The Window For Consciousness To Survive
We “waste” fossil fuels in a vast number of ways, military, recreation and animal agriculture come immediately to mind.
Building a Starship requires fossil fuel, but flying one doesn’t.
Personally, I’d ban water skiing before space exploration.
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by LesPhelps.
Maybe it should go further and have multiple sets praying for people. One praying to channel the “Energy of the universe” and other sets praying to a series of fictional deities.
Also do it for people who share the same terminal illness.
Would be fascinating to see how those results turn out.
ie Would some groups be more successful than others?
My comment on “ancient false fairy stories” was regarding the salesmen behind (organised) religion, so more aimed at what I believe Adam was originally referring to.
History suggests that we are very unlikely to survive in our present form, simply because more than 99% of all the species which have ever lived have gone extinct (according to Wikipedia). Maybe “this time it will be different”? Or more likely, maybe not.
Another factor tipping the scales against our survival is the possibility that we may be an evolutionary dead-end. Many species have something which looks a little like consciousness, we possess it to an extraordinary degree, but isn’t it a sort of hypertrophy, like the ridiculously long teeth of the sabre toothed tiger (extinct), the ridiculously large size of the titanosaur (90 tonnes, extinct) and the ridiculously large tail of the peacock (not extinct yet, but watch this space)? Generally, species with unusual and exotic characteristics seems to do worse in the long term than small boring species like rats, or woodlice.
Also, as our intelligence has resulted in us almost wrecking the planet, do we really deserve to survive, or should we surrender our dominant place in the biosphere to another less intelligent but more sensible species?
Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. I’d like to slice things along every possible axis. Is one faith more effective than another? Does sense of difficulty matter? Distance? Self-professed level of belief? Category of thing being prayed for? Gender? Age? Education?
As for religion…for all that you dismiss it as a bunch of fairy tales (and to be clear, I’m neither attacking religion, or defending it), it does appear to provide a structure around how consciousness can act on reality, and those who believe in this structure appear to be able to actually use it to provide measurable utility.
Bringing things back to Adam – my point is that consciousness matters. The universe acts differently when consciousness is watching. We really don’t know just how much. And religion, for all its faults, is a system and a structure that makes the claim that consciousness is important. Science hasn’t quite made it there just yet; in fact, it tries to eliminate the effects of consciousness wherever possible.
What could “science” achieve if it started to care about consciousness? What might it uncover?
And how rare is it, really? What can it do? Just what are the rules, anyway?
Might I suggest that prolonged habitation beyond Earth may lead to a cultural shift (at least for those in said habitats) that would emphasize sustainability, regenerative horticulture, and cooperation? If you think about it, many of the destructive behaviors and short-sighted thinking at the heart of the 3E issues have immediate (and often lethal) consequences in an artificial habitat. People will have to adapt their mindset and behavior to survive long-term, and those out there who don’t will get kicked out of the community. If not the airlock…
So with that in mind I think if humanity manages to establish habitats beyond Earth orbit, then odds are very good humanity will live on. And maybe we might learn to behave in such a way where that’s a good thing for whatever planet(s) we live on…
“He reminded the audience that, as far as we know, we’re the only conscious form of life in our corner of the galaxy.”
Haha he was joking. We are a conscious species – absolutely not! Just look at the bison skulls above. Don’t believe the picture then think about animal extinctions due to mankind or genocide and torture.
Perhaps there are a handful of fully conscious individuals on the planet, but the majority are not. Consciousness is understanding our connection to and within the world around us large and small. It has nothing to do with conquering, colonizing or seeking profit. Its a state of understanding.
What will we do with that great fortune?
Will we carry the precious flame of consciousness into the cosmos?
Or will we destroy ourselves long before?
IMHO – we won’t take our consciousness into the cosmos because really its arrogance! Not consciousness. A truly conscious species wouldn’t destroy their own planet and fellow species and then seek out a new home to destroy as well. On the other-hand viruses kill their host and then die as well. Hopefully we never make it off the planet. Certainly for the sake of any beings that we come into contact with. Kinda-like the bison above!
Dave – Great points about freaky action at a distance, double slit testing and quantum physics. It is clear that the act of observing itself determines quantum outcomes, but we don’t understand the mechanism. But just because we don’t see radio waves doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Prior to their discovery, they would have been considered psydoscience at best.
