Archive for February 2012
Podcast No. 91 Posted 02/28/2012
Download Directly or Listen via CyBeRev at:
TITLE: Truths of Terasem – The “Who” of Terasem 1.10-1.10.6
SUB TITLE: Expansion of Terasem
SUMMARY: Terasem’s goal is to expand its principles of positive networking with rapid yet safe technological growth so as to attract into its network those with a high inclination for further fostering such networking and growth, spreading throughout the Cosmos. One key principle, for example is the avoidance of destructive competition.
Music – “Earthseed” fades out, as the voice recording begins.
(Fred) Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 91 on the Truths of Terasem. Here, we’re going to focus on the expansion of Terasem in the widest sense of that term. The journey starts with 1.10: “Endogamous offspring such as cyber-communities will grow inside Terasem until the universe is endogenous to Terasem.”
(Linda) That’s inspiring. With all the bad stuff that’s happening in our world, and even just a glimmer of what Terasem is all about, one can see how important it is for the Terasem collective consciousness and the Terasem ideals to permeate our culture. If they don’t, homo sapiens are not likely to exist much longer.
(Fred) A simple way to envision how this could work would be to imagine a carbon atom having the goal of attracting as many carbon atoms as possible to join it in forming a network of diamond lace that is everywhere throughout the universe and has been assembled so that the weave of the latticework of lace makes it impossible to destroy, yet it does not necessarily take carbon away from other networks; it enables other carbon atoms to link with it in such a way that their freedom to link with other atoms is otherwise not restricted.
Thinking in terms of people instead of carbon atoms, the first element of this Expansion, 1.10.1 tells us: “It only takes one soul, of any vitology, to start a Terasem center of critical consciousness.” This means that the choice to join Terasem is a totally individual one, anyone can do it, and joining only necessitates the recognition of Terasem’s most basic principles.
(Linda) The next is 1.10.2: “Nothing can stop the relentless spread of intelligence through the universe.” This is very general, but I’d take it to be just one step up the extropy ladder from saying that biological life will spring into existence given a very wide range of starting environments, and then has the potential to develop intelligence. James Gardner, in his book The Intelligent Universe: AI, ET and the Emerging Mind of the Cosmos says it this way:
“…we and other living creatures throughout the cosmos are part of a vast, still undiscovered transterrestrial community of lives and intelligences spread across billions of galaxies and countless parsecs who are collectively engaged in a portentous mission of truly cosmic importance. Under the Biocosm vision, we share a common fate with that community—to help shape the future of the universe and transform it from a collection of lifeless atoms into a vast transcendent mind.”
(Fred) Once we reach a sufficient intelligence plateau, the possibility of escaping the planet of our origin exists. So long as there are no electric fences out there in the vast reaches of the Universe that we cannot cross, we should be able to spread our own intelligence throughout the Cosmos. It’s only a matter of time, but that’s a subject for a different podcast. Without Geoethical Nanotechnology as described by Terasem, an intelligent and technological species is more likely to destroy itself than to survive. That’s a subject we will elaborate on in a different podcast, too. But, based on that premise, we can have confidence that, as Terasem expands throughout the universe, other intelligent and technological cultures we encounter will have developed principles so compatible with those of Terasem that there will be no difficulty in finding common ground, uniting and expanding outward together.
(Linda) Now let’s move on to 1.10.3 “Self-replicating systems are the key to wrapping intelligence around the universe.” Well, that sounds pretty reasonable. The foundation of all biological life is self-replicating systems: all living cells, including viruses and bacteria.
(Fred) In his book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Ray Kurzweil gives us one intriguing scenario for using self-replicating systems to spread intelligence throughout the cosmos. To do it justice, we need to quote several long paragraphs. Linda, why don’t we alternate in reading this.
(L) Sure. Why don’t you go first.
(F) Okay. “Once we do expand our intelligence beyond the solar system, at what rate will this take place? The expansion will not start out at the maximum speed; it will quickly achieve a speed within a vanishingly small change from the maximum speed (speed of light or greater). Some critics have objected to this notion, insisting that it would be very difficult to send people (or advanced organisms from any other ETI civilization) and equipment at near the speed of light without crushing them. Of course, we could avoid this problem by accelerating slowly, but another problem would be collisions with interstellar material. But again, this objection entirely misses the point of the nature of intelligence at this stage of development.
(Linda) “Early ideas about the spread of ETI through the galaxy and universe were based on the migration and colonization patterns from our human history and basically involved sending settlements of humans (or, in the case of other ETI civilizations, intelligent organisms) to other star systems. This would allow them to multiply through normal biological reproduction and then continue to spread in like manner from there. But as we have seen, by late in this century nonbiological intelligence on the Earth will be many trillions of times more powerful than biological intelligence, so sending biological humans on such a mission would not make sense. The same would be true for any other ETI civilization. This is not simply a matter of biological humans sending robotic probes. Human civilization by that time will be nonbiological for all practical purposes.
(Fred) “These nonbiological sentries would not need to be very large and in fact would primarily comprise information. It is true, however, that just sending information would not be sufficient, for some material-based device that can have a physical impact on other star and planetary systems must be present. However, it would be sufficient for the probes to be self-replicating nanobots (note that a nanobot has nanoscale features but that the overall size of a nanobot is measured in microns). We could send swarms of many trillions of them, with some of these “seeds” taking root in another planetary system and then replicating by finding the appropriate materials, such as carbon and other needed elements, and building copies of themselves. Once established, the nanobot colony could obtain the additional information it needs to optimize its intelligence from pure information transmissions that involve only energy, not matter, and that are sent at the speed of light. Unlike large organisms such as humans, these nanobots, being extremely small, could travel at close to the speed of light.
(Linda) “Another scenario would be to dispense with the information transmissions and embed the information needed in the nanobots’ own memory. That’s an engineering decision we can leave to these future superengineers. The software files could be spread out among billions of devices. Once one or a few of them get a “foothold” by self-replicating at a destination, the now much larger system could gather up the nanobots traveling in the vicinity so that from that time on, the bulk of the nanobots sent in that direction do not simply fly by. In this way, the now established colony can gather up the information, as well as the distributed computational resources, it needs to optimize its intelligence.”
