Podcast No. 97 Posted 04/03/2012
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TITLE: Truths of Terasem – The “What” of Terasem 2.6-2.6.6
SUB TITLE: The Theology of Terasem
SUMMARY: The Terasem theology is divided into six areas of study. These are Terasem’s immortality theology, creation theology, reality theology, meaning-of-life theology, behavioral theology, and moral theology.
Music – “Earthseed” fades out, as the voice recording begins.
(Fred) Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 97 on the Truths of Terasem. This week we will look at the different theological aspects of Terasem as a body of principles.
(Linda) Okay, those of us who are atheists, or secular in our approach to the ideology of Terasem, will find this session to be a challenge. But let’s hang in there with an open mind and look for value rather than cling to old prejudices.
(Fred) I agree. There is one very positive thing I think we can say about things that are religious or traditional. They have common grounds with each other in many areas. Very strong, ethical common grounds with respect to internal rules of behavior for their members, most of which are benevolent in nature, gauged to maximize harmony and synergism between individuals. In that sense, it seems as if traditional religions and beliefs foreshadow Terasem’s highest expectations of what an ideal society might be like. This is why I think these Truths were devised, and why we should take them seriously.
(Linda) Okay, we start with 2.6: “Theologically the Multiverse includes joyful immortality via data emulation of a diverse and united universe.” That seems perfectly straightforward. As we can easily observe, the universe is very diverse, but we can also imagine that with a sufficient ethical system it can be united. And, we can assume that we’re talking about uniting sentient, conscious beings, regardless of biological origin or the substrates of consciousness to which they might have moved as they transcended biology.
(Fred) Data emulation suggests consciousness of a cybernetic kind, probably beyond what we would call bio-cybernetic where we’re speaking of axons firing in biological brains. Once biology is transcended and data backup is possible, a virtually endless existence will be ours, meaning immortality can be assumed. And who would want to live forever in pain and anguish? The Terasem view is that our immortal existence not only will be filled with curiosity, adventure, and discovery, but freedom from pain and death.
(Linda) Ah, yes! That’s why I chose Alegria as my name in Second Life. Alegria is Spanish for joy. The first underlying Element is 2.6.1: “Unending life, the belief that once life arises it will last forever, is Terasem immortality theology.” This one is even easier. Immortality is clearly equivalent to unending life, and endlessness is far easier to deal with than the idea of living forever, which can only be demonstrated by finding an end to time and proving that you can transcend it.
(Fred) The term theology is undeniably an admission of this being a matter of faith and belief, not yet proven, and that’s fine. Just as we have faith that our evolving technology will eventually produce a god, so we have faith that our evolving technology will result in unending life. Our reasons for these positions have been expanded upon in other podcasts, so we won’t do it again here.
(Linda) The only phrase that is a bit uncertain is the three words ‘once life arises’. That could imply that as soon as self-replicating biological life manifests itself on a formerly lifeless planet, survival is assured. This ignores existential possibilities such as black hole ‘gobble-ups’, incineration by local supernovae or Quasars, a disaster produced by our own technology (such as a grey goo event following the advent of nanotechnology), and so forth.
(Fred) A more resilient way of looking at it is the outlook that once biological life gets started on a planet, extropic evolution pulls it inevitably toward sentience, then onward into what eventually becomes kind consciousness, transcendence of biology, survival of singularities, and an outward ‘Earthseed’ that may even encounter other conscious entities with which it finds common ground, unites, and then expands further.
(Linda) Elsewhere in the Truths of Terasem we are, however, reminded that growth is not always straight up and forward. We have to expect that there will be times of backsliding. Next we come to 2.6.2: “Never-ending creation, recycling and growth is the Terasem creation theology.” Homo sapiens have been engaged in creation, ever since they learned how to start fires, sharpen tools and engage in the artificial selection of other living organisms, in this way accelerating natural selection in a meaningful vs. chaotically competitive and unconscious way.
(Fred) Social organization itself, a creative, extropic process, makes better and better use of intellectual resources until transcendence of biology is achieved, and then outward spread into the Cosmos as the anticipated outcome. Belief that this is not just an inevitable process, but a process that may be ubiquitous throughout the universe, is undeniably theological. We don’t have proof of that, meaning it’s a matter of faith and belief.
(Linda) Or, perhaps, a calculated guess! Next is 2.6.3: “ ‘I think therefore I am’ is at the core of Terasem reality theology.” Self-consciousness is implied by this well-known philosophical precept introduced into Western thought way back in the 16th century by the French thinker, Rene Descartes.
(Fred) The next step upward might be: since we understand each other, at least a little, we each know the other exists, and that broadens into the idea of a collective consciousness in which the network is the higher reality, so long as it does not extinguish individuality at lower levels.
As a perfect example, if a beehive were so intolerant of diversity that no diversity of worker bees were permitted, they would all die before the first winter was over. Among humans, the same is true. The communist revolution of 1918 was so intolerant of individuality and motivational incentives that it was like a social cancer from the start. It lasted for a while, like any organism, but its doom was spelled out in its insistence of mandatory homogeneity, which Terasem finds to be intolerable as a characteristic of higher level social order.
