy, at Terasem, described at PersonalityMD.com.  The number of downloads of this Android app are truly amazing, and it’s one of the most highly rated programs on the system.  Downloading just continues to outpace our earlier projections.

(Linda)  Visualize this – Terasem’s powerful mindfiles program, CyBeRev, has been translated into a new maze based game for the Android that you may find surprisingly addictive. It works very well on a touch screen device and, in fact, it’s a very natural match for the new Android tablets coming out – it will take advantage of the larger screen resolutions to generate bigger and even more intricate mazes. Right now, the difficulty ramps up pretty quickly with multiple layers, “motor neurons”, plaques that obstruct your path and macrophages to hunt you down.

(Fred)  Here’s the premise from the introduction to the app: “You are an artificial intelligence charged with controlling a nanobot inside a human brain. The brain belongs to a person who has just been resuscitated after being cryonically stored for almost 50 years. You have been chosen because, ironically, the person being restored to life is the same person on whom you (the AI) were based! Their mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values were recorded and stored with the CyBeRev project and later coupled with mindware to create your digital persona”.

(Linda) And if you still need to blow a few more of your neurons, go to   mindclones.blogspot.com for fascinating discussions about mindclones, mindfiles and mindware.  And if you want to read the text of our podcasts, to help to dig deeper into the details, and maybe find websites that you weren’t able to write down, go to truthsofterasem.wordpress.com.

(Fred)  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 future…

(Fred)  Come with us – into Tomorrow!

Closing music – no fade – full length.

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Posted April 24, 2011 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

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