(Fred) That’s a fascinating example, and of course, there would be many others, but unfortunately we don’t have time here to explore then all. In 1.10.4 we find “Instill the principles of Geoethics in all self-replicating systems.” As Ray Kurzweil, Eric Drexler, and so many others involved with nanotechnology have pointed out so clearly, to be effective, nanometer-sized machines need to come in the trillions. The only way to achieve this economically is by letting the machines build themselves. But that requires that they have geoethics built into those little buggers. And, fortunately, that will be possible, as Allen and Wallach have made happily clear in their wonderful book, Moral Machines:
“There is little evidence that moral decision making in humans follows any formal procedure. Most decision making is somewhat messy, drawing on emotions, moral sentiments, intuitions, heuristics in the form of automated responses, rules and duties, and perhaps some explicit valuation of utility or expected outcomes. Future moral agents (artificial intelligence programmed with moral decision making abilities) may consider a broader array of proposals, objections, and supporting evidence than a human agent can, and thereby, perhaps, select a more satisfactory course of action than many humans.”
(Linda) I can tell you, that book helped me sleep better at night! From there, we continue to 1.10.5 “Diversity is the fruit of endogeny in the nursery of Terasem.” As we know, diversity is fundamental to biological evolution. So this fits perfectly with the introduction to this expansion which says: “Endogamous offspring such as cyber-communities will grow inside Terasem until the universe is endogenous to Terasem.”
(Fred) If we have adequately provided for Geoethical Nanotechnology and then move outward into the Cosmos, networking successfully with all other conscious species we find, meaning those with empathy and ethics, that means we have to be virtually unrestricted in our abilities to appreciate and respect all of them, to find value in their own particular histories of passing the technological Singularity.
(Linda) In other words, we absolutely have to avoid poisonous behaviors like discrimination and domination! Only by embracing every diverse kind consciousness can we hope to fulfill the destiny the Truths of Terasem have envisioned as being possible!
(Fred) Right! Or, I might even say, “Right on!” We wind up this week’s podcast with 1.10.6: “Encourage the formation of Terasem centers of critical consciousness (c-cubes) everywhere.” I love that! It’s a message that we can give everyone. Join Terasem and become a member of a center of critical consciousness, yourself! The degree to which you expand on that is up to you, but we encourage you to expand on it boundlessly and endlessly, forever. As we said in the last podcast:
“In 1.9.5 we find, “Life is not what you are made of but is what you make of it.” If you see the essentiality of empathy and ethics to what Terasem calls consciousness, this enables you to take these two aspects of your life more seriously. Being self-conscious, you are the steering wheel of your life, and the roads you take will determine your destiny to a large extent. In Michael Perry’s Forever for All, he states this as (quote), “Our basic and, in my view, unlimited worth lies not so much in what we are or have been but in what we can become.”
(Linda) Next week, we’re going on to the next section of the Truths of Terasem which cover WHAT is Terasem. We will answer the question: Why is Terasem called a “transreligion”? And we will look deeply into the subjects of immortality, identity migration, and transferring personal identity to a cyber-substrate.
(Fred) Find out how to join Terasem and become a member of a center of critical consciousness. Go to terasemfaith.net so you can be right at the heart of this. And Martine Rothblatt’s blog, mindclones.blogspot.com, answers all your questions about mindfiles.
(Linda) To get a running start on building your own mindfile, go to either CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com, and remember, there are no fees to participate. For a fun and easy way to build your mindfiles, check out the powerful Android app at Personality MD.com. Tens of thousands of these have been downloaded, and it just keeps growing, every week.
(Fred) If you like the music we use on these podcasts, which runs full length at the end of each podcast, it’s the Terasem Anthem, called Earthseed, written by Martine Rothblatt. She also plays flute and keyboard. For a video version of Earthseed, go to the Join! tab on the terasemfaith.net website.
(Linda) It’s going to be spectabulous at the end of the yellow brick road, so… Join us, on our quest for an endless and joyful future…
(Fred) Come with us – into Tomorrow!
Closing music – no fade – full length.
Podcast No. 90 Posted 02/21/2012
Download Directly or Listen via CyBeRev at:
TITLE: Truths of Terasem – The “Who” of Terasem 1.9 – 1.9.6
SUB TITLE: The Dimensions and Levels of Life – Vitology
SUMMARY: Across many different substrates for consciousness there will be different levels with much in common, and variations in destiny for each. Terasem uses the term “vitology” to describe this zone of existence, which is fundamentally different from the non-living matter, which as far as we can tell was all that existed at the inception of the Universe.
Music – “Earthseed” fades out, as the voice recording begins.
(Fred) Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 90 on the Truths of Terasem. Today we’re going to talk about the term vitology, as Terasem uses it, and what that means in terms of the most general interpretation of sentient consciousness. It’s significant to me that one of Terasem’s Founders has chosen the Second Life name, “Vitology Destiny”.
(Linda) That helps set the stage for what follows! We start with 1.9: “Vitals transcend biological and cybernetic consciousness, including all entities with maturing autonomy, communication and transcendance.” Looking at this without immediately attempting to distinguish the word “vitals” from “vitology”, we find that the Terasem view of life is that it is fundamentally information based.
(Fred) We could go back to that earlier podcast in which Erwin Schrodinger speaks of DNA (which his work helped to foster the discovery of) as an incredible packing of information in an “aperiodic” crystal. Back in 1943, he deduced the general principle of negative entropy, now more frequently referred to as extropy.
(Linda) Dr. Michael Perry, in his book Forever for All, has some fascinating thoughts about how fundamental information is to life and identity.
