Podcast No. 54 Posted 7/11/2011   Leave a comment

Podcast No. 54 Posted 7/11/2011

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TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The “When” of Terasem  4.2 – 4.2.6

SUB TITLE:  Terasem – a Future, Unified Meta-Consciousness.

SUMMARY:  Terasem is a Singularity, hard-science oriented ideology.  It holds, among other things, that a unified consciousness (like most religions visualize) lies in the future, not the past; that such a consciousness did not create us, but will be created by us.   This podcast answers two important questions: (1) “What is a soul?” and (2) “What does ‘rebirth into Terasem’ mean?”

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

(Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 54 on the Truths of Terasem. We’ll be talking about why a unified consciousness lies in the future, not the past and that such a consciousness did not create us, but will be created by us.  Ideas about the Singularity usually focus on what happens with human society as a whole.  Today, we’ll get into areas that affect each of us personally.

(Linda)  That’s right!  We’re about to delve into complex identity issues.  The term “soul” is discussed.  Also, for those just joining the podcast, note that you can review all of the Truths of Terasem online at terasemfaith.net.

(Fred)  Terasem is a Singularity, hard-science oriented network of people who hold, among other things, that a universe like most religions visualize lies in the future, not the past.  To emphasize that, let’s consider two of the Truths that relate to this.  In 5.7.1, we find “Every religion says God, and only God, is all-knowing, all-good and all-powerful.”  Seemingly in conflict, 2.2.2 says, “Earth’s innocently suffering millions is proof that there is nothing omniscient, omnipotent and omnificent today.”

The key word in the second of these Truths is “today”.  Together, the two say: by definition of every religion, including the transreligion Terasem, nothing corresponding to God exists, as yet.  As long as we bear in mind that this deep-seated vision of humankind still awaits creation, we just might get the picture.

(Linda)  The Group of Truths we’re about to discuss starts with:   4.2  “Unconscious dead souls wait but a second for rebirth into Terasem.”  The phrase “wait but a second” doesn’t indicate a literal time frame, does it?  Like a thousand milliseconds, or a million microseconds?

(Fred)  No!  It’s like saying, “in the blink of an eye.  Now, let’s look at the first three words in 4.2; they’re “unconscious – dead – souls”.  What is that supposed to mean?  In what follows, we’ll bring it into focus.

If we said “unconscious human being”, we could visualize a person who had been struck on the head and might reawaken momentarily.  In this case, “unconscious” is a good way to express it.  When an unconscious person regains consciousness, the elapsed time seems like the blink of an eye.

So far, so good, but what do we mean by a “dead soul”?  That’s a little more obscure!  For the purpose of this discussion, we’re going to say that “dead” means nothing more than “unconscious at present”, or rather, “not now experiencing a state of consciousness”.  By “unconscious dead souls wait but a second,” we’re only saying that “the essence of ‘you’ is not lost, but only waiting a reawakening, with no realization of time passing”.

(Linda)  Sounds like two questions still have to be answered, to make sense of this.  (1)  What’s a ‘soul’ supposed to be? and (2) What does ‘rebirth into Terasem’ mean?

(Fred)  We’ll start with ‘soul’.  It’s actually the easiest, since we can point to all the components of it that make sense from the standpoint of what we know about the nature of reality.

In his book We, Robot, Mark Meadows points out that the meme of separation of body and soul probably started over 3000 years ago with Plato.  He says, in his somewhat tongue-in-cheek manner,

“We still think like Plato and the Judeo-Christian guys, who claimed that we had a soul and a body.  Those guys passed it along to us moderns, and these days, even though we have software and hardware, we still think like Plato, who handed it to Jesus who handed it to Bill Gates.  Software’s the new soul.”

(Linda) Michael Perry in Forever for All says very much the same thing, but he expresses it a little differently:

“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.  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.  Cryonics in particular does not deny the existence of the soul in this sense but seeks to capture it in the frozen remains that are preserved, so that in due course it can be restored to a functional form.

“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)  I think we need to expand on that a little, though.  The short scientific list of what makes up a ‘soul’ is more likely to be (1) your genome, (2) your brain wiring diagram, (3) documentation in your mindfiles as to life experiences, values, attitudes, personality profile data, expectations of what the future may hold, etc., and (4) data surviving you in the real world including memories of you in the minds of others, copies of what you have written, said, and so on, including audio recordings and videos.

(Linda)  Some might argue that the “genome” doesn’t count.  Why should it be part of what we mean by the word “soul”?

