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  • 03.28.11

The Future Is Co-Mingled Sensation and Co-opted Dreams

We are, more and more, outsourcing our minds. Increasingly, the web of organic computation said to encompass human consciousness is distributing itself in a decentralized fashion, expanding outward, beyond the biological brain.

“In the information age, you
don’t teach philosophy as they did after feudalism. You perform it. If
Aristotle were alive today he’d have a talk show.”

 – Timothy Leary

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I recently saw Jason Silva at TEDActive Palm Springs. Media personality,
singularity enthusiast, Fellow at the Hybrid Reality Institute, and
interviewer (he recently interviewed Barry Ptolemy director of the
documentary Transcendent Man (http://transcendentman.com/), Jason is
among the extraordinary thinkers of our time.

Jason agrees
with SpaceCollective.org, that the future is “co-mingled sensation and
co-opted dreams.” Consequently, Jason is on a mission to “agitate the
sleep of mankind” and he offers the statement below as a call to action.

 “The
goal is to re-ignite and bring back the ethos of McLuhan, Bucky Fuller, Joseph
Campbell and Ernest Becker, and relate it to the progress and transformations
of our time.


What
Jason is primarily referring to is the ‘extended mind thesis’ – a concept that
reaches far beyond academia today.

We are,
more and more, outsourcing our minds.  Increasingly, the web of organic
computation said to encompass human consciousness is distributing itself in a
decentralized fashion, expanding outward, beyond the biological brain. By
distributing consciousness throughout the electric network, we are spreading
the electrical activity within our brain over an infinitely more resilient and
robust network. It is this robustness that makes the total functioning of the
brain somewhat resistant to the death of a section of neurons.

Just like
the “mind” of the computer used to exist within its hard drive and is
now transitioning to the wireless cloud, so too, the human mind used to exist
in the brain (our biological hard drive) and is now transitioning and
distributing itself to the cloud, Internet, electric network, etc.

We are
following the principles of any self-organizing system as it expands outward. The
“Extended Mind” thesis put forth by U.S. philosophers David Chalmers and Andy
Clark is accurate: our technological devices have become anatomically part of
Homo-Evolutis. We are “transbiological” beings – a hybrid, symbiotic species,
organic and synthetic.  Just like our frontal cortex gives us complex
speech, our iPhone gives us telepathy: they are both structures of the Homo-Evolutis
species.

It doesn’t
matter if “features and components” of our cognition are, in fact,
beyond our tissue; they are still tethered to us wirelessly. We have simply
“exceeded” our physical selves.

We have spilled
over beyond our tissue and flesh: a human today is an airplane, a cruise ship… We
are everything and anything that began as a thought inside the brain.

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At the
intersection of science and art lies wonder. Wonder is where curiosity, ecstasy,
and joy reside. It is the catalyst for human imagination and technical
ingenuity. I see technology as the extension of human imagination.

Sophocles said “Manifold the wonders, nothing towers more wondrous than
man,” and he was right. Meanwhile, Ray Kurzweil pointed out that the span
of time between significant events in evolution is shrinking… How can one not
be excited?

Jason’s fun and
informal interview with Barry Ptolemy on themes highlighted in Transcendent Man:

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Jason’s “Turning Into Gods”:

Jason’s interview in Vanity Fair.

—-
Edited by Elizabeth Adams

About the author

A dynamic social researcher, cultural narrator, future trendhunter and strategic designer, Jody Turner works and speaks globally via her west coast company CultureofFuture.com and the London group Trendwatching.com. Client engagements have included Apple, BMW, StyleVision France, Adidas, Starbucks, The Gap, Unilever Istanbul and multiple others.

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