“Matter is actually a form of energy, as Einstein showed us, energy contained in a holding pattern. Matter is needed to record information. Matter thus serves as the map for territory composed of information. Since information can be copied, it can survive the destruction of the matter that records it. If it fails to survive, however, it can eventually be recreated. This we would expect to hold even if the laws of physics alter with time so that the ‘same’ matter is no longer possible. If information processing became impossible due to changing physical conditions, even including a change in physical laws, the situation might be salvaged if once more the processing could happen again, even if in another universe entirely.
“Information thus has a permanence that makes it more real, in an ultimate sense, than the material world that is needed to map it. Information, we might say, is the ultimate, enduring substrate of reality. This point of view, it will be seen, in no way contradicts materialism. Information always requires a material substrate for its expression. No mystical essence is needed that is outside the reality that physics reveals to us. Yet I think we can see, in the information paradigm, the basis for a deeper meaning in life than was suspected traditionally by materialists.”
(Fred) That’s far reaching, all right. We view the momentary state of organization of our neurons as an information pattern, dynamically changing moment to moment, literally an internal flow of information, some of which reaches the outside world by means of what we say and do, but much of which serves to self-modify our brains as we think and reflect on our experiences, thus we literally are information in a dynamic state.
(Linda) And, the Terasem mindfiles point of view suggests that we can externalize enough of this in a relatively straightforward way to enable a continuer of ours as described in the last podcast to survive if our current instantiation, as Dr. Perry would call us, is otherwise lost.
(Fred) For these reasons, Terasem ascribes a state of biostasis to one’s mindfiles, meaning a potentially re-emergent or resurrected personality, at a future time. And, at such a time, with frequent backup of mindfiles, any such thing as death would become meaningless, since reemergence with a very slight step backward in life experience would put one back in the game almost instantaneously.
(Linda) A more common use of the term biostasis is to refer to a person in cryonic suspension. But that raises an interesting conundrum. Due to the higher state of fidelity in one’s continuer that this might permit vs. the limited and static information in the cryopreserved instantiation, the wait for biological reanimation may not be worth it if things are changing so fast that a delay of even years may amount to a loss of centuries of subjective time in the cybercommunity in which that person could have been a part.
(Fred) With that as background, let’s get down to the specific Truths for this week, which start with 1.9.1: “Vitological life is a continuum of diverse consciousness from biological to cybernetic.” That basically says that consciousness exists at many levels within the sphere of biological lives, but the same will be true in the cybernetic world. Even there, we may find as wide a range of consciousness as we now perceive in individuals within any given biological species. It’s an awesome outlook concerning what we see coming.
(Linda) Another quote from Michael Perry helps give us a picture of how wide that landscape is:
“If information is to be regarded as the real, enduring substrate of reality, as our argument suggests, it lends further confidence to the principle of Interchangeability. Different instantiations of persons may be materially distinct, but if they are identical on informational grounds, they can rightly be regarded as redundant images, as mutual backups of a single mentality.”
(Fred) There is enough depth in just that observation, much less all the paragraphs that precede and follow it, that we have to move on, with the recommendation that listeners who want more details will find it online in the Forever for All tab at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com.
(Linda) Yes, Perry explores these subjects in awesome depth, and yet, it is so readable that I can’t imagine anyone finding it to be anything but a real page turner! Like an action novel, but better! Next we have 1.9.2, “Information coded in DNA makes biological life inherently cybernetic because it is an extrapolation of code.” That’s so evident when you think about it we go back to Schrodinger’s calling DNA (before it was given that name) an “aperiodic crystal”, and saying that only in biological life do we encounter anything remotely like that complexity of information in nature. Nowhere else! Only in life!
(Fred) Michael Perry takes digital interpretations of life to an even higher level in his book, Forever for All. There, he says:
“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.”
(Linda) That takes us back to the last couple of podcasts where we talked about the Ti of I and the Qi of I. Seeded by just a little knowledge of a person, such an approach suggests optimization processes such as are already widely used in noise removal from digital images. Amazingly well focused and noise-free photographs are derived from what appear to be faint blurs by reinforcing patterns and removing those with chaotic signatures. We are certainly just at the beginning of seeing how these things will work, but someday we will wonder why we were so reluctant to expect them.
(Fred) The next Element is 1.9.3: “Teaching via software makes cybernetic life inherently biological because it is an extrapolation of flesh experience.” A self-conscious cyberbeing with vast memory could gain the power of language in the same way a small child does, but very rapidly, and then learn to think logically the same way a human gets this by taking science and philosophy courses and so forth. Much of what we learn in schools is obtained through laborious struggling to memorize facts, where all the time so invested by biological people is saved in the case of the cyberbeing, who memorizes the texts, takes final exams, and moves on to the next course in milliseconds.
(Linda) 1.9.4 says: “Autonomy, Communications and Transcendence differentiate conscious vitals from unconscious life.” This suggests a continuum of consciousness, a sliding scale. To be high on the continuum requires these three elements: (1) Autonomy, or the ability to think and act for oneself, (2) Communications, which includes language, and (3) Transcendence, going beyond the borders of one’s own mind and body. Rocks wouldn’t be on such a continuum.
(Fred) The comparison at the end of this Element distinguishes “conscious vitals” from “unconscious life”. Interestingly, “vitals” is plural, as if it envisioned individuals possessing unique identities, which of course is part of what it means to be autonomous. “Unconscious life” might as well apply to a colony of bacteria as a lower species not only lacking empathy and/or a way of inter-relating we could interpret as ethical behavior, but a long way from evolving any sophisticated levels of autonomy, communications, or the technology required to transcend biology.
(Linda) In 1.9.5 we find: “Life is not what you are made of but is what you make of it.” If you see the essentiality of empathy and ethics to what Terasem calls consciousness, this enables you to take these two aspects of your life more seriously. In Mike Perry’s Forever for All, he states this as: “Our basic and, in my view, unlimited worth lies not so much in what we are or have been but in what we can become.” Very succinct and to the point.