(Fred)  Most people think of a “soul” as something that might come into existence at the time of conception and provide some kind of personality continuity throughout your life.  Your unique genome does begin its existence at conception, and then it is one of the most stable influences on your life that you can point to, since it plays a central role in modulating your body chemistry, emotional states of reactivity, protecting you from microbiological threats, and so forth.

Together with the impacts of family infrastructure, life experience and attitude formation, your genome is one of the most central aspects of “what’s you”.  If your genome were ‘brought to life’ by cloning at a future time, one could even claim that you “had been born again”.  So, your genome is highly important.

(Linda)  What about the map of neuron interconnections in your brain, where we could say your memories, attitudes and acquired patterns of reactivity are stored?

(Fred) Most people would admit that this is where “what you think of as being you” is most likely to reside.  So, including your brain map seems to make sense.

When we get to mindfile documentation and memories of you in the minds of others, fewer will find this satisfying, as to being part of your “soul”, but consider this:  There is the notion in many religions that there will be a “judgment day”.  What’s being “judged”, here?  Isn’t it the things you’ve done or neglected?  Isn’t it the things you’ve taken accountability for and have either fulfilled or not?

(Linda)  Okay.  But, who would the judges be?

(Fred)  If everyone who had ever known you were to recount their memories of you, would there or would there not be enough to form a picture of you that you would think of as “yourself”, if you were to awaken in cyberspace?  Is it not on the basis of such an idea that others’ recollections of you might be counted as part of your “soul”?  Wouldn’t others’ joint recollections of you and their feelings about what it would be like for you to become part of their community be like a “judgment day”?

Let’s wind up the discussion of ‘soul’ by saying that in terms of a Terasem perspective, your genome and brain map are part of it, and let’s further admit that if you die and these two are not preserved in some way, such as through some form of biostasis, a lot of what might be called your ‘soul’ could quickly go into oblivion.  In that case, all that would be left of your ‘soul’ would be your mindfiles, others’ memories of you, and whatever public information might pertain to you.

We can bring this whole picture together very nicely with a quote by William Sims Bainbridge, Ph.D., from an article published in the Terasem Journals – Moving people into cyberspace, titled: Trajectories to the Heavens:

“As I have discussed extensively in many publications, the best current model for radical transcendence of the human condition, and for interstellar flight, is transfer of human personalities from their current biological substrate to a diverse range of contexts beginning with artificial intelligence information systems. I conceptualize human personalities as dynamic patterns of information, and my professional judgment tells me that informatic and cognitive technologies are approaching the point at which personalities can be transferred to new media. Indeed, I believe that low fidelity copies can be made today, and the fidelity will increase rapidly if we invest in a substantial research effort.

“In a way, electronic personality transfer fulfills the hitherto vain hopes of traditional religions. “Information” is the modern word for “spirit.” Note that information is contained in physical objects, just as the human spirit is contained within the brain, but it is not itself material. Information consists of meaningful relationships between patterns that can be embodied in any number of physical systems. I do not want to push this point too far, because the ancients were ignorant of much of the real world we inhabit, and of the basis by which their own minds operated. But humans have always had an intuition that they were something more than inert matter, and they groped for metaphors to describe a number of perplexing cognitive and emotional perceptions they experienced. Today we have a range of concepts that can better model these subjective but very real phenomena, including “complex adaptive system,” “cybernetics,” and “cognitive science” which links neuroscience with artificial intelligence.”

(Linda)  We’re obviously leaving out any discussion of the flesh body here as being central to, or part of what we call our soul, but merely as vehicles for our souls, or as Meadows says in We, Robot:

“In short, robots, geminoids, androids, and avatars are all functionally, the same.  They are prosthetics for social interaction.”

In fact, culturally we humans, in today’s world, are still mired in the idea that everyone has only one body.  But that notion is about to go out the window with the rush of robotics and AI that are coming at us.  Already, many people today interact across more than one substrate.  Many of us have avatars in Second Life and other virtual realities.  Within a decade or so, we will have even more sophisticated options available to us.

Now, the only thing left to ask is, what do we mean by “rebirth into Terasem”?

(Fred)  For that, let’s plunge directly into the other Truths of Terasem of this podcast.  We’re running low on time, but a lot of context has been put in place, so this should move quickly.

Truth 4.2.1 states, “Second-to-second, one’s uniqueness is preserved in the pattern of consciousness, not in exact states.”  To offer a simple way of looking at this, an innovator in the area of brain research might be enjoying an old movie, at some point in time, but the exact mind-state of activity or inactivity at just that time would not be definitive as to what was most unique or significant about that person.

As we’ve said, one’s uniqueness includes one’s genome as well as one’s brain map, along with past interactions with others of both positive or negative kinds, mindfiles, published writings, etc.

