There was a time when the fastest communication technology in the world was a man on a fast horse. The Pony Express. A guy with a mail bag who rode like hell, hundreds of miles through foul weather and resentful Apaches from post to post. Even if he made it, it took days. Then the telegraph. Then the telephone. Then the Internet. Then twitter, instant messaging with a cell phone. Last week on the news I saw a demonstration of an invention some MIT students threw together using off the shelf EEG equipment and a home computer. The student is wearing the electrode hat with wires coming out of his head, sitting motionless in front of a computer on which letters are forming. But he is thinking the letters. There is no keyboard, only a letter chart. He sees the letter, wants the letter the way he wants to stand up or yawn – and the brain waves tell the computer. So he is thinking his message, touching nothing, the message is produced by desire alone. This is a humble and powerful little miracle, on a par with a man tapping a brass key in New York and another man writing out the taps in San Francisco. Small taps that move worlds. The space between the resolute man on the horse and the student thinking a message to someone on the other side of the planet is a hundred and forty years.
Carl Sagan once said that to bake an apple pie, first you must invent the Universe. An apple pie is made from materials that originated in the core of ancient supernovas in our wing of the Milky Way, then were processed by bacteria and the gut of animals, then by plants cells, then by evolution, then came apples, then came ovens, then came apple pie, then came Twinkies. The progress of technology increases exponentially. It starts slow at first, but each invention builds on the last, just as each new species is born of the older. Each invention that comes before is one more thing that doesn’t need to be figured out, and becomes a piece of a pattern and the pattern the next invention. A guy sends a message over a computer by thinking it. What else is possible? A haptic interface glove already developed in Spain is able to telecast the feeling of touch. Put them together, someday you might really be able to reach out and touch somebody.
I’ve always had an interest in evolution, and especially the evolution of human beings. This had a lot to do with the decisions I invested myself in during my youth. What is the direction of human evolution? Are we still evolving? Our bodies are evolving, due to advances in food and medical knowledge, to become larger and more robust than our grandparents, even as we become fatter and maybe weaker. But what I think is really happening on a more significant level is that our minds and even our brains are changing. I think that as change continues in a few generations even our definition of what it means to be human will change.
Bionics are being developed and integrated into our bodies, first as aids to combat injuries and then introduced into the larger public. Artificial limbs that respond to thought. Artificial hands that can grasp and hold, and even feel fragility are not now being fitted to combat veterans returning from war. Artificial legs are of such quality that recently a man with both legs amputated above the knees was disqualified from a race because his steel spring legs gave him an advantage over the other runners. What about the brain?
I think the next step; the real step in Homo Sapiens will not be physical as much as spiritual. A major leap in consciousness. Evolutionary scientists even have a name for this new version – Home Noeticus. You can look it up. I don’t know if these things are guided by God or not, I wish I did, but it is definitely coming.
This is how it works, dig:
Religion can be roughly divided into two camps – exoteric religion, and esoteric religion. Exoteric religion is what people usually think of when they think of religion. The external trappings of ritual and dogma. To be a Catholic. To be a Muslim. To be a Jew or a Buddhist. The image of God and the demands of that God are different, sometimes radically different in each of these religions. They are not the same. However each of the world’s major religions has always had a “secret” or inner path, the esoteric religion contained off to the margins, offered only to those who seek it. In Judaism, Jewish mysticism is Kabbalah. In Islam, it is Sufism. Buddhism is an esoteric religion that has gradually become more exoteric. In early Christianity there had been several forms of Christian mysticism, such as Gnosticism, which were stamped out by the council of Nicaea. Christian mysticism has made a comeback recently in the form of Pentecostalism and the Quaker church. What is intriguing about these inner paths is that, unlike exoteric religion – they have the same image of God, arrived at by independent means. It is as though scientists, working independently had done a series of different experiments testing the same hypothesis and arrived at the same theory. To my way of thinking it means there must be something there.
Mysticism says that there is no separation between the creator and the creation. They are the same. Physical objects are manifested from the same ocean of consciousness, to which we return when we die. The problem is individual ego. We are attached to the ego construct that we identify as ourselves. The goal of mysticism is to transcend the illusion of ego to a higher level of consciousness that encompasses the whole of creation, to become one with God.
Our bodies appear to be one solid thing to our consciousness, but on a more basic level this is an illusion. Our bodies are complex colonial organisms of specialized cells and bacteria living cooperatively. In fact, bacteria, the dominant life form on our planet exist in your body on a 10 to 1 ratio. You have ten times more bacteria in your body then tissue cells. As long as the cells in your body perform their specialized roles cooperatively, symbiotically, everybody lives. As long as the bacteria in your body behaves benevolently, it allowed to live there. When cells break out on their own, as in the case of cancer, the result can be disastrous and mortal for the entire organism. An interesting thing about cancer cells. Normal cells are limited in the number of times they can be replaced, which is the cause of aging. Cancer cells, the ones that multiply until they kill you, have no regeneration limit. As far as anyone knows these cells are immortal unless they’re killed.
Human beings are social animals, that have been pushed apart by the pack hunting predator nature we developed from but in the Internet age we are coming together communally with technology. God like, we know what is happening anywhere on the planet at any time. Now the magic words every writer lives by - What if . . .
What if the destiny of our species was to be united together? Like really together?
Cooperatively, the way the cells in our bodies are united? What if that was our evolutionary destiny as a species? Never to be alone or without someone to touch? If technology, which is developing very fast, could link us together by an internal internet, it could cause our consciousness to make the genetic evolutionary jump, that until now has only been possible for a very few through a contemplative life. Enlightenment on a mass scale. A species level leap in consciousness to the level of a Buddha or a Jesus Christ.
What if. . . you could really touch somebody on the other side of the planet, or maybe a LOT of people at the same time all over the planet?
What if you could send thoughts and feelings and sensation? What would it be like to make love that way to a lot of people all at once? And what if something unusal happened that caused an interlinked human consciousness to fuse? Permanently?
A vast colonial being of Godlike power and wisdom. Is this how Gods are born?