(Fred) The last Element, 1.9.6, wraps up this Expansion with: “Sentience sings from several kinds of substrate, each of which may give rise to conscious life.” If we ask, “Are there more than two, biological and cybernetic?” we must realize that here the term “cybernetic” is more concerned with the idea of identity being information than what kind of material platform is supporting that information. Progress in quantum computing increasingly suggests that we may have far more choices than just silicon or carbon, long term. Biological life, all the way from its most basic patterns in DNA to its most exquisite neurological structures for conscious life (is in the end) digital and thus arguably cybernetic.
(Linda) We have to leave the door open for many possibilities we cannot even imagine, at present. I can’t resist quoting Carl Sagan, from his book Cosmos:
“The molecules of life fill the Cosmos. But even if life on another planet has the same molecular chemistry as life here, there is no reason to expect it to resemble familiar organisms. I cannot tell you what an extraterrestrial being would look like. I am terribly limited by the fact that I know only one kind of life, life on Earth. Some people – science fiction writers and artists, for example – have speculated on what other beings might be like. I am skeptical about most of those extraterrestrial visions. They seem to me to rely too much on forms of life we already know. Any given organism is the way it is because of a long series of individually unlikely steps. I do not think life anywhere else would look very much like a reptile, or an insect or a human—even with such minor cosmetic adjustments as green skin, pointy ears or antennae.”
(Fred) That’s part of why the future appears to be full of adventure, for those who find their way into it. Let’s wind it up with another quote from Michael Perry’s book, Forever for All.
(Linda) This quote has a great deal to do with this question of whether a continuer, a reasonably close copy of you, will be an acceptable and comfortable concept for those who may come to the end of their biological lives. Here’s what Perry has to say about this. Again, this is only a short introduction to his thinking. For those who would like to explore these ideas at more length, his book can be read at no cost at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com, under the Forever for All tab. Here’s the quote:
“There is one issue connected with Interchangeability we left hanging in the last chapter, where we noted that person-instantiations share identity when they can be considered equivalent. The precise delineation of when this equivalence would occur is well beyond our present powers. But the general idea is that a person is a type of computational process, so that the equivalence we are seeking is a similar notion to the equivalence of two running computer programs, which at least is a meaningful concept. In general, the digital model of events should allow us to decide, in principle, when two person-instantiations can be considered equivalent.
(Fred) The quote continues:
“Given some finite limit on the time, space, and energy involved, all processes are replicated by finite state machines, and, in fact, only a finite number of processes fit any finite bound. If such processes are expressed in a standardized form recording the input, state transitions, and output, there is an effective procedure for deciding when two such processes are equivalent, so that equivalent processes indeed form sharply bounded or well-defined classes. (The equivalence classes could then be extended straightforwardly to more gargantuan, slower processes that mimicked the faster ones but seemingly required more states.) Once again, we are benefited if events can be regarded as happening in discrete jumps rather than by continuous changes. Here the benefit is that the notion of person-instantiation gains coherence, lending plausibility to the main form of our concept of Interchangeability.”
(Linda) That’s so abstract I’ll offer a simple example. If, at the border of one piece of a picture puzzle and the next to be added, all of the colors match, all of the lines in one extend into the other, and shape of the edges fit, the flow of the overall picture from the one piece to the next continues with no noticeable boundary. In the same way, given a sufficient information match, the continuer of a person whose biological life may have terminated (assuming they have assembled a detailed mindfile) will continue his or her life as easily as we step over a seam in a concrete sidewalk.
(Fred) Next week, we’ll look at how Terasem conceives of a future where a harmonious community of life fills every lifeless or unconscious corner of the Universe. Those of us who share this vision are the seed of this open ended pursuit. Dr. Perry has qualified his view of this destiny as one which is approached asymptotically over an infinite period of time. Notwithstanding theoretical suggestions in the Truths of Terasem, and as also suggested in Ray Kurzweil’s book The Singularity is Near, this could take place in less than one thousand years of real time, to the extent we biological human beings have any way of presently visualizing. Next week we’ll see how.
(Linda) Find out more about joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net. And the most important thing you can do to insure that you are a part of this exciting future, is to start building your own mindfile with the free tools at either CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com. There are no fees for building or storing your mindfile. Don’t procrastinate! Those who join earlier and have good mindfiles are most likely to make the jump to cyberspace sooner.
(Fred) For those of you who would prefer to build your mindfiles by playing a game, Mike Clancy, at Terasem, has created the exciting maze-based, mindfile building game for the Android. It’s addictive because the difficulty ramps up quickly with multiple layers of challenges. While you are trying to build motor neurons inside a brain, plaques are obstructing your path and you have to avoid macrophages that are hunting you down! Check it out on PersonalityMD.com.
(Linda) If you want to dig deeper into the ideas of mindclones, mindfiles and mindware, go to that intriguing and challenging blog: mindclones.blogspot.com. Martine Rothblatt will treat you to fascinating discussions about these subjects that will take you far, far beyond what we are able to just sample lightly in these podcasts.
(Fred) If you would like to read the text version of these podcasts, you will find them at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com. As we mentioned earlier, that’s where you can download a copy of Michael Perry’s book, Forever for All.
(Linda) If you’ve been enjoying the music that we use in 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.
(Fred) Join us, and our quest for an endless and joyful future…
(Linda) Come with us – into Tomorrow!
Closing music – no fade – full length.
Podcast No. 89Posted 02/14/2012
Download Directly or Listen via CyBeRev at:
TITLE: Truths of Terasem – The “Who” of Terasem 1.8-1.8.6
SUB TITLE: The Four Components of Identity
SUMMARY: What does it take to awaken that “you” so many fear will be lost upon death, even after cryonic suspension if reanimation is not carried out in such a way that one has firm memories and a sense of orientation of where one once was as well as where one is now? Does this in any way interfere with the potential of individuality in your life, or might it be even more vivid and real, as well as indestructible and endless, in simpler terms, immortal?
Music – “Earthseed” fades out, as the voice recording begins.
(Fred) Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 89 on the Truths of Terasem.