Next we have 4.2.2 “Every soul can be re-instantiated with sufficiently advanced technology.”  In the limit, this means that the slightest shred of characterization can provide the launching platform for an individual’s identity.  This is a fanciful example, but if a cyberperson were to be brought to consciousness as a generic personality, and permitted to “adopt” a formerly living person about whom nothing was known except the data from a tombstone, the adopter-cyberperson could then rapidly search the Internet for what might be a tremendously detailed personal history and record of accomplishments of the person who had lived earlier, and carry on for that person as if there had been only a brief break of consciousness, as if the cyberperson had awakened only one second before.

(Linda) The next Truth, 4.2.3, carries this idea forward with, “Consciousness emulated is consciousness born or reborn.”  If the cyberperson upon emergence into a self-conscious state already had a well detailed sense of who he or she had been, their experience would be as if they were merely re-awakening moments after having died.

This is reiterated in the Truth that follows, 4.2.4 says “Only moments pass for those lying down in apparent death and awakening in emulation heaven.”  The word “apparent” can be taken to mean that ‘you weren’t as dead as you thought you would be’, or ‘as dead as others took you to be’.  ‘Heaven’ means that you would not be awakening into a ‘hell’ of pain and endless torture, but into a cyberspace ‘heaven’ Terasem refers to as ‘joyful immortality’.

(Fred) Moving on, 4.2.5 says, “No one is really dead if they will be resurrected, like all kind consciousness will.”  In the limit, one could imagine a rehabilitation purgatory or something of that kind, as in a Buddhist’s concept of being reborn in a lower form, if necessary, to work through bad karma.  The phrase “like all kind consciousness will” could be inverted to be worded, “like all unkind consciousness will not”.

Finally, 4.2.6 says, “Delight in the fact that good lives live forever in an emulation of your best reality.”  The most enigmatic part of this Truth is “emulation of your best reality”.  One could suggest substituting “bad lives will be permanently absent” for “good lives live forever”, but in the end the purpose of this Truth seems to be to suggest that a filter must be constructed that will either keep out or necessitate rehabilitation of bad personalities and reconciliation of negative personal history and commitment to a different pattern of life, such that the terms “heaven” or “joyful immortality” for such a community would be realistic.

(Linda)  That wraps up our review of this group of Truths, for this podcast, but there’s no question that this is one of the most challenging sets of ideas in the Truths of Terasem, since it bears directly on the personal destiny of each of us, and what personality adaptations are required by those of us who take Terasem’s programs seriously.  Fred, is there any way to come up with a brief set of conclusions about this group of Truths?

(Fred)  Linda, this subject has such depth that I’m sure whole books will need to be written about it, and we’ve barely scratched the surface.  At this point, the most we’re hoping to do is bring these ideas into a broader focus so that they can be discussed more widely, in a meaningful manner.

(Linda)  Our next podcast gets into events that alter the nature of history, such as teaching, and what “victory” means, as it relates to exponential growth in microelectronics and information technology. And how the fastest paths to nanotechnology thrive in a stable society with an optimum blend of diversity and unity.

(Fred)  So, don’t miss next week!  We invite all listeners to join Terasem and help us build a safe, ethical positive outcome of the post-Singularity world we will inhabit in the near future, and perhaps by reaching back from cyberspace a few decades from now, to help others navigate this pathway.

(Linda)  Terasem is presently, and will remain, very much like a “family”.  It’s structured so that no matter how widespread it gets, in the end it will remain a network of small, comfortable groups, where individuality and diversity are given the greatest respect.  It’s easy and costs nothing, as explained at terasemfaith.net.

(Fred)  If the ideas you find here fascinate you as much as they do the rest of us who are involved with Terasem, you can start setting up your own mindfiles right away, through either CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com.  There are no fees for building or storing your mindfile.  If you want to create a BioFile by preserving your DNA, you can do that too, very inexpensively at LifeNaut.com.  And if you want to preserve your brain or your whole body through cryostasis, check out both alcor.org and cryonics.org.

(Linda)  For those of you who love games, Mike Clancy, at Terasem, has created the new mindfile building game for the Android. It’s like a maze.  It’s very fast paced and it is addictive. Here’s the premise: 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’ve 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.  Check it out on PersonalityMD.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) And I’d like to invite everyone to discover, if you haven’t already, my favorite blog:  mindclones.blogspot.com.  Martine Rothblatt will treat you to fascinating discussions about mindclones, mindfiles and mindware that will take you far, far beyond what we are able to just sample lightly in these podcasts.  And you can find the text version of these podcasts at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com.

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

(Linda) Come with us – into Tomorrow!

Closing music – no fade – full length.


Posted July 19, 2011 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

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