Slugs have no centralized brains. They have bundles of neurons all over the body that receive inputs and respond to them. They are able to make what externally appears to be complex decisions based on this simple system. The question of if a slug is conscious is as yet, unanswered. Individual humans have brains and are conscious, but I think of our society as the body of a slug. Cities full of individual actors represented by clusters of individual neurons in the slug, each processing inputs and applying its own decision criteria to generate a response. Most often these decisions criteria align to create what appears to be a unified response, but sometimes they don’t. When they don’t that results in warfare and other conflict within the greater human organism. There is no consensus model yet for what is best for the whole. No central brain. Perhaps that will emerge external to us through AI (if the robots don’t decide killing us off is the wiser choice). Until we can stop pursuing rivalrous gains (if I win, you loose) and pursuit of the individual over the collective, I don’t see us getting far off planet. I say this as someone who leans libritarian/anarchist in my own political views, but that is only because I think our collective decision making process is more broken than our individual choice making models at this stage in human evolution. I often suspect what comes next is a massive evolutionary jump in consciousness that hopefully allows us to emerge as a wiser species on a still livable planet. But let’s not forget that evolution is a selective process that only moves forward when the herd is culled of the weak, maladapted and insufficient. Not an outcome that is particularly optimistic for each of us as individuals.
Another theory I like is that we are living in a lower dimensional slice of reality and that there is opportunity for us to travel to different planes and experience different kinds of consciousness with zero expense of combustible fuels through engaging with psychedelics. My understanding is that physics currently accepts 11 different dimensions and we only experience 4 (3D+time). If so there’s a lot more out there. The jump from 2D to 3D is pretty spectacular so I can’t image what 11D would be like. I won’t wax on about that here, but the argument is well developed by Dr. Andrew Gallimore in his new book Alien Information Theory. https://www.amazon.com/Alien-Information-Theory-Psychedelic-Technologies/dp/1527234762
There is some exciting current work on consciousness from Jordan Hall and John Vervaeke that seeks to explore and explain how we arrived where we are as human beings in consciousness and group systems, and where and how we might adapt if we, in my words, have any hope of being worthy of surviving the crap fest we’ve created here on Earth.
Interviewed on the excellent Rebel Wisdom channel:
If the next years are set to be some of the most challenging humanity has ever faced, how will we get through? Jordan Hall (formerly Greenhall) has a growing reputation as one of the most insightful cultural observers, explaining the ‘Deep Code’ of society and culture. In this definitive film, he explains how the structures of civilisation are breaking down at an increasing rate, and what we can do about it – and the necessary evolution we need to make to survive.
His Deep Code Experiment series:
Combining cognitive science, psychology, philosophy and world religions to explain and explore what consciousness is, the crisis of meaning afflicting our culture and how we might evolve our consciousness to rise above it.
Awakening from the Meaning Crisis series:
Religion is part of most peoples make-up. Whether you believe in it or not, religion will be a factor whether an inter-planetary interstellar experiment is ever launched. If you denigrate those who believe you will surely alienate them and get nowhere with the project.
The scientific name for the species of which you and I are members should be Homo hubris. Far too many of us exhibit the most appalling attitudes towards our habitat.
All organisms ingest, metabolise and excrete. H. hubris taken as a whole is no exception. Our ingestion of every kind of resource — animal, vegetable, mineral — grows exponentially larger. Our metabolism of these resources is quite inefficient. Our excretion is simply overwhelming! Taken as a whole, I reckon H. hubris has a bad case of diarrhoea, even dysentery.
As others have asked, will we have the resource base to permit any sort of space travel? We seem intent on consuming and destroying all resource concentrates as rapidly as possible. This does not strike me as future-oriented behaviour.
As a species do we have the time to get anywhere in the galaxy, let alone the Universe? No, not based on current technologies. It’s a mere 4.37 years at light speed to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system. The Andromeda Galaxy is a mere 220,000 light years in diameter. Better watch out; we collide with it in around 4.5 billion years. Unless we discover faster-than-light propulsion, H. hubris will have evolved — or perhaps devolved — into something else long before we get anywhere.
It always amuses me when I read of people “conquering” this or that in nature: conquering a mountain, conquering an ocean, conquering the solar system. What rubbish. All we do is crawl over the surface of things and praise ourselves for our pluck.
The JPL has an excellent series of free posters, Visions of the Future, based on the theme of ET travel and colonisation. I think I’ll stay on our oasis, Earth.