(Linda) In this podcast we’re going to explore what makes you ‘you’ and how that implies that you may find yourself existing in time virtually endlessly, despite your concerns that this may be absolutely impossible.
(Fred) This view of human identity is so vast, yet so plausible, compellingly in tune with religions and yet so deeply rooted in logic and science that it might be taken as a fantasy both by those immersed in mysticism and those convinced that surviving through technology is the only thing that has any chance of practical realization.
(Linda) Some people worry that if, after they die, something that looks like them and has their memories and personality, wakes up and resumes consciousness, there may be a problem. Even if they are surrounded by people they remember as being their family and friends, they are not sure it would really be them.
(Fred) A lot of people worry about that. Yet, taking examples from medicine, we know that there are many present day cases where living persons suffer severe brain injury or compromise, but continue to live despite any imagined loss of personal identity. People do adjust and get on with their lives after experiencing even total amnesia.
(Linda) I can really relate to that! When I was about 13 I was in a car accident that left me paralyzed and in a coma. When I came out of the coma, I had lost most of my memory. I could understand spoken English, and I recognized my family, but I had to have my memories of specific events ‘reloaded’ by family members. To this day, I’m never sure if something I remember about my childhood is being reconstructed in the normal way our brains do that for us, or if it is an implanted memory. By implanted memory, I mean, some story I heard others in the family tell, rather than something I actually experienced myself. None the less, as a child recovering in a hospital bed, I never questioned whether or not it was really me in that bed! And, I have never once wondered about that since then; just like I don’t wonder if it is really me, when I open my eyes each morning.
(Fred) That’s a wonderful example! The question of personal identity turns almost upside down, to a conviction that, given the slightest indication that it’s you, barring contrary evidence like a seemingly better qualified competitor you claiming to be the real you, how could it be anyone except you? If everyone around you believes you’re you, and if every fact you can turn up indicates that there are no other you-s around, what basis would you have to argue it was otherwise, aside from fear based conjecture such as those that might arise once you’ve been told that you actually have an artificial brain with your memories implanted in it?
(Linda) Fred, that was unkind! Just when we almost had them sold, you blew it! Why couldn’t you have left out the part about the artificial brain? I mean…
(Fred) I know, Linda, and that was really just to wake up anyone who might have been on the verge of falling asleep. Actually, there’s a great explanation of this issue in Forever for All by Dr. Mike Perry that is so good we’ll quote briefly from it later, but first we must introduce the term he uses and give an illustration for why it is a useful one. The term is “continuer”.
Perry contends, in great detail and after considering many alternatives, that a less than perfect replica of you, in particular of your brain, is, notwithstanding those imperfections, sufficiently the same you (as you once were) to constitute the real you, from every aspect of personal individuality, social connectivity, and satisfaction that what has been created is not just something that thinks it is you, but is in fact you, yourself.
(Linda) I’ve read reams of arguments that claim that a perfect copy, no matter how perfect it may be, is still not you, even if all the relative positions of the atoms are accounted for, and one goes to the trouble of putting the actual atoms used by the former you, back into the exact same places and states, nonetheless as the argument goes, it still wouldn’t be “you”.
(Fred) Dr. Perry might ask the one objecting to define what would constitute a real you, but he would also know that most people who raise such objections are rarely able to come up with any kind of consistent, integrated concept of that at all, much less one that makes any kind of sense. So he introduces the concept of the “continuer”. He points out that even though the replica may not be exact, it can functionally continue for the person it replaces, to the satisfaction of all who have relationships with that person and to the satisfaction of the person himself or herself, with the qualification and admission that it need not be exactly the same person.
(Linda) Let’s take that one step further and suggest that even if there are imperfections, the continuer as defined by Dr. Perry, is more like the original person from whom she or he is derived, than a person who awakes tomorrow after a normal night’s sleep is like the person he or she was the previous night. In effect, each of us who falls asleep wakes up as a copy. Upon awakening, such a copy has far less fidelity even than a future continuer who had been in cryonic suspension and whose brain was rebuilt by replicator nanotechnology.
(Fred) I know a lot of people in the cryonics and anti-aging communities who would argue with this, but let’s look at this idea a little closer. When you fall asleep, you literally lose consciousness and then awaken with no sense of most of what has even gone on within your own mind (except for the occasional dream), much less any sense of what has gone on in the outside world.
(Linda) Exactly. During sleep, unlike cryonic suspension, your neurons continue to metabolize. Short term memory is biochemically converted to long term memory, with the loss of tremendous amounts of detail. Axons project and fall away from former synapses, and dendritic spines on the receptor neurons grow and recede from lack of use, huge numbers of neurons die and their functions are taken on by other neurons. When you awaken, you think you are the same person, but physically you are not. Much has changed.
(Fred) Now, imagine a person in cryonic suspension who is one day repaired by replicator nanotechnology and restored to normal function, where the pathways between neurons were all replaced by functionally equivalent, non-biological replicas and great care is taken to prevent error and change. This repaired version is more like the original before they were frozen, than any of us are like the person we were the previous night before falling asleep.
(Linda) With all that in mind, we can get back to the question of whether or not the continuer idea makes sense. Dr. Perry doesn’t restrict this concept to repaired frozen brains, in spite of the fact that some will argue that the repaired brain is not for all intents and purposes the same as the one which was frozen.
(Fred) On the contrary, Perry contends that if a completely new brain were created that had essentially the same memories as an earlier one, a closely matching personality profile, perhaps even having the same genome, then that new brain would, for all practical purposes, be the same as the old one.
(Linda) Those that argue against this concept may choose not to pursue it. Those who take it as a valid idea are likely to have no trouble with it. How does Perry address the question of ethics where the person making this decision rejects the idea altogether? Is that person then lost forever?
(Fred) Not necessarily. A continuer of such a person, upon awakening and acquiring the advanced knowledge then available, would be acquainted with the fact that the person from whom she or he was derived would in no way have accepted the idea that the continuer was in fact the same person. Then, the continuer would be asked how he or she felt about that in the context of their up-dated view of the issue, based on current information. If the continuer still held to the original position, she or he might think of himself or herself as being more like an identical twin with a high degree of knowledge of the personal history of the person from whom she or he came.