(Linda) in 2.6.4 we find: “Teleological belief in diversity, unity, and joyful immortality forms Terasem meaning-of-life theology.” Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about teleology:
“A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek words for “end purpose.” The adjective “teleological” has a broader usage, for example in discussions where particular ethical theories or types of computer programs (such as “teleo-reactive” programs) are sometimes described as teleological because they involve aiming at goals.”
(Fred) Terasem’s goal is, succinctly stated, joyful immortality, which we’ve already discussed extensively. That’s the end purpose, or meaning of life, to put it in teleological terms. The blending of diversity and unity in the highest way, denying neither and maintaining the most perfect balance between the two, is the means to the end, again consistent with the idea of teleology as a philosophical way of speaking about one’s belief.
(Linda) The next Element is 2.6.5: “Euthenics, improving the well-being of extant life, is Terasem behavioral theology.” The word extant simply means ‘still existing’ or ‘not extinct’. In the glossary at the end of the Truths of Terasem we find euthenics defined as improving our lives by improving the environment we live in. In other words, improving humanity by altering external factors such as education and the controllable environment.
(Fred) So, improving the well-being of life, by means of an external social environment, can be taken to mean helping those who are cyber-resurrected to transcend the biological evolutionary baggage that might stand in the way of their having the maximum opportunity to expand their individual beings, by immersion in a culture reflecting a higher standard.
(Linda) Putting all of this together, behavioral theology means we believe that we can best help others by creating a society in which they will feel comfortable and unthreatened, where people are virtually immune from being hurt by those who have not yet adapted. We have an obligation to create such a culture.
(Fred) Such a society is depicted in a short story by Thomas Donaldson named Birth Scars, and it’s online at http://www.lifepact.com/. If you really want to have a vision of a circumstance in which this could sound achievable, that’s where you will find it. I wish it were possible to read it into the podcast, but that would add at least ten minutes. Sadly, we can’t do it that!
(Linda) There’s one more Expansion for today, 2.6.6, and it tells us: “Deontologically weighted decision-making is the basis of Terasem moral theology.” Here we go to Wikipedia for a definition of deontology (for those who are not philosophy students), where we find a few observations that help illustrate the complexity of this Truth. It’s a very intertwined one.
First, Wikipedia says, “Deontological ethics or ‘deontology’ is an approach to ethics that judges the morality of an action based on the action’s adherence to a rule or rules. Deontologists look at rules and duties.” Then, we find, “Deontological ethics is commonly contrasted with consequentialist or teleological ethical theories, according to which the rightness of an action is determined by its consequences.” However, there is a difference between deontological ethics and moral absolutism. Deontologists who are also moral absolutists believe that some actions are wrong no matter what consequences follow from them.
(Fred) We could follow on with this kind of reasoning into such labrynthian depths that in the end we would have to block diagram it to even know how we got to where we are, or how to find our way out, much less to know how to reach some sound conclusion. So, I’m going to cut through the red tape here and observe that in everything we choose to do, or omit doing, we either measure our actions by some standard or we do not, and the most chaotic way of choosing actions is to simply act blindly on feelings, with no thought given to principles at all. At the other end of the spectrum, we choose actions based on pure logic and deny all impulses that cannot be integrated into the reasoning.
(Linda) To put this into the context of the original Star Trek series, we can either choose our actions like Mr. Spock, using only cold logic, or we can be like Captain Kirk and rely primarily on instinct. Each of us has to choose to what extent to decide based on principles, and to what extent feelings must be taken into account. Modern socio-biologists tell us that feelings are really just another kind of thinking, an instantaneous response to previously learned lessons.
(Fred) Literally interpreted, this Truth’s words, “Deontologically weighted decision-making”, implies that we must balance feelings that are derived from empathy with logic and ethical principles, and that it is no easy matter. Then, moral theology can be interpreted to mean doing what we believe is right based on a combination of logic and empathy, meaning that neither of them may be excluded.
(Linda) This last Truth for today, then, can be seen as a challenge, and an awesome responsibility, to neither trust purely in logic, nor completely in our feelings, but to find a middle ground. If anything, it alerts us to how slippery a slope we may confront in terms of Geoethical Nanotechnology, as we evolve that.
(Fred) Next week, we examine how to bridge the gap between ritual and reality-based belief, how we expand the idea of life extension and life expansion to encompass immortality as envisioned by traditional as well as more recently developed religions. We will look at how the concept of afterlives, as were believed in at the time of a pre-scientific world, may be a possibility now, as an outgrowth of technology. Can we fit our visions of a post-Singularity future to the expansive hopes of myth-based religions? What role does faith have in emulating and controlling the universe? By comparison with this week’s Truths, next week’s seem still more daunting!
(Linda) Find out how you can join Terasem at terasemfaith.net. Be part of this inspiring undertaking. One of the most important things you can do to insure that you will wake up in cyberspace is to start right now to build your own mindfiles. Terasem provides free tools to help you do this at both CyBeRev.org and LifeNaut.com. There are no fees to use these resources.
(Fred) The new maze-based game, created by Mike Clancey, at Terasem, is another way to build your mindfiles. It’s fun and can be surprisingly addictive! Check it out at PersonalityMD.com.
(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) That wonderful music that we use at both the beginning and the end of 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.