Here we are at the start of another year and we are truly living in a very unique time in the history of our civilization, facing several simultaneous challenges and converging crises:
A deteriorating environment, very unequal distribution of dwindling resources, widespread poverty, wars, climate change, oppression of many peoples, and dissatisfaction with life even in those countries with a surplus of material wealth.
For the most part, these crises we humans have brought upon ourselves over the course of many centuries by our attitudes towards each other and towards nature, and by the concepts, we have developed regarding who we are and the very purpose of our being here — in other words, Our worldview.
Who are we?
Where do we come from?
What is our purpose?
Where are we going?
All of these questions are fundamental to how we individually and collectively make meaning. As such they are questions asked by all spiritual traditions and since the very beginning of our species. Even the first cave paintings suggest that as soon as we were human, we started to ask these kinds of questions.
The only evidence you have that you exist as a self-aware being is your conscious experience of thinking about your existence.
Beyond that, you’re on your own.
You cannot access anyone else’s conscious thoughts, so you will never know if they are self-aware. Nonexistence is the absence of existence, by definition. Therefore there is no such thing as nonexistence.
To say that something does not exist thus seems to be a fallacy since NOTHING does exist.
How are you?
By far the biggest constituent of you is emptiness are atoms, and since all atoms are 99.9% empty space, technically, you’re made of nothing.
We call ourselves humans. We think we behave intelligently but we humans are animals! defined less by rationality and more by stupidity.
At the basic level, you are made of just four types of particles, which have been around for the majority of the lifetime of the Universe.
Atoms make up your body, 12 kg of bones, 33 kg of muscles, and 15 kg of fat. More than half of those cells aren’t exactly your own. They’re bacterial cells that weigh around 2 kg. Your body contains at least 60 chemical elements. For the most part, it’s oxygen and hydrogen forming H2O or water. 99% of the mass of your body is made up of just 6 elements. Of that, 65% is oxygen.
If you wanted to be more poetic, you could say you are made of stardust. All the elements you’re made of were once cooked up in the stars.
By the way, in case you wondered, the uncoiled DNA from all the cells in your body would stretch from here to Pluto and back.
What are you?
Mentally, humanity was created as a rational, volitional agent.
According to the Bible, you are a god. ( God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26) but God does not have a body so your physical being is nowhere near a god.
Physiologically and anatomically you are an animal struggling for survival on the basis of evolution.
Within just the past 12,000 years, your species, Homo sapiens, made the transition to producing food and changing our surroundings. We have been so successful that we have inadvertently created a turning point in the history of life on Earth.
We have altered the world in ways that benefit us greatly. But this transformation has unintended consequences for other species as well as for ourselves, creating new survival challenges, with our megacity incubators of viruses such as the flu and now Covid.
Where are we going?
Will our species go extinct?
The short answer is yes, replaced by Artificial Intelligence, but not life.
Because mankind will control life through its varied reproductive activities manipulating life, whether it be by cloning, gene splicing, genetic breeding, etc.
Life in its simplest form, a single-celled organism, has microbial intelligence and can learn and adapt behavior to its environment. However, everything starts with something already alive. Only life begets life and intelligence doesn’t come from non-intelligent sources.
Even the most simple of life forms is beyond our ability to create from non-living sources.
Life is created and is not the result of abiogenesis it controls and regulates the physical processes within each cell.
So since there is no evidence or logical consideration to believe that life is the result of a physical process, we can dismiss the concept of Artificial life as impossible. It isn’t just a gap in our understanding it is a physical impossibility.
However, there may well be life, with or without consciousness, interfacing with the physical components that support life created by an outside intelligence.
This is probably the most pressing and interesting question for the future. How much of life will be controlled by AI?
The current Covid pandemic is being fought against by a new form of vacation that instructs our immune systems to operate in a particular way rather than the immune system reacting. A step in evolutionary development towards part AI life.
Where is this interpretation of behavior taking place?
What part of the cell decides one food-foraging pattern is preferable to another?
Where is the information stored while it’s being coded into an arrangement of molecules and atoms?
The nucleus of a living cell is often referred to as the “brain” of the cell because it controls cellular processes and functions. However, the nucleus is not capable of conscious levels of intelligence. In fact, we can’t point to any cell part and say, that’s where the intelligence has to be coming from.
Signals received by cells must be transmitted effectively into the cell to ensure an appropriate response. This step is initiated by cell-surface receptors.
How do conscious levels of intelligence now suddenly originate or emerge from unconscious atoms and molecules?
We have to bear in mind that in an evolutionary sense, nothing can influence where we wind up biologically unless it affects individual success in passing along genes. When a new behavior is written to the DNA, the information has to be assigned to an arrangement of atoms that advocate that consciousness exists at the microbial level.
If so, that creates even greater problems, and without going into all of them, the chief problem is that survival sets a pretty low bar.
The question isn’t so much whether humans survive the next three or three hundred thousand years, but whether we can do more than just survive.
The current virus pandemic highlights this problem. The virus hasn’t yet committed to any direction.
However, it is as with all viruses an evolving entity, subject to the same processes of evolution.
With the new mRNA vaccines, we have a choice to make!
Because it is inevitable that Genome editing is going to be the future.
Because now being alive is not a prerequisite for experiencing, evolution.
We either move into a new phase in the evolution of consciousness and a new era of life on the planet, or we will witness the unraveling of the web of life and the immature end of our species and much of the community of life with us.
The time to make this choice is now!
It starts with a fundamental shift in our dominant worldview.
It is time to grow up! and for us to respect all life.
What is our purpose?
This is explained in the following story.
“In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense,” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”
The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”
The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”
The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”
The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery, there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”
“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”
The first replied “Mother? Do you actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”
The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her, this world would not and could not exist.”
Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”
To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”
All human comments are appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.