(Linda) On the other hand, if a continuer awakening from cryonic suspension found the idea (of being the same as the original person) plausible, then that person would have reversed or ratified a change of position, and the former friends and family could then welcome that person back into their midst. All of this of course is subject to the cultural ethics of a time we can scarcely imagine now, so we can only guess at what might happen. We can only conclude that people are not necessarily lost to us forever, on account of having lost their biological viability.
(Fred) I’d like to wrap up this discussion by reading a short quote from a novel you and I just read, Trans-Human (Post Human), by David Simpson. The protagonist is faced with transcending biology and wondering if it will still be him or not, and he concludes:
“I won’t be like other people anymore,” James observed, “but that’s the point, isn’t it? I don’t have to be. The future should never have made people more and more alike—it should have increased our individuality. I will be the first, but everyone will be able to be as they wish to be from now on.”
(Linda) I love that quote. It’s a great read. Very Terasem. With that discussion as a background, let’s plunge into the Truths of Terasem we are covering this week. The Expansion for this week starts with, 1.8: “ ‘I’ Has Four Dimensions: Terasem is comprised of individual souls, each with four complementary dimensions, at least one of which always exists.” In other words, we don’t have all our eggs in a single basket!
(Fred) That’s abstract enough, and the rest of them are short enough, so I’ll just go through the whole of them, and then we can expand from there. 1.8.1 says “The ‘Me of I’ is one’s totality of mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values.” 1.8.2: “The ‘We of I’ is the image of ourselves in the minds of others.” 1.8.3: “The ‘Ti of I’ is the time-cone of a being’s existence” and 1.8.4: “The ‘Qi of I’ is the unique pattern of a being’s energy flows.”
(Linda) The next two Elements are, 1.8.5: “Each dimension of I may serve as a template for cyber-resurrection of Me of I” and 1.8.6 tells us: “Authoring-self recreates one’s mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values, until Turing-equivalence is achieved.”
(Fred) The first and last of the Elements essentially say that your mindfiles, created by a process known in Terasem as “self-authoring”, captures the ‘Me of I’, all of your mannerisms, personality, recollections, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values, to the point where a Turing Test can confirm your unique identity.
(Linda) That’s easy enough to grasp. If we implant someone’s mindfiles into their otherwise amnesia-level brain, like my experience after my accident, we’ve accomplished enough to produce a sense of “Who they were” and “who they are now”, perhaps in not quite the same way as in the original mind, but with so much additional detail as to produce an impression of, “I never knew my memory was so good!”
(Fred) The second element is equally simple, “The ‘We of I’ is the image of ourselves in the minds of others,” suggesting that if nothing else, the joint recollections of others accomplish at least two things: (1) The details, directly implanted, could impart a very rough sense of identity, and (2) the family and friends could also help the person learn more about those past relationships and associated details.
(Linda) Again, that’s exactly what I experienced when I came out of my coma. Now we come to two more Elements that are somewhat more elusive, “The ‘Ti of I’ is the time-cone of a being’s existence” and “The ‘Qi of I’ is the unique pattern of a being’s energy flows.” The first of these, the time-cone, represents a widening level of exposure to one’s environment that can be recaptured from a composite of all the historical knowledge of the period in which one lived. This can be shaped to emphasize events in the localities one lived as well as on a wider basis, and the general character of what one might have paid attention to most closely, based on one’s education, career, known interests, etc.
(Fred) General knowledge about the unique pattern of one’s life through time and space might yield a sort of informational fingerprint that no one else would have. Any personality that were to emerge with this level of recollection of the past would in that respect be unique, and any specific memories of having lived earlier would be enriched by this virtual memory of what went on and what one might have noticed and remembered.
(Linda) For example, if a person were given a hunter-gatherer mindset but they originally lived in the 20th Century, and most of their mindfile information reflected that, they would experience an uncomfortable discontinuity, a feeling that this is not really them.
(Fred) The second Element of these two is: “The ‘Qi of I’ is the unique pattern of a being’s energy flows.” ‘Qi’ is the idea, most frequently associated with oriental practices of yoga and medicine, that within one’s body certain patterns of responsiveness to electric charges and biochemical endocrine flows are uniquely individual and are as predictive of how one feels physically and emotionally, how one might react in certain circumstances, as the time and locations in which one might have lived.
(Linda) It could well be that this “Qi of I” could be so closely imputed from one’s DNA as to enable emulation of one’s sense of physical being into one’s continuer, and thus impart an even higher sense of having lived before and being the same self as one once was. Or, for those who find the idea appealing, to have one mind that experiences life across more than one body… and perhaps across more than one substrate.
(Fred) There are other interpretations that we’ve explored as to the “Qi of I” in earlier podcasts, but because we have finally developed sufficient context, this is perhaps closer to the way the Founders of Terasem might have intended this Element than we’ve suggested in those earlier discussions. It does point to one more way a fingerprint of one’s sense of life and individuality may be characterized and differentiated.
(Linda) Yes, as a physically and mentally active person, I would be very disappointed to find I’d been reanimated as a couch potato! I would know something was wrong! I’d be yelling, “This isn’t me! Look at my Lifepact and CyBeRev videos again, and make the necessary corrections!”
(Fred) That takes us to the next Element, 1.8.5: “Each dimension of I may serve as a template for cyber-resurrection of Me of I”. Any one of those may be so individual, so unique a fingerprint of who one was as to serve as a valid starting point for reemergence into a social network. But of course, the more we have of all these dimensions available to us, if and when we need to be reanimated, the better!
(Linda) Now we can now finally read that quote from Dr. Perry’s book Forever for All, to sum this discussion up:
“…The changes in a person that occur over time involve the assimilation of experiences and a learning process. A later person-stage thus will be a more developed version, or continuer, of an earlier stage. Forgetting or erasure of past information can also occur, of course, and strictly speaking does not yield a continuer of all that was present in an earlier stage, though it may still be a continuer of what was important.
“Meanwhile it is important to make clear that the notion of a continuer, like that of survival itself, depends purely on psychological connectedness, not on how the person-stage in question came into existence.
“It is the interactive functioning of various components that make up an individual, not some other entity or gestalt–the whole is the combined effects of the parts. The parts themselves, however, have no significant intrinsic properties–it is just the way they interact, how they function in the whole individual, that is important.”
(Fred) Remember, Dr. Perry’s entire book is online under the tab Forever for All, at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com. It is, of course, also available on amazon.com. Next week, we explore the transcendence of biology into cybernetic consciousness. We will also expand on the concepts of diversity with unity as they affect individual consciousness, and the open-endedness of what awaits us in an endless future, living across a boundless variety of substrates.
(Linda) Find out more about how you can be part of this exciting future by joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net. Waking up in cyberspace can be pursued by way of CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com, and there are no fees to participate. You can create your personal history or autobiography, to be uploaded to CyBeRev.org by using the LifePact interview form. Go to Terasemfaith.net and then go to Mindfile Building, about half way down the page.
(Fred) Terasem’s powerful Android app is available at PersonalityMD.com. It’s a system for mindfile building, but more like a game, with a two dimensional display on a smart phone that results in personality profiles that are truly unique to you, and you also see how you compare to others geographically near you, with mindsets like yours.
(Linda) Still have some unanswered questions about mindfiles? Go to Martine Rothblatt’s blog at mindfiles.blogspot.com. And, don’t forget that these podcasts are available in text form, too, at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com, where you’ll also find a copy of Dr. Perry’s book, Forever for All, that we quoted above.
(Fred) To learn about preserving your brain or your whole body through cryonic suspension, check out both alcor.org and cryonics.org. For those who can’t afford cryostasis at this time, the most practical approach to identity preservation is to have a mindfile plus a biofile (your DNA). You can preserve your DNA very inexpensively at LifeNaut.com. Go to truthsofterasem.wordpress.com and take the BioFile tab for additional information on their cell storage program.
(Linda) Join us, and our quest for an endless… and joyful… future.
(Fred) Come with us – into Tomorrow!
Closing music – no fade – full length.
Podcast No. 88Posted 02/07/2012
Download Directly or Listen via CyBeRev at:
TITLE: Truths of Terasem – The “Who” of Terasem 1.7-1.7.6
SUB TITLE: Terasem’s Flag and What it Signifies
SUMMARY: The flag of Terasem is a beautiful, symbolic representation of many of the primary principles to which Terasem is dedicated, a kind of “flash memory” of where we’re headed, and how the course will be navigated. This podcast expands on that, in ways that might seem to be speculative, but the objective is to help build a more detailed way of remembering, visualizing and reflecting upon the meanings behind its flag in our daily Terasem Connections and other meditations about the long term goals of Terasem’s evolution.
Music – “Earthseed” fades out, as the voice recording begins.
(Fred) Hi, we’re Fred and Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 88 on the Truths of Terasem. In this podcast, we’ll talk about the flag of Terasem, to which we pledge allegiance, and how the symbols in the flag help us recall the principles that lie behind it.
(Linda) The Terasem pledge is such a wonderfully positive affirmation of those principles! We enjoy it so much that we say the pledge to each other every morning before we get out of bed. To jump start the podcast, it seems appropriate to say the pledge. Will you join me?
(Fred and Linda) “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Collective consciousness of Terasem, and to the principles for which it stands: education persistently, with diversity, unity and joyful immortality everywhere.”
(Fred) It’s similar in some ways, to the pledge to the U.S. flag. Both pledges are of allegiance to the flag of an organization (Terasem and the USA). The U.S. pledge continues “and to the republic for which it stands”, which implies the values and principles represented by that republic, which, reflecting the period of human history in which it was created, is inspiring. Terasem’s pledge is even stronger, I think, because it goes beyond implication when it says “and to the principles for which it stands”.
(Linda) The U.S. pledge winds up with the stirring phrase “with liberty and justice for all”. But, the Terasem pledge is even more far reaching and visionary as it clearly states its basic values as “Education persistently, with diversity, unity and joyful immortality, everywhere”.
(Fred) Let’s start in with Truth 1.7: “Terasem flag: The symbols on this flag represent the values of our transreligion.” Last week, we talked about how the pledge to the flag summarizes so much of the Terasem values and principles. If we equate diversity with autonomy and unity with empathy, we see that these core values are another way of defining consciousness. And, of course, education persistently is required if our reason is to endlessly mature as we transcend biology and become immortal beings living across many substrates.
(Linda) The first expansion is 1.7.1 “ ‘Be accountable’ is symbolized by the dotted circles: self-accountability to surrounding Terasem centers of critical consciousness.” The background color of the flag is light blue. Across the top of the flag, there is a row of six bright yellow circles each with an interior dot. The central dots represent egocentric cores of individuality while the surrounding circles represent the centers of critical consciousness surrounding and supporting the individual. Another way of saying this is “diversity with unity” embracing both empathy and ethics based on reason.
(Fred) Since a critical center of consciousness can be comprised of so small a number as a single individual, and each such single-individual center of critical consciousness can be thought of as a member of a small group of individuals knit together, interacting with a small number of other such groups, the symbolism can apply at any level. The next several expansions address specific important Terasem values.
(Linda) In 1.7.2 we find this: “ ‘Embrace diversity’ is symbolized by the blood-red infinity sign: infinite diversity within a common biological heritage.” Diversity isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law! The law of evolution, that is. We’re the descendants of some common ancestor based on DNA, but with such staggering diversity as to suggest a limitless, if not actually infinite, expansion of forms of sentience, especially once we use the power of our minds to transcend biology!
(Fred) Next is 1.7.3: “ ‘Respect autonomy’ is symbolized by the digital spelling of the word ‘joy’: consciousness transcends biology and technology.” Note that the way in which ‘joy’ is represented as being spelled digitally is Morse code. That’s a beautiful example of technology transcending biology. They went to a lot of trouble and expense to set up the Pony Express, which was limited by how fast a horse could run, but it lasted only about eighteen months before the telegraph wiped it out with Morse Code, which literally ‘outran’ the horse. I mean, how could a horse compete with the speed of light?
(Linda) Right. And it was tricky to make the Pony Express work. Wikipedia tells us that:
“…the Pony Express which was organized to provide the fastest mail delivery between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, only lasted from April 3, 1860 to late October 1861. An ad in a California newspaper read: ‘Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.’ ”
(Fred) It’s amazing to see how fast technology was moving, even a couple hundred years ago, isn’t it! Let’s move on. 1.7.4 says: “ ‘Talk openly’ is symbolized by the sky blue background: translucence of clear atmosphere and deep space.” It’s not always easy to talk openly with others, especially if the relationship could be challenged by doing so. This reminder is important for all of us because without open honesty, corruption is given an opportunity to gain a foothold. Looking straight up into the deepest blue part of the sky through a small enough pinhole from within a dark enclosure, you can literally see stars in broad daylight. The translucence of a clear atmosphere literally lets you see all the way into deep space… and into our future.
(Linda) I agree with you about how important that concept is. 1.7.5 continues with: “ ‘Help others’ is symbolized by the number and size of dotted circles: we grow with assistance.” Circles also remind us of ever expanding ripples in a pond. In other words, by helping others, we help ourselves and the feedback loop creates an ever widening circle, the circle of our collective consciousness grows ever larger and stronger.
(Fred) And that leads to the final Element for today, 1.7.6: “ ‘Always be open’ is symbolized by infinity’s multi-dimensionality: realities are part of larger realities.” The symbols on the Terasem flag and the values and principles they represent are like mirrors within mirrors, infinite reflections stretching without limits. If what we call the Universe is only part of a Multiverse, and it, itself, is only part of an even larger Multiverse, then maybe that does get us close to something we can finally call “infinite”.
(Linda) And, of course, ‘always be open’ is also a reminder that as we work toward and eventually transcend biology, we will need to always be open to new ideas and opportunities… and that also points to the principle of ‘education persistently’.
(Fred) I really love the symbolic content of the Terasem Flag, and if any of you listeners want to see it, that URL (truthsofterasem.wordpress.com) we spoke of above has a banner at the top with the Terasem flag fluttering amidst a brilliant star-field within a nebula, photographed by the Hubble telescope, titled “Jet in Carina”.
(Linda) Next week, we’re going to explore the very core of human identity, in fact, the very core of what lies at the heart of the identity of every sentient being.
(Fred) This is one of the most fundamental sets of ideas in the Truths of Terasem. We’ll explore how each of us as individuals has a capacity for attaining an unending existence through the building of mindfiles, networking with others, and living our lives in a way that integrates the ‘time cone’ and ‘unique pattern of our energy flows’ into the other two.
(Linda) These are deep subjects, and we’re going to be quoting extensively from the book Forever for All by Dr. R. Michael Perry. Here’s a brief excerpt, and by the way, the entire text of Dr. Perry’s book is available on a tab with its title, Forever for All, on the same web address where we publish the scripts from the podcasts (truthsofterasem.wordpress.com) – Here’s that quote from Dr. Perry’s book:
“The twin possibilities of eventual, universal resurrection and abolition of death starting from currently available means are not seen as competitive but complementary. Both have a vital role to play in the future that appears to be opening. Our resulting philosophy, encompassing both past and future, is directed toward the long-term interests of each sentient being. It thereby acquires a moral dimension. The immortalization of humans and other life-forms is seen as a great moral project and labor of love that will unite us in a common cause and provide a meaningful destiny.”
(Fred) By the way, Martine Rothblatt, the primary Founder of Terasem has referred to Dr. Perry’s book as being so closely aligned with Terasem’s mission and underlying philosophy as to be virtually a ‘bible’ that might help us expand on the Truths of Terasem. That’s part of why, with Dr. Perry’s permission, his book is now made available on a tab on the same website where you can find the text versions of these podcasts. That URL is truthsofterasem.wordpress.com.
(Linda) We need your strength to help build this vision into a reality. Martine Rothblatt has expressed the importance of joining Terasem this way: “The most important reason to become a Terasem Joiner is to know that you have voted with your dignity to march with those who are pursuing one of the most useful paths toward preserving the sanctity of human life via (a) techno-immortality and (b) a civilization-nurturing credo of diversity and unity. I would want to wear that badge proudly on my sleeve for as much of my life as possible, and I think that is the most compelling reason to become a Terasem Joiner”.
(Fred) Find out more about joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net. And the most important thing you can do to insure that you are a part of this exciting future, is to start building your own mindfile with the free tools at either CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com. There are no fees for building or storing your mindfile. Don’t procrastinate! Those who join earlier and have good mindfiles are most likely to make the jump to cyberspace sooner.
(Linda) For those of you who would prefer to build your mindfiles by playing a game, Mike Clancy, at Terasem, has created the exciting maze-based, mindfile building game for the Android. It’s addictive because the difficulty ramps up quickly with multiple layers of challenges. While you are trying to build motor neurons inside a brain, plaques are obstructing your path and you have to avoid macrophages that are hunting you down! Check it out on PersonalityMD.com.
(Fred) If you want to dig deeper into the ideas of mindclones, mindfiles and mindware, go to that intriguing and challenging blog: mindclones.blogspot.com. Martine Rothblatt will treat you to fascinating discussions about these subjects that will take you far, far beyond what we are able to just sample lightly in these podcasts.
(Linda) If you would like to read the text version of these podcasts, you will find them at truthsofterasem.wordpress.com. As we mentioned earlier, that’s where you can download a copy of Michael Perry’s book, Forever for All.
(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… and joyful… future.
(Fred) Come with us – into Tomorrow!
Closing music – no